Today, in a couple of hours, I will have a laparoscopic procedure and biopsy to try and determine the primary source of the cancer that has metastasized throughout my bones. The procedure was supposed to happen two months ago, but I had a heart attack during that pre-op testing.
I am less than pleased about the need for another surgery. I reflected on my contradictory reactions to the different medical procedures I have undergone over the past year. I thoroughly enjoy going to my cardiac rehab sessions, now three days per week. When I was having physical rehabilitation last year, I enthusiastically attended those sessions. The dietitians at Touro Infirmary provide recommendations that improve my quality of life, immensely. The monthly blood test and x-geva injection that stabilize bone loss are a highlight of my medical treatment.
On a mental and spiritual level, I know that my weekly meetings of the School for Contemplative Living, Enneagram Study, attendance at Rayne Memorial, and other small groups play a big part in my well-being. Along with bike riding, gardening, and a relaxed professional role, I feel relatively normal. My biggest physical symptoms are fatigue and controllable stomach issues.
Beyond the two-week recovery interruption to my regular schedule today’s surgery will cause, I know part of my negative reaction is a certain denial that I have a serious disease/medical condition. I am inclined to leave well enough alone – no news is good news – why do I need to know the primary source of my cancer if everything is rolling along better than my oncologist’s best expectations?
The best place I am at today is just trusting the process, in the same way I have trusted the process in my recovery from alcoholism for the past three decades. I know that just working the first three steps and never moving onto the introspection of the fourth step would not have allowed me long-term sobriety. The ignorance is bliss approach does not work. So, in a couple of hours I will once again be sedated, opened up, and explored.
When I think back to my prognosis last August, I was supposed to be either dead or in the final stages of cancer by last Christmas. Neither of those events came to pass.
In a couple of days, and maybe even by tomorrow morning, I will be sitting on the back porch looking out on my earthly kingdom. In a few days after that, I hope to weed and water my gardens again.
I am grateful and blessed in my life today.