The clock pictured above is in my father’s living room. As a child, a comforting sound in the night was the tick tock of the clock punctuated with a chime every half hour. You could count the hours in the stillness of the night and like sheep, it would lull you back to sleep. He no longer winds the clock but the memory alone still gives me comfort.
As of today, I’ve gone exactly one year without any operations. Sure, I’ve had dull years like that before but never has it meant so much. When I was four I had my tonsils removed. Back then, I was so sick all of the time that I was elated when the operation was planned. I just about danced through the hospital entrance doors. The only thing that disturbed me about the procedure was waking up in a crib the next morning. My ego momentarily bruised. I whispered in a raspy voice, “Only babies need cribs and I am not a baby. Let’s go.” I hadn’t realized we were leaving anyway.
A year ago at this moment, I was having a hysterectomy. I had exactly one week to prepare and cried through most of it. I searched on the Internet for a “happily ever after” and all I came up with were stories of women who insisted they lost their essence, suffered hot flashing beyond control and had gained so much weight they were beyond recognition. It seems the majority of the reporting on the Internet is from the disgruntled. I’m happy to change that here and report it’s not that drastic. You get hot, you gain weight and you feel dryness but none of it unbearable and it is minimal. There’s a reason there aren’t a multitude of support groups for women who have had hysterectomy’s like there are for those who have had breast cancer – you don’t need them. There is the HysterSisters site http://www.hystersisters.com and I would tell anyone who has had a hysterectomy to go there. The information is sound and supportive.
One of the most important calls that came to me during that time was from Vita’s mother. It was just hours after hanging up from my gynecologist who told me I might have cancer. Crumpled on the couch, I was barely able to move as I had fallen into a deep and soulful mourning. It wasn’t my uterus but my life I cried for. Finding cancer the first time is horrible but the second time so close to the first, and my mother dying such a cruel death from it was more than I could bear. The phone rang and a little voice on the other end said in a thick Italian accent, “I’m still here. Don’t you worry, I’m still here.”
Mrs. M is a gladiator when it comes to fighting cancer. She is the first woman I have ever known who had breast cancer and that was 25 years ago. She has had quiet health times and then flare ups and continues to this day to fight the good fight. A few years ago she had a hysterectomy too. Her call pulled me out of my deep funk. “Don’t you worry, you get it cut out robotically and it will be a piece of cake. You’ll be up in 10 days.” She was right but the key to what she said was “robotically”. Robotic is less invasive than laparoscopic which is far better than cutting through stomach muscle. I was up in 10 days and in fact, lecturing to an unwitting crowd of 14 just 9 days after my operation. I was sore and told everyone that I had pulled my back. Not one caught on. A year later my yoga teacher refers to it as the lost operation. I keep forgetting it happened.
So, here I am marking my anniversary. I spoke with Colleen earlier who reminded me that it’s not uncommon for the year anniversary to leave you a bit shaky. “It gets easier with anniversaries two, three and four.” Deep down that’s all I want is one anniversary after the next with nothing major to note in between. I should tell you that they didn’t find cancer that time. Just cells misbehaving. I was told they were headed for no good and we caught it just in time. Time, I don’t ever want to rush it. Instead, I’d like to find comfort in it like the clock in my father’s living room. Measured with a constant tick tock and a celebration every half hour just want to make sure we make the most of every hour!