I got good news today at the City of Hope. No part of me went in there this morning thinking that the news was going to be good.
What have I learned beyond how blessed I am?
1) If worrying served a purpose, time would be better spent worrying.
2) Don't listen to only one opinion. Trust instinct and competitive medicine. Learn the difference between community and academic medicine. GET A SECOND OPINION.
3) Patient deliberate repetitive requests for information is not being a pest - just a guest of an overworked system that may overlook you in light of more desperate emergencies each day.
Keep pursuing the truth you need to gain relief.
4) When facing life and death situations - each smile, each nod of encouragement, each eye-to-eye contact melts the heart which has rigidified in fear. Smile more. Embrace person-to-person energy exchanges that warm the soul in light of such fear inducing moments.
5) Have a healthy skepticism. If you don't trust something or someone, check it out. FIND someone you trust. Like with every other relationship. You either have good positive regard or deep undeniable distrust. Don't settle for the latter and complain. Actively pursue better connection.
6) Stress reduction techniques can go down the drain when real fear erupts. Double up on that which can soothe you when so much extra rattles you. Balance is never automatic. Extra tension necessitates extra effort to induce peace. Otherwise cortisol can rule the body unnecessarily and cause a worse existence, in this case, it was unnecessary.
7) Don't put off news because you fear bad news. When potential good news is put off because bad news is so feared, unnecessary stress is stored up in the system. Either way, early news, whether good or bad is better than waiting because one is afraid. I probably could have gotten this good news over the phone a month ago, but I was so afraid it would be bad news, I put off finding out before the doctor went on his vacation February 22nd, until this appointment today. Three weeks of agony I could probably have avoided.....
8) When the RED ALERT button is pushed say, "Excuse me. I've got to go. I need to get quiet." I need to stick to my guns, not suffer and be resentful.
A yoga teacher friend of mine told me four years ago that she was pressured big time on the day she was told she had breast cancer and needed surgery, chemo and radiation. The medical staff was trying to set up the operating room for two days later. My friend heard from deep within, "Go home. Agree to nothing." She went home and started meditating under a blanket. She heard within, "You can heal this." She went to a raw institute for two weeks, then came home and grew her own wheat grass juice. She released the lump and need for medical invasion.
There are so many stories of people that were misdiagnosed.
I still have CLL. It's in my lymph and in my blood. But it is not aggressive as I was previously told. When the other doctors took the condescending tone with me, belittling me because I was afraid of the side effects of chemo, I didn't buy it.
Thank you DAVE CRANE. I trusted YOU when you told me that the results the first doctor quoted me wasn't as bad as they were suggesting and that I should AVOID CHEMO. At the time your insistence caused incredible cognitive dissonance. Little me, stand up to the big doctor???
After three months of a hijacked existence, of believing that I was walking the plank, unable to avoid the beginning of the end, I've got my life back.
Dad asked, "So you feel as if a weight was lifted?"
"That's not definitive enough at all," I said as we were driving back from the foothills of Duarte, seeing clearly the snow on the mountains behind us, the big buildings to our right in downtown LA, and so much more of this Land of 10,000 Smokes that was windy enough today to show no smog to this seer.
"It's like I've been in a hot air balloon and someone has been on the ground, not letting me ascend. They've been yanking the chain that keeps me attached to the earth for the past three months. Now, I am lifting. Every moment I see farther to the right, to the left, and beyond what I now know is so close, yet when still semi-stuck to the ground it was so far."
This is better than winning an election, getting an A, passing my driver's license test, or graduating from college.
When exuberantly happy as I was after receiving these results, every single song lifted me. Even my dad's annoying ring tone had me grooving when in possession of this deeply surprising good news.
There is some bad news. The $7,500 in bills needing payment, and being unable to get free house cleaning once a month by that Christian organization when undergoing chemo... But hey, I'm not going to complain.
The full story if interested is at: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lisaguest/journal