Starting off….

Winding forest trail.
On the path now…

So…. Been struggling with digestive issues and abdominal discomfort for the better part of a year. Seemed to start with food poisoning, then seemed to get stuck in the gallbladder, which led to an ultrasound, which came back normal.

Then routine screening showed abnormal Pap results, which led to cervical and endometrial biopsies, which also involved an ultrasound. All came back normal.

Then back to the continual abdominal discomfort which really flared and never un-flared after presumably too much of the wrong kind of food at Christmas. Thinking IBS or Celiac or Crohn’s, maybe.

Doc and my significant other (SigOth) felt a lump on my lower left abdomen. Didn’t really fit the normal list of things typical of all sorts of abdominal issues; somewhat, but not fully. Maybe diverticulitis, probably not colon cancer, but what? So doc ordered an abdominal and pelvic CT scan.

Low and behold, it showed a 6 cm cyst on my left ovary. The previous ultrasound two months before had showed some minor cysts and fibroids, nothing to worry about. The lump was simply the cyst pushing up on the sigmoid colon which is what they felt. What a relief! Nothing serious, and also something fixable!

So head back to the GYN expectantly, wondering how soon can we deal with this. I would love to feel better! However, instead, she immediately refers me to the GYN-oncologist, and suddenly the word “oncology” is part of my daily vocabulary (it’s been all of four days.) Blood is drawn for testing. CA-125 levels are “quite elevated.” See the GYN-oncologist two days later, and she thinks it’s ovarian cancer, stage three.

Just like that.



I understand that ovarian cancer often is really hard to detect when it is less far along. And that the symptoms can be so vague such that it really could be any number of abdominal issues. So I can hardly blame anyone, including myself, for not figuring it out sooner. But there is part of me that wants to. It is a small part.

Which leads me to the title of this blog. “C-ful?” you might ask. “What is C-ful?”

Well, let me tell you. I am a therapist, trained in IFS Therapy, where we interact with “parts” of a person to help the whole person be more “C-ful,” or “Self-Led,” which is the official term. There are 8 “C” words that seem to be typical of someone operating from their core Self: Calm, Clear, Compassionate, Confident, Connected, Courageous, Creative, Curious. Jesus, (and Eckart Tolle,) would call it the state of the Peace that Passes All Understanding.

So I feel like I am now in a test of what I have learned, and what I teach: how to be C-ful when “parts” are up. In this case I have parts up that are scared, parts that want to fight unto victory, some that want to not “fight” as that is probably the wrong viewpoint to take, parts that want to take care of those around me for whom this is very hard news, parts that are overwhelmed with decisions to be made and things to be learned, parts that are kind of ready to be done with Earth, parts that are not at all ready to be done with Earth and still have a bucket list (more time with SigOth, another trip to Europe, maybe that doctoral degree I’ve been thinking about,) etc., etc., etc.

I also wonder if I could consider the cancer a “part” and if it would respond like other parts do to this therapy. IFS is amazing, but would it be amazing in that way? Would IFS accomplish physical healing?

I have had my moments of C-ful-ness, of Peace. I am so grateful for the path I’ve been on which has led me to IFS; to a belief in reincarnation and larger spiritual realities via the works of Dr. Brian Weiss, Dr. Michael Newton, Dr. Linda Backman, Dolores Cannon; to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and the bonding and common language that those teachings give to me and my SigOth.

Going down this path without those tools would be much more excruciating, terrifying, hellish.

At this point I do have tools to stay C-ful. I do have an understanding that the death of the physical vehicle is not the death of Me. I know it is not annihilation, but rather liberation. I have experienced it through past-life and between-life regressions and have helped other people experience that as well. I’m not scared of dying.

But I am scared of the pain often associated with this kind of death. I’m scared of the expense of these types of treatments in America, even with “good” insurance. I’m scared of leaving behind people and animals that depend on me. And I’m scared that if I focus too much on all of that it will become self-fulfilling.

Stay in the Now. Stay Self-Led. Stay in Presence. Stay in the Peace. Now. Every Now.

Second opinion will be sought next week. Many alternative, supplementary, complementary treatment options will also be sought. And as of this Now, right Now, I have some minor discomfort but I am fine. Right Now.

A part really wants to know what will happen next, how do I plan, what do I do about my day job counseling and my private practice clients, can I really be supportive to others in the midst of this, is that really fair to them, etc., etc., etc.

But I ask that part to “give me a little bit of space” and breathe and return to the Cs. Now. and Now. and Now.


As Julia Cameron says in Artist’s Way, I now feel I have my “marching orders.”  Part of my creativity in this journey will be to write.  And so I write.

And remain in the Now. C-ful. In Peace.

10 thoughts on “Starting off….

  1. Eleanor Greenwall March 18, 2018 — 6:42 pm

    Your writing and reflection is a gift. It is great you are able to share with us. Many thoughts and prayers for you. Please continue to write. Eleanor

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Eleanor. Any words of advice you or the rest of the Greenwall healing clan have to offer would be gratefully received.


  2. I am moved by what you’ve written in so many ways, Andrea. Being with this kind of uncertainty is a rigorous path, which I suspect also means the grace available along the way is in equal measure. I will be holding witness and sending all the Cs I can muster. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mariel. I owe you and Cece a debt of gratitude.


  3. Brought me to tears. I so appreciate your willingness to walk into your experience with open eyes and share your path on this journey. Thank you Andrea. I’m sending love and healing thoughts to you. I do know someone who cured herself 3 times through qigong and working with a master. Wish I was there to see you. I hope when I return from FL to be able to visit.


    1. Thank you Michele. Would love to talk further.


  4. I love you Andrea. Best wishes for you and your family. Your Mom said you were her Purple Flower. You’re a part of my tribe in ways that I cannot explain. Your voice matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for that Sarah. I knew you were “one of my people” the first time I met you in college. Hugs to you and yours!


  5. Michael Newton’s book DESTINY OF SOULS is what got me through the death of my husband, and the struggle to find something that actually makes sence in terms of why we are here, and is there more?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, very interesting. Yes, I find knowing all of that very comforting.


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