Saturday, May 24, 2014

Thrown into the Crashing Crests, Clothes and All

Time heals all wounds, or so it is said.  That must be why usually I write about events that were in the past, or about my fitness or nutrition successes.  They've healed and the hurt isn't pressing in on me anymore.  It isn't often I write about the here and now, and my immediate feelings of grief or despair.

Who wants to feel despair?  I certainly don't, and it comes in ripples, like waves that saunter toward toes.  I step away, avoiding.  But sometimes life happens in sudden and strange ways and it's not a little ripple or a small wave.  You are thrown into the crashing crests, clothes and all.

And so, I suppose it has not been a surprise at all that I've been remote these past few months.  It's not pleasant to face the harsh reality and remotely striking beauty of what has been happening. 

I envy.  I see the Tough Mudders posts and 5ks, half marathons, TRIs on Facebook, hear friends speak about their successes, see runners alongside the road and turn away, afraid of a tear that might slip out.  I am happy for my friends, but it is hard to listen. 

I still haven't seen a true work out since January.  (Working out = my therapy) Haven't done a jumping jack, swung a golf club, done a push up.  

I've spent countless days on the couch, watching empty tree branches covered with and without snow, budding, dancing and swaying, then green, and windows filled with butterflies and bees.

I pitied myself, holding it in like a leaky pen, poison. Until it was exhausting and pointless. 

But the truth of the situation was beyond my control.  It still is.  After my surgery for the ruptured disc in my back, the swelling never really subsided.  The numbness in my arm never retreated.   The swelling, at first thought to be fluid on the site of the incision, later, after an ultrasound, proved to be something attached to my thyroid, growing, and then last week, the biopsy showed it is a tumor in my neck.  Shaped like an egg and expanding.

And so my sister and I sat in another specialist's office just this past Tuesday, hearing him discuss how he would remove the tumor and biopsy it during the surgery.  What will happen if it's benign adenoma. What will happen if it's malignant carcinoma. 

As he spoke I interrupted him, put my hand to the window sill, felt like I would faint, "I'm going to pass out."

Me.  Superwoman.  Invincible.  Indomitable spirit.  I almost fainted.  Twice. 

That night I held my daughters close to me as they slept, smelling their Watermelon Strawberry Shampoo.  I thought about the administrative classes, the impending internship, my plans for the future.  And I realized that none of it matters, not one damn bit if I can't have the people I love by my side. 

I wanted to stay that way as long as I could, in the dark, the sound of cars rushing by, and the immense silence.  Just me and these two beautiful girls.  It reminded me of nights long ago, the sounds of a rushing river, and my own mother by my side, singing gently to me.

I felt my own mortality, like the moment I almost fainted, pressing on me. 

And I began to envision my blessings, each person who has stepped quietly into my life and stayed, even if it was only a little while, leaving a footprint.  I fell asleep that way, Madeline cradled close to me, listening to her breath, a tear slipping out as I considered this challenge, once more, a test:

You see, all this time I've been waiting, feeling like something is supposed to happen, something immense.  Thinking that I would have some kind of epiphany, some colossal event, like a bolt of lightening, some achievement, and as John Kabat-Zinn would say, I'd "Arrive at my own door." 

What an idiot he I faded into the sweet breaths of sleep I realized, I'm not going to arrive at my door or anyone else's because I'm already here. 

I've been here all along.


  1. Do you have biopsy results for the nodule?
    Did the finding confirm layers of sheets of follicular cells arranged in microfollicular patterns?
    Does your voice change when you put your finger on your tumor?

  2. Yes there was a biopsy of it and it showed a follicular neoplasm.

  3. The tumor was again biopsied during the surgery to remove it. The result was malignant carcinoma. The surgeon proceeded to remove all the cancer and thyroid, 3 of the 4 perithyroid and closest nodes to biopsy... a nearly 11 hour surgery in total, which left me drugged and in a vomiting state for about 14 hours. Once I am cancer free and the time is right, I will blog about the experience. For now it is still to intense and emotional.

  4. Thank you for sharing.
    I wish you speedy recovery!
    Many blessings!

    1. In August I received the news that I am cancer free... I continue to be tested every two months, but I am with hope. Thank you for your continued support. Love, peace and blessings.