Monday, June 27, 2011

The Reality of Surgery

I know I’m headed to surgery, have known it for weeks. But it gets a little more real when I have to stop taking my fish oil and Vitamin E supplements a week before the event, a date I’ve reached. Any anti-inflammatory OTC meds are verboten as well, but I don’t keep a stock of “pain relievers.” I’ve learned to live with a bit of pain and to treat it with fresh air and walks, with massage, reiki, and acupuncture.
My pre-surgical instructions, along with the usual ban on eating or drinking after midnight the night before surgery, also call for stopping over-the-counter herbal supplements. That means, I suppose, no cinnamon (to regulate blood sugar) or red yeast rice (to help with my tending-toward-high blood pressure). I’m a little confused about this, so am taking a week off from all the vitamins and supplements I take.
But I really know I’m going to surgery when I start dreaming about it, as I did recently. In that dream, surgery was canceled, though I showed up, which is when I found out that my doctor had decided to deal with the tumors in his office, one per visit, one visit per week. This would stretch my dealings with him to seven or eight weeks, which angered me in the dream. Not because he’s a bad guy, but because of what it would cost.
Maybe that was the crux of the issue. I’ve received estimated bills for his services, as well as bills for the last two office visits. I do have insurance, albeit with a high deductible I’ll be able to meet. I still have a 20 percent co-pay, however, and that gets pricey. Bye-bye summer vacation.
That’s what I resent—along with the lack of ever being free of the disease— the feeling of being unable to count on discretionary funds again. They will all go to the good people keeping me alive.
Last night I ran into a nice man I rarely see, and the first thing he said was, “I haven’t seen you in awhile. Did you beat the cancer?”
I try not to be bitter, but I heard myself say, “You don’t beat cancer. It beats you.” I truly believe that, not only because I’ve had so many friends die of it, but also because it’s a wearing-out disease. Having cancer places an enormous emotional stress on us, and it’s not easy to share that burden. Our loved ones have their own burdens of “What if I lost her/him?” or “How can I help?” We don’t want to talk to strangers about it. Most people who haven’t had cancer don’t really get what it means. So we join support groups or go to counseling or seek spiritual direction, all of which can help. But in the reality of Dream Time, we know the reality that surgery is coming soon.

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