Are We Halfway There Yet? More about the alien in my body.

I’d rather be swinging in the hammock than talking about surgery with an oncologist. Or anyone else for that matter. Nevertheless, here we are.

Can I say I hate this? Because I hate this. But that feels ungrateful for all the things I’ve learned and the blessings I’ve found through this journey of cancer/not-cancer/let’s-just-be-sure-it’s-not-cancer, and I am very grateful for all of those things.

I have a history of medical trauma from childhood that showed me that even doctors are human and make mistakes, so I try to stay as far away from them as possible, professionally speaking, since their mistakes can have a big impact on my life. Which may or may not be logical behavior, but I think it is not without some reason. This does not mean I don’t appreciate medical expertise, but I also have a deep appreciation for the fragility of life and have learned through hard knocks that scientific and medical theory and practices are just that – THEORY and PRACTICE – and are continually being adjusted based on new information. I also dislike being the person who disproves a theory or a practice, since it’s happened more than once.

How then do I approach the idea of surgery? ? ?

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Last week I met with a gynecologist, Dr. Beard (not his real name), about all the things we know so far about the alien that has taken up residence in my pelvis. His conclusion is that it’s a fibroid that grew from some uterine tissue that likely remained from when I had my hysterectomy. Makes sense to me, based on other indicators after that surgery. He decided, after seeing all my past surgical scars and history, that it would be wise to bring in a gynecological oncologist to conduct this surgery. Her name is Dr. K.

Warning: to an oncologist, everything could be cancer.

-Me, Heather B.

I met with Dr. K this morning for a pre-surgical consultation. It went about as well as I thought it would, although not as great as I hoped. I still wish, against all that is natural and even helpful in their profession, that cancer doctors didn’t see everything as cancer, and then choose to be surprised when it’s not. Sometimes I just wish they would say, “Yeah, this is unlikely to be cancer, but let’s be careful anyway,” rather than the other way around, saying, “Yeah, there’s a chance this could be cancer, but if it’s not then great.” I recognize the irrationality of my wishing here, and that the difference is essentially immaterial, but… could we please foster HOPE?

I know. I don’t pay them to tell me only the good news I want to hear, but rather to be honest with me and tell me the information I need to know to make wise decisions for my future. Sigh. I still hate it.

I’m eternally grateful that I found a mental health counselor when I did. He helps me sort through all of this tumult in my head and find what matters most. He helps me to shore up my personal religious foundation and keep my head in a good place. He’s kind of like, if your bishop (or pastor, minister, etc) also was a licensed, certified, counselor, and actually had time to help you hash through all your hard, messy questions about life and religious/spiritual beliefs (because that’s not how it works in my church with a lay ministry).

Mr. Hot Stuff is also really good about helping me work through all the messiness of life – what more could I ask than to have a spouse who does that? But sometimes it’s nice to have someone who’s not in the thick of all this to help me weed-whack my way through it. I LOVE that Mr. Hot Stuff is not threatened by that and is 100% supportive of me seeing a counselor.

Lab tests, chest x-rays, EKG. That’s what Dr. K said I need to do next before surgery. I don’t want to. I want to run screaming as far away as I can. I want to hide from all things medical, and yell my rage against the machine that is MEDICINE.

I don’t like this road that I’m on. It looks hazy and there might be monsters. I know most of the monsters are in my own mind, but they are there in the mist nonetheless. I have an excellent imagination.

Worry is borrowing troublesome weeds from tomorrow and planting them today.

-Me, Heather B.

Jesus suffered alone in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, so that now, when I am faced with my fear, and fear of pain, and pain, I do not have to huddle in my garden alone. He is with me. He knows what I’m feeling. He knows my fear and doesn’t judge me for that. He kneels next to me and helps me to know that with him, I can walk the road ahead.

I love this song, “In the Garden,” by Charles A. Miles, and it’s sung by a lot of people, but I have discovered that almost no one ever sings the last verse:

I’d stay in the garden with Him,

Though the night around me be falling,

But He bids me go; through the voice of woe

His voice to me is calling.

In the Garden, Charles A. Miles, https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/In_the_Garden/

I do have to walk my own road in life, but I don’t have to walk it alone. I have family and friends, and even the prayers of people I’ve never met, but especially I have my savior, Jesus Christ. I could do none of this without him, but with him, I can do all that is required.

After much searching, I found someone who does sing the last verse.

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