Monday, April 18, 2011

Racing against Time

You will forgive me from this point forward if my spelling and grammar fail me but my mind and body tire quickly and leave me with no desire to commit to the important task of editing. I do pray my message will not suffer greatly and that you, my dear reader, will take into consideration how I have been reduced to typing with one finger while laid out practically immobile on what has become my deathbed. 

Since receiving the news that not much more can be done, I feel like I am in a race against time. So much more I want to say. So much more I want to grapple with. Time has always been an enemy, never slowing down enough to allow me to accomplish everything on my pregnant bucket list. What can I do? The faster I try to put down for posterity sake what is in my heart, the faster it seems the cancer spreads and slows me down. Rather than throw my hands up in utter frustration I choose to do what I can with the time allotted to me. 

Such a dreadful shame I never developed the discipline I so desperately needed to commit to writing. Being ever the Renassaince kind of a guy I filled my plate with way too many aspirations. I wanted to be a published author for one. A painter and artiste'. A Poet, an Actor, a musician, a Singer, a Preacher, etc...etc...etc... In the end I fear I accomplished none of these to perfection and leave behind a blueprint never materialized. Not even a firm foundation or legacy for others to be able to build upon. Or maybe, I'm being too hard on myself as always. Only God will know and very soon I'll  have the opportunity to hear it for myself first-hand. 

For whatever the reason, I am not afraid of what is soon to come - sweet death. I am in such peace that it is almost scary. I hope and pray I am not being overly confident in myself but instead putting my hope in Christ alone. When the moment comes and I take my last breath, I am assured I will no longer see things with my earthly eyes but with my spiritual eyes as I see angels entering my room in all their other-worldly brilliance and each one fill the room with such glorious  and infinite light. Finally one will reach out to me, inviting me to take his or her hand as I step out of this mortal body and finally cross over the veil. Gladly I will reach out for that welcoming ethereal hand and in an instant find myself transformed and finally forever free of this pain I have carried within my bones for the last four years. 

The only thought that does try and creep in every so often is the "what if"...what if having been so foolish and fearful like the parable Jesus spoke of, I took my talents and buried them. Oh the horror! This would be truly a travesty and a tragedy to have nothing to show my Lord when I finally come before Him. Please, please, please God, I hope I had enough common sense to put those talents to work and will have something to show for it. This is why I need to keep reminding myself that in God's kingdom things are completely the opposite of how the world measures success and achievement. I may have never perfected the multitude of talents I was blessed with, but I pray I did put them to good use for the honor and pleasure of my king and those around me. I know some of you must be reading this and muttering under your breath how absurd I am being but one can never be so sure. With all this said, I choose to fall at the feet of Jesus and rest in His lovingkindness and mercy. Grace. Grace. Grace and more grace in these last days and hours I have left. 

One thing is for sure and with this I end this post, I believe with all my heart that the One called Jesus the Christ awaits me with open arms. If I did not have this blessed hope I would not have been able to endure this brutal onslaught upon my body. I know he weeps for me much more than I or anyone else has wept or will ever weep. He is moved by my slow suffering and although He died for my sins and carried my sins on the cross, I am no fool in realizing that what I am currently experiencing in my mortal flesh has been plain and simple due to my poor choices. Although my sins are forgiven, those sins I speak of that I now ashamed to even mention have dreadful consequences which I am now paying dearly for. He never intended for me to suffer so but I alone took this temple of His Holy Spirit and gave it over to the temporary sexual pleasures of the flesh. I am in this bed and in this predicament due to my own rebellion and with each wave of agonizing pain I am serving as a visual and physical display of what the consequences are for those who take God's holy things and trample it underfoot. Thankfully, this suffering will end soon and God will set me free. How I wish others could open their eyes and see the snares being set before them by the enemy of their soul and by the power and grace of their Savior escape the horrible and dreadful consequences that await those who continue to flaunt their sin and folly.

Well I've said enough but not as clearly as I would have liked. I pray the spirit of God will illuminate your minds and help you understand  what it is He desires for you to comprehend.

Crooked Notes by Idilio Rivera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Solitary Confinement or Quarantine???

By writing this, I may be opening up a can of worms I may not be able to close or dispel once it is written but writing helps me process emotions and reign in runaway emotions and feelings. Right now I am on the verge of despair and anger. Lean too much one way or the other and you will find me an emotional wreck either direction. At moments these last 48 hours I have found myself a man condemned to Solitary Confinement and at times put into quarantine for the sake of myself and others. Both states of being have left me feeling the loneliest I think I have ever felt yet in my lifetime. Add to all this how I can hardly move from my bed due to the horrendous physical pain I am in right now, I confess to you I am tempted to take an overdose of pills and call it a day. The only reason I have not given into those tendencies is thankfully due to my belief that those who commit suicide may not be guaranteed eternal rest. I say may because in my world there are no absolutes and I try to always leave plenty of gray areas open because I have found it to be more suitable and fertile ground for grace to abide and ultimately conquer.

