Patricia Conner is not my mother, my priestess, my coven sister, or my teacher. But she could have been. She could be yours. She could be to any of us, any of those things, and any one of the people in our lives who are. She began her Path in the Celtic Faery Faith back in 1985, and it has been a beautiful road.
She is a Crone and Sister in the Mysteries, and because of this, she is all those things and more, on a spiritual level to all of us who draw breath and praise the Lord and Lady. She is strong, funny, and independent. She is well read and she is an insightful woman who has much to offer. She has the experience of a life of wonder and magick.
She also has cancer.
And because she is an Elder, she also has to deal with the fact that the current reforms under Affordable Care do not care, nor make affordable, her treatments as soon as she reaches the age of 65. A fighter,
"I raised my two older daughters pretty much on my own after I divorced their father in the late 80s. I remarried in 92, but remained the primary wage earner during most of the marriage".
She has three accomplished young ladies that call her mom, and have stayed by her side throughout her battle with this disease. They share caregiver duties, travel with her for treatments, and perform the adorations of the dutiful. They are a testament to her character, as they are a reflection of it.
In 2008, they were there for her first brush with the disease when it was discovered at stage 3 through a colonoscopy. After remission, it reemerged. This is how she faced it then,
" My doctor essentially told me to settle my affairs. I'm stubborn and so are my kids. We called Cancer Treatment Centers of America. They flew us up to Chicago, got all my medical records, and did fresh exams, scans and biopsied the lung to be certain this was colon cancer and not a new one. I started treatment with them in mid-August 2011. We got the lung tumors to shrink, but cancer is sneaky. It moved to the right side of my pelvic bone and about three months ago, a new tumor cropped up in my lung again".
She will lose her disability at the 1st of December as she will turn 65. SS pays less than that. And because Medicare considers her transportation to Chicago for treatment "bribery" on the part of Cancer Treatment Center to get patients to use them, she loses this as well.
"I use them because my doctors here gave up on me and said I'd be dead now", she says.
You see, the Act is to reform health care so that we are not taken advantage of in practices. However, this is a sad interpretation of the law. The AARP gives a good checklist of points about this at http://www.aarp.org/health/health-care-reform/info-01-2011/the_new_health_care_law_what_it_does_now_for_people_65.html. The transportation is seen as a way to take advantage, but in this case it is a way to facilitate the ability to get to the facility of choice.
Enter the Health Care Thunderdome, huh? But all is not lost. Here is where the community can come into the fray, banners held high, and armor shining. There is a way to help called the Pat Conner's Kicking Cancers Butt Fund https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/0rz2/patconnerskickingcancersbuttfund?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=fb_share_stream.share&utm_campaign=BA_FBshare&fb_ref=1321436 at GiveForward. Here, we can help knock out the cancer and fill in the gaps.
Now, how did your humble writer learn of this woman in Texas? I found out about it through the Pagan Pathways Temple, on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/571408479576253/, a Michigan Temple, started in Metro Detroit. That is how the Michigan folk get down. We embrace Love One Another hard core. They even have allowed her to post the fundraiser on their group pages.
And as a Practitioner, she has this to say about her decision to get treatments
"I have taken some flack for not relying on Magick for a cure, but I live in the mundane world as well. I believe that we were given the ability by the Divine to use the mundane to find answers and cures for illness. They gave us computers and smart phones so we can communicate with our companions in Craft, like you and I"
And They also gave us people who read columns like this.
Here in Detroit, we are fortunate to have the Barbara Ann Karmonos Institute, which has numerous programs to aid our community. To find out more about them, go to http://www.karmanos.org/video/view.aspx?id=0&sid=1&videoid=71 to view their video about chemotherapy. While there, explore the trials available.
To find out more about the Celtic Faery Faith, go to http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/ffcc/.
Want to get involved on a local level with making a difference with cancer survivors? Check out the Hope Scarves project at http://hopescarves.org/about-us/.
Blessed Be and Live Well