I’m a little blown away that we’re already half-way through 2018…it doesn’t seem possible, but here we are. Sometimes in the past, I’ve noticed how everything is moving so quickly it seems to go by in a blur. Not so, these past few months. I gained a new awareness that because of the medical/health drama we were taking part in, we were so focused on being present with one another, here and now, that everything else receded entirely into the background.
During the first couple months of the year, Jess was hospitalized 4 different times for a total of 22 days. We learned that bypass surgery has little to do with congestive heart failure, which requires learning to live with a chronic disease like diabetes…you always have it, but where on the scale of severity are you today? It means paying close attention to blood pressure and weight, recording them every day, AND registering their significance. Jess diligently recorded everything and just plain didn’t notice that he had gained 10 pounds in 10 days, which meant his lungs were filling with fluid again, which means intense diuretics to get rid of the excess. It also involves measuring how much liquid he’s drinking and his getting used to being thirsty most of the time.
At a certain point about midway through all this, I noticed that some of what I was doing - in terms of keeping everyday life more or less on an even keel - was asking myself, how will I feel if we never do this together again…what if this is the last time this or that happens…how will I feel about living alone, without this yummy partnership we’ve built around ourselves. It gave everything both heightened importance and no importance at the same time…odd to think about, and yet at some point we will reach that last milestone. Our mortality does have an expiration date, we do not know when…
Jess has lost more than 30 pounds, is doing regular cardiac rehab, and starting to feel really good. Which is phenomenal, although I did ask him to hurry it up a bit so I could schedule surgery to repair the 16-inch incisional hernia resulting from the abdominal/kidney surgery I had 2 years ago. More drama. Ultimately, none of the original internal sutures held over the two years and last month I had it all repaired. Tomorrow marks 4 weeks since the hernia surgery, and I feel pretty good, though it will still be some weeks before I can resume exercising. In the meantime, I’m relegated to the passenger seat with our stuffed moose - to keep the seatbelt away from my swollen belly and stitches.
I did have a cancer recurrence scare when my usual 6-month checkup revealed one of my bio markers had crossed the threshold of acceptability. After urgent PET CT and bone scans, my oncologist thinks the levels went up due to the stress of the hernia. We will retest in 3 months to be sure. Talk about life suddenly spinning out of control. Everything is fine, couldn’t be better according to the doctor, and then your bloodwork comes back from the lab indicating the cancer is back, but we don’t have a clue where.
“The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.” ~W. M. Lewis.
It does seem that by the time you reach our age, we are repeatedly reminded not to wait for that perfect time for anything because at some point we don't get it.
I'm learning more about my art, and from my art, every day. It's not so much a matter of skill or practice... mostly it's a shift in perspective, a way of shaping how I look at and exist in the world.
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