Steps

Are you overcome with joy? With anger? With guilt? Resentment? Happiness? Anxiety? Panic? Contentment? Gratitude? What is it that holds you so tightly? Is it strangling your very being or is it giving you much needed breath? Does it enable you to grow or does it stifle your dreams? Does it look you in the face and lie or does it hold truth in all its spoken and unspoken words?

On the contrary, maybe you have overcome hurt, pain, illness. Maybe you have overcome a life full of shadows, emptiness, and dead-ends. Maybe you have overcome being weak. Maybe you have softened the hard edges of your untrusting self. But maybe you are still waiting to overcome that day when your knees buckled beneath you.

All of the emotions are a kaleidoscope creating colors so bright that some offend your very eyes while others offer a soothing break. With each emotion know you are taking steps. Steps. Some may be forward and some backward. But it’s movement. And such is better than standing still.

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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.

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.

To Be…Not

Sometimes when you are in pain, in that moment, in that timeframe, you think it could not hurt anymore. But I discovered that is so wrong. Like being kicked when you are down. This is what I have felt for the past week. It has been a wave of constant hurt continuously smacking me against the rocky, sharp, unforgiving wall. I am left in-between this blockade and the thrashing, intensity of the waves…waiting for it all to stop.

Feelings of being overwhelmed followed by shock and sadness.

Strength found to be challenged again but with great force.

Some panic, some weakness, some all out craziness.

Again pure shock.

And then deep sadness and hurt and disbelief.

And I sat in this. All of it.

So twisted and surreal almost.

How ironic.

I lose myself from time to time. I get lost in the complexity and many paths. This past week, I lost all harmony.  Any sense of balance and peace was gone.

Maybe all these twists and turns is how I actually will find myself…….

 

Dream

So real. A house boat. Floating. An attached dock. With jet skis. The dock fiercely moving with the energetic waves. “Don’t you get scared?” “I am use to it.” Emotions rising. Holding back tears. Memories of these times flood my mind. Suddenly a big push and the dock smacks against the wall. She is jerked backwards and then forwards but unharmed. It is now loose. Floating away. She jumps first quickly to get to the house boat. I follow. Lost around the corner. We run. Yelling for the both of you. I can now hide my tears against this excuse. As you retrieve the runaway dock, it suddenly becomes apparent it was not as big of a deal as originally thought. Keeping my head down, yet obviously upset, she says “she is not happy.” You look at me and suddenly I feel your hands rubbing my temples. The tears now flow readily down my cheeks. And I reach up to hold your hand. I feel you. And it hurts. And then….I awake. Crying inconsolably.

“Feel it. The thing you don’t want to feel. Feel it and be free.” – Nayirah Waheed

So I was Told

“No one is telling you how they really feel about you. You force people to lie to you.” With a quick text, a second…self-doubt encompasses me. Others, close and not-so-close, have made me aware of their opinions about me as a person. Some positive and some not so much. And for the most part, fairly accurately. So who is it? Or who are they? Who is not being honest with me? And tell me why I need to care? I expect the truth.

Funny how someone, someone so incredibly close, can take any bits of self-confidence and shred it in a second. “…….But words will never hurt me.” I beg to differ.

My Heart

Do you know what it feels like when your child is hurt or sad or scared? It shreds my heart. The moment my boys’ health, whether it be emotional health, physical health, or psychological health, is compromised in any way, my whole existence becomes awakened to the fragility of our lives. As their mother I want nothing more than for the both of them to live a fulfilling life with as little pain as possible. But I do realize pain in many shapes is inevitable, a part of growing and learning and experiencing.
I was running with a neighborhood friend last weekend and she started to talk about when her daughter is feeling sad, she too feels it as well. It’s an interconnectedness we share with our children. It’s an invisible cord that forever connects us.
Although my oldest son is in his teenage years and has little desire to spend much time with me unless he needs something, I still tell him I love him every time he leaves for school, at night before I go to bed, and now and again will send a text message “I love you.” I’m learning as I go how to be a mom, a better mom, to a teenage son. I have already faltered. But hopefully have recovered enough to have sustained little damage. As he “drifts” away into his own new unchartered territory, that invisible cord is still present.
My youngest son will always be my baby. I love his hugs, the fact that he still runs and jumps into my arms, and the sweet kisses goodnight. So the moment they are in pain, my love for them becomes that much more overwhelmingly strong and apparent.
After all, they are my heart.