Walking the Walk
I can't tell you how many times I heard the word "unusual" and "uncommon" on Monday and Tuesday while interviewing doctors. These words do not comfort, but in my case they are accurate. What I have is apparently quite rare. The surgeon I saw yesterday is my age and has done 5 cases in his entire career, and he is "the man". The medical literature consists of a few articles with no conclusive treatment plan. Wide excision? MOHS? Radiation? These are big words that can elicit a wide array of emotions, and I've experienced them all. Words carry power. I don't have cancer, MY BODY has cancer. Once it's removed, this chapter will be over. The challenge for me is to have faith that in time, I will look like me. Not everyone is so lucky with cancer. My family knows that only too well. We lived it with Sue Sue and Albert, and a part of us died with them. They were courageous but their diagnosis wasn't as kind. Last year I got to see what it felt like to need crutches and a wheelchair. I broke both tibial plateaus and the sentence was 6 weeks of non weight bearing. The universe gave me a taste of being physically challenged so I know deep in my soul how vulnerable that can feel. I also appreciate what a difference support can make. I now feel compelled to advocate for anyone who has physical limitations that compromise their ability to function independently. At the same time, I discovered that my body was severely deficient in vitamins and hormones that create calm and peace in the body, so I experienced anxiety and depression; it was as if my body had been invaded by aliens. These are not emotions I have much experience with, thankfully. I started an extensive regimen of supplements, IVs, and medication. While the cause was organic, I may as well have had mental illness because it looked and felt no different. I experienced people's judgment and their discomfort. Now I have a strong sense of how it feels when the world looks away. I understand the temptation to isolate. I also know in retrospect how important connection with people who are there for you, can heal the deepest of wounds. I'm a student of life and I am currently studying compassion. I have done several apprenticeships so I fully understand the limitations. My current assignment is cancer. I know microcystic adnexal carcinoma has a beginning and an end. My "situation" isn't a death sentence. However, the testing, the waiting, the not knowing, the phone calls... it's a lot. The right doctors treat you like a person with a disease and the wrong ones treat you like you are the cancer. I am walking the walk right now but soon I'll be back to talking the talk; advocating for people who need support, be it disabled/physically challenged, people with anxiety and depression or those battling cancer, and that word was chosen because it can feel like a fight. What I know is that each of us can make a difference by looking into a person's eyes and seeing WHO they are, not how they look. I am beyond grateful to you for the comments, the posts, the text messages and every kind gesture extended my way. It makes me feel like I can do anything. Last year was brutal and I wasn't sure I knew how to find my way back, but I did. I now know that was my training for this. I express gratitude to the Universe for giving me yet another opportunity to grow. The question is never," Why me?", it's ,"What am I supposed to learn?" I may have been a real shit in a past life so there are a multitude of lessons to learn, OR maybe I'm a great listener so the lessons keep coming. I have total faith that this experience will teach me even more about people. If I resist the lessons, I'll just have to learn them some other way. Karma rules. So I am poised to learn, and as always, will be sharing.