April 23rd, 2010
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the things that scare you

A dear friend made me the badge above recently to protect me during minor eye surgery I had to remove a bump on my lower eyelid. It seems I will be wearing the badge on a full time basis at least for the time being. Unfortunately the test results revealed that the bump is cancerous, probably requiring further surgery in the near future (though I am still learning about all the details). It’s not a huge threat, as it is a very tame form of cancer, basically the best kind to have as it doesn’t often spread to other parts of the body. But it is still a shock and I am trying to process it. It is quite possible that they will be removing a portion of my lower eyelid and then rebuilding it later.

I think what was hardest was hearing the word cancer, which comes with a lot of baggage for me giving that my mother died of it so many years ago now. It is a word that I had to live with and feared for most of my childhood and so I only associate it with scary things. And it is scary to be sure. But I have had friends reminding me that this is most definitely NOT what my mother had. My husband read an account from a doctor which said the worry caused by this illness is inherently worse than the illness itself. Which is helping me to keep it all in perspective.

I will say right now that this is definitely serving to shake me up in a good way. Things come into focus very quickly, and though I have always lived in a very aware state, you get to see all of the things that aren’t serving you, things you can do without as well as what makes you feel good. I have never been really good at resting, in some ways it’s not as bad as it sounds given that my work really fulfills me and actually gives me energy (how lucky is that?). But this is giving me an opportunity to contemplate what rest means, and why it is important. And as is always the case with these things “what does living well mean for me?” “how does your environment impact your mental state?” “what do I define as a healing environment?” All good questions. Suffice to say the next year will bring some major life changes. And while it’s challenging, I am grateful for the lessons.

p.s. I apologize if you are close to me and you are hearing about this for the first time. I have been working on calling the people in my life, and then got tired from talking about it too much (after two days). There are times in life where one must balance reality with distractions. So I have been trying to do that a bit. And, this is not life threatening, so I did not want to freak people out when I call and say “I have cancer.” I have debated about writing about it here, but I am not the kind of person who can hide the large parts of myself. I don’t believe in sharing everything about my life, but this one of those big life situations which affect everything else.

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