Finally, when I'd gone in for yet another scope, I came to in a hospital bed, with a kind Asian Gastroenterologist explaining that the look-see had been impossible because my gut was about to rupture. It was decision time. Either take a chemo-type infusion treatment that would reoccur every six weeks for the rest of my life, or big, cut-and-paste surgery.
Being an old fashioned girl, I took "the knife." It's an awful phrase that smacks of melodrama, but there is a certain truth to it as well, because there are some glaring body-concept changes to face.
"Why?" I'd wondered to the surgeon. My husband was only three years past a colon cancer operation. The female surgeon just shrugged her white-coated shoulders and said we'd been hit by diseases common to people with our history. We'd lived for a decade in farmland Connecticut, drinking from a well. The old run-down house in which we lived sat amid fields of corn, tobacco, and potatoes, all of which require a lot of Ag-Chem. Cancer and immune diseases go with the territory.
Surgery left me with an ostomy, but freed me from the burden of all those ruined body parts. Once again, with a bit of strategy, I could travel, go out to eat, go to the movies, or even just out to the mall. I could ride my bike to the farmer’s market and load the bags with vegetables, or hop up onto the back of my husband’s motorcycle and go out to admire the rural
So, once more, there was hospitalization followed by a dreary, kick-the-drugs convalescence. I was crestfallen, scarred, and physically weak. It was far harder after that to imagine a nice seamless future.
The beauty of the right-now-moment--hearing the voice of a grandchild or an old friend, seeing the blood red just-bloomed Christmas amaryllis, or enjoying the pleasant sensation of a lean-against-my-leg-please-pat-me from a fluffy cat—must take precedence over all those middle of the night "what if's?"
Whatever it took to get to today, I’m thankful to have been given a little more time in which to celebrate the small shiny bits of life, those marvelous happenings of every day.
*R. Crumb's Mr. Natural
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