Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Waving The White Flag

I open one eye and look at the red glow of the clock - 5:39 a.m. I think to myself if I start now I can do twenty minutes of Centering Prayer before six o'clock. Always one to like round numbers I close my eyes and open up within myself to God. I watch as thoughts flit through my mind. A stray line of a song "you can let go now..." floats through and I watch it pass.

I last 10 minutes before I open my eyes again. I call it good enough and start talking to God.

I think back over the past few months, most recently to my temper tantrum about how I am sure they took out the lump that was already declared benign which made the orange sized hole in my breast totally unnecessary. I had ranted to Dearest One about it on the weekend and then, when he refused to get all wound up about it, to a friend on the phone. She pointed out that if I kept at it that I would simply be rehashing it again and again. In the midst of talking to her I got tired of hearing my own voice bitch about the same thing yet one more time. And in that moment I turned a corner emotionally.

I think about all this and say to God, "I surrender all of it to you." Then I wait as I let that surrender go from head to heart to feeling it in my very bones. I am finally tired of fighting what is.

This morning will be the first time I have been out of my pyjamas since I came home from the hospital. I carefully arrange the drain tube so that my clothes cover it as Dearest One and I talk about my appointment. He expresses regret that his schedule won't allow him to be with me. I come close to telling him it's no big deal - just an appointment to get the drain out but resist. The last time I told him something of that sort it didn't go very well.

It feels good to be doing errands, being a part of the flow of life. I stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things and go on to my next stop. When I get there I turn the key off and dig in my bag for lunch. I see my wallet on the seat but no purse. It takes me a few minutes to realize I've left it behind in the grocery store and the realization undoes me. I am not as fine as I think I am. Not as present as I'd believed. The tears rise from my core and I am immediately overwhelmed. I admit that I'd had to remind myself of basic traffic rules all morning in order to drive decently because I'd found it hard to concentrate.

By the time I get to the surgeon's office I know I've over done it. My incision is throbbing and I am worn out. I regret not taking up a friend on her offer to drive me to town and to my appointment.

I get ushered into a new to me examining room. I look at my options and quickly concede to sit in the chair right next to the doctor's desk. Today is the day I hope to get the drain out, put a bra back on, and continue the healing journey.

I have a great library book to occupy myself while waiting for the doctor to come in.

When he does comes in it's to look at my incision and then at the drain. We decide to leave it a few more days to be on the cautious side. I can live with that. I get ready to gather my purse and my book when he looks at me and says, "There is a glitch in all this."

I meet his steady gaze and know what's going to come next.

"There's some cancer in there."

I breathe in and out and then tell him of my prayer of surrender from this morning. A deep gut feeling that I will be okay however the next part of this journey goes. You know that okayness that comes not from circumstances being okay but from somewhere beyond that.

He tells me that had the pathologist not got the initial report mixed up and had not the next bits of the process played out the way they did that they wouldn't have caught this cancer for another year, possibly two. And me, who hates connecting dot conversations that other people dream up, accepts the mind boggling truth of his statement.

We make plans for what comes next. Lymph node biopsy. Radiation or mastectomy. My choice.  No chemotherapy if the node biopsy is clear.  Before all that can happen my sutures need to come out so we make an appointment for a week from today.

I drive to where Dearest One works and wait for his class to end. It's a long 45 minute wait. He emerges from his classroom with one of his students. She's someone I've wanted to meet and we smile at each other as we shake hands. Then somehow we manage to make small talk about my day. I lie about it and do the round about dance of how it was instead of how it really was. There's no charity in Dearest One finding out my diagnosis in front of a student.

We say our goodbyes to her and Dearest One and I entwine our fingers and walk towards his office. I can see by his bright face that he is unprepared for what I'm going to tell him. I stop as we walk and make a face that tells everything and his shoulders drop in recognition.

This morning I listened to this day's offering. While I am not bent towards thinking that I have been hard done by or that God is testing me - I had thought that my  hard time was behind me.


Unknown said...

I have sat here thinking about God's graciousness...even in light of this news. You prayed a prayer of submission and release...and our tendancy as humans is to think that we instigate such a prayer...but I am reminded of the Shepherd's Psalm where it says: He makes me lie down...His preparations are total and perfect. I will continue to pray for your peace-filled resolve as you journey further into the unknown, remembering that with each step you walk with the One who is all Knowing.

One Crafty Mother said...

I left a response to your comment on my blog - but I'll say it here, too. You are in my prayers and thoughts and you can talk to me anytime about anything.

I'm so, so grateful that they caught it when they did, but I'm sorry you have to go through this. Another hard thing.

Big, big hugs to you, my friend.



Catherine said...

I am inspired by your remark,"You know that okayness that comes not from circumstances being okay but from somewhere beyond that."
I love that. Thanks for the spiritual guidance.

I wish you peace and healing.

Jim said...

Not here to "push" (mis-typed that last word and had it reading "pish", somehow mentally seeing you smile had I not caught it)...but, indeed, am not here to push God advice at you. We work out such details with Him ourselves as we go, it seems to me; and I keep hearing you do all that pretty well on your own. As a male, I can only imagine this battle, but did walk through it last year with my oldest daughter. In her case, it all seems to now be in remission and possibly conquered. In truth, as a friend, in prayer I walk with you, too. You have many of us and are not alone....

annie said...

"You know that okayness that comes not from circumstances being okay but from somewhere beyond that."

I find that is the thing that helped me the most, reminding myself to remember the source of my peace even when it looked like my world might be falling apart.

That doesn't mean it is easy or without difficult moments. I pray that you will be strengthened and kept at peace in the days to come.

Mary Christine said...

You remain in my prayers. Please know that I care.