I don't write as much here as I'd like. There's a lot of things I don't do as much as I'd like, like most folks, I suspect. But once I have done the everyday duties such as making the bed, doing the dishes, sweeping floors perhaps, my strength and energy are gone and I have little of "me" left to write...
or worse yet...
to think. It hurts to think lately. This is something that scares me a little, that my brain is so pained when called upon to retrieve, to explore, to create. To me, it is totally different than a headache (which is not to say that it hurts worse than a headache). The pain comes from the thinking part of my brain.
Sometimes I get some great flashes of brilliance, if I do say so myself. I have ideas that are "spot on" and which seem to be of unique origin. But then, the fewer the epiphanies, the lower the bar is set.
Last week, I accepted the invitation to perform at a large venue this coming December. It's a stage I know very well and I am confident that I can do this. In fact, just the action of accepting the gig and knowing that it is upcoming turned out to be something very positive in my life. That gig has become an icon of faith for me...faith that I will BE better in 11 months. I do believe it.
But right now, it's not so good. The suboccipital pain is worse than ever, a glaring reminder that I need surgery and I need it soon.
Tomorrow, I head to my hematologist/oncologist. There, I will finally hear his assessment of my latest DEXA scan and also the blood tests done a couple of weeks ago to check my protein levels and see how the pre-myeloma condition is doing. I feel very strongly that the assessment will be positive and Dr. Fu will give me the green light to schedule the fusion. I feel it in my gut. And God didn't bring me this far in the process of working with the TCI doctors in NY to have it all change now.
I took a bunch of photos of the inside of our home and emailed them to family and friends. I am reminded of my Dad in his later years. Debilitated by the effects of multiple strokes, this once vibrant and active man found his boundaries narrowed just like I am experiencing. He once sent me photos of highways, ports of call, fun destinations in his journeys around the US and, I remember thinking later on, when I received the snapshots of his kitchen, the bedrooms, the living room of his single-wide trailer in a quiet senior park how bitter-sweet and poignant it was that his horizons had been harnessed.
I used to send him photos of high mountain tops, my horse's ears in the foreground and a trail ahead which looked like it would lead into thin air....images, appearing as if they were aerial photos but in truth were snapped from the back of a good horse, of a turquoise lake far below, ringed by pine and fir. Shale slides and pack strings. Cattle loading up ramps into semi's. Sweaty horses and rocky outcroppings. Snow-covered trails and trackless passes.
Now, I circle through the house, capturing design and color. Fences have ringed my views and hedged my observations. Yet, beauty abounds through a window, upon a wall, within a heart that puts on a good show, but yearns and kicks against the traces. Thankful for what I have, grateful for the disabilities I don't, I still and ever will want my freedom back, if not to ride again (oh, how can that be?), then to drive again and to hike. To putt around a lake in our little fishing boat and toss a lazy line into placid waters. God is good. It will happen.
Such longings must be what is needed for the strength to agree for steel rods to be bolted into the back of the skull and down the spine. Strong yearnings and the will to be "more" must give me courage to again face the tongs on each side of my head, lifting me skyward with painful release.
There has to be a promise or hope of "better" before one would allow the four sharp pins of a halo brace to be fixed for months through the skin, into the bone of the cranium. Why else would one make this journey and submit to this torture?
For, yes, I do now know something of what torture feels like. I know that intensity of pain mixed with the uncertainty of the future. Pain that clouds the mind and renders me to the basest of beings. And I feared that I'd never go back, that I wasn't strong enough. But time eases the memory of the pain, just as it does for a mother having her second child. Common sense can rule the day and then hope opens the doorway just enough to show me a glimpse of an alpine meadow, mountain goats on the cliffs, trout leaping for flies and waterfalls cascading down through a canyon chute choked with downed trees and undergrowth.