I have spent most of the past several months going back and forth between surrender and pissed off in the grief cycle. I’m sure this is normal, whatever that means. In my life I have a pattern of getting upset because things don’t go the way I plan, curse either to myself or out loud, then realize at some point that I’m not in charge here and surrender into peace. Then the next moment, hour, day, week something else happens and I go back to square one.
I was reminded of this when I read the comment on my last post, which was probably left by a fellow cancer patient who was overwhelmed and not in a moment of surrender. I can relate to her being angry about one more thing to deal with. Cancer is full of “one more things” to deal with. They don’t tell you that at the beginning because it would probably cause you faint straight away, at the very least. Or flee to Mexico for margaritas and tiki torches, eschewing torturous treatments for a little paradise before your demise.
Today I went for my pre-op appontment for Wednesday’s 1:00 p.m. surgery. I went alone, which was a big mistake because in addition to being traumatized about my own surgery (which honestly came as a surprise to me when I arrived at the hospital) I was also reminded of how upset I was when my mom was at that same hospital less than a year ago. It was not the best morning. I found myself on a waiting bench, crying, next to a strange woman who felt compelled to ask if I was ok. I lied and said yes, thinking she didn’t really need to worry with me because her husband was in pre-op himself. But she was an older woman and I longed to lay down with my head in her lap and ask her to rub my back for a minute.
After my appointment I went to lunch with my breast cancer posse. It was great. We laughed about pink and how we pretty much hate it now, talked about our ports and treatments and how we tire of that puppy dog look that people give us, even though we know they mean well. It was a bubble of awesome, that lunch. A pocket of being “normal” because the five of us are normal, to each other.
Then I got home and the bubble burst. The scheduling nurse from the doctor’s office called to say my surgery was moved to 7:30 and that I had to be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. I was so disbelieving I asked her if I was on candid camera. Because what was going through my head was the list of people I would have to call and things I would have to change to make that happen. And I was thinking that I don’t get up before 6:30. I LOATHE getting up when it’s dark. It pisses me off. Rearranging my whole life for a surgery that I’m pissed about having in the first place pisses me off. Having to call my ex-husband and change his plans pisses me off. It was ONE MORE THING.
She assured me that she was being honest, that it was changing, that she was sorry but that’s what the doc wants. Something about how patients who require plastic surgery are being moved to mornings. Like changing surgery times is as easy as changing a shirt that you hate before you run out the door. I became the opposite of surrendered.
Angry and overhwelmed I retreated to my closet to break down. I would have used the pantry but mine’s too small to get inside. When I got it together I made all the necessary arrangements and it really is no big deal after all. But I had the illusion of having all the balls in the air, perfectly timed, and when the surgery time changed all the balls fell and I don’t even know for sure I found them all. But I do know that whether I did or I didn’t doesn’t matter because I’ll still have surgery at 7:30 Wednesday morning. Probably. Unless someone or something knocks the balls out of rotation again.