I learned my MRI results this week. My brain is clear of any lesions (tumors). Except for the resection (the cavity from my brain surgery), my MRI looks like a typical brain. In doctor-speak, this is a complete response. In August, my MRI was a partial complete response. I’ve been upgraded. There was little else to talk about for my appointment. We set the next scan for 4 months out.
I took my last steroid pill this morning. Tomorrow will be my first day in 8 weeks with no steroids. I’m already feeling very good. I think by the end of the weekend I’ll be feeling even better.
I have a PET scan at the end of the month and I find out the results in the first week of December. I’m going to hold off on the weekly updates until then. Things have calmed down considerably. It feels forced to give weekly updates during long periods of inactivity. No news is good news.
I’ll still keep the main blog going and write weekly. Initially, I set the goal writing once a week for 1 year. I’m still aiming for that.
All of this good feeling has me basking in the awe of feeling put back together again. I feel like I was broken, and broken for a long time. It’s only through the love and grace of my family, friends, and professionals (medical and otherwise) that I became functional first, and now exceptional. I am not worse for the wear- my past has become wisdom, and the scars I bear show the power of love and community. I find the Japanese art of kintsugi tells a small part of the journey I’ve gone through in becoming a New Man.
Kintsugi consists of taking broken pieces of a ceramic and pasting them back together. Gold or silver paint is used to highlight the cracks, not hide them. I don’t want my cracks to go away. I want them to be highlighted and I want to be a part of that community that helps put someone else back together again.
There is a powerful sequences of scenes involving kintsugi from a show called The Man in the High Castle. There is a lot of background to what’s going on during these scenes but I’ll only stick to what’s critical for understanding the youtube link I’m providing.
An older Japanese man, Tagomi, finds himself in an American west coast city, his son grown and married, and he has a newborn grandchild. But Tagomi’s actions have distanced his family. While the family still all lives under one roof and is functional, the father and son wage their own cold war of sorts. Tagomi, the father, is disappointed in his son’s embracing of American culture and lack of interest in his Japanese roots. In turn, the son has refused to let him hold his grandchild. Further, Tagomi’s wife wants to divorce him but he refuses to sign the divorce papers. The son’s wife, an American named Juliana, quietly holds things together with a genuine warmth and kindness.
Tagomi walks into a room to find his son and his friends setting up for a protest rally in the house. Tagomi’s large and formal presence is interpretered by his son as cold, rigid, and disapproving. Tagomi is trying to make sense of the new world and foreign culture that he’s a part of, but he shows no emotion.
Rummaging through his own keepsakes, Tagomi finds a broken ceramic baby’s cup. Tagomi’s memory is fragmented (part of the overall character arc of the show), but he pieces together that it’s his grandson’s baby cup and that he broke it in a fit of rage during an argument with his son over marrying an American woman. Juliana, the American woman, clasps his hand, kisses him on the check, and walks away.
Later Tagomi tries to tell his son that he thinks his wife is very special, but the son brushes it off.
Tagomi sits down to begin the practice of kintsugi. I urge you to watch the video I’ve attached. Look at the tools and the layout. How methodical and precise! He glues the ceramic baby cup for his grandson back together and then finishes the cracks with gold paint.
When finished, he crosses the house silently and approaches the baby. The family, alarmed, question him and his son rises to stop him. Tagomi bows in his head in complete humility, and offers his son the repaired cup. Tagomi keeps his head bowed while his son, surprised, examines it. The imperiousness and bitterness are gone! And so is his son’s resistance.
His son then picks up the baby and lets Tagomi hold his grandchild for the first time.
The video below captures these scenes with some added music.
And this is how I feel. Put back together again. The doctors, family, and community glued my pieces back together. But my Juliana is the Spirit, which inspires the healing and paints my wounds golden.
(Hat tip to Pastor Jackie, who used kintsugi in one her sermons recently. Thank you.)