I don't want to go into details because I'm afraid of further rejection. Let it suffice to say, I am having a hard time accepting and adjusting to being left alone. if it were not for the Home Attendant assigned to me I might literally be alone twenty fours of the day. A drastic change in my living situation. Once five o' clock arrives and Martha says good night I am condemned for the remainder of the night to fend for myself. Not even a text to check in and find out how I'm doing. Since Dinner is now provided by Martha before she leaves for the day, I have not heard or seen a soul knock on my door to inquire if I ate or need anything. All communication has ceased. Just like that I have been forgotten and relegated to my little corner of the world where I lay on my hospital bed and count the hours until daybreak.

I am trying my hardest to be mature about all this and take it all in stride. Forgotten. Left alone to think what it would look like if one morning I was finally looked into simply because I ceased breathing and my spirit was finally set free from this torture chamber it now must abide in.

This is all I am going to say and pray to God for his Holy protection from any jezebel spirits that may rise up against me. For I know this battle is not between flesh and blood but against spiritual strongholds that come and possess bodies. I know all too well about this since I am currently fighting against spirits of rage and offense that are trying to infiltrate my mind and soul. I will not let them in but expose them into the light where they will no longer have a place to hide and fester. I will also remind myself that I am not responsible for the action of others but only my own. I wish to Heaven I had the money to pay my debts but I will lose no sleep or allow myself to feel guilty for an action I did not purposely put into effect. I have more pressing matters to tend to. This physical pain is trying to undo me and I must remain strong in the face of this onslaught. I must confess though that the pain is so brutal I do hope it ends one way or another. Be it through healing or physical death, I welcome them both just the same.

Father, have mercy upon me.

Jesus, breathe on me afresh.

Spirit grant me your power to overcome.


Crooked Notes by Idilio Rivera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wanda the Home Wrecker

I can't help but feel nothing but absolute hatred and rage towards the woman who is causing my family so much hurt. What infuriates me all the more is that she is a relative- a supposed member of my family. Granted, she is family by marriage and not by blood but all the same I am completely unnerved and indignant at the fact that she is considered family. Until recently, my sister Cindy called her affectionately "Titi" (Spanish slang word used for the more formal "Aunt" or "Tia"). Needless to say, the affection has given way now to contempt, anathema, and vile words such as slut, whore, bitch, hooker, etc. etc. 

If I could get my hands around her neck I swear to you I would strangle her until the life in her was extinguished and her spirit yanked into the pit of eternal Hell; the habitation where all unfaithful adulterers and fornicators will burn for all of eternity alongside other evil-doers. I hope all the anal sex she is currently enjoying with my father is well worth it. 

If I could just take my mother in my arms and hold her right now! Embrace her and hold her close to myself as I whisper in her ear how much I love her and feel her pain right now. I have felt her pain of betrayal for as long as I can remember. Wanda is by far not the first prostitute my father has laid with and tragically she will not be the last. My philanderer of a father has been unfaithful to my mother since Day one of this monstrous and grotesque marriage. He has also been abusive: verbally, mentally, and physically. As long as I live I will never be able to forget the tragic story my own mother shared with me regarding her honeymoon night. As my mother tells it, she was outside waiting to get into the car that would take my parents to their honeymoon suite. My Uncle Manny who is now deceased was speaking to my dad when my mother made a comment to my father which prompted my Uncle to respond: " And you are going to let her speak to you like that?" My mother says that within seconds all she remembers was the back hand of my father coming down on her cheek with enough force that she remembers losing her balance and almost falling to the ground, soiling her white wedding dress. From that point on the one-sided loveless marriage would be marked by welts and bruises and sometimes blood. The beatings came often, too often, too violent to be ignored or forgotten. Why my mother has continued to put up with his "womanizing" ways all these years is beyond my comprehension. I'm sure I could come up with a myriad of reasons but it won't matter or change anything. 

Right now I just want to hate and lash out with all the intensity I can muster and aim it at this promiscuous ugly perverted bitch. I want to hate her for what she has done. I want to physically assault her and rip her to shreds like a pack of ravenous wolves. Yes, rip apart until nothing of this pain and death inside me is left. If only I could erase the pain it is causing my mother right now. The pain she is carrying around in silence is betrayed by her labored breathing (whenever my mother suffers emotional trauma chronic asthma ensues and strikes her down). There is more to this but right now I do not want to get into it right now.  

