Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Conversations from the Waiting Room

Waiting rooms.  For me, they are ugly and strange places...consisting of muted-colored, vinyl chairs, lots of strangers, possibly bad music playing, and the smell of hospital.  But worse than the external attributes of these places, is what goes on in my mind that makes waiting rooms so uncomfortable.  
According to Wikipedia, a waiting room is a building or more commonly a part of a building, where people sit or stand until the event they are waiting for occurs.  That would be cool...to JUST sit or stand and wait.  JUST!!!

But typically, that simple concept never seems to take place while I wait.  A waiting room becomes a place for my brain to take off into the land of conversation between me, myself, and I...and God, too.  It's a golden opportunity for "the committee" (you know, the voices in the head.  No, not auditory hallucinations or anything...really, just anxiety talking) to convene and get rather rowdy.  And once that committee gets going...it's ON.  

Here are the "minutes" from the committee meeting that took place in my head in the waiting room today...

Sit down.  Pick a seat.
Just sit.  Ok, I'm sitting.  Now what?  Well, breathing is good.  Yeah, meditate.  Inhale fear, exhale peace.  Inhale fear, exhale faith.  Oh, what about the serenity prayer?  Yes, focus on that...God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can....Wait, I wonder if the doctor will take off all of the moles I have circled.  Crap.  I can't even complete a 3 sentence prayer without busting in with thoughts.  Ugh.  My hands are getting sweaty.  I hope my sweat doesn't cause the ink around my circled moles to come off.  Breathing.  My heart is flip-flopping around.  Drink water.  Maybe I can guess what my blood pressure will be.  Numbers.  Pulse.  Too fast.  Slow it all down- your mind, your fears, your heart.  Should I text Becky?  No, that will detract from my attempted meditation (which is obviously not going so well).  OH!  I know exactly what I need...a good Lion's Breath (if unfamiliar with this, click here- How To Do Lion's Breath ).  YES!.......NO!  The other people in this waiting room might think I'm hyperventilating...and then I'm in big trouble.  Save Lion's Breath for the car ride home.

But what's taking so long?  I know...the doctor is doing her job...thoroughly...and that's a good thing.  Gratitude!  Mental gratitude list.  GO!  I am grateful for my doctors.  I am grateful for getting to be seen today.  I am grateful for my kids, my husband, my friends, all of the people I have met on this melanoma journey.  I am grateful for this day.  GRATEful...but wouldn't it be GREAT if she took off tons of moles?  I'm sure she won't.  Is she too conservative?  What if she misses something?  OK, now just stop.  I know that when I start "what if-ing" the committee has gotten completely out of hand.  Move.  Move a muscle, change a thought...I love that! I have to pee...get up and go to the bathroom.  Action.  That helps- walking, finding the bathroom.  Good.  And then I hear my name being called!  Thank God!  And I do just that...

I thank God that I am here and ask for help...to have more faith than fear.

We all experience this "waiting room" scenario differently.  I would love to hear what your mind does in a waiting room.  What goes through your brain?  Be REAL about it.  We are all human.

Thank you, Fugazi for this song. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Escapism: It's No Wonder

I just returned from an incredible trip to NYC.  While there, I had a little "light bulb" experience. Ya know, those moments you realize something and can't sluff it off...

Laying on my bed, feet blistered from the non-stop walking (which I adore!!!), exhausted from the magnitude of constant stimulation (of which I crave), and gazing out the window from the 24th floor, over looking a beautiful city (of which I used to live), I became very aware of the increase in the frequency of my travels over the past 4+ years.

The first thing that came to mind in this epiphany, was escapism.  And the next part of this was about timing...that this increase in travel (escapism) came right around the time I received my first cancer diagnosis.  

It is twofold, this escapism...it's not just a running from reality, but also a variation on the bucket list...a push to get out and LIVE. So, I'm not going to make this longing to escape a negative thing, but rather just an observation, a heightened awareness.

And here are some of my observations: when I travel, I feel like me without a melanoma diagnosis, I have no doctors in these places, I feel free of worry, my eyes are so open to joy, I don't have constant appointments related to health, I am grateful.

So, now I'm back, facing a week of many realities- my dermatology visit, my birthday, and my appointment with my surgical oncologist (who planned that?!  oh, I did).  Yep.  Back to reality, but extremely refreshed, mind opened, and ready.  

Maybe, just maybe...this whole thing is about finding the balance...the balance of reality and escape.  I'm not sure, as balance is definitely not my forte (aside from a few yoga poses).  But I'm working on it.

central park