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Monday, May 18, 2015

Just being real, Y'all.

Just being real Y'all.  We human beans are an amazing bunch.  We are capable of incredible latitudes in virtually any direction imaginable.  It is possible for us, if we choose, to stop our lives and turn on a dime, as the saying goes. That is what I have chosen to tell you about in this blog because it has happened to me.   

As many of you know, I was recently diagnosed with colorectal cancer.  I was hospitalized for surgery almost instantly and remained so for twenty days.  I had never in my life been hospitalized.  No surgeries or major illnesses had crossed my path.  Had a bad case of the flu once.  Early that morning I found myself on a gurney being wheeled into an operating room.  As I stared at the overhead lights and looked at the masked faces surrounding me the thought occurred to me that this might be the last image I would ever see.  That I might die.  What do I do?   What do I say?  I said a short prayer and thought how I've had almost 62 years of almost perfect health, more than many have experienced.  I've had great friends and loved my work.  I've had plenty, thank you.

In Hospital for beginning of first chemotherapy session with my Mandarin CD ready to keep me company.

I was as surprised as I could be when I opened my eyes just a crack and realized that I was still alive and seeing the faces of people!  I was in a room looking directly into the face of my sister Ruby and surrounded by her husband Harry and Karen.  Then, I was told that when I began waking up after surgery I had been speaking in Mandarin!  Learning Mandarin has been a personal challenge of mine, but never did I think that I would start jabbering in Mandarin while in the fog of unconsciousness!

Wearing first portable chemo. bag and mowing.
But wait, there's more!  As my mind was growing less and less foggy, I realized that there was something under my hospital gown.  You know, those cloth things with the opening down the back!  Well, when I looked under the gown, I saw that I now had an ileostomy!  I remember the moment well.  This is what it is, I thought.  I'm still alive so this thing on my abdomen, while surprising, must be essential and therefore not a big deal. 

Wearing first portable chemo. bag and working in garden.

The point is that for me, life stopped and turned on that proverbial dime when I went into surgery.  I could have chosen to fight the situation and not accept the changes that came that day, or I could decide to accept that I was no longer in control and go with the changes.  That acceptance was made somewhat more easily achieved by the wonderful, caring staff in that hospital.  Through their compassion and professional skills they earned my complete trust as I struggled to adjust and get better.  That trust allowed me to calm my fears and to become an active participant on my own get-well team.