I’m not one to admit defeat, but this past week, it’s been the the theme.
For the past few years, I have been experiencing terrible pain in my stomach area. But, because I was so focused on other health issues (BRCA, mastectomy, etc), I pushed it aside and simply dealt with it when it happened. The pain only came a few times a year, but when it did, it was unbearable. Stubborn me, I meditated through it, curled up in a fetal position, and knew that the start at 3am would soon end around 7am. Just in time for me to put myself together, shower, and head to work.
The first few times it happened, Jorge and I figured it was a bad meal. Too many mixed packets of mayonaise+ketchup (oooh… delicious!). One time, Jorge left the house in the middle of the night in search of a 24 hour pharmacy where he came home with a bag full of antacids, Pepto Bismal, and heating pads. I would down them like a buffet, and within an hour, they would all end up in a toilet after a nauseous bout. The heating pads would turn cold long before they would provide relief.
“Maybe you should go to the emergency room,” Jorge would say. Every single time.
“I’ll get through it. I’ll get through it,” I managed to say, wincing and writhing with pain.
And, inevitably I would. Morning would come, and the pain would subside. And, I would be okay for a few more months.
In this year alone, however, those months turned to weeks. But I still never made anything of it. Even at my last physical just a month ago, when my doctor asked if I was having any health issues, I said, “Nope.” After all, I had a mastectomy. My Boston doctors were following my ovarian issues. So, no, I was all set.
“Oh, right, except for these stomach pains I get every once in a while. No big deal, I usually tough through them, but they are a pain (hahaha).”
An ultrasound and some blood work later …
I was diagnosed with gallstones. Those stomach pains were never going to to go away with some antacids. The pain was that a gallstone was getting stuck in the tiny canal that leads to my intestines.
I put that doctor’s visit aside and figured I’d schedule some exploratory appointments during the holiday breaks — a time when my schedule was less packed with school, dance classes, singing, work, life, etc.
But, my body had different plans.
On Friday, the familiar beginnings of those pains came on at 3:00am. This time, however, there was no meditation, prayer, or toughing it out.
I protested going to the emergency room, just like every other time before, but by 5:00am, I was nearly passing out from the pain. “It’s time to go, Liza. That’s it,” Jorge urged.
It was so bad that I agreed.
We had to coordinate getting the kids to my parents, and by the time I was ready to go to the hospital, I was begging for mercy. Sobbing. Wailing. Unable to even see clearly.
My surgery was scheduled for Tuesday, and I’m finally home and recovering. Though my scars and the healing process are nothing like my mastectomy, I am finding myself struggling emotionally with being cooped up and unable to pick up where I left off. My scars are small on the outside, but I’ve had to surrender to the fact that I can’t be at events at work, with the family, or even school.
That piece will be the most difficult part of my recovery.
I have had to surrender to others. To trust that others will do what they need to do. To trust that my body needs this time to heal, and that, yes, my mind will follow.
Once this recovery period passes, I will no longer be in physical pain from those attacks. However, to get there, I need to surrender to the emotional pain of just letting things go.
Peace, love, and getting by with a little help from everyone,