TRUST 101: Initial Lessons, part 1


I admitted in my first post of the year–The Beginning of a New Year as a Writer and a Storyteller— that I can become quite paralyzed at the thought of sharing  things that scare the hell out of me.

I do not always TRUST myself…or others.

In the case of my writing about my emotions and sharing them with the world, I have exercised avoidance and denial with the fervor of a bodybuilder preparing for a competition.

Yesterday, I made a commitment as I revised the page, “About the Author” , that I would start sharing my story.  So, today I looked through some of my scribblings from this past year.

I did not fail to write. I simply feared sharing the emotions.

The jumble of ideas.  The uncertainties.  The feelings of being out-of-control.

Over the next several months, I will revisit 2012 and some of the things that have transpired.   Because I will not follow a specific timeline, you may have to put some of the pieces together later, if chronology is important to you. But as chronological resumes are not my favorite way to tell my employment story, I’ll approach other parts of my story from what I believe is important for me to share with my readers, rather than a chronology.

So, let me take you back…as I share part one of a two-part lesson on  TRUST 101

It was June 2, 2012…

The last week has been, yet another, whirlwind week of my life.  Not that I ever remember many times in my life being less than eventful…chaotic…downright “nutty.”

Sometimes, I wonder if I attract these storms.

I recognize through this particular whirlwind, there seems to be a recurrent lesson surrounding “TRUST.”

A recap of just a few things that transpired this week–

  1. Began to give myself injections
  2. Had two major meltdowns with two different medical doctors at two different facilities
  3. Needed to turn over more workshops this month (all total six), which means “no-work-no-pay”
  4. Reconnected (twice) with a friend from the Navy, after 12 years of anger, rejection and separation
  5. Discovered that another friend of 12 years, with whom I had been corresponding and recently met, has kept several secrets from me
  6. Learned about love, grace, hope, and forgiveness in very real ways

Needles

Oh!  How I hate them!  Yet, I must start a regimen of three-times-a-day injections of octreotide, which is a growth hormone inhibitor to help with some of the GI symptoms I have.

I get the heebie-jeebies each time I have to invade my body with a needle, but I am trying to approach this as “stickin’ it to the Em!”  (For those who don’t know, I call cancer a “Monster,” usually prefacing it with “F-ing,” aka “Eff-Em.”) Even after giving myself more than 12 injections, I still cannot watch as the needle pierces my skin.

I must TRUST myself that I can do this and it will get easier.

Doctors

For two weeks, I have dealt this knowledge of a diagnosis of Stage IV carcinoid cancer.  The four weeks prior to this has been filled with scans and probes, exams and a biopsy, test-after-test, and constantly having to answer the same exact questions from different medical professionals.  You would think that they would read the previous reports.  My answers never change.

As it was first presented to me by Dr. Tommy Brown at the military hospital, I have two choices–do nothing or have the majority of my liver resected, and remove what he sees as  the primary tumor in the mesentery of the GI system.

My future seems pretty bleak, according to what this Lt. Colonel has presented to me and a friend on three separate occasions.  He has given me little hope for seeing my 60th birthday, stating that if I do nothing, I have “about a year,” but if I have the surgery it will give me “two, maybe three.”   I am scheduled for surgery with him for June 11th.

This past week, I sought a second opinion with my former surgical oncologist, Dr. David Byrd, at the University of Washington (now at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) who performed my mastectomy nearly five years ago.

He is of the opinion that the primary tumor could actually be located in the ileum (of the small intestines), and that there are several more options available than the all-or-nothing approach  presented to me by Dr. Brown.  He has arranged an immediate consultation (Tuesday morning) with the experts over at UWMC.

This is the most hopeful I have felt in the last few weeks.  It opens up possibilities that may not have been seen or recognized by the doctor at Madigan.  I need to meet with the specialists, and will know more this upcoming week, so will wait to disclose more information here as to what the next steps will be.

Yes, I must TRUST the medical professionals; however, I must TRUST my own instincts and continue advocate for myself and what I believe is best for me.

I must also TRUST that I can get through whatever is thrown my way, armed with knowledge and support.

Work

I hate missing out on work, because I am not a normal employee.  I am a part-time consultant to the company who has hired me.  If I give up a day of a workshop for a medical appointment, I give up the entire 3-day workshop.  No trades.  No accommodations.  No sick pay.

I must TRUST that I will get through this without getting “let go for not being a good fit” (medical issues?) again, as happened with Skookum, when I was working with them.   I need to TRUST my manager when she tells me I will still have a job.

But it’s difficult for me to TRUST sometimes.

Some patterns are hard to break.

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