As  I write I can sense the presence and affirmation of many nodding their heads in sorrowful understanding. My Father is not the only Casanova out there. Many homes have been wrecked by woman such as Wanda. Nothing new here. How I wish I could easily forgive and move on. I know all about the power of forgiveness. I am aware of the benefits garnered by those who leave things in the Almighty's capable and expert hands. The Master of the Universe is able to heal and transform even the most darkest and hardest of hearts but right now I choose to sit with these turbulent emotions and not fear what may come of it. God will see me through this as He always has. My anchor in the storm of my emotions. May He do the same for those I love and cherish.

Crooked Notes by Idilio Rivera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Involuntary Spasms and Unsolicited Commentaries...

I met with my Oncologist yesterday and before I was able to make my request to take a few weeks off Dr. Cercek decided that due to my chronic diarrhea I would not get my usual lethal dose that day. I was elated. Instead of chemo I spent the next two hours hooked up to an IV Pole receiving some desperately needed hydration. While I did not get to go home early at least I was spared the liquid fire which has been pumping through my body and destroying everything in sight. 

My immune system is dangerously low. This makes me susceptible to a myriad of opportunistic infections. The chronic diarrhea is a result and I have come down with a super infection. Dr. Cercek does not want me to travel at this time.  My good friend Andre Ashby already booked me a flight to spend a week with him in Sunny South California. So guess what? I'm going away no matter what the Doc says. Honestly folks, I really don't think my Doctor really knows whats best for me right now. She is doing her best and sadly it is not good enough. We are all learning about this dreadful monster as we go along. That being said, I'm not going to hang on every word Dr. Cercek says. Chemo Hell will be right here where I left it, waiting for me to pick up where I left off. 

Nurse Halina came to see me today and she shed some light on the reason why my bladder spasms have increased. According to Halina, any bladder infection such as the one I am currently experiencing will exacerbate and compound these dreaded spasms. I have heard the gamut of reasons as to why this is..."you need to lay flat when you sleep"... "lay on your back"..."drink more and stay hydrated"..."say the alphabet backwards"..."stop eating candy"...etc.etc.etc.  I just nod in agreement and pray for patience. 

As I head out to the West Coast, I am in the process of getting a roommate to help pay the rent. I have been turned down and denied twice any rental assistance so a roommate seems to be the best solution. As I figure it, I am mostly confined to my bed in my small room so anyone who would come and live here will have ample space and access to walk about and enjoy whatever this apartment has to offer. The sooner someone moves in the better it will be for all. Rent has not been paid since August of last year and the time has come to address this matter before whatever grace extended to me at the present moment runs out and I find myself not only jobless but dreadfully homeless.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Looking Forward to Time-Off

 I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder sometime in the mid-nineties. If you have read my story or know anything about my past you will agree with me I walked away from that inferno called my adolescence and childhood pretty much unscathed. It could have been far worse and I will never know here on Earth what Providence had miraculously spared me from. I could have entered adulthood with greater mental instability and psychosis. 

Having sought refuge from the hell which reigned at home, I sought refuge in the company of brothers and sisters of my newfound faith in Christ "My Fire and Brimstone" Savior. Looking back in retrospect, I see how that little one story dark paneled church with the long hallway running alongside the right side of the building, had become a refuge to me. A home away from home. I'd be there every Tuesday night for prayer as well as every Thursday, Friday, and all day Sunday actively participating in the nightly services where a group of devout believers would meet and gather in segregated pews. Right side was strictly for the men and the left side of the sanctuary reserved solely for the women of the church. The sexes were prohibited from mixing and intermingling during service times. 

The women,who far outnumbered the men in church, seemed to get the raw end of the deal when it came to rules of propriety and devotion. While the men came and went attired in whatever pleased them with the only exception being "no jewelry allowed" the women were not allowed to wear make-up or slacks, jewelry was not permitted and the hair-dos were long and eternally tied into neat buns which came undone in dramatic fashion as the spirit came upon them and each shook like a 7.0 quake of ecstatic and religious abandon. A sight to behold. All in the name of holiness. Yet while we took extra care in how we dressed  and needed to abstain from, the inner man remained stunted and immature. It was far easier to govern appearance and attire than to do the deeper work which always demands and requires brutal and honest self introspection. 

