I’m a Drama Queen. An Academy Award-winning Drama Queen.
When something is bothering me, and I can’t figure out what that something might be, I just throw everything into a pot and stir it all up.
I deliberately make everything as bad as it possibly can be. I call forth the Dementors from Azkaban. I almost beg the misery.
Invariably, the process shakes me for a day, maybe two. That day was my last post.
I was so discouraged. I think I scared the shit out of a few people. I am sorrry.
But I know how I work. Once I face the problems, once I face the worst-case scenarios, I start sifting through the emotional wreckage. And I deal.
A Sleek Hunter
Like Harry Potter, I have a patronus. Mine is exotic — a bright silver tiger, a sleek hunter, if you’ll allow me that conceit. When he pads through my life, I can literally feel my mood shift. My own strength rises, subtle but indomitable.
So I have a few challenges. Who doesn’t? I don’t need all my dreams to come true. I just need to have fewer nightmares.
Last time, I was not without fear. I had moments of panic that hit me like a punch to the solar plexus, when mindfulness couldn’t deflect the dread. When complications threatened, and my sodium levels plummeted so that I could barely lift my head to vomit, I might not have been so close to death, but I thought it preferable.
So I don’t want another operation this soon. But if I have to do it again, I can. I can face the panic and any pain. One sad truth is that I have lived through far, far worse than neurosurgery and neurosurgical complications.
And the worst didn’t happen last time. Far from it. I’m still alive, I can still see, and I can smell, though perhaps not as well as before. The tumor is much smaller, and should be easier to remove. My skull and sinuses are healing well.
So I will be fine. And I have a few months to rest and heal before climbing back on the treadmill.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (And It’s All Small Stuff)
I also felt lonely last week. My family is consumed by my sister’s illness, and while no one likes to feel invisible, that is how it should be. She is suffering so much. I wish I could do more to help her, but I first have to help myself.
My most fervent hope was that surgery would leave me well enough to return to karate, and I feel that loss keenly. Karate is how I cope. Though it sounds daft, the dojo is my monastery, the place when I feed my spirituality, and gain a sense of who I am. There, I find honor and friendship.
But if I am to be denied the comforts of old, the modern age has opened a new world of camaraderie, and I am so grateful. I was wrong to suggest that I am isolated because I really do not feel alone, even if this battle is mine to win or lose. I have listened to encouraging words from cousins and old classmates. I have heard from online friends far and wide, friends held dear to my heart though we’ve never even broken bread together, friends who matter to me though I do not know, with few exceptions, if their voices are as sweet as their sentiments.
I am a lucky man. And if our garden doesn’t get weeded, nor our office and bedroom painted, who the fuck cares. We usually have enough food to eat, and we always have a roof over our head.
Seventh Time is a Charm
As for the rest… If I’m not happy with my life, I can bloody well change it. I am stuck, at 53, in job that holds no future for me. But I have proved that I can hold down a job even when I’m deathly ill, and that I can even become a valued employee. Someone else will hire me.
I have also written a book that is better now, in its seventh revision, than ever. I haven’t exhausted my list of agents who accept young adult queries, and I love the thrill of submission. And, if Secrets of the Hotel Maisonneuve never sees the light of day, I will still be proud of it. It’s smart and well-written.
I like it so much that I’ve started writing again. On my second novel.
Which brings me to the crux, to what really bothers me. I have to feel worse before I can feel better. I thought I was past having to prove myself, but I have another battle to fight.
As a research patient, I was given exemplary care. As one of the multitude, I’m raging against the machine. My doctors—I sit at the fulcrum of three medical specialties—can’t quite understand why I seem to lack hormone function, even though it’s not uncommon for people who undergo neuro-endocrine surgery.
I thought I had a good relationship with my doctors. But they doubt my Whitman’s sampler of symptoms just as the endocrinologist who screwed up the last 15 years of my life doubted me. At my last appointment, no one asked how I felt.
I had expected better. It’s hard on my head and bothers me more than it should. I know that. But maybe that feeling will change.
The patronus charm begins with hope. I will think good, kind thoughts. Know, dear reader, that hope begins here, with you, the people who read my blog.
I’m sorry if I gave you reason to think otherwise.