There are moments in life when a line is drawn. Moments that have a very distinct before and after, and that completely change the course of our lives. Most days life is a blur of tiny changes, growth, and gradual movement from one phase to the next until suddenly we look down and realize our baby is a toddler, running after the big kids and saying more words than we can count. When did that happen, we wonder? But throughout our lives there are also momentous occasions that very dramatically mark the start of something new. High school and college graduation, marriage, moving, job changes, the birth of a child…each of these things draws a line between the before and after. Some are joyous, others not so much. If you’re lucky you see them coming and get a little time to prepare.
Tomorrow is one of those days for me. Today, I was me — wife, mama, website & graphic designer — and tomorrow I will still be all those things, but I will take on the new identity of patient. Tomorrow, I will fast, don a hospital gown, lay down on a surgical table and close my eyes. Tomorrow I will find out if I have cancer.
I’ve known this day was coming for a couple of weeks. I’ve been trying my best to be nonchalant about it, thinking that if I do not display anxiety, it will not appear. I’ve been meditating for a few minutes each night on calm and healing images, and working on not worrying. So far, I have done pretty well at keeping the negative away. Going into each on my daughters’ births, I was positive and optimistic. Each time, I believed that I would have a good outcome and, indeed, I had two phenomenal outcomes. I want to bring that energy to the operating table with me tomorrow. Tomorrow may very well bring me less than happy news, but I don’t want to worry about that if I don’t have to. I’m thinking positive.
I’m thinking positive, but I do have doubts. I’ve never had surgery before, so it would be disingenuous to pretend that I’m not a little bit scared. I am scared.
I’m nervous about the anesthesia: how it will make me feel, how long my body will react to it, and tiny ridiculous notions like “What if I don’t wake up?” have crossed my mind.
I’m worried about the recovery: what pain might be there and how long it will last; if I can make it without taking prescription pain meds; how long it will be until I am back to myself; how this will impact Nora and Zara.
I’m afraid of the possibility of a worse case scenario. My rational mind says this is not the worst kind of cancer a person can have. It is 100% treatable; I have friends who have fought and beat way worse diseases. But my heart tears up at the mere thought of the tiny possibility of needing a treatment that would take me away from my girls or take my weaning decision away from me. I have to channel positive, because anything else is terrifying.
Today, I had a to-do list a mile long. Work, cleaning, errands: all to get ready for tomorrow’s surgery, in anticipation of at least a few days when I can’t manage my normal routine of doing way too many things all at once. It sort of felt like getting ready to have a baby, only without all the excitement and anticipation. (So a lot less fun, but still very full of details and checklists and running around from one thing to the next.) I didn’t get it all done, of course, and there’s still more to do tomorrow before my afternoon surgery. I know that sounds incredibly crazy, but this is how I cope. I stay busy, I get things done, and I try not to think about the fact that I’m about to step over the line from today to a completely different life tomorrow. It’s much easier to stay positive when I’m not sitting idly with my thoughts.
My dad came into town today and Chris got back from his epic business trip yesterday, so I’ll have lots of support over this weekend. I’ll check back in here soon, most likely to report on how silly and overly dramatic this blog post was, and how I went mountain climbing the day after surgery (or something). This line I’m crossing is not going to be anything at all, because I won’t let be anything — except for maybe an excuse to give myself a mini-vacation.