Monday, December 23, 2013

Foot Surgery - JoAnn, 73

The days seem to pass so quickly.  It was months ago when I reluctantly visited the orthopedic surgeon knowing that the diagnosis would be urgently needed foot surgery.  My anxiety level seems to be rising in partnership with the daylight each morning as I stumble out of bed.  The single and most prominent thought in my head--surgery! 

Each morning the fear feels more intense and "in your face" than the day before.  Each morning brings chills up and down my spine, not from the cold November air, but from the fear lurking somewhere inside my brain.  Many times during the day, I have to remind myself, "Quit harassing yourself with negative thoughts.  This is not major surgery."  "In fact, you'll be home the same day," I say.  I add, "It's outpatient surgery."  No body parts will be left in the hospital incinerator, they will only be adjusted and improved like an old car getting a tune-up or oil change at your local garage.  These positive thoughts only seem to last for a short time, like an ice cream cone on a hot summer day.  Day after day I feel myself sinking back into that dark, miserable hole where only thoughts of doom and gloom exist.

Then one morning last week, as I was having my morning coffee and browsing through emails and Facebook, I saw a photo of a little boy, kneeling in prayer.  He looked to be around three- or four-years-old.  The caption on the photo read:

On Friday I will be traveling to Columbia Children's Hospital in NYC to make sure I am still cancer free.  I will have blood work drawn, a sonogram, and a chest X-ray.  Even though it sometimes is scary, I am strong and brave.  I am stronger than cancer will ever be!  Please pray for my healing.
That was it.  Almost instantly, my attitude changed, and O assumed a newly awakened perspective.  I felt like a soldier, who was suddenly called to attention.  I can still envision that little head bowed in prayer that made me step back, away from the doom and gloom that I, myself, created and look at another human being, who was suffering much more than I could every imagine.

This was a child who was facing a bigger demon, called cancer, that was hiding in the darkness, and he was confronting it head on.  And, not so surprisingly, it took a 3- or 4-year-old to move me out of that tormented state of self pity and fear to see beyond.  Does the surgery scare me now?  Not really, it's just minor surgery that hundreds of people have performed every day.  Am I concerned?  Yes, but more so about that little boy who is fighting a battle bigger than mine.

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