Tumor

Two years ago a tumor was found inside my bladder. Any gambling man would have lost a lot of money on me – I did not fit any of the criteria for someone who was at risk for such a tumor. But…sadly I did have a cousin who lost his life in his early 40’s to bladder cancer.

I remember lying on the hospital bed as the doctor placed a long tube with a camera (known as a cystoscopy) inside my bladder. I remember seeing what looked like an anemone appear, floating gracefully as if in direct defiance to what it truly was. I did not know what I was looking at…until the doctor told me.  I of course then searched for the top urologist in the area while researching bladder tumors. I told few people as possible. I even noticed looking back on my blog posts, that I simply acted as though it never happened. Posts just before the surgery and after left no trace of what had just occurred in my life.

I had a procedure known as a TURBT – Trans-Urethral Resection of a Bladder Tumor. They also administered a one time dose of a chemotherapy drug known as Mitomycin during the procedure. The recovery was rather easy. The hard part was waiting a week for the results. I received good news. It was a papilloma.

I’ve had to repeat the cystoscopy twice a year since. And every time I pray I don’t see that anemone appear again. My doctor has made a point to tell me it’s a fine line between a papilloma and Stage 1 Cancer. Therefore, given my young age and virtually no risk factors, he will continue to monitor me.

I don’t know if I’ve just made a big attempt to store this deep in my memory as a coping mechanism or if the whole experience is one I just can’t fully handle otherwise. What I do know is when I go for those follow up visits, alone, it’s a stark reality that that is what I am. Alone. While watching one of may favorite series last night, the wife received news her body was cancer free after fighting breast cancer the year previous. Her husband cried in joy and they embraced. They had each other. Partners. True partners. Not in just words or promises but in truth. Completely. It’s no wonder at that moment I broke down crying.

I think I have a lot of buried hurt. Some from the distant past and some from just weeks ago.

Someday.

Grief Will Stay

“I don’t think you will ever get over the grief.” These are words spoken to me from my counselor a few weeks ago. Having a family, being a mom was my dream. And while I will forever and always be a mom, the dream of family has become fleeting. I will never have it now. One of the unfortunate consequences of divorce is along with dissolving all that is unhealthy, all that is good is gone as well. Try as I might to act like a sieve to catch the little shiny pieces, the holes are too big and all washes through. It has been so tiring on my soul.

My brother continues to tell me to lose all expectations to avoid continuous disappointment. But this is so hard. I have become a single parent in almost all aspects. Do you know how hard it is to parent a 17 year old boy? I envy those who can go to bed at night with someone alongside them. Someone to discuss the day, to problem solve, to truly be a partner in all of life’s challenges. I won’t use running solo as an excuse to be less of a mom. Trust me, I am doing all that I can to steer both of my boys in the right direction. But I confess there are moments I feel I teeter on completely breaking down.

As much as it hurts to continue to feel grief, it’s here to stay. Yes, grief won’t leave. But, it may be time for me to work on accepting the grief, letting it lay where it may fall. I can not change grief. I certainly can not go back in time and change my dream. But I can accept.

“Growth is uncomfortable because you’ve never been here before – you’ve never been this version of you. So give yourself a little grace and breathe through it.” – Kristin Lohr

Filling Up My Cup

Just the other day I wrote a post mentioning I was strongly encouraged to discover what fills my cup. Tending to be the type of person to push myself, activities I choose to do fill my cup, but they take away from my cup as well. Balance. How this idea of balance needs to come to fruition in my life. I am the girl who signs up for a triathlon to take her FIRST swim lesson just two months prior to the race. The one who joined only about a hundred people in total (at that time) who had traversed the Via Ferrata at the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch.

HCR2008 224

Right about here I am cursing myself “Why do you do this??!!”

The girl who would have panic attacks while running, but managed to find the finish line of a marathon. The girl who was told “you can’t bike 100 miles” and made sure less than a year later that statement was proved wrong.

