Monday, May 30, 2011

The Lord is my Shepherd

I am now less than 24 hours away from my heart procedure. It's been a long journey for me. It's hard for me to believe sometimes that it was March 14th when my sleep problems first started, and then 5 days later my heart problems were discovered by 'accident' as I was getting prepped for my MRI guided breast biopsy. Since fall of 2008 it just seems like I have had one health issue after another. Feeling strong and healthy on a consistent basis feels like a distant memory ... maybe it feels so distant now because of continued sleep deprivation. Last night was a rough night for me ... crazy dreams and waking up every hour to hour and fifteen minutes. My heart feels like it's ready to pop out of my chest. I know my anxiety is up today as my procedure is tomorrow and the logical/analytical side of me processes what has happened to me over the past couple of years with health procedures. I've had 3 lumpectomies (May 2009, Dec 2009, Oct 2010) and none of them really scared me. What was more anxiety-provoking was waiting for the pathology reports. I've also had two MRI guided breast biopsies (Aug 2010, Apr 2011) ... and both times I was told by my doctors (once down at Mayo and most recently here in the cities) that there was a less than 1% chance of complications, primarily bleeding problems. And both times I had bleeding problems and a hematoma. Then in April I'm told by my cardiologist that I have ventricular bigeminy and that 25% of my heart beats are coming from the ventricle and not the sinus node ... and in a 'routine' cardiac test done prior to meeting with a electrophysiologist (a cardiologist who specializes in electrical rhythms of the heart) they discover an 'incidental' finding ... abnormality in my left ventricle leading to the diagnosis of left ventricular noncompaction, a disease only .1% of the population gets ... and a disease with a lot of unknowns and uncertainties and not the best prognosis. So here I am the night before my heart procedure and the logical part of my brain tells me that I haven't been on the 'right' side of the odds. I've fallen into the less than 1% with complications and being diagnosed with a rare heart disease. My doctors at Mayo and in the cities have also called me an anomaly with how pre-cancer/cancer cells are developing in my breast. My doctors at Mayo tell me it's a question of when I will get breast cancer and not if I will get breast cancer. They're not even sure if I don't already have it but they can't confirm it. All they can say with certainty is that the cells in my breasts are changing and they believe that something in my immune system has lost its ability to identify abnormal cells. But my health journey took a detour when heart problems popped up ... breast cancer is now secondary to my heart problems.

So here I am working hard to counter the fear and anxiety that at times consume me .... and I ask myself, why am I so afraid? What am I afraid of? and the conversation with myself continues ... "it must be death ... but why?" I've always imagined a time when I would be reunited with my father, and yes my beloved pets (Splat, Shen and Shadow). I believe in God and yes, I do believe in heaven or some type of existence that is beyond our earthly forms. I imagine being held again by my father. It's what has kept me going during many of my darkest moments. I have all my affairs in order ... will, healthcare directive, and financial documents ... that feels good. I've had conversations with friends and family about what I want to have happen ... but I think what scares me and what causes me anxiety is my unwillingness to simply surrender to what is meant to be. This morning as I was meditating I meditated on the 23rd psalm which has often given me comfort .... I repeated the psalm over and over in my head, and then read it out loud ....

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

Only when I am able to completely surrender my will over to God am I able to feel peace in my heart. I struggled for many, many years to come to terms with a religion and a faith that violated a very sacred boundary of mine and ripped me of my innocence and trust. After decades of soul searching I came to the realization that God is in each and every one of us ... in all living beings. It wasn't God that violated that trust ... it was a human being. I can either choose to believe in a God or not. I can either choose to let  past hurts close my heart to fully experiencing life and love, or I can open myself up to living, to loving and risking And there are also many paths to the Divine, and we touch the Divine and experience the Divine in so many ways. For me, it's in moments when I open my heart completely and fully to love and be loved; it's in the eyes of my beloved animals (Ahnung, Missy and Mister); it's in the pleading eyes of animals needing to be rescued; it's when i'm touched by a wild dolphin; it's in a hug or an embrace; it's when I'm sitting quietly in a chapel, or in my meditation room; it's when I close my eyes, tilt my head back and feel rain drops on my face; it's when I look up in the night skies and see the stars and the moon .... 

So today I choose to place all my fears and anxiety in a small container and place them in the hands of God. I will step forward into the coming days (and tomorrow's heart procedure) with love in my heart and I will surrender my will over to God ... to the Divine ... I will trust that whatever is meant to be will be. I will welcome and embrace the love and prayers of friends of family.

"The light will always return to chase away the darkness, the sun will always come out again after the rain, and the human spirit will always rise above failure."

~ Harold Kushner

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. "

~ Buddha

No comments:

Post a Comment