Saturday, July 17

dragonfly rescue...

mandala journal
The other day I took my dog out into the back yard and was startled by a loud rattling fluttering sound - the sound of struggle.  I looked around and near my feet was the most gorgeous, huge, blue and black dragonfly - with a wasp on it's back.  I know I shouldn't have interfered, but the sound was too much to bear, so I bent down and flicked the wasp with my finger.  It took off and left the injured dragonfly behind.  I picked it up, still alive, but saw that it had a hole in it's back where the wasp had begun to feed.  I could see the dragonfly breathing, the movement within it's body.  I took it and left it under my bed of basil, where it remained, and slowly faded.  With it's life, went it's color.
Why couldn't I just let nature take it's course?  The sound of that struggle for life rang through me, and I could not keep myself from intervening, though all I did was prolong the suffering of the dragonfly...

This past week has been a long and challenging one, preparing for the beginning of my radiation treatment.  On Monday I went in for the 'simulation' process, where the mapping of my body and aligning the course of radiation occurs.  It took a few hours of pushing, stretching, strapping and molding my body on a rock hard table in an ice box of a room, stripped to the waist with beams of light being shot across me, velcro straps squeezing me and cat scans zapping me, while I was told to keep still.  The final step were 7 tiny tattoo dots for quick lining up for the radiation treatment.  They look a lot like black heads - lovely!  Friday I returned for a 'dry run' and I got to experience what the process will be like, though only x-rays were taken, no radiation given.  None of this was a bit of fun.  It is in these types of situations that dissociative skills come in handy!  Separating mind and body is sometimes the only way to get through painful and unpleasant experiences, in my opinion.   
Thankfully, the long drawn out stuff is over with.  Monday I begin the daily sessions, for the next 6½ weeks.  For some reason I'm feeling less prepared for this leg of the journey than I was for the chemo.  Probably because I'm at an 'enough is enough' place and just want to be done with it all.  I'm really tired.  
 So for now I will say good night, and thank you all for your supportive, caring messages and continued visits during my intermittent presence.  Much love, Karin


  1. Like you Karin, I could not have stood idly by. Last weekend we rescued a cuckoo that was injured, we made it comfortable, knowing that it would likely not survive. Best wishes for your radiation xxxx

  2. i'll be thinking of you in the coming days and weeks.

  3. Just wanted ya to share with ya the Native American meaning for the Dragonfly..."Change" Here's the definition...The power of Dragonfly lies in its ability to see around things by looking from different angles. Using its ability to transform colors and lights by reflecting and refracting them, Dragonfly shows us that life, like light, can bend, shift, and adapt in various ways, making life's appearance never be what it appears to be. Dragonfly's magic shows us to see through life's illusions and find our true vision. It calls us to transform within our lives and reminds us to feel deeply so we will have the compassion necessary to help ourselves and others. I am sending giant healing hugs and prayers for ya hun. Please know ya never far from my thoughts. Big Hugs, Poe

  4. Karin you will be in my thoughts keep thinking blue skies and soaring birds, sun, flowers and laughter.
    Not sure what else to say, it all sounds pretty awful.
    I like what Poe said,perhaps it was an omen.

  5. Take it easy on yourself and get as much rest as possible in the coming weeks. I'll be thinking of you.

    On another note, I got ahold of the reference librarian here at the univ and she is helping me find foreign newspapers.

    Try to think of a peaceful place while you're going thru it.

  6. I have an entirely different take on the dragonfly- calmly fading without a GD wasp on it's back would be preferable! Thank you for interfering, you did a good thing! As for your radiation treatment - I am so sorry - my dad went through it - not at all pleasant- he did not have your gift of disassociation- pretty much stayed in the moment for all moments and felt all of it very clearly. He did get scorched! Made it through however. You will also- sooner the better- six weeks? Dear GAWD! I will be sending you thoughts of happy things cows and other comical animals...and, my favorite, wolves who are very strong, resilient survivors... they look good even when a moose is charging!

