"Lash Yourself to the Mast & Hang On..."
Hey friends! I’m back from my brief journey into the underworld, and wanted to take a moment to check in... Tuesday went as well as it possibly could; the folks at Mission Hospital were so incredible; I have a phobia of hospitals, and have embraced the old school mentality that they are the place where people go to die...not the best mindset to walk in with, I know! But I no longer feel that way. I felt so cared for from the moment we entered the space.
The nurses were incredible: Margaret, the sturdy older woman who wheeled me away in tears from Madison, and read over me as I went in and reemerged from the underworld, the words I had written out, blessings for me on my brief trip through Hades in the operating room, calling me back to my body. She even looked away as I hid the prayer mala in my hand that my platonic hubby Devin put around my neck ceremonially the night before (I won’t tell you too much about Shabooty, the chicken who was involved in that ceremony; but it was profoundly beautiful to be initiated in such a deep way); that mala was what called me back to my body while swimming in the murky depths of the River Styx, after being under for 5 hours.
Upon awakening, I asked what time it was; the nurse responded “It’s 4:20, honey.” I giggled. She giggled, too, understanding the humor. This was my first reawakening experience: laughter. I was then brought to my 9th story penthouse, facing west at 5:30 PM, the room flooded with a glorious sunset and a million dollar view of the mountains in all their glory, bathed in golden delicious light, my bed covered in the blankets that were so lovingly crafted for me by friends, woven with prayers of healing, and flowers from my beloveds, and the face of my dear sweet sister wifey, without whom I do not know how I would have gotten through this all. One of the nurses was moved to tears by the palatable love that emanated from the energy in the room.
I could go on and on with my experiences: nurse Taylor, who sang Lizzo with us, let me burn a candle for an hour to reconnect with fire, let Maddie stay an extra hour (while we re-pierced my nose cuz it had started to close up after removing my hoop for 12 hours!); the 2 Hannah’s who were competent rays of sunshine and care, and let me jailbreak ever so briefly to see my mom & kids downstairs! And the lovely woman who found me a tea bag, (because I am apparently the only person in the hospital who doesn’t drink coffee!).
I came home Wednesday afternoon, and was greeted by delicious food from beloved friends, more beautiful flowers...and I have been bathed in love since then: foot rubs and crosswords books, more flowers & amazing food, including individually bedazzled sandwiches! Chocolate, neck rubs...so much love!
I cannot speak enough to the tender loving care that Madison has poured out upon me. Getting up at 3 am to give me meds; caring for my body with such skill and grace: dressing my wounds, charting my meds, cleaning my drains, managing food, fire, kids, farm...even creating an elaborate system to allow me to bathe off the sterility of the hospital, and reinhabit my own flora, my body, my self. I am forever indebted to her.
The pain is real; the grief is real. The incredible frustration over my physical limitations is so fucking real (two weeks of T-Rex arms...and a lot of PT after that…). But so are the simple pleasures: finally pooping! My children’s relieved smiles when I got home. My cat purring in my lap right now as I type. The many colors of flowers; the lengthening daylight. The road to recovery is long and arduous. I am grateful to my friend and therapist who is helping me navigate this time of transformation with more grace than I could possibly muster on my own. I am also working through years of hurt with my father, and he is calling me now regularly, and we are mending and making a relationship that feels authentic and safe.
As for the logistics: things went well. The operation was a success. Reconstruction has begun. We are waiting pathology reports to determine if the lymph is clear; to determine if radiation/chemo will be recommended…to determine the next steps. Physical therapy and rest...so much rest.
Some folks have tried to tell me what a blessing cancer is; fuck that, and fuck cancer. It is not a blessing. It is a manifestation of the wounds and sickness that we bratty humans are inflicting upon our great mother, Earth. But the ways in which we show up for each other and validate our human experience, and love one another; these are the blessings. And the way that grief is a crack in the dark corners of my being, that upon opening, let in healing rays of the sun's warming light to find the hidden thorns festering in the shadows of my heart, offering the opportunity to pluck them out, and allow healing to begin; this is a blessing. Discovering that I really am not alone, but deeply held and supported...that is a blessing. Thank you family, community, spirit for the many blessings that are raining down upon me. I know that I am truly held; truly seen; truly valuable. I know that I am truly loved.
Keep up your prayers; donate when you can; local friends, reach out for the Meal Train link...keep sending love...you all are my strength...love & gratitude. M
An avid & sometimes obsessed & sometimes nomadic & always wild fermenter & culture shifter...find her scampering in a forest near you!