I had no intention of taking such an extended blog hiatus. It just kind of happened. Not long after my last post, our family began an adventure that involved two motorcycles, one car, one Tilda Bear, 6000 miles on the road and a month in Wisconsin. We were away from home for nearly two months and then, after getting back and settled, I began a methodical, weeks-long health project. That's actually a frilly way of saying it was time for me to catch up on all the appointments that had become overdue in the midst of the move, having to find all new doctors and our cross country summer escapades. A few appointments were just regular check-ups and a few were made to address some problems I wasn't necessarily avoiding, but hadn't made a priority. Once I finally got myself in to see the appropriate doctors, no time was wasted to get the party started, and I had three outpatient surgeries in the space of four weeks. One was to correct a pinky finger that was broken last spring and didn't heal properly, the other was to remove a substantive area of skin cancer on my nose, which included reconstructive surgery. Bandages and needles and stitches, oh my!
Basal cell carcinoma has been in my vocabulary for about a dozen years now, and bi-annual visits to the dermatologist have been part of my regular medical routine for about five. In the world of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma is the fairly friendly type - it will do some damage but isn't super scary. Melanoma is the beast, but since it begins as something visible on the skin, I know that regular check-ups are my best preventative tool. I've had skin cancer cells - all basal cell - scraped off, frozen off and cut out, but this last procedure was a doozy in terms of invasiveness. I was certainly mindful of sun exposure before this, but now it's all hands on deck every time I go outside - big floppy hat, body lotion with sunscreen and SPF 40 on my face.
Between recovery time, medications and the anesthesia - not to mention being stitched and bandaged up - I have had to take my days very, very easy. I have had to literally move through the world more slowly and stay mindful of every physical action. One slight slip up and I'd be in agony, and because I can be a bit of an accident prone klutz in general, I stayed on high alert. Thankfully there weren't any missteps, and all is healing beautifully and peacefully. Stitches and bandages have been removed and I am finally beginning to feel my energy returning. Doctor appointments are fewer and farther between, and there have been no unpleasant surprises.
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Besides all this, what I really want to tell you is that even in the most difficult moments of everything, I felt overwhelming gratitude - for good doctors, kind nurses, clean rooms and the ability to address these issues. For a caring, patient husband and friends who made me laugh. What I really want to tell you is that by being forced to be so fully present in my body, I have been experiencing a level of awareness that feels outright divine. I have been a keen observer of all the ways I create my own internal suffering and all the ways I resist sinking in to what IS. What I really want to tell you is that all of these procedures, appointments and exams have given me one opportunity after another to sit still, pay attention to what my body needs and then simply honor it - to surrender, and to rest. What I really want to tell you is that, through all of my physical discomfort, I found a portal to an even deeper healing. When I gave in to what I needed in each moment and let go of unrealistic expectations of myself, I understood how easy it could be to show others the same level of compassion. When I chose to focus on all the reasons I had to be grateful for a pin in my pinky finger and a Frankenstein line of stitches along the side of my nose, I understood how easy it is to be madly in love with the world.
However passionately I've expressed the most important - and surprising - parts of this particular journey, I haven't done it justice. I think a big part of my resistance to sitting down and getting back to this blog had to do with wanting to find a way to adequately explain how soulful this entire process has been. Of course it has also been frustrating and draining and uncomfortable, but it is those experiences that enabled me to dive deep into these unchartered territories of my heart and mind, where certain Truths I've strived to understand for years came into much sharper focus.
What I really want to tell you is that I am grateful, and in that gratitude I am whole.