I wrote the following post in August, but I didn’t quite have the chops down for posting it here at that time. It is the first lesson I learned during my recent health adventure. There are a number of lessons to reflect upon and I’ll post them, too.
I awoke pissed today: angry at my body and the fact that with all my maintenance and care, it’s aging on me. Six years ago, after much angst, embarrassment, and obsessive research, I had a hysterectomy. In that procedure I also needed some repairs made because of hereditary factors and the bulldozing babies I delivered in labor (the first child hit the scales at 9′ 13″, the second a few years later at 10′ 13″). My brilliant doctor used some new mesh technology to give my insides naturalistic support and function. From my recovery, I had a new lease on life; I was so thrilled with the results, I wished I’d done it years earlier when quality of life symptoms began. I thought it would last my lifetime.
My doctor was conservative in the use of the mesh; he wanted the body to serve itself as much as possible before he interfered—“played God”—as it were. There was a chance I might incur hernias as time went by. My mother had the surgery at least two if not three times; she didn’t have the benefit of the methods and technology available now, and her problems continued to affect her quality of life.Now with this new and improved mesh technology, I should be good to go healthwise. I won’t end up being my mother’s daughter on this issue. So I am making plans for the surgery.
There are some positives to the event. It won’t be a disastrous amount of recovery time—one night at the minor surgery center, one week at home, prone as much as possible. I’ll play the Queen of Sheba with my love slave (husband) and hand maiden (daughter) at my side. There will possibly be two or three weeks of no lifting—a great bonus since we’ll be traveling to Los Angeles and moving our daughter into her dorm. I get to be the “Boss Man.” The biggest negative will be a “no touchee” rule for up to six weeks; my love slave will get a reprieve.
But I’m pissed because I can’t believe my body is doing this to me when I’m so very busy with my life. It is so full with writing projects: Making Love Songs, the regional cookbook, my writing blog, my writing routines. I have tremendous freedom, creativity, and activity in my life. I want my body keeping up with my mind and this train?—this horse?—this river?—this flight? I’m taking. I don’t want to schlep it along or be slowed up after all the years it has taken me to reach this point. I don’t want it to interrupt the flow.
So I’ve bitched all morning—to myself, my pilates friends and trainers, and my husband. They’ve all patiently and politely listened. As I walk to my car I receive a phone call from my beloved. He tells me our friend and a company manager is in the office today; maybe I wanted to stop in and visit? I do.
It is a surprise to hear that George is at the office. Exactly two weeks ago he learned his four month long headaches occurred because of a baseball sized tumor in his head. Last week surgeons removed it and determined it is Stage 4 brain cancer. He and his wife, both fighters, neither one quitters, are in for the long haul. They plan to beat the odds. An outpouring of friends, peers, and associates will be kicking, screaming, and praying with them along the way.
George looks good. He should be home, resting, taking care of personal business, spending some leisure time with his bride, Ann. He’s in his office—a wonderful old stone office with two feet thick Texas stone walls that have stood around handling business and troubles for over a century. I step into his space. There is comfort for him here. It is filled with eclectic western furniture, memorabilia from film and video projects, and quirky, lovable and funny items he holds onto. George stands in his jeans, boots, and snap shirt. A blue bandanna on his head under a ubiquitous cowboy hat belies the rupture in his routine. Always stylish, George carries off his appearance of normalcy with aplomb. We visit and I tell him not only has he been in my daily prayers, but I pass along concerns and blessings from mutual friends. He is so humble, grateful, and full of the grace that will help him battle for his life. I have other friends who have or are battling cancer. George will want all the grace he can get. It is a rough course ahead. I suddenly realize my pee problem is pretty minor in the big picture of things.
My whining is only the anger I feel as I realize that time and aging are beyond my control–more maintenance, another bit of underpinning to put in place so my bag of bones can keep pace with my mind.—hello, Life!
I need to be grateful—like George—for what is here for me: the opportunity to fix my physical failings, of knowing with luck, I’ll see many tomorrows and can pursue my dreams, ride and bump along on this current of events. Today this lesson came through George as a reminder to take a reality check on my perspective. It also reminds me of something a good friend and unofficial guru says when she thinks she’s having a bad day: “There is nothing bad about today if one, I’m not taking chemo, and two, I haven’t lost a child.” It’s a thought I shall add to my list of thank yous in prayer. It is wisdom I’ll whip out as a shield against the whine.