Carcinoid tumor, on purpose, self image, space, wellness

On Purpose.

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.

 

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3 thoughts on “On Purpose.

  1. Renee Crooks says:

    Happy 60th Birthday, Alex! I’m wishing you your best year yet—a year filled with much love, good health, and many new adventures.
    I loved meeting you at the winery concert a couple of weeks ago. It’s been a joy to read your blog.
    I hope you’re celebrated all day long! Happy Birthday 🎉
    Sincerely, Renee

    Like

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