Today warrants a tiny celebration. This marks the halfway point of this blog. I committed to one year and I am hear to testify it is a challenge beyond measure to write every single day, even with a focus as compelling as the five questions. I am grateful to my readers and to those who are following me. Just be forewarned: this blog will end December 31st and I will be ready!
Today is always a day of gratitude for me anyway, ever since 1997. On that particular day I went for a regular check-up to my gynecologist, and after doing an ultrasound, he told me he thought I had ovarian cancer.
Talk about being thrown for a loop! I had no pain. This came as a complete surprise.
They let me call my husband (because I wasn’t sure if I could drive) and in the meantime, they ushered me into a little room to set up a ton of appointments for various tests and a surgery date. Alone in the room — and feeling very alone in the world — I had the grace and presence of mind to remember something I had heard Maya Angelou say on more than one occasion: Say thank you for everything.
So, I started to whisper “thank you, thank you, thank you” to myself. And then I had a brief vision. Here is my watercolor version of what I saw that day:
It was a road with a rainbow at the end. I knew in that moment that whatever this meant, it was the road to lead me to where I am supposed to be. I totally calmed down, made my appointments, and even drove myself home. I became totally prepared to accept whatever this was, and not question it.
I had surgery July 28th, and there was no cancer.
There were many magical things about that time, those several weeks between initial diagnosis and the surgery, of which I am not going to write about at this time. What I do recall is that there were two albums that saved me throughout that month: James Taylor’s Hourglass and Sara MacLachlan’s Surfacing. Sometimes I don’t think I would have ever made it without Sara singing “Angel” (which has a multi-layered story of its own) and James singing:
It’s enough to be on your way
It’s enough to be on your own
It’s enough to cover ground
It’s enough to be moving on
Home, build it behind your eyes
Carry it in your heart
Safe among your own
On this day, I remember again the important lessons I learned: saying “thank you” can fix a lot of what seems broken; wherever I am in any given moment is enough; I am always on my way to what I carry in my heart; it is only there true safety is found.