Next Tuesday I’m set for surgery. A complete hysterectomy.
And what I’m feeling is paradoxical. I feel both fear and trust. Both swirl in my thoughts and feelings.
How to be present to that?
I know that being present is essential.
The last big surgery I had was a little over five years ago, a lumpectomy to remove cancer in my breast. Back then, I wasn’t present much at all.
I was too scared. I was terrified of cancer and the cancer journey of chemo and surgery and more chemo and finally radiation.
But that was five years ago. And now, five years later, I’m more able to be present, to be more mindful as I approach surgery.
Cancer could be a part of this experience. The doctor will find out during surgery, and that finding will determine the course of any potential treatment. I could have uterine cancer, so nuclear medicine will light up the sentinel nodes for removal. Then pathology will tell whether I will need radiation and which approach.
I’m not feeling that there is cancer – or if there is, it has not spread. That’s what my intuition says. So I’m not as scared as I could be. As I was when I knew I had cancer. I see this surgery as more preventative than for cancer-removal.
But still I feel fear.
And at the same time I trust that I’m on the right path. My arrival with this doctor and this surgery seems fated, feels like guidance (see my last post for that story).
So what I try to do today is be present to both fear and trust.
I trust my doctor and surgical staff and the hospital for a good procedure. I trust the robotic equipment to allow for minimal invasion and accurate performance. I trust my sister to provide good care for me when I come home. I trust my body to repair itself after surgery, to heal incisions and all surgery wounds and to help my lymph nodes shift their responsibility to take up the work of the removed nodes. I trust the energy of prayers and good thoughts that friends and family will send to me before, during, and after surgery. I trust the Healer that complete healing is available and possible – and probable.
I trust that I can be present with my fear as it ebbs and flows these next several days before surgery.
I will try to be mindful of the present, of what each day offers in its own way.
Sometimes a challenge like this is a blessing because it focuses me on what I find essential in this short life. Kindness and love. Friends and family. Appreciation, gratitude, and yes, trust.
It can be a blessing to remember how limited this body is but also what a miracle it is. I will take extra care with it these next weeks. It will remind me that I am present in a very physical, incarnational world.
So, as always, I will breathe in and out.
But I will try to be more aware of that.
That in and out will continue as I feel both fear and trust.
That in and out will continue as I notice the clear sky today, the cats napping, the birdcalls in the distance.
I will deal with surgery on its day. And with recovery on those days.
Today I have today’s thoughts and feelings. Fear and trust and all the other feelings that come with today.
I will try to be present with them.
I will try to be present with each now . . .
and the blessings and challenges within it.