Friday, September 11, 2009

In Search of Peace

As I keep tallying all the things I need/want to get done prior to the surgery date, the stress has begun to build leaving me more and more unsettled. Perhaps it is just the reality that I have chose to evade all summer. Now it is staring me square in the face while the countdown to surgery has begun.

Yesterday I scurried around the house like a chicken with my head cut off with little sense of direction. I start on one thing, then get distracted by another thing that screams out to me that needs to be done. As a result, I get distracted losing my focus and forgetting about the original task. Then I remember it, return to it, and get distracted by another.

As this was going on, my addiction to checking my email several times a day (it happens when you main mode of communication occurs in the cyberworld) kept interupting me. My surgeon's assistant emailed me to confirm the new surgery date as I had not gotten back with her to agree.

The new date is not a typical surgery day so I wanted to verify that an anesthesiologist has been scheduled. What is more frightening to me than going through an actual brain surgery is doing one while awake! and yes, that is a procedure for some conditions - fortunately not mine. She was not sure but tried to assure me that my surgeon likes to work with certain anesthesiologists. That did not provide me any relief. I wanted to know for certain that everything for the surgery is in place and nothing forgotten seeing as my surgery day is on a special non-surgery day when both surgeons are available. The popularity of my doctors has them booked up for the next couple month. The earliest I could get in on a "surgery day" would be November!

Thinking of anesthesiologists, I recollected the past nightmare reaction I had to the anesthesia upon waking. It has been a concern of mine since the last surgery 2 years ago. I had wanted to know if it is possible for me to try a different anesthesia so I do not get sick this time. I have not gotten an answer yet although I keep bringing it up. I am worried my concern will be forgotten and I will have to go through the same thing again unnecessarily which was really mentally tough.

The final blow to later put me at unease, was the info that my surgeon will be coming from a different clinic prior to my surgery. It sounded like he will be in a different town the morning of my surgery and then be hurrying back to catch my BRAIN SURGERY. (this is my interpretation of the comment, not fact). When I had time to think about it, all that ran through my mind is the fatigue I get after a 45 min to hour long drive and the need to relax afterward. I could not imagine conducting a brain surgery after travel. What if there is traffic which makes the drive even more exhausting? Will total focus be on my working on my brain? Is this the right day for my surgery afterall?

I tried to relax by taking my dogs for their walk out in the farm valley on a beautiful and sunny fall evening. As I drove to the trail, I did not become less stressed but more tightly wound the more I thought about it. By the time I had made the 10-15 minute drive I was already in tears. I tried to keep my cool before my radiosurgery in 2004 but in doing so, it left my unprepared for what was going to happen. Many people told me it was going to be a breeze and I believed it would be. Unfortunately, it was not such a cake walk afterward. Am I letting my guard down again? Should I be speaking up more? Am I being assertive enough on my concerns/worries/needs?

I felt so ill that the thought of going for a walk was totally unappealing although the surroundings were absolutely perfect. I started bauling as I slowly dragged my feet a step at a time. I had all I could do to keep my legs moving so that I would not curl up in a ball on the ground and go "fetal". However, knowing that it was my responsibility to take the dogs for their walk and what was fair to them, I pressed on forcing myself to push forward. It was 10 minutes into the walk before I could even smell the sweet aroma of fresh air mixed with cut hay and sweet corn.

The first 3/4 of a mile, it was incredibly difficult to enjoy the evening and my mind was overrun with dread. I felt trapped and no idea what to do. I thought to myself I have to find a way to get out of this funk. I desperately pleaded with God to help me find a way to relax, trust in the skill/decisions of my medical team, and have faith that I have the strength to get through whatever outcome.

I tried to remind and recite to myself the quote "Worry does not rob tomorrow of its sorry, but empties today of its joy." Then I looked at my dogs excitedly prancing around in the evening sunshine and the few leaves that have already fallen from the trees. I thought of how I need to enjoy them and these moments as they are a brief and rare treasure which we will not have that much longer as they just turned 8 last month.

Still, I had trouble focusing. Knowing that, I fought a bitter battle in my mind between my apprehension and the knowledge of the here and now. I had to keep repeating the words to myself so that it would sink in and kept praying for God to help me find some way to relax. Normally being outdoors and going for a walk does it for me but this time it was not happening.

It took me over half the walk before a calm and peace surrounded me. All of a sudden the reflection of the sun on the early autumn. late summer leaves on the trees overhead burst forth in equisuite vibrancy! Everything took on an orangish hue lighting up Jake's marmalade coat and Katie's blonde patches and beautiful visual splendor!

I had found the moment I sought, asked, and prayed for! I had found the joy of life and the peace.

As I neared the last quarter mile, the western siloette of Mt. Rainier turned a rosy pink from the setting sun. I inhaled the breath of life filled with fresh country air. Birds playfully danced over the glowing tops of the fields of corn flooded in the crimson sunset. Overhead, whisps of white coulds now a peachy pink, gleaned in the pastel blue sky. I was living in the moment with all its grandeur! I was finally relaxed and ready to brave through the days ahead.

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