  7. Not letting nature take its course is, I think, an essential part of being human--or maybe it's thinking that there's a difference between what we do and nature's course...

    Either way, my thoughts and hopes are with you...

  8. This might sound a little gruesome, but one of the most compassionate things I ever witnessed was my teacher ending the struggle of a moth that had fallen onto his dinner plate. Its wings had been coated in the sauce on his plate and it was dying. As I sat next to him, watching, with great love he sent the moth onwards into whatever comprises the post-life/next life of a moth (if that is even different at all from our's). Its struggle was over, and it was an incredibly compassionate thing to do.

    Even though it was over in seconds, I've thought about what I witnessed many times. Would I ever have the compassion to end the suffering of a dying creature when it is completely beyond saving? I really don't know.

    But I certainly understand the desire to want to save a life. Is hastening the end for a creature that is already dying equivalent to saving a life? I'm not sure, but I continue to consider the possibilities.

    And inspired by your post, I might now write about a baby bird I tried to save (in vain).

    About the rest. I didn't realise how involved it could be to get radiation! That sounds frustrating and cold (not just in the temperature sense). Clinical. Precise. Getting everything lined up to make the next part of the process as simple and effective as possible.

    It really must feel like 'enough is enough' already. I understand, well, as much as I can without being in your shoes. But wanting it all to be over and done with is a good place to be. Its the sort of mindset that can fortify you, even when you're not sure how to keep going.

    Those 6 1/2 weeks will be over soon enough. You'll see. xo

  9. dear Karin, my thoughts will be with you in the next weeks.

    Lots of love and strength

  10. Karin,
    Your story of the dragonfly and painting is quite beautiful and moving. You choose life. I applaud you for that.

  11. karin, I believe the others have said it all except that it wouldnt be you to walk away and leave the dragonfly suffering such treatment! just remember while you are putting up with all the nuisance the next few weeks we all are your cheering section! go, girl, get it over with!xx oo lyle

  12. hello karin,

    what a story about the dragonfly. i didnt know a wasp would conquer a dragonfly like that, and the image will stay with me. i would have intervened too, and i love what linda sue said about it.

    now about you, madam. i know you kind of have to do this, but you are so honest and brave. i'm glad that you write about it and i'm glad to read about it. so much of the prep and treatment sounds so degrading: as though there is no notice to the scared little girl and woman who just wants the acknowledgement that the whole thing sucks. and the reassurance that it will be okay.

    like your other friends here, i will follow you for the next six weeks (and beyond of course) and offer you a hand, shoulder, even a joke or a kick, anytime. just send a smoke signal.

    i'm at least glad this is beginning so now you start to count the days to the ending.

    much love always,
    please keep your colored pencils handy,
    and be on the lookout for senior angels,

  13. Dear Karin,

    My thoughts and prayers will be with you through the next leg of your journey.

    I wish for you visions of beauty and imaginations of healing light and energy throughout your treatments.

    Sending blessings and love from a blog friend to aid you.


  14. One day at a time dear Karin, one day at a time. I can only imagine how weary you are of this whole process. I am thinking of you and as Lyle commented, cheering you on to the finish line. Think about what sort of medal you will give yourself at the end of treatment.

    Like you I would have hated to leave the dragonfly. When i saw the picture in my sidbar I thought you might have gone into stained glass design. This dragonfly design would make a wonderful stainglass window.

  15. Your rescue of that gorgeous wounded dragonfly seems to me, as others have said, an act of benevolence. How can we stand idly by when we see suffering in front of us? It's one of those essential human questions.

    I wish you so much radiance of the benevolent kind as you enter this new phase of treatment. If I were there, I would hang many brilliantly colored paper dragonflies in front of the treatment room!

  16. I just want to say I love your beautiful, imperfect, perfectly strong and wondrous heart, my Friend.
    Deep breaths, white light prayers of rising above, and Love, sweet Love is what I offer you. You are surrounded by them...

