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.

Today

Yesterday I was briefly listening to a podcast from Pema Chodron. Actually, I was half listening – multitasking. But, she said something that grabbed my attention. She talked about how we often blame today for past issues.  It’s true, our past may have resulted in today. And all too often we can get caught up in making excuses of why we are where we are. “Oh it’s because this happened”….”This happened to me”….”I shouldn’t have done that”….We are all probably guilty of using our past as a crutch of some sort.

But it’s all past tense. If we want to shape our future, it’s today, this moment that counts.

In many ways, hearing this felt good. Freeing. Letting go.

Although I may not express what Pema Chodron so eloquently stated, remember this: Today….there is hope.

Imprinting of the Past

My very first boyfriend was when I was fourteen years old. It was immature and very unhealthy. I remember arguing with him on the phone and he was kicking the dishwasher. He had this temper where kicking, breaking, punching various things in the house was a norm. As a result, there was an intensity to our relationship. If I look back further, I can remember my mother slamming cabinets, screaming, turning music up loudly in the middle of the night, all a result of being angry with my father. This is where the intensity began. Fast forward again to a relationship I had for almost five years…this beginning at a vulnerable age of sixteen. He was, on the outside, what many girls in the school at the time desired…popular, athletic, funny..a “catch.” But, it quickly became abusive in so many ways. I was verbally abused constantly. Emotionally, psychologically abused. I was controlled. And I allowed this to happen. I own it. This intensity was a part of me. And this relationship filled this need for intensity. I will admit there was this quiet part of me that new it was wrong. This was not love. It was hard for me to work through. I equate it to an addiction. I know if I married this man, I may not be alive today or maybe alive but so beaten down that I would be a hollow shell. College years created a forced space between us that eventually allowed me to break free. During this time of breaking free, I met my husband. I remember waiting for him to yell at me. It felt so much healthier than my previous relationship. I was by no means “addicted” to this man. I felt better. I felt stronger. I felt “I can live without this man, but I am choosing not to live without him.” Until one night I remember us arguing. He took my binder of study materials that I had been reviewing for an exam that would culminate the previous five years of hard work. He took that binder and threw it against the wall. The papers falling everywhere. The following day we were looking at potential reception halls. I lied in bed that night thinking “what am I doing?” But I moved forward. I felt this momentum that I thought at the time I needed to roll with. I questioned things in my mind. I gave myself no voice though. There were so many struggles within me that I became paralyzed in my being. So I moved forward on the outside, while the inside stayed paralyzed. Over the years, I tried to blend the inside with the outside. To find some sense of harmony. Today, here is what I know. I need to listen to my inner voice. I don’t deserve to be treated any less than well. I need to be a positive role model for my children, exposing them to positive role models, providing them with healthy lessons in relationships and love, teach them respect and empathy. I need to be this so they feel this. I don’t have blame, I don’t have regret. But I do have the need for change. I do have the need to finally allow that quiet self, that true self to move to the forefront. Yes, the past has shaped me. But I am ready to take charge and use my own hands to shape my present and my future. Are you?