So over the course of the last 2 years or so, I’ve had some minor health issues that I was able to ignore for a while but eventually could not. I underwent a series of oh-so-not-pleasant tests last summer and learned what was causing my health issues. (Tests which, by the way, were beyond costly and for which I spent several thousand dollars out of pocket because my health care wouldn’t cover them completely. I know you can’t put a price on good health but you can sure put a price on good health care, as any of you who are kind enough to follow my financial blogs that I am fortunate enough to write already know. And special thanks again to my former employer for eliminating my health care coverage).
Anyway, I underwent a fairly minor medical procedure and – lo and behold – the health issues went away, never to return I believed. Relief coursed through my veins – life would get back to normal, at least on the health front. I was blessed.
And then, a few weeks later, at a routine follow-up with my doctor, he told me that the results of my medical procedure showed something not normal. He used words that I never expected to hear in my life. But not to worry, he told me. We can take care of this.
Not to worry? Fortunately – or unfortunately – I have a reputation, well-deserved I am quite sure, as someone who came out of the womb worrying. I am a worst-case scenario kind of girl all the way. Although I am ever optimistic and always believe I’ll be spared the speeding bullet, deep down in my heart of hearts, there’s always a flicker of concern, a kernel of worry just waiting to be popped into full-blown anxiety, no matter what the crisis, or how big or how small.
So after meeting with varied medical professionals and believing what they told me and feeling a great level of comfort in what they told me needed to be done and when, I decided to move forward with this. Because even though I’m on the back 9 of the golf course of life, I still think of myself as a young person, a woman with years and years ahead of me to do new things, to travel new places, to believe in new ideas, to meet and fall in love with someone who will love me back with a ferocity I’ve never known. I’m not going anywhere. I won’t allow that to happen.
But, in those dark hours before dawn breaks, when I am in bed somewhere between being asleep and awake, I have been consumed by fears. Fears of going to sleep and not waking up. Fears that the worst case scenario my doctors outlined could happen. Fears that my great kid, who has gone through so many struggles of his own and who only has one great parent (which is me and I pretend to have no false modesty when I say I’ve been a great mother to him, because I’ve actually had to be a mother and a father to him), will be left on his own. Fears that I’ll never have enough time to tell everyone I like and love just what an imprint they have left on my heart.
I’ve had fears, too, about what the physical ramifications of this will be. While you can imagine or guess, you can’t, of course, know how you’ll feel or react. I’ve told a few people about this, not many in the beginning, but a few more along the way and everyone has been so kind and caring that it made, in the words of the wonderful Dr. Seuss, my heart grow 3 sizes that day. And then, some days ago, I was blessed, so blessed to have been able to talk to a wonderful woman, not really related to me but part of my extended family nevertheless. Someone who had gone through this very thing I was going through and who could tell me the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows of what to expect. Don’t worry when this happens, she said; it’s to be expected. Don’t push yourself, she advised me. Baby yourself. Give yourself time. Listen to the signals your body is sending. She didn’t dismiss my concerns or tell me I was worried for nothing or try to minimize anything I was likely to go through. She turned the light on and shined it on the dark areas of my fears and anxieties. And it was a gift. Oh, what a gift she gave me.
And so I write this the day before I head to the hospital. And if I might impose on you, my dear friends who always bless me when you take the time to read my musings, if you can send a positive thought out into the universe for me, I’d be ever so grateful. And I will write more when I come home, because I know I will come home to recover and heal and get stronger and be healthy again. I will be here to see my great kid go on and become the wonderful person he is destined to be. I will be here to celebrate another high school reunion with my DC girls. I will be at that next Christmas party that my great cousin always throws. I will drive down to the cemetery and put flowers on my darling Dad’s grave. I will drive my Mom anywhere she needs to go. I will remember to be kinder and more loving and gentler and more patient and forgiving to everyone I meet. I will be thankful to you all for molding me and shaping me into the person I am today. And I will be especially and eternally grateful to my angel, Joanna, who helped me over my hurdle of fear by sharing her story and letting me know I’d be OK.
And I will. I promise.