This week has been a little exhausting. Between the big decision of choosing April and the exciting work I’ve been doing at the radio station, I am worn out. I thought I would share a few of the nice comments, helpful thoughts and interesting perspectives I’ve received from friends and family over the past few days.
On Wednesday when I arrived at work, my friend Rude Parasol, (she’s not rude, but her umbrella is another story) congratulated me on making the decision to pick April. It may seem like a small gesture, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. It’s funny, I’m pretty stressed out right now, and my brain is functioning on a level I am not accustomed to. For one thing, I lack the filters I normally rely on to make me appear put together and not crazy. These days I share more than I used to and I need different things. Things I never really thought I needed before, like congratulations, you did it, you had to make a hard decision, but you did it.
It’s Kind of Like You’re Pregnant, But You Don’t Have 9 Months to Prepare
This came from a mother and a dear friend and I am happy she confirmed my thoughts on this. It does feel like this is my version of pregnancy. I decided a very long time ago that I didn’t want to be a mother, a decision I feel good about I might add. Which means that the preparation for this surgery and the life changing event that comes with it, is likely the closest thing to pregnancy I’ll ever experience. I understand that when someone is pregnant those 9 months are crucial, not just for the healthy development of the baby, but also for the mental preparation of having a new tiny family member to take care of. Many of my pregnant friends and my sister went through an initial stage of: “I’m not ready!” Which eventually turned into: “Nursery prep be damned, get this alien creature out of me!” I can completely relate to that feeling. Last week I was firmly ensconced in the “I’m not ready” camp. And then, a switch got flipped and I changed my tune to: “Can we just do this right now?” I should mention that in between those two feelings there was a deluge of tears and to all those who answered the phone when I called sobbing this week, you are my personal heroes and I will return the favor any day of the week.
Maybe It’s Like Pruning a Fruit Tree
I’ve spent the last two weeks working on a special project for the radio station that needed to be presented to a group of big wigs on Wednesday. I loved working on it, I was able to use my skills and was given the trust needed to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. I had the pleasure of working with someone new at work and we are really proud of the results. At some point in the meeting a comment was made about how young and fresh the two of us are and how helpful that will be to the success of the initiative. I kept my mouth shut and smiled, and when we left I turned to my colleague, who is 10 years younger than I am, and said, “Yes! I totally fooled them.” He responded nicely with, “But, you are young.” Most days I feel young, but others days I feel way older than a person who is about to turn 40 in a little over a year. I mentioned how I assume that major abdominal surgery will age me considerably, physically and mentally.
That’s when he said something that I had never thought about. “Maybe it’s like when you prune a fruit tree to encourage it to grow.” We laughed, and I thought, sheesh, I hope I don’t grow another limb. But the thought is so profound in its simplicity. I am removing a part of my liver, to give to my husband, so we can both continue to grow. There’s a thing you can do with fruit trees where you can graft a variety of one type of apple onto a tree that normally grows a completely different variety. You end up with a tree that has different types of fruit. I remember thinking that was such an interesting and practical idea. I like different kinds of apples, why not have a one stop shop approach to fruit trees? I digress. Derek is not a fruit tree, and it is unlikely that he will suddenly take on any of my traits–phew!–but we will both grow. In the literal sense we will both grow livers, in the theoretical sense we will both grow as people. And who knows, maybe we will feel younger after all is said and done.
The Realist Adjusts The Sails
Derek and I think very differently. Shocker, right? Our differences make our relationship fresh and exciting, but our similarities bind us together. The secret is that we are both pragmatic and we are both realists. Sometimes it’s hard being a realist; optimists accuse you of being negative and pessimists accuse you of pollyannaism. The realist sees the world for what it is, good and bad, and attempts to adapt, to adjust, to make the most of every situation. The realist also sees the truth, even when it’s too hard to bear. I often think that realists are the ones that can see and embrace the big picture and it makes them an easy target for the myopic who live among us. In this scenario, the one in which Derek and I are wheeled into operating rooms within hours of each other, it pays to be realistic. Everything could go well, catastrophe could befall us, or a confusing combination of the two, but we will adjust, we will adapt, we will make the most of the situation.
Last night Derek and I listened to that Styx song he posted yesterday. Listening to it reminded me of being super young because my brother used to listen to Styx quite a bit back then. Derek was saying how the song really makes sense at the beginning, but then it starts talking about angels, and then robots, and suddenly he wasn’t so sure it was appropriate. I’d like to give my analysis of the song and argue why it is perfect for our situation. For the uninitiated:
Come Sail Away
Lyrics: Dennis De Young
I’m sailing away,
Set an open course for the virgin sea,
‘Cause I’ve got to be free,
Free to face the life that’s ahead of me,
On board, I’m the captain, so climb aboard,
We’ll search for tomorrow on every shore,
And I’ll try, Oh Lord I’ll try, to carry on
I look to the sea,
Reflections in the waves spark my memory,
Some happy, some sad,
I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had,
We lived happily forever, so the story goes,
But somehow we missed out on the pot of gold
But we’ll try best that we can to carry on
A gathering of angels appeared above my head,
They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said,
They said come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me lads,
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me,
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me baby,
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me
I thought that they were angels, but to my surprise,
We climbed aboard their starship, we headed for the skies
Singing come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me lads
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me (x3)
I told him it totally works. The virgin sea is this crazy surgery that we’re both going to experience. We’re the captains and all the people who are going to help us through this, we’ve invited them to come aboard because someone is going to need to steer this ship while we’re unconscious and drugged up. We search for tomorrow, because we want the future to be the prize for going through all of this. Envisioning the surgery and the risks, we remember the past; at some point we all assume that we’ll get to live the life we want, but sometimes, diseases happen, and we just have to try our best to carry on. Then I realized that the angels represent the nurses trying to wake us from the propofol nap after surgery, and of course they turn into robots once the pain meds kick in to gear. Because: Robots.