Although there was never a doubt that I have no control of this journey, the vulnerability of surgery and the necessity of surrendering myself drives this point home. I was especially nervous about the procedures before the surgery and was counting on getting through it with the help of a little “I don’t care medicine” (so much for being present right?). However, in spite of my plans, that was not to be and I am grateful now that I got through each moment with a clear head – just by being present, every second, every moment.
“May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.”
– John O’Donahue
The surgery went well and no lymph nodes were taken. The radioactive material did not highlight any specific lymph nodes, something the surgeon explained was a possibility. Based on the low grade of DCIS, we decided that randomly removing lymph nodes carried more risk than benefit. Pathology results should be back by the beginning of next week and we meet with the oncologist the 29th to come up with our next plan regarding treatment.
The poet, Rumi, suggests that people are like a house and we should welcome every visitor; joy, happiness, despair and suffering. Not only welcome every visitor, even a “crowd of sorrows,” but welcome them with laughter. I am trying to welcome every guest.
Maya Angelou was interviewed once and she explained that when she is faced with challenges she gathers all the people she needs for support – those living and those who have passed on. She tells them, “Come on, I need you right now so get behind me.” I am so grateful for the support and love from family, friends and strangers too. Thank you to each of you for the cards, texts, emails – for all the gifts, surprises, meals, hugs, touches and prayers. I knew on Wednesday how many people were thinking of me and praying for me and so I gathered each of you around me for strength. Thank you.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks