Put March 23 On Your Calendars

A blank page can be as intimidating as waiting for an inevitable change to take place. I sit here, staring at empty space, a thousand thoughts in my head, a million feelings racing around my body and wonder, "How do I decide which ones to apply to the canvas? What makes one more valuable than the other?"

Ultimately, the choice rests with me. What I decide to focus on. What I give importance to by simple virtue of my attention. It seems like such an innocuous thing, what I spend my time thinking about, which feelings I choose to name and sit with...but the longer I watch how reality coalesces, the more clear it becomes that my one Ring of Power is all about the Eye. Inner and Outer. What do I choose to look at. Because no matter what shows up...Trump or global warming or brain tumors or babies, I get to decide what to hone in on.

As many of you know, life in the Eld-Mathis family has been beset with rainbows and thunderclouds since the beginning of this year. You've all heard the saying, "When it rains, it pours." and lately it feels like the floodgates of life have opened all the spillways and let fly.

Many of you are reading this blog as a way to stay abreast of the developments in Tobias' journey and yet, that is only one piece of the patchwork making up our lives right now. There are so many threads weaving together it is helpful to remember that we are all kaleidoscopes, filled with shapes and colors that only make sense when viewed as a whole.

We have been working on getting a podcast together which Tobias and I will co-host that speaks specifically about this, but it takes time to convince a private person like Tobias to open up and speak to a larger audience about his experiences-- just like it takes time to find the time amidst doctor visits, caring for Espen, growing a new baby, keeping our lives running as normally as possible, and trying to find ways to nurture ourselves through this upheaval.

Tobias has decided to proceed with neurosurgery on Friday, March 23 with the intention of removing the threeless. He has a very good neurosurgeon at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) named Dr. Han who will be performing the operation and after meeting with another team of surgeons at a different hospital as a matter of due diligence, he is happy with his decision to move forward at OHSU.

They will have him meet with a team of specialists and imaging experts over this week and next with the aim to pinpoint exactly where the nickle is so they can get in and out as cleanly as possible.

Of course within this very direct synopsis are a myriad of hues and textures to give it depth. A spectrum, if you will, of possible outcomes and realities.

Our little friend lies very close to his left language center, and being right handed, it is the left center that likely holds the bulk of his ability to speak. It also lies beneath his facial muscular control center which, may mean he speaks like a drunk person for a time after the operation.

With what we now know of neuroplasticity, it is impossible to tell exactly where specific bodily functions take place in the brain without direct testing. The brain is just so beautifully adaptable, those old textbook diagrams of the speech center, the memory center etc, have been found to be woefully rigid and inaccurate. So this means, in order for them to avoid Tobias' language center, they will need to wake him up during the operation and perform specific language tests so they can brain map him on the spot and leave his ability to speak intact when they go to remove the Cells With A Message (CWAM).

Should they be unable to access the CWAM without hitting the language centers, they may opt to leave it in. So the spectrum in broad and wide and full of potentials.

Which is why days are filled with happiness, sadness, excitement, joy, grief, trepidation and hope.

I was about 19 when I realized that childhood cancer was one of the most humanizing experiences I could have chosen. If I truly came to this planet to understand suffering and help bring healing and relief, going through intense suffering as a vulnerable and dependent child was a surefire way to get a crash course in compassion. It was also an undeniable all access pass to realizing the strength it takes to suffer and keep your heart open.

Which is a long way to a short sentence. Tobias is one of the strongest and bravest men, nay humans, I have met on this planet.

I will not go into the details here of the challenges and wounds he faced and endured growing up, but suffice it to say, I would have figured he had learned all the lessons he needed about suffering and recovery from his youth. And yet, he obviously has bigger plans for himself in this life than what he has already taken on.

When we were on the Camino together, just beginning to learn about each others' back stories and current situations, he said something I will never forget. "Let me fight for you," he said, with every cell in his body meaning it. "I want to fight for you."  And in that moment I knew that he was someone who could and would take on life and its challenges with every ounce of courage and bravery and intelligence and heart he possessed.

"I want him on my team." I thought. And I still very much do.

I may not be able to walk his path for him or change his karma, but I sure as hell am mustering every bit of light and love and healing and hope available to remind him of how much power he has at his disposal. And by power I mean love.

So if you love me or you love him or if you barely know us and are just reading this because someone suggested you should, I'm asking you to reach inside yourself and pull out your Ring Of Power. Hone that Inner Eye of Light and Love and reach it out to him. We are coming into the home stretch of this portion of the journey and more than ever, keep the comments, phone calls, facebook posts, texts, snail mail, flowers, meals, notes, prayers, WHATEVER, flowing our way.

My beloved meditation teacher asked me over the weekend if I believed that prayer had helped me heal when I had cancer as an 8 year old.

Absolutely. Focused intention works. That's not just faith, it's fact. They do studies on that now. I felt it then, I know it now. No one can walk our individual paths for us, but love makes the path lighter. It can ease suffering. It increases peace.

And that's the spectrum over here tonite. May you all be at peace. May you all be deeply happy.


  1. Beautiful post about a difficult topic(s). My thoughts are with you and Toby and your family. Sending positive thoughts your way


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