I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach. It could have been the chicken pot pie I ate late last night but it felt more like that pit you get in your stomach before you have to do something big. Whether you are doing something good or bad, your body seems to be preparing for the fact that something is happening – you sweat, your stomach is in knots, the anticipation is killing you. I used to get this way before big flights across the world. I’d wake up nervously but with an excitement that kept the discomfort of nerves at bay just a little bit. This is not quite that, where there had been excitement I now feel dread. I know what the pit is for, I am getting surgery tomorrow to again fix a problem several other surgeries just like this one did not fix, and like a bad remake of the movie Groundhogs Day, I seem to be repeating the same series of events over and over and over again.
It goes like this: surgery, pain, start to heal, repeat. There are of course other steps that vary each time, phone calls from doctors, follow up visits, MRIs, people crying at your bedside, people laughing at your bedside, a solid amount of nausea. It all depends but you get the point.
Despite the dread that this surgery is just me spinning my wheels avoiding a shunt, and the dread that it will fail like many before it, I am not afraid of dying, of suffering, of pain. I see them now as a part of what is. This is my life, good bad or ugly, this is my life. It’s mine, it’s a beautiful mess, it’s my beautiful mess. This is my truth, and it is not the truth of someone who is sick who will feel differently when she heals as is the insinuation I often get from many people. This is the truth of someone who has seen the hope, seen the dread, and chooses neither. This is the truth of someone who just chooses life.
And boy did I live this week.
I didn’t embark on some grand adventure that I could catalogue on a Buzzfeed list that would inspire hope of the life unlived. I didn’t travel more or eat something crazy or go somewhere I’d never seen. I worked hard, I saw family and friends, I worked out, I had happy hour, I watched TV, I walked the dogs, I let them drag me across the backyard, I napped like it was my job, I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I had ice cream, I smelled flowers, I worked more, I went to RYLA events, and lunch meetings, I was busy. I lived my life, the one I have built and fought for and I filled the time and space with people and things and life.
I joked wih a few folks yesterday that on the very off chance that my body gives up during surgery (not gonna happen), they could write on my tombstone “She finished her work (but not her dissertation)” and yea, it would likely be the funniest headstone in the row. It’s more than that though, in reality, what they could write under that, no matter when I leave my body to take my spirit elsewhere is: She lived.
See you on the other side of craniotomy number 6. Flo is going down (maybe).
Peace and love,