The Catalyst for Change

“When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person that walked in.
That’s what the storm is all about.”
~Haruki Mirakami

“Your surgery isn’t going to happen today honey.” Those were the words that yanked me back from the vortex of hell that had me trapped in a gravity-less nightmare of violent nausea, chaos and terror. And then I blacked out.

November 19, 2004. I was scheduled for an early morning surgery of a routine nature, but with major implications that I knew could be more than just physically life altering. The kind that would determine whether or not I had cancer. What I didn’t know was that this would become the day that would provide the catalyst for what would become an unexpected swim in uncharted waters.

interlocking spiralsSurrounded by my family in the pre-surgery room was unnerving. The clock was ticking and as the time approached my emotions broke loose. The IV drip was started and the anesthetic began coursing through my veins. Hasty kisses and I love you’s as I was wheeled toward surgery and my family headed to the hospital cafeteria for some scrambled eggs.

Within moments, nausea and extreme dizziness set in. I felt totally out of control and disoriented. The turbulence in my body raged like an evil force. Inside the operating room I lay curled in a ball vomiting and crying. The nurse, my guardian angel, cradled me in her arms, trying to provide comfort. She was the human connection that balanced the physical madness I was experiencing. Lost inside the confines of my physical being, I could not discern up from down or right from left. The noise in my body was deafening and time was frozen. I was trapped and terrified.

Suddenly the sound of my surgeon’s angry voice bellowed “goddammit how could this have happened? In thirty years of practice this is a first!” The voice of my angel nurse cooed gently in my ear “your surgery isn’t going to happen today honey.” And then I blacked out.

Very slowly I regained awareness of my surroundings and heard the voices of the surgeon and anesthesiologist talking softly by my bedside back in the pre-surgery suite. I laid very still, and the violent turbulence began to subside. Time stood still in this in-between state and I was comforted by the quiet voices for what seemed like a very long time.

My family joined me, having had their breakfast unexpectedly interrupted when the doctor suddenly appeared to tell them of the complications. I laid there quietly floating in and out, for what again, seemed like a long, long time. My bed began shaking, launching another round of vertigo and nausea. I dragged myself back to the present and opened my eyes briefly to see the fear in the eyes of my family. As my daughter stood beside the bed, holding my hand and shaking so violently the bed was moving, I felt so much love from them and for them and I knew I would be ok.

Having no sense of the passing of time, I was surprised to find myself at home in my bed just four short hours later. My daughter made me the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever tasted. We were all exhausted from the events of the day and an afternoon of sleep provided sweet relief.

Ten days later, I apprehensively returned to the hospital. Despite the previous experience, I still needed the surgery. The “c” word still hung in mid-air and we needed to know if it was going to land.

The surgery went off without a hitch. I thankfully dodged the cancer bullet, recovered and returned to my previous activities as planned. It appeared to be a story with a very happy ending.

In truth, the stage had just been set for the real story to begin……..

Author’s note: This is the first in a series of posts about an amazing, transformational journey; my own. Fits and starts and highs and lows just like it is for everyone. It’s not easy to share and that’s part of the story too. In telling the truth, perhaps others will take the leap to live their true nature and purpose.  See you next time!

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