He Prefers to Trust His Mother?!!?

I don’t have a mantra I repeat to my boys, although I have certain things/lessons I repeat to them regularly.

  • The whole concept of Yin and Yang.
  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • Trust yourself.
  • When you feel unsure if you’re able to Trust yourself (perhaps whatever it is feels too big for a kid), ask Mom or Dad for help.

I often tell them to Trust What IsSEE What Is, and Trust that; don’t invent stories in your head, fiction that your mind can run away with, none of which is probably true.  Trusting What Is speaks to me, but for my older son, I found out yesterday he prefers to Trust his mother??

My older son is no stranger to doctor’s offices.  He’s no stranger to hospitals either, for that matter.  So around six weeks ago, when he came to me, complaining of pain, I listened carefully, then looked down his long list of -ologists, as he calls them, trying to determine which one to call.

Long story a bit shorter, I started off with the wrong one (his nephrologist), but after a few weeks and several diagnostic tests later, our go-to doctor was able to point us in the direction of the right one, his urologist.

Without going into too many details, let’s just say six weeks is a long time to have this type of pain, considering it shows up every time he urinates.  There are times I walk by his bathroom and I can audibly hear him say, “Oww, oww, oww, oww” with every drop.

Talk about feeling helpless as a mother.  So we kept testing.  Kept searching for an answer.

As I woke up yesterday morning, I knew it was going to be another full day at the hospital.  Another day he was going to miss out on his schoolwork, which he cannot stand (easier to do it in class, than make up later he says).  That, coupled with the pain, has turned a normally very sweet kid into quite a grouch.  (It would me, too!)

We needed some resolution.

As I was setting my intention and heart for the day, what I wanted was for the day to bring some closure in the form of a diagnosis — that way we’d know what we were dealing with and could move on.

I felt very grounded in setting this intention.  My gut told me it was not only doable, but very likely.  And because I believe in prayer in numbers, before we headed to the hospital, I reached out to some Strong Women Pray-ers and asked for their prayers, already feeling the excitement of delivering good news to them in the afternoon.

They prayed.  We arrived.  First building: the medical staff poked, prodded.  Second building: more poking, more prodding.  Five hours later:  a diagnosis!  YES!  That is exactly what I had asked for.  Now we can move on.  And move on we are….

Tomorrow:  a simple, day surgery to correct the issue.  No more pain.

The following day:  he’ll be a little slow;  lots of rest on the couch.

The day after that:  basically back to normal.

You can imagine how thrilled I was at the prognosis!  How quickly the staff worked to get him scheduled and taken care of.

How grateful I am for all of that… and the prayers.

Goofy face, happy to have some resolution! (still with his hospital ID band on)

After we got home from the hospital and decompressed a bit, he came and sat down next to me.  He said as much as he wasn’t looking forward to his private area undergoing any surgery, minor or otherwise, he wasn’t nervous.  He said he had been for a split second.  Apparently the words, “cut” and “three stitches” got to him, but he said as soon as he looked at the expression on my face, the nervous feeling went away.

“That face.  The huge smile.  Ohhh.  And how calm you were.  That’s when I knew it was all going to be all right.  You may Trust What Is, but I trust my mother.”

