As I rustled through old papers and memories (an organization surge prior to going back in to out-patient surgery to remove precancerous cells that were left and to install a balloon for radiation coming up), I found a printout of the sermon Rev Peter Hawes now of Charleston, S.C., delivered at my ordination as deacon in the Anglican Diocese of Uruguay June 29 1995. It had been a rainy, frozen night,(I said that proverbial Cold Day in Hell before something breaks the barriers to happen), unique for Uruguay and I was to be the first woman in the Southern Cone of South America to enter Holy Orders. Because the sermon had to be translated into Spanish on the spot in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, it seemed to go on forever.
Now that I read it again, I realize how Father Peter had prophecied my faith and future. He knew me well as it was. He saw and understood what God had set for me to be and do, even when I was still among the trees, not aware of the whole forest of ministry. Father Peter compared my life and calling to Julian of Norwich, a woman of great heart and suffering who said amazing things for a woman in the 14th century. What calmed my soul this morning prior to entering a new road on the cancer map with another surgery and the initiation of radiation coming up, was this quote which amazed me with its truth and how it holds my own feelings about falling into God’s Hands: (taken from her “Showings”)
And so our Good Lord answered all
the questions and doubts which I could raise,
saying most comfortingly:
I may make all things well,
and I can make all things well,
and I shall make all things well,
and I will make all things well;
and you will see yourself that every kind of thing will be well.
Wellness. Spirit muscle. Heart health. Fresh Air. Fresh Life. All things come through God in my life. So yesterday’s roll through surgical procedure was a breeze. My son, who picked me up in the downpour, looked as if he stepped off the cover of GQ magazine (He makes his mother proud) while I looked more like a fashion reject in an oversized black sweater down to the knees, black sweat pants, wimpy no support bra and ancient black Prada plogs (like clogs but flat). My hiding out clothes. It was still raining as I shuffled into the surgery center. Have you noticed every Tuesday in Memphis it rains? My rendevous with Dr. Patterson are always on Tuesday. So far, they’ve all be in the rain. I trust the rain. But this time icy bridges were folding up in with a cold front.
The surgical process was much easier this go-round, although I still had to sign papers, remember names of medicines I take daily, give the secretary the Medicare card and driver’s license to copy, and get the inevitable medical paper bracelet. Again I was asked probably a dozen times as I moved along the surgery treadmill why was I there, who was my doctor, which breast was the victim, had I eaten or drank anything since midnight, and my name. Believe it or not there was another Gonzalez in one of the four beds in the prep room, so there was an alert on a chartreuse green stick-it on my files. Luckily the other Gonzalez was male so I didn’t worry about a mix-up.
As soon as the nurse secured the needle in my vein, Dr. Patterson popped his head in, my daughter gave me a hug of love, and we were off. This time I was even less trepedarious. I knew the routine. The only change, the anesthesiologist said, was that I wasn’t going to be given general anesthesia like last time, but rather something milder, like a twilight sleep where I wouldn’t remember a thing – which I don’t – but would be less taxing on the brain and soul. Don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing, he added. They did not have to ram a tube down my throat this time, and that’s worth it. I had a few days of sore throat after the last one.
I woke up fairly quickly – if I ever went to sleep at all, I’ll never know – in the re-coup room jabbering away to the nurses as if I was on Comedy Central, deep breathing (which I always try to do), sucking up that ginger ale through the straw (the only horrid part about these experiences is not being able to eat or drink for twelve hours – I’m a water hound. It hurts.) and wondering what in the world was the cast-like thing embracing my left boob. All tape. Don’t mess with the tape. No water on it. No showers (sigh). I knew this time I’d have to reduce my activities. This was major.
And it still rained. As we returned home and tackled the climb to the third floor, I could see the Mississippi was reaching flood levels. This is a blessing after so many drought crises of late. God was taking care of everything. But the gate and the mailbox have frozen with the rock bottom temperatures settling in like white doves on a wedding cake. My sweet middle daughter who cares for me so well gave up her busy life today for me – so we watched Dr. Phil, Oprah, some of the home fix-er-up programs, Wheel of Fortune and of course American Idol. We both faded then. I had a restless night, however, not able to figure out how the pile of additional dressings on my boob should be shifted to offer maximum comfort. Yes, I have at least a dozen pillows of all sizes on my bed to pad my way to bliss. But it was like having a stranger living on my breast. I’m curious about the balloon, but don’t count on me to look.