September 2013 was a head spinning month. In a two week period I went from thinking I was cancer free to finding myself on an operating table telling a surgeon that I will run out of body parts before I will run out of spirit. Did I say this for his benefit or for my own? Who knows? He smiled after my comment and rubbed my shoulder with a “keep up that positive attitude” comment from behind his surgical mask. His eyes looked very kind and I felt confident that I was in good hands and that in approximately 3 or 4 hours after the surgery while I was still out cold, he would be meeting Rick and my Mom out in the waiting room telling them that the surgery was a success and I was okay.
I have taught myself to be in the moment at all times. Don’t worry about tomorrow or next week, how about right now? Good and bad moments, they both apply. Find something positive in every situation, that’s what will get me through. So the bad situation is that I am pretty sure I am going to be told I have cancer again once I wake up after surgery and the positive spin on the situation is that I am thinking of our dog that recently passed away. How can I be positive but that? I have been struggling with the decision we made to humanely euthanize her. I know it was our greatest act of love and compassion that we gave to her to spare her pain but yet I struggled with enormous guilt. I no longer struggle with this wasted emotion and it took 4 months of beating myself up over it and finding myself laying on an operating table to free myself of the emotional pain. I lay there on the table with a team of medical professionals, my health in their hands. The oxygen mask is lowering onto my face. I take very deep, controlled breaths, my eyes are closed, I am in the moment. The moment is not that I am about to be cut open and this is going to hurt like hell…. the moment is the mask on my face and the medicine running through my veins to make me sleep. My memory takes me to the exact time as I watched our dog fall into her final sleep, her eyes closed forever, she is at peace. I feel nothing now, I myself have gone to sleep and I feel no pain. I trust all that is around me. I take great comfort in knowing exactly how she felt at her final moment. I am free of guilt. I am free.
I am healing before the surgery even begins.
I, or really I should say… we… were settling quite comfortably into a normal life again. This cancer recurrence is harder for others to accept than myself. I think it’s hard for most people to grasp simply because I do not look like a typical sick person does. Even when I myself know I am at my worst shape, my vital signs do not reflect and present to the doctors and nurses what my body is experiencing. Take for instance the first of two blood transfusions this month. Sure I look good, but I can’t walk far or go upstairs without shortness of breath and breaking out in a sweat, and I’m talking only about 10 stairs. I felt like I was carrying an elephant on my back. I felt heavy and very sluggish, but blood pressure was ok, pulse ok, temperature ok. What is going on then?
I have to back track a bit to provide the whole story.