• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I took a shower yesterday. It was the first time this month!

EEEEYYYWWHHHUU!!! I think so too!

I took a shower yesterday, all by myself – ha – David, I think I have made it to age 2.  I am reclaiming responsibility for my body. And BTW I could hear you standing right outside the bathroom door – thank you – I don’t blame you one bit.  It must have been quite a shock at your age to become caregiver to a helpless infant.

Kind nurses and loving family have cleaned and bathed and showered me since 1 July when I arrived at the University of Washington Hospital for surgery.  I arrived knowing I was making choices that were best for my overall long term health and well being.  After seeking and considering much information, many opinions and consulting with many professionals, my family, AND asking God for guidance, that large ‘Atypical Lipoma’ was removed.

And that was all it was – an Atypical Lipoma – a very large painful lipoma but indeed, as expected, the pathology reports came back squeaky clean – no malignant tissue of any kind – and yes, the surgeon was able to remove all of it without damage to, or significant issues for,  other nearby bone and tissues. True, that did require a more extensive incision than expected (approximately 15 inches, instead of 4 or 5, along the inner thigh and crease of the leg  - and in a boomerang shape – 40 stitches in all) but there was unexpected involvement with that other tissue.  I told the surgeon to do whatever necessary to get it DONE.
He did. 

My mind and body, although well prepared and healthy otherwise took an unexpected hit 3 days in a hospital did not repair.  I could talk the talk and even walk for the occupational therapist (who said my occupation is self care) but that was it – going through habituated and expected or required motions.

I, the essence of the being I am, awoke from surgery wondering why I had let anyone do such things to my body.  Anger, frustration, and even hopeless fear swept apart the carefully constructed house of cards premeditated choices had built as involuntary physical mechanics ruled every moment for days.

It was not fun.  I think the anger of helplessness was the worst. It gave increasing fodder to the frustration and especially the doubt, as it fueled fear to implosions of paralyzing despair.

 A separation seemed to force its way between the ownership I (that part of me that is my mind and my spirit) have of my body (and its actions) and surrender its care and well being. Title to the property and all responsibility for anything to do with it was abandoned.

At my lowest moment, as dawn broke the second day revealing steady rain outside the large windows of the spacious private suite seeming to encompass my entire existence,
David said, “LOOK, a rainbow”. 

Outside my window, exactly where I could glance and immediately see it, brilliant colors shimmered through sparkling raindrops in vibrant contrast to leaden gray.  I briefly wondered where the light was from as no apparent sun broke apart masses of clouds there and rain still flicked droplets against the exterior glass – briefly because those involuntary body mechanics still governed every instant for me and my caregivers. The rainbow itself appeared to BE the light. 

The only picture of that very personal and fleeting rainbow is etched not only onto my mind but also into me, the essence of what I am.  I suppose it may also be imprinted thus for David.  I hope it preeminently upstages other unpleasant images.

I began to improve from that moment.  I didn’t even know it yet, but hindsight reveals that moment as the dawning of renewed hope sufficient to begin a process to eventually cast out doubt AND fear.

A similar picture taken a few years ago
- except I was standing in the sunshine when I clicked that shutter

I will keep working on my anger. It is a terrible and confusing companion.  I suppose it too must be cast out. So why do I coddle and cuddle it like a favorite sin? Or is it even anger? Drugs  - even long after they stop being injected or ingested – can change the way our physical mind processes thought.  Regaining the ability to coordinate the physical mind with the nebulous existential being that I am is as difficult as regaining control over other involuntary physical functions.

Meanwhile I will just accept the rainbow – a token and symbol from God to man – to ME - of promise, encouragement and hope.  A token that I am never alone - none of us are - ever. God, our loving father, is always near, ready and willing for us to take his hand and accept his reassurance and loving help. We only have to desire his love and help; accept it - instead of stubbornly refuse

Too often I do that - refuse to accept blessings and let hurt and pride close off promptings or possibilities. It can be so difficult to see beyond my physical experiences and senses. I appreciated Nancy's comment about seeing beyond this existence. 

And I also plan to stay mad enough at everyone and everything to take a shower, among other things – all by myself! At least for now - until I figure out how to do it in a better way.