  17. I didn't realize you were gonna have to have radiation too.

    I'm sure it will go well, while tiring you shouldn't feel quite as bad as with chemo.

    Praying for you and sending positive vibes throughout the universe


  18. Hey K
    I'll simply hook myself onto the chain of well wishes and embrace you with a long very gentle cyber hug accompanied by a "There, there. There, there."... Imagine as we all surround you in a circle of protection and love.

  19. It seems clear to me that your intention was to ease the suffering of the dragonfly...not so different in someways from the medical professionals treating your cancer yet in the process creating a different form of suffering for you.

    Kindness and compassion are not always simple.

    I wish for you ease my friend through the radiation therapy. I pray that healing will take hold in your whole being, that soon the cancer, the medications and therapies will no longer exhaust you...that pain will be a distant memory...that you will regain your strength and feel completely yourself again...whole, happy and healthy.

    gentle steps dear one,

  20. thank you for sharing your journey with us. its a two way exchange.

    will be thinking of you and pray for strength.


  21. I agree with one of your follower's in that you chose life. I would have done the same. I will be thinking of you and sending you good thoughts these next few weeks. Your continued strength amazes me. Good thoughts for you.

  22. By the way, your dragonfly painting shows just what strength you have, by bringing that dragonfly back to life in a painting.

  23. Thinking of you Karin as you begin the next phase of the treatment course. I do hope the time passes fast for you!

  24. Karin,
    My prayers go up for you. So much pain you go through and yet so much love you give out. Your art, it is your heart, my dear friend.
    For I hang my own head with shame when I feel my own pain and complain and realize mine is small compared to yours.
    My thoughts of love and freedom of pain are with you.

  25. Hi Megan, oh, I think that's the hardest - those bird rescues rarely end up well! I remember finding birds so often as a child, and try as we might, I don't think a single one ever survived, but we did keep them comfortable and gave them honorable burials... thank you for the good wishes! xox K

    many thanks Stacy :)

    Hi Poe, yes, I thought about the Medicine Cards explanation of dragonfly as "illusion" and what it meant to see a wasp sucking the life out of illusion! I'll disregard the wasp aspect and focus on your beautiful description of dragonfly's meaning instead. thank you! xo K

    Hi Penny, yeah, it isn't my idea of fun either - but I'm undergoing it all in the most ideal of ways possible. I'm staying close to the hospital in a very pleasant hotel during the week, while my husband takes care of the homefront and pets - as well as overseeing the attic renovation. So I get to miss the bog mess at home :) I'm not sure which is worse - radiation, or renovation!! at the end of each, there will be great rewards - no cancer and a new studio!!

    Hi Sue, very glad you are finding a local helper for your foreign paper needs! Did you ever check your Border's? I was surprised by how much ours had. thanks for all your kind thoughts, and hugs!! xo K

    I like your perspective Linda Sue! I share it :) Seeing that critter go was too much - though I did think about putting a pin through it's head to instantly end it's suffering - I was just afraid I wouldn't hit it right and would watch more struggle. I know that's how insect collectors do it, to preserve them, but still... Yeah, 6½-7 weeks, depending on how my skin tolerates it all. In the scheme of things, that isn't that long, so that's how I need to think about it. Once I get started today, I'm sure I'll feel better about it. I'll keep all those wild critters, comical and powerful, in mind :)

    I think you're right Jay, it's a human nature thing. thank you for the hopes and thoughts :)

  26. I can see how that would leave an impression Svasti - it is a true act of compassion, though not the easiest to carry out. Yes, it's amazing how involved the prep is for radiation. I didn't go into the full explanation of the mold making, made with expandable foam that grew around me as I remained still and it hardened around me body, so that I can be placed in the same position, easily, each time. I am grateful for the care of precision, even though getting there was painful. It assures that neither my heart nor lungs will be harmed by the radiation - and that is a good thing!! Yes, the time will begin to pass quickly, I'm sure :) xox K

    Many thanks Mattie!! xo

    Yes Healing Woman, that is a good way to look at it - a symbol for choosing life...

