Thursday, October 08, 2009

Seeking Inner Peace

Monday was the most difficult day it has been presurgery and hopefully the last. It was emotionally unbearable and I could not wait for the feeling to end.

The surgeryzilla returned and from what Harley described, she was pretty nasty/cranky. I guess I freaked out in the way that a future bride (or bridezilla) does about wedding plans working out perfectly. If you have seen the movie "Ghosts of my Girlfriends Past" with Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaughey, you get the idea. Think of the scene where the bride is freaking out at the rehearsal dinner about the salad they are serving.

Anyhow, this time instead of freaking about tasks to be done, I was freaking about not going out and taking advantage of the nice day. The more the daylight hours slipped by, the more agitated and crankier I became. My new drysuit was sitting there unworn and the dogs were going nuts wondering when I was going to take them for a walk as I had been out of town the past 2 days.

I did not feel well in the morning, and although I had gotten up early, I had fallen back asleep when I lied down after breakfast. I woke up to nearly half the daylight gone already which already set me in a bad mood. I wanted to go diving but none of our gear was packed nor ready as I had been out of town for the weekend. (that reminds me that I still need to locate the battery charger to my light - It has been a month since we last dove as we were waiting for my suit to be made.)

So while frantically rooting around to try to find my charger when I was already angry it was missing, I was torn everytime the dogs peered through the sliding glass doors with their excited and anxious expressions when they want a walk. For NW diving, it takes a good deal of time to get ready and then driving 45 minutes or more to the dive site. With the day half gone, I was pressed to do both activities and most likely would have to sacrafice one for the other. (I do not dive at night due to my balance and disorientation at night)

After searching long and hard to no avail for my charger, I determined that we were just not ready to go diving. I was pissed at myself for blowing one of the 2 chances for me to go before surgery. I needed dry gloves on my suit anyway and it was most likely that my hands would not tolerate the titanium wetsuit gloves as I standing out in 50 degree weather with gloves at the marathon triggered a Raynard's attack (loss of blood circulation to my fingers). So we agreed to abort and take my suit into a nearby shop to have the gloves put on. We had to get to the shop before close so we took the dogs with us with the plan to walk them at the dog park afterward.

We had to stop by 2 shops so it took us a little longer. That left about an hour and a half of daylight when we left the last shop and headed back to Redmond. However, we had to stop to pick up my computer and became delayed with our last stop. As a result, the sun had already set and only about a half hour of the beautiful sunny day remained! Still, I was happy to get take the dogs for a walk at the park but was incredibly anxious about time running out.

Normally I take the dogs walking for an hour and make 3 laps around the large dog park. This time after 3/4 of a lap it was already dark and I struggled to walk around it a second time. It was a romantic evening with a huge big yellow full moon but I was too frustrated by how long we waited to walk the dogs and the mental effort it took to stumble my way through a 2nd lap. I tried to tell myself that it was good practice but I just was not into the mindset for the challenge that day. In fact, as I fought back tears (which were one of many episodes throughout the day) I was feeling sorry for myself and was tempted to just quit. Of course my attitude spurred us into argument which lasted lohng after our park walk.

Both of us struggling to understand each other but more wanting to be understood, the frustration built. I still was unable to accurately communicate what I was feeling. It is not the same as last time.

Harley asked me the same question my dear friend Skip battling Leukemia asked me "Are you nervous?" Both times I was at a loss how to answer. I feel nervous like a bride to pull things off without a hitch in time but not nervous like a job interview. But really, is that just the surface appearance? What is really bothering me? I met my diving and hiking goals, painted my house, and took care of lots of things on the agenda. But do all those things really matter to get done before the surgery?

We finally got down to the heart of the issue when Harley asked me if I was scared. I do not think I am scared to die anymore the way I was in years past. If I think about it, the thought of what I would leave behind greatly saddens me. How would my dogs live without me? They do not even like it when I go away for a weekend. How about Harley? How about my only sister? The thought of their grief makes my heart very heavy.

The living is the scary part. What if I make it but am not quite right anymore? So many possibilities exist and so many things have happened to others. I want to live and keep my present quality of life. But what if I am unable to? Would I be able to handle the change and still stay positive? This part is emotionally tormenting. It is hard for it not to be knowing what I know and having gone through what I have been through. I am tramautized. It took 5 years to build up to this point and I am afraid of losing it all again. How many more years would I miss out on waiting to get it back if possible?

I am gunshy to be too positive as I thought the radiosurgery was going to be easy. I had read of hundreds of patients and was told by several that the radiosurgery was so much better than surgery. Therefore, I thought I was taking the less painful route with less chance of loss. Yet, it did not go that way for me sending me in complete chaos and shock from all the side effects I encountered.

The other issue is that I dread having to be sick again and laid up for recovery. Sunday night it occured to me that I only less than 2 weeks left at the gym. I added it up in my head and figured 6-7 workout days. My eyes and nose burned as I held back the tears and pain of time running out. It will be a week in the hospital if things go great and then I think I recall it will be about a month before I can return to the gym and then the amount of exertion will be limited at first.

Last I woke from surgery was terrifying as I had a reaction to the anesthesia. I seriously did not know if I was going to make it. I fear going through that again and wonder if I will have enough mental toughness this time around to hang in there. Part of what kept me going was seeing Harley. What if they don't allow him into the recovery room and I am unable to see him but go through the same thing again?

I told Harley I need to find peace to mentally prepare me for the surgery and these issues I need to graple with. I had tried many things and was still agonized. Harley had an idea to go to the tanning place. No, I do not really care about getting a tan before surgery! LOL But when we went before vacation, I had read about the benefits of acquiring Vitamin D that was and was very surprised to find what a relaxing experience it has become since back in the late 90s. The new beds and salons have fans and are roomier. It feels like you are on a nice beach in some exotic getaway with a refreshing ocean breeze sweeping over you. It works really well for creative visualization techniques.

It did work somewhat but my eyes and head were still kind of sore. I had prayed all day about it and finally, late in the evening it had passed! I hope that was the worst of it.

I feel quite lucky to have the priveledge of so many outlets to find peace. Here are different things I have been doing:

Prayer and reading daily affirmations
Reading inspirational stories of survival
Walking my dogs
Washing my dogs
Spending time with my dogs
Fresh flowers from the farmer's market
nice baths
a soak in the spa after water aerobics or sitting in the steam room
spending time outside and in the woods
sometimes doing outdoor work or something productive
at time running, working out

There are probably more but those are the top I can think of.

1 comment:

slowney said...

Rebecca, I will be thinking of you as you go thru this life changing surgery. You are brave to be open about your feelings.

Sending healing energy your way.

Hugs, Susan
one of your TSNW hiking buddys