As I sat on the exam table half undressed with the cloth over my bottom at the urologist’s office earlier this month, I began to meditate. Inhaling peace and exhaling calm. Soon the doctor would be doing my cystoscopy. Would my bladder be clear of tumors or would he find cancer again like he did a year ago?
“It’s all clear,” said Dr. F, withdrawing the scope with a smile. I smiled too. It feels good to be well at the close of such a contentious year. Last year at this time I was dealing with side effects from BCG treatments and now those 12 doses continue to keep my bladder cancer-free.
I feel a certain kinship with the UK female blogger of bladdergraffiti, who writes about living with non-invasive bladder cancer. She says, “I’m sending love to that bladder of mine” as she describes all it’s been through and how tough and resilient it is. Like bladdergraffiti, I too am “Finding peace in the fact that I’ve done all I can to stay healthy this year and its paid off.”
Breathing in contentment
In yoga, we practice Santosha. Santosha means contentment.
The author Johanna Maheshavari Mosca, Ph.D., in her book Yoga Life, says: “Santosha does not mean we never experience dissatisfaction. We are simply willing to make the most of any situation. It does not guarantee that we will never get frustrated or emotionally upset. When life does throw us off center, Santosha helps us focus on the good and get right back into balance.”
Ahh, breathing in a sigh of relief, it feels good to feel good right now. My ulcer is behaving (except when I decide to eat spicy foods), my twisted colon is open (thanks to a soft fiber diet and my evening Miralex cocktails), and my second Praluent shot for my high cholesterol is working without major side effects for now (okay maybe a few achy knees but I’m dealing with it per my cardiologist’s recommendations — better than having a blocked artery. For any of those who take Praluent, I learned from the Praluent Repatha Facebook Group members that there are less side effects if you administer the shot in your stomach versus your thigh).
Next month, I’ll be closer to 65 than 60. I’m learning to mindfully embrace my body (especially my middle-aged-middle) for the age it is and be fully content for all I can do in this moment. For me, 60 is 60 not the new 50 or 40! Those days are gone.
One foot in front of the other
“Let’s go hiking in Wissahickon Valley Park,” I said to my son D last Friday when the temperature outside was sixty degrees. The sun was shining through the tree branches as we maneuvered around the rocky path. I was a little nervous at one point, unsure where to place my foot. You can do it, go slowly” said D. “Don’t look down, just look straight ahead.” I put one foot in front of the other and then I was on the other side of the hill.
I was grateful that my feet and legs were strong, that I was able to endure the ups and downs along the trail. It was nice to be nourished by the beauty and sounds of nature. It felt good to be well.
From darkness comes light
Today is the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. Clearly our world has faced, and continues to face, so much darkness in the past 10 months (and likely into the early part of next year as well). While it personally feels good to be well, I grieve for all those, including my own, losses that my family, friends and community have endured in 2020.
In her essay, “How We Survive Winter,” in The New York Times, Elizabeth Dias says that “The great irony of winter is that the moment darkness is greatest is also the moment light is about to return. Each year the winter solstice comes with the promise that the next day will be brighter.” (I hope you can read this essay without a subscription as it is beautifully written.)
Questions for the end of this year
Sometimes when I write a blog post I know exactly where I want to begin and end. This post not so much. Perhaps because since the pandemic hit last March it’s been so challenging when it comes to putting my thoughts into words. But as I wondered about how to end my last blog post of 2020, up popped a perfect list of questions crafted by Chris M Murchison, a fellow member of the Modern Elders Facebook Group. Chris adapted these questions from “At the End of the Day: A Mirror of Questions ” by John O’Donohue, in To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings.
So dear readers, as we end the darkness of 2020 and look towards the light for a better 2021, I leave you with this “Mirror of Questions” to ask yourself in the final days of December. May you find all the answers inside you and if you find any good ones, let me know with a comment.
Thank you for being a part of my blogging community this year and always. Your readership and support are so appreciated.
Best wishes for a happy holiday and a happy and healthy new year!