Yesterday, I went to an appointment that was actually scheduled for today.
I have misplaced my favorite glasses.
And I probably forgot your birthday last summer.
This has been my new normal over the last seventeen months. I hardly recognize myself or this tendency to lose stuff. I have been pulling the blankets around me, physically and emotionally, at the expense of the every day. Closing my eyes, overwhelmed by the after-effect of three rounds of surgery, the fluctuating test results, the pains that wake me in the night, the deadlines and word counts I can’t measure up to, the waistbands that cut over my incision areas and the bottomed-out exhaustion of lying awake all night while this movie reel spins ’round and ’round and ’round.
And then, I had enough of letting things happen to me and nothing being done on purpose.
I got up and began a purge, inside and out.
First, at the Seattle Nest; I threw away any paper I had not touched, filed or looked at twice in the last year. That freed up three baskets. Then I gave two of those baskets to Goodwill. I gave most of my clothes away. I kept only the shoes that made me smile. There is now a 1000 piece puzzle on a table in the middle of my living room space replacing books on writing. There is so much yarn. Fiction waits by my bed. I forgave myself the preferred diet of dairy, toast and fruit and went to the store for more cheese.
Then, inside: I had not been following my own cardinal rule — information is power — instead, I had been cringing away from the real time of my diagnosis, wrapping myself up in fear, lying awake to be sandy-eyed and worn out by daybreak, cowed by every pain and the bottomless fatigue. And pissed at myself, fully aware of this self-defeating cycle of fear=exhaustion=anxiety=more fears.
So last week I opened the hospital app, put in the passwords and read my medical reports online out loud for the first time. Did not wait for someone to tell me the results. I read them over and over, letting the now be all mine. Here is what I owned, here is what I said out loud,
I had a carcinoid tumor in my appendix, colon re-sectioning then a sick gall bladder over a twelve month period of time. That is a lot of surgery.
I may have more cancer.
But today? I feel just fine.
And remarkably, I felt better. I wrote 758 words that rocked. After a good cry, I slept my first solid sleep in a very, very long time and woke up to a magnificent morning.
Shelf space=heart space=real space.
In less than ten days I will kick the 50’s out the door and welcome in my next decade with open arms. I say bring it on, whatever I need to know and do, make me safe — whatever it takes — so I can stick around a little longer to stomp my footprint a bit deeper into the earth.
I am not sorry about the birthdays, the glasses or the appointments. People that care about me will not care about my failings and stick around. Appointments can be rebooked. I have ordered a stretchy skirt. And I have been longing for a pair of cherry red glasses, anyways.
This morning the September sun beats down on me, the crow with a white feather chortles to me from the railing, begging shamelessly for more dog treats. The sky is brilliant. I feel on purpose today.
I am still here.