    Hi Lyle, you're right, but I do question, was it more for me, or for the dragonfly? I realize now that it was for both of us that I intervened... thank you for the cheering on - I will keep that picture in my mind - pom poms shaking, with a rah rah, sis boom bah!!! xoxox

    hi, my dear kj, thank you for your friendship and loving support - I will gladly call on those shoulders for support along the way. thank you. love K

    Dear magnolia, thank you for the visions and imaginings to guide me through this time - beauty and healing are everything I need :) xox

    Yes Robyn, one day at a time! That metal will be in the form of a new studio :) woo hoo!!! you're right - i can see that piece in stained glass, too... xo

    Yes, I agree Hannah, it is one of those essential questions to ask; and I'm not sure I'd do it any differently today - it was such a reflexive response... I think I'll take the image of dangling dragonflies surrounding me in the treatment room with me today!! I love that, thank you :)

    dearest Kim, thank you. love is All; the healing, the blessing I accept - thank you.

    hi Paige, yeah, radiation is necessary. And tamoxifen, which i started a few days ago. so far, so good! thank you for all the good vibes!! xoxox

    Hi Donna, I'm seeing the circling embrace, and will carry it with me through each day's treatment. much love my friend, k

    yes Laura, the similarity didn't escape me! I found it interesting. I thought about how 'flicking' away cancer (wasp) may still leave 'holes', in that things are different. People say, "... then life will get back to normal", but normal will need to be redefined... thank you for all the positive and encouraging messages!

    dear m, you are welcome - and thank you for saying that. your support means a lot to me. xox k

    thank you gloria - the dragonfly inspired me, so I like thinking i could bring it back to life through my painting, as you say :) many thanks for the good thoughts! xox

    Thank you Seth - yes, may time fly on by!!

    Dear Katelen, no shame - let's stop that now!!! :) pain is pain, and suffering is no fun, no matter the degree. May we each be free of it, lifted in peace. ahhh, love, k

  27. Hi Karin,
    Your dragonfly is beautiful, I always love the colors in your art.
    Disassociation can be a wonderful thing, I use it myself in trying times along with "this will be over".
    I wish that you have a good moment for everyone that's not so good. you are in my thoughts & prayers.
    Happy days,

  28. my thoughts and prayers are with you always dear Karin, and I think it would be hard to listen to the death struggle and not want to assist...xoxo

  29. Karin, wanting a caring buddy to attend you during the radiation treatment. Am concerned about 'coping' in an unfamiliar environment. Please don't hesitate asking for 'exactly' what you want and need. Even when you feel like shit and know you can't take it all in, ask and receive anyway.

    Personally, I wouldn't mind a bit if you vented and spewed #*#*# on this blog. Doesn't have to make sense or be a complete thought or story.


  30. Dearest Karin, I hope the next stage in your journey is as painless as possible - you've been through a lot and I wish no more pain for you. My sincerest thoughts are with you.

  31. Hey Karin,
    I've been thinking of you. I hope the next few weeks go well.... I will pray for you.
    Your dragonfly is beautiful!!

  32. Lovely Karin, your intervention was normal. Every time I watch the Planet Earth series, even though I know the lion's going to catch the baby elephant, I'm yelling "Run, baby, run!" We know this is the balance of nature, yet hate to see the innocent suffer. Our instinct is to help; this just means you're the giving, compassionate person we know and love!
    I will be thinking/praying/sending all helpful energy I'm able to during your treatments. I don't know what to tell you except to make art when you can; it takes you into another world where the pain is not so much 'in your face', if you know what I mean.

  33. To deepen meditation practice is a way to strengthen the love and healing within you and for everyone, everywhere. I also find its very grounding to detach from what is happening to the physical body and in the perceptions of the physical world. You remember you are not the body, not the mind, and you are invited to emotionally disengage from whatever appears to happening. Everything is a meaningful teacher.


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