Being

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Gift

May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

Saint Terese of Liseaux

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All Clear!

I love that there have been so many Atlantic poppies in the garden this year, that the seed heads are as lovely as the flowers, that there will likely be that many more this summer. Summer, who is super early or maybe just delivering the biggest Portland sneak peek I can ever recall. I also love that, while attempting to take this photo with my own hand, the hubster jumped in to offer his own. He’s cool like that.

Now, for my last endometriosis related post for a while. I had my final appointment with my specialist and was, ever so gratefully, given the all clear. No more waiting to exercise more vigorously than a walk. No more hollering for help whenever I need to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. No more waiting for a bath! I am a soak in the tub not sing in the shower kind of gal, and seven weeks of lathering while standing was frustrating and depressing. My systems are for lying down on the job: scrubbing, shaving, conditioning, letting the face mask dry. Boy is it good to be back.

But wait, there’s more! I guess I should have warned you first.

I am also going to tell you about my fab specialist, because everyone who does a fine job deserves a shout-out, I think. My former superstar endometriosis doctor left the business a couple of years after my surgery, but I was very lucky to find Dr. Brendan Carroll after learning about the DaVinci Robot (that’s even him using it!) and deciding I wanted someone to use it on me.

And for those who might do a double take at the thought of having a male doctor as a gynecological specialist, let me assure you that Dr. Carroll is the tops! Way better than the highly rated woman who treated me some seven years ago, before I got decent help. When I described my pain to her, how it felt like I was sitting on a railroad spike all the time, she replied, “You just need to learn to relax.” So, I went home, humiliated, thinking that it was in my head, when, as I would discover later, it was real and generated by my uterus being attached via adhesions to my bowel. Food for thought.

And what really sold me on Dr. Carroll was the fact that, when I mentioned my high tolerance for pain, he, in his kind voice, said, “But you don’t have to. We can make you feel better.” Gosh. I don’t have to be in pain. I don’t have to lie stoically on the sofa, not crying or uttering a word while my insides are yanked like taffy.

There is something curious about it, this sitting with pain. For me, it was not suffering, not quite. Yes, it hurt like the dickens. Oh bother, did it ever. But the reason it was not suffering, the reason for my high tolerance for it,┬áthat was in my head. Chronic pain cannot be escaped. There is no easy button or emergency hatch. It is there, morning, noon, night; bright, sunny days; through holidays (Christmas!) and vacations (France! New Mexico! New York City!). A permanent resident. So, I realized that I had a choice. I could be that gloomy and sad woman who wouldn’t let a single soul forget she is always in pain, or I could be me: silly, quick to laughter, adventurous, gregarious, slightly mischievous and unpredictable. Me, immensely more fun, hilarious even. I chose me. I like her best. More food for thought.

Sometimes I wonder about that, too, whether if I cried it would have taken so long to get my diagnosis. Someone so kindly and cheerful cannot possibly be in the pain she’s describing. A person must be doubled over and weeping, maybe with a side of histrionics. It’s not like I was asking for drugs, either. Save the ibuprofen I swallowed in massive doses from time to time (usually to little or no result), I was weary of them, what they would do do my already precarious health.

So, thank you Dr. Carroll, for being the kind of doctor who recognizes pain, even if the patient is laughing through it. You do great work!

 

 

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Measure

I’ve been thinking a lot about success lately, and how to measure it. As is my wont, I vacillate between opposing poles, one moment intensely satisfied with my lot, and then, quite dreadfully, woefully disappointed by it. You do know that I’m a Gemini, right?

On the plus side, I have a successful marriage with the most stellar man I have ever known. We love each other kindly and profoundly. We rarely argue. We enjoy life, the loud spacious laughter, the soft quiet, the hours and days together and apart. It is all GOOD.

We bought this house together, shabby, peeling paint, flea ridden, dead car in the back and a garden with more weeds than any other growing thing. Now it is lovely and fine, each room its own special place, comfortable, welcoming; full of love and awe and beauty, with the sound of birdsong in the air. It is HOME.

I am healthy. My body is s t r o n g. I can speak two languages, almost three (Yes, oui, si!). My friends are the best, kindest, and brightest. I am a good cook and have a mostly green thumb. My love for this universe and her occupants is ENORMOUS.

And then, there are the moments where I cannot measure my success at all. My stories and poems go unread. My drawings are worthless scribbles. And financially, independently, well, I could not, at present, survive. Quite perplexed, I ask, “Where did I go wrong?” I do good work. I joyously sweat and toil at what I love. I want more for myself, to know I could survive by my own means. I wait for my time. Perhaps my train is slow to arrive, last to the station after an interminable day? Or maybe, like this quotation that so often floats about in my mind, it is never meant to come, and I must appreciate the work and my passion for it for its own sake. Not always easy. Sometimes plain WRETCHED.

I have no answers, but I plod forward, sometimes even skip(!), with as much grace and patience as I can muster.

Pink

Pretty Pink Peonies.

One vase, three exposures, kind of like life.

How others see us.

How we see ourselves.

How we truly are.

I’m not sure which I care to be, though I suppose I am all three.

Loss

It is spring, truly, with the whole of Portland dressed in dewy emerald and swaths of effervescent flowers, all happiness and wonder and so very much pink. All is happening under spectacularly swift skies, rolling and roiling with clouds one minute and bright beams of sun the next.

I watch from the window mostly, bound to my bed. The pain is easier now, eleven days post surgery, but it is still wholly present, a dull, quiet insistence. It is bossy, too, and gives directions. I may not move too quickly, nor may I stretch, nor lie on my side with the hubster spooned to my back. Simple pleasure, that, but I must wait for it. I am patient. So we kiss and lace our fingers together and press our limbs in parallel. I smell the sweetness of his beard. I smooth his hair when I cannot sleep.

And I ponder this body of mine. It is not perfect. It does what it pleases, despite my occasional pleading, diligent exercising, and imperfect efforts to eat wisely and healthfully. Gratefully, I no longer blame myself for all that has happened, for all that is wrong, for all that I cannot change. But there are times when I see a pregnant woman, a wee babe in someone’s arms, or, better yet, smell that sweet baby scent, and I crumple a little inside. My body, and her organs of femaleness, could never make this wonder that is life, heart pumping, with fingers and toes and silky soft skin. I didn’t ever want a child or to be a mother but did want to know that I could. To feel that the choice was mine. The loss is acute, but luckily, the pain waxes and wanes.

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