I push myself. All the time. And I think it’s because I don’t feel worthy otherwise. I feel week. T and I watched Hidden Figures last night – my new favorite movie! – and it is so inspiring to witness women pushing beyond limits, despite being told “you can’t” they proved they can. They defied what was perceived as possible at that time. They were strong and bright and determined. And they weren’t going to allow anyone to hold them back. Granted their pushing beyond limits was for something far greater – equal rights and basic humanity.

But this is where my line blurs. The line of balance. When does pushing yourself become too much? Where does that sweet spot lie – the exact spot where you have pushed just the right amount. I haven’t discovered it yet. It’s a constant back and forth in my mind…a struggle to prove myself maybe? What am I trying to prove? That I am strong? Capable? Anything but week? Or am I “running” away from something? Is my constant push actually an attempt to avoid? All thoughts to ponder I suppose.

These past few days I have discovered a few ways in which I can fill my cup – without simultaneously depleting it.

  1. Walking – through my neighborhood, with my son, with my dog. Just walk. And notice.
  2. Watching an inspiring movie – fosters motivation, some clarity, and honestly..joy
  3. Sitting on the sidelines of T’s sporting events – listening to all the sounds…the birds, referee’s whistle, the cheers, the clapping, feeling the energy

I intend on adding to this list. But for now this is my start. Drop by drop.

Smiles and Stress

“With fond remembrance of your amazing smile, the one that took over your face seemingly sponsored and wattaged by Edison bulbs.”  A message – to ME – from a long lost friend. How that stirs up all that is good thinking I reflected an obvious sense of happiness. We all know how things aren’t always what meet the eye…but…there’s always a grain of truth regardless. And these words artistically phrased and meant for me, well, it made my day. How nice is it to be remembered for something so utterly positive?

Only days after receiving this message, one of my yoga teachers was crouching in front of me at the beginning of class and remarked rather simply “you have a great smile.” And again I felt good about myself. Like a reassurance that I am ok.

And the cherry on top? The song played at the end of yoga class tonight – Smile by Nat King Cole

 

So smile more it is!

These two occurrences have led my thoughts to laughing. And how laughing automatically brings you into the present. I still firmly believe a good old fashion belly laugh is medicine of the best kind. I know I need more of this. Being told by one of my healthcare providers just yesterday I need to make sure I find time to do something that fills my cup once again brought light to my life…the dark corners I like to avoid. Running fills my cup but also empties it, she said. She is right. So what is it that I can do that will rejuvenate, balance, de-stress, make me a better me? I’m still actively pondering this. But I will admit, my initial thought is putting on my comfy pjs and watching my most favorite sitcom. And hey that might be it. Just slowing down, sitting down, and just simplifying.

……Although, it’d be nice to have someone rub my head too.

And…She…Let…Go

Read during shavasana last week….I hope it speaks to you like it did me.  Namaste.

 

She let go.

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of the judgments.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.

She let go of the committee of indecision within her.

She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice.

She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.

She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.

She didn’t journal about it.

She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.

She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.

She didn’t call the prayer line.

She didn’t utter one word.

She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked her or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort.

There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…

– Rev. Safire Rose

Changing

 

I read an article a few days ago offering advice to respond to situations in a new light. Change old habits of impulse reactions, particularly ones that involve anger, negativity, resentment. Note the usual reaction, stop, and try a new way. Changing thought patterns. Clearing a new path. I like it. I like the suggestion. It feels, I don’t know, hopeful? I actually  practiced it the other night. As I lay thinking about a friend who has hurt me on so many levels, I found my anger rising, my body tightening, and then….I stopped. I acknowledged this almost habitual response and decided to consciously process my response differently. In a more constructive or at least less negative-feeling way. What I have noticed is when I start to feel this anger and hurt, it snowballs. My body and mind pay the price. So in this moment I took a deep breath, placed one hand on my stomach, my center, and one hand on my heart and I let it go. Did it make it hurt any less? Not so much. But what it provided was a place where that hurt could no longer control and weaken me. It was a safe haven of sorts. And I did’t have to physically go anywhere.

It is all here – within me.