In my previous blog, I had written about being diagnosed with severe anemia resulting in the need for an immediate transfusion. I had also mentioned that I was scheduled for several medical procedures to figure out the cause of the anemia. A colonoscopy and endoscopy were performed. The results were not what I expected. I was informed by the doctor that I had an adenocarcinoma in my large intestines. That is a type of cancer that forms in the glandular tissue, which lines certain internal organs and makes and releases substances in the body, such as mucus, digestive juices, and other fluids.
The physician who performed the procedure called me in the early evening to inform me of the results and what the recommended next steps were. I hung up from the call in a state of disbelief. I had the “C” word. Cancer was a disease other people got. Not me. Apparently, I was mistaken in my misinformed assumption.
In the next few days all I could feel was intermittent waves of fear and anxiety. Those feelings would alternate with a state of deep sadness. Underlying all that was a sense of fundamental unfairness. I did not deserve this. This was an illness that should not have touched my life. The feeling of fight or flight became very real and very present.
In the midst of taking all this in, I recognized that in many ways I am a lucky man. I have a community of friends who I could turn to for support. My partner assured me with her love and a response of “we got this”. My daughter was ready to fly out from NJ to help in any way needed.
After some intensive self-care I could feel my nervous system calm down. I began to reconnect to a deeper sense of being. A space that allowed me to experience what was happening to me with some perspective and clarity. There were moments where the panic subsided, and I could feel the loving presence of the life I was gifted.
I definitely do not want to turn this experience into wishful thinking. It is easy for my mind to come up with a million iterations of what I should have or could have done differently. I find that in the quiet moments of my life I can connect to a deep-seated knowing of acceptance. In that state of knowing, the voice of doubt becomes quiet.
I was left pondering how can I find a deep-rooted sense of being when facing uncertainty and the possibility of my pending mortality? For me it’s not about hope. I find hope projects some outcome into the future that might or might not happen. There is only the present moment. I find the present moment contains all possible outcomes. I can only move towards and believe in my own health and healing.
I deeply resonate with an article written by Alex Pattakos Ph.D. The article is entitled “The Meaning of Life”. In it he states, “Above all else, the human quest for meaning is grounded in awareness. It has been said that “it is more important to be aware than it is to be smart.” To be aware is to know meaning. To be aware takes time and effort. Nobody can determine meaning for someone else; detecting the meaning of life’s moments is an individual pursuit and responsibility.”
I am optimistic for the resolution of whatever this thing is growing in my body. Having said that I am prepared to face my mortality. Although I would be deeply saddened at the prospect of no longer experiencing the love of my daughters and granddaughters or feeling the press of my partners body or the taste of any everything bagel with lox, I know that I am prepared to let go into the deep and infinite well of the mystery that lives all things.
Amidst the chaos and uncertainty of life, I remain open to Grace and the gift of my life.
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