I’d like to tell you that the writer for Trust Life Today would’ve wanted him to say, “I also Trust What Is.  I Trust the Journey.”  But no.  This very grateful mother of a 13-year old boy simply watched the back of his head as he walked away… smiling from ear to ear as I welled up with tears of pure love.

 ~~~~

Click to Share.  This might be just the thing a friend needs to read today.  Love, Leslie

Being Wrong Ain’t Always Bad

Doctors, Doctors, and More Doctors

Between my older son and I, we have almost every ~ologist, as he calls them, that you can imagine.

Endocrinologist, nephrologist, radiologist, neurologist, pediatric ophthalmologist, dermatologist, gynecologist, audiologist, and now, an oncologist.  Then there are the non-ologists: ENT, geneticist, breast surgeon, and a few others I’ve probably forgotten, but these are the regulars.

Although I never dreamed our family would have the need for a pediatric endocrinologist (to monitor a completely non-functioning thyroid in my son), two nephrologists (kidney doctors), a geneticist (to tie this lovely mess together for me), or many of the other doctors, I must say, I really never dreamed I’d need a plastic surgeon.

And, I’m embarrassed to say, I never knew how much I could appreciate the profession.

Plastic Surgery?  Really??

In college I had a close friend who wanted to become a doctor.  Over the years I’d watch his choices in schools, in fellowships, in specialties, always curious to see where he would land.  And after many years of basically trying it all, he chose plastics.

Plastics?, I thought.  Cool, and I do mean cool choice, but why?  He’s brilliant!  I didn’t get it.

See, I didn’t understand the depth of the profession.  I thought it was just about looks — the cosmetic stuff.  And although I certainly knew there was a reconstructive piece to plastic surgery, I suppose I really didn’t give it much thought.

To be clear, let me touch on something I just said:  “I thought it [plastic surgery] was just about looks….”  First of all, I know there’s no “just” about anything having to do with looks.  Think about how much time we spend daily showering, shaving, make-uping, fixing our hair, our nails.  Our total grooming time is substantial!  There’s no such thing as “JUST” when it comes to looks.  I do understand that.  Yet still, I never gave much credence to the plastic surgery profession.

Until I met Dr. Antonetti.

Interview MORE Doctors?

When I first met Dr. Antonetti, the man who would be performing my reconstruction, it didn’t occur to me to even interview him — that’s what little attention I gave to the role of a plastic surgeon, to plastic surgery in general.

I had done some serious homework on choosing my breast surgeon.  After our first few meetings, she leaned over her desk, handing me a list of names saying, “I only work with three plastic surgeons.  Here are their names.  After you’ve interviewed each, you can let me know which you choose.”

Interview more doctors??  No.  The process to choose her had been arduous enough.

Without glancing at the list, I handed it back and said, “You know my personality.  You choose the one you feel is right for me.”

Yes, it was an act of Trust.  It was my way of saying to her, “We’re a team.  I trust your judgement to do what’s best for me.”  And if I’m really honest, there was another element at play.  It was indicative of my dismissive thoughts on the role of the plastic surgeon.  I mean, really, if she only works with three, they all have to be good at what they do, right?  Does it really matter who she chooses?  Will it really make a difference?

I’m sure the other two would have been just fine.  Each would have performed brilliantly with a scalpel in his hand.  But now I  understand something more.  The way we look at ourselves and truly SEE ourselves is hugely important on an emotional and psychological level.  My plastic surgeon understands this.  And in his gentle, understated way, he taught this to me.

My Medical Anchor

He calls me his little Rock Star, in terms of my healing.  And although my belief system is at the core of remaining positive throughout this whole cancer chapter, he, Dr. Antonetti, has been my medical anchor.  He reminds me every week that my healing is going fabulously.  He monitors my physical well being, as well as my emotional.  And every step of the way, whenever I’ve had doubts, he has been the ever patient soul to guide me through it.

Shame On Me

How quickly we make up our minds about people, professions.  How humbling to find out we were wrong — that I was wrong.  It’s through the wrong, that I’m able to grow.  Being right all the time may feel good for a moment, but those waters will soon become stale, stagnant.

Dr. Antonetti, you tied this whole experience together for me.  You were the one who prescribed all of my medications, monitored me on them, told me when I could drive, when I could exercise, walk the dog, do yoga.  You changed all of my dressings yourself, each and every time.  And you taught me how I could see myself differently.  What an incredible lesson that I will be forever grateful for.  Thank you.

After receiving a cancer diagnosis, I went from not thinking too much about plastic surgery, to understanding that it’s what grounded my entire experience, what grounded me;  it was eye opening.

Yep.  Being wrong ain’t always bad.

plastic surgery

They’re Just Breasts, Right? Wrong….

A Landing Spot

I recently mentioned to my mother how I keep finding crumbs on my chest.  She asked me, “On your chest?  Where did they go before?”