For many years I felt guilty and ashamed of myself that I was unable to simply trust God and cling to supernatural faith. I would hear stories of how people had been miraculously healed and set free from all types of infirmities and bondages and I would inwardly seethe with anger at myself for not being  to walk in that kind of faith. This created a great deal of inner turmoil, not to mention a deep sense of failure at never being able to go at it without the aid of man-made medicine and practices. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I would stop taking the prescribed medicines without the consent of my doctor because I wanted to have "faith" in God and not man. How foolish. Each time I'd get off the anti-depressants it would take me longer each time to get back on track to recovery and stability. 

I hope I have learned my lesson as I go about taking a break from chemotherapy. I would hate to have come this far in my recovery and healing only to set myself way off course. I earnestly pray the next few weeks will be exactly what my body was in need of. The neuropathology in my hands and feet is literally consuming me. That alone is reason for a break from treatment. 

I'm still believing God for my healing. Honestly, I did not expect it would take this long in coming but my day will surely come. I know it. I believe it. I decree and declare it. I will not die consumed by this Cancer. The agonizing pain that holds me prisoner today will soon have to release me. God loves me way too much to allow me to suffer unnecessarily. Everything under the sun has a purpose and if we will allow ourselves to do the deeper work required of us, we will one day experience freedom and soar like the eagles high above it all. Looking forward to that moment with great joy and celebration and I know you will be right there with me shouting the victory promised to us by the shed blood on calvary.  

Crooked Notes by Idilio Rivera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

To take a break or Not is the Question

My recent post on Facebook where I shared about "considering taking matters into my own hands" has generated a great deal of well-intentioned advice and supportive commentary. Believe me when I tell you I am fully aware of the seriousness and severity of such a decision. The "what it's" are all making themselves known and I am trying to diligently weigh them in the light of the consequences I will face. Everything under the sun has consequences. This forty year old man here is fully aware of that. And how I wish now I had made right choices along the way so as not to have to suffer the devastating consequences of the present. More so, how I wish I could spare people around me the consequences they are undoubtedly building up for themselves by their poor choices. Just as I refused to listen way back then I know I will not be heard today no matter how hard I try.

In getting back to the decision weighing heavily on me, I have spent the last few days pondering what I should do regarding the matter of stopping my chemo. sessions. I guess it all weighs heavily on what my Oncologist will tell me this coming Wednesday when I go for what could be my last chemo. session. I plan on letting her know that I feel my body needs a break. Not indefinitely mind you but long enough for my body to have a chance to heal up for a bit. From the responses I have been getting lately I guess I must have made it sound as if I was saying I would never go back to it. That wasn't what I meant. I just need a break...some time off...a siesta in the middle of my toxic induced days and nights.

It may be too late for my poor nerve endings. Hoping and praying the neuropathy in my feet and hands is not permanent damage. Doctors can't say definitively how long this pain and discomfort will last. Everyone is different and the side effects not only vary but the duration and intensity that each survivor has to endure is completely unpredictable. I'm trying to limit the amount of narcotic painkillers that I become dependent on but I'm afraid I am going to have to speak with my Pain Management Specialist (PMS) Dr. Glare and request to maybe go the next level up in pain management. There are moments and days I wish to my sweet savior I did not have to walk or move my feet. The pain has become so bad I have completely stopped wearing any kind of closed footwear and opted for the feet friendlier open-heeled Crocs. Oh, and did you know there exist"diabetic" socks that have enormous stretchability and softness which gently cover my aching feet? There is a whole world I knew nothing about that suddenly has opened up to me. All thanks to this stabbing persistent pain which has become my uninvited guest.

I say none of this to garner sympathy or as they say in my culture "Ay, Bendito" but to make it plain to you and anyone who cares to know...I need a break! A few weeks of unmolested recovery and uninterrupted rest. Better yet, give me the month of April to close my eyes and rest. Forty days in the desert where I may take off my shoes and allow my feet to walk on holy ground.

Just pray for me and watch from a distance. Let my feet lie on a pillow and slowly mend. That is all. Come May I'll be right back in the torture chamber modern civilization calls the Treatment Suite offering my veins and major arteries to receiving the lethal dose of consequences brought upon by the once reckless and promiscuous actions of a misguided youth who never once stopped to consider how bad things could or would get.
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Facebook Status Update: 3/19/11

Every day I awake with the blessed hope that "today will be the day of my eagerly anticipated physical healing", but as the sun begins to set I once again have to comfort myself with the thought that tomorrow will be the day because I know I have not been forgotten or forsaken. I just need to pray a little harder I guess and not give up hope! Nothing good or worthwhile comes easily. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop