Sunday, March 30, 2014

Writing & Waiting

When I started my new blog, I felt that writing would help. That as words poured from my fingertips I would feel less aimless in the waiting. It's the second night I've pulled an all nighter. Ironically, I'm tired, but nights have kept me from sleep. Nights are harder. The haunting questions stir as I read the pages of Cheryl Strayed's Wild, or type into the writing I promised myself I would do during this time to take my mind of the waiting. Today I decided though, if the pathology results were troubling surely they would have called me sooner to get started on some sort of treatment (never mind the fact that my surgeon, who they would call first, is still on spring break in Mexico with her family). But I'm justifying the two week wait with the thought that it must not be any big deal.

At night our sweet cat, Baby, has taken it upon herself to be my nighttime rock. Not much of a cuddler normally, although she slept on my bed for short bits when I lived at my parent's before, now she moves from the arm, to the head to the foot rest of my recliner, choosing to sleep near me for hours, purring well into the night.

I find comfort in this.

I grow stronger by the day and food actually tastes good and for the most part, stays down, for the first time in over a month. I savor the simple meals I eat as they taste like the most delicious thing I have had in weeks. This morning I actually got up the nerve to look at the full length of my healing, stapled wound, a line that splits my center from breast bone, jagging slightly around my belly button, and continuing down another 15 staples. I can't help but think of the three people who told me at the hospital that I should get a cool tattoo over the scar, but I'm not sure I'll want to cover it. Somehow it seems a reminder that I am alive and that March 17, St. Patrick's Day, was the day I got a second chance.

Today I sat in the recliner in the living room under my green blanket watching big feathery white flakes of snow swirl to earth from the sky, watching the morning dove in the tree who kept her eye on me for awhile, and I couldn't help but find solace in the thought that right now I am the luckiest girl in the world. Another bouquet of flowers arrived and one of mom's dear friends brought beef bourguignon, and I instantly thought of Julia Child... except this recipe was Ina Garten's and it melted on your tongue.

We ate dinner in near silence tonight, savoring the moment, savoring the last Sunday of Spring Break and watching it snow. The words of my blog title my mantra, my prayer, my meditation: love, write, be.

Be here in this moment, this space, this still waiting place and let the mystery unfold around you; let the unknown run it's course and soon, soon this will be a memory as we move forward into something new. Something equally as sacred and tender. That is what life is after all: sacred, tender, raw and holy.

Friday, March 28, 2014

This Sacred Time

In the hospital I wore one of those stylish gowns over the binder that holds my staples and abdomen together. I've upgraded to soft cotton pajamas since coming home. Someone commented to me one day as the nurse drew yet another vial of blood from my pic line and my mom helped me from the bed to my walker and showered me on the stool in the hospital shower, nothing is sacred.

But it seems to me that everything is sacred.

I cannot care for my body on my own yet. Eleven days post surgery I require help to get up from the recliner I rest in, to pick up anything off the floor, to shower on my seat in the shower, to prepare nourishing meals because I can't stand for more than a few minutes at a time with the help of my walker, to pull clothes onto my body...

Everything is sacred.

The simple truth is that caring for people, our bodies, our hearts, our emotions is sacred work. It requires a tribe that is willing to go to the dark places, the messy places and the raw places together. Side by side. I am thankful for such a tribe.

My mom helps me shower. My sister counted the staples running down the center of my body from pubic bone to sternum - 31 in total - because I couldn't look at them yet. My entire family has helped with the daily changing of the dressing. My days are a sacred mix of sleep, chatting with family and friends, reading and vicariously traveling through Instragram pictures of the desert and Joshua Tree, places that look warm and where I can dream about long walks without my walker.

But for now, in this sacred space, I am honored to be alive, to have a tribe that encourages and uplifts and a chance to rest.

Next Friday I get the staples out, 31 staples for my 31st birthday on Saturday. I find humor in that.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Emergency Life-Saving Surgery...

This time last week I was just going into the operating room for my first surgery ever. After over a month of severe stomach pain, multiple urgent care visits that couldn't explain it and not being able to eat much or move, I finally landed in urgent care again for the 3rd time on March 17th. This time the doctor found a mass in my abdomen and said he wanted to send me to the hospital to have a surgeon check it out.

I went the two blocks across the street by ambulance and then knew this was something more than the food allergies, or IBS I thought it might be. Sure enough, the mass had ruptured and I was bleeding internally. Within minutes they prepped me for surgery and I spent the next week recovering in the hospital, hopped up on pain meds and slowly starting to move again.

As I writer, I process through words, stories and creative images. This is that space. My surgeon told me we would be building a team of health support and my job for the next six weeks is simply to breathe, eat, and recover. As I've gained a clearer picture of the events of last Monday - surgery to remove a grapefruit sized mass bleeding in my abdomen, my appendix (just in case) and getting a blood transfusion, I was given a brilliant ah-ha moment:

One of the specialist doctors came to meet me last Thursday morning and it finally hit when he said, "This surgery saved your life."

The realization that I just got another chance, a wake-up call of sorts and a forced six week break to recover while we wait on answers and create a plan to move forward, I want to be highly present to life, to it's sacredness and to the incredible gift I have been given to assess what needs to change.

The next six weeks of time off work to recover feels long, drawn out, but at the same time, a wild gift. I'm alive and I have the opportunity to be present in the face of fear, transition and potential transformation as we wait for test results and next steps. In the days moving forward, I have much to be thankful for, and much to contemplate - what do I need to bring to the world still? What am I holding back on? What needs releasing? And what needs celebrating?

This is my space to write, to love and to be while figuring out how to be present and move forward. More to come.