“In my lap!” I told her.

See, I have a much different body now than I did before.  One that collects crumbs, as if they were landing on a shelf, instead of making a direct descent to my lap!

Boy, did we laugh at that one!  But it’s true.  My body has changed.  And along with the physical changes, came the emotional changes.  Those, I must admit, have not been as humorous.  They’ve been quite eye opening—freeing is more accurate.  It’s what I meant in my last article by, “I’ve grown more into me.”

Detached Woman

Going through reconstructive surgery has been one of those things that, had I not gone through it, I never would have guessed I would feel the way I do.  About my body.  About being a woman.  About my femininity in general.

After being told the cancer was gone, to say I breathed a sigh of relief would be an understatement.  Cancer gone?  Hell yeah!!  Woop, woop, with both hands in the air, and some sassy hip action to match!  So when the doctors began talking to me about the reconstruction process, I was like, “Whatever.  I’m sure they’ll look fine.  Do what you need to do.”

I was pretty detached.  They’re just breasts, right?  They served their purpose when I nursed my babies, right?  What more is there?

I’m guessing at this point I should explain that I see the world in terms of function first.  Later maybe, if someone points it out to me, I may notice a more subtle nuance, such as beauty.  For me, I hadn’t considered my body in terms of beauty, or shape, or any distinctly feminine quality.  You have this body, you see yourself day after day, your body slowly morphs and changes into its current state—that’s just the way it works.  It’s no wonder a thing like beauty could evade you.  At least, evade me.

However, as the reconstruction process began, and I watched my body change, week by week enduring the discomforting (borderline painful) expansion process, my attitude also changed.  Was an inner woman emerging?

Size Does Matter

PLUS, I now had a say in size!  I could finally have my upper body match my lower body!

In the second grade I overheard my mother’s friends talking about my hips.  At the time I didn’t understand what they meant, but by the tone of their conversation, I knew there was something wrong with my girl-shape.  As I grew older, I understood.

Like I said, now my upper body would match my lower body.  Specifically, my new breasts would match my hips.

When my plastic surgeon and I would talk about the reconstruction, we discussed a myriad of things, size being a topic of course.  I would tell him the same thing every time:  “Even me out, Doc.  Once you’ve balanced my top with my bottom, then stop.”

So he did;  he balanced me out.  With each weekly expansion we got closer to the goal.  And as I was losing my former shape, I was simultaneously gaining an altered perception of myself.  The way I thought of myself was changing.  I was beginning to SEE myself.

The little girl, the second grade girl who was ashamed of her hips was slowly fading, and at the not so ripe age of 41, a woman was emerging.  I began to embrace a femininity that I formerly didn’t feel entitled to…although I wasn’t even aware of it at the time.  This was a classic case of “I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

What Does All This Breast Talk Mean?

On one hand, I still think, “They’re just breasts, right?”  I mean, I didn’t go so overboard that they enter the room before I do.  They don’t define me or change who I am on the inside.

Wrong.  Although my breasts don’t define me, and they haven’t changed who I am at my core, the way I SEE myself has changed.  I’m much more loving of my physical body.  I embrace my body in a way I never did before.  Scars, fading bruises, extra weight I’m carrying—none of that gets me too excited or worked up anymore.  I recognize my body has been through a lot, and I’m gentle in my thoughts toward it.  I believe this is a part of the healing process that goes deeper than scars, bruises, temporary weight gain, and any short-lived sleep issues.

Gentle.  Loving.  Embracing.  Healing.  I see the beauty in the feminine.  I see the beauty in me.

And that feels freeing.

breast

Go ahead and share this post—I’m all done for today.  There will be NO pictures on today’s topic, in case you were anticipating one.  ;-)

P.S.  Thank you all for your comments;  I apologize if your comment was lost—I’m still working out some kinks in my Facebook comment plugin.

But Where Is This Gathering?

labyrinth

I find walking a labyrinth to be a holy experience.

 

Labyrinth Healing

During the summer of 2011, I quite literally stumbled upon this labyrinth while on a morning walk with my mother-in-law in a remote location, about an hour outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We had not set out to find this destination.  The circular shaped barn and labyrinth seemed to spring up out of nowhere.

This photo captures the healing essence, the beauty, and the awe of all it all — of walking side-by-side with God in nature, of the mystery of the labyrinth.  It also reminded me of a Sufi poem by Rumi:

But where is this gathering?

- I don’t know, my little angel

But do the others know?

- No, they don’t know either

How can you go to a gathering without

knowing where it is?

- It suffices to walk,  just walk

Those who are invited will find the way.

labyrinth

 I invite you today — Explore your inner labyrinth.  Trust you will find your way.   Love, Leslie