Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nothing Lasts Forever

Some days suck. They just do. They can suck for no apparent reason, or they can suck for a plethora of reasons...or something in between.  Life is just like that.  Whether you are on the melanoma roller coaster, or struggle with anything (which we all do!), you know that there are days that feel harder than others.  

Today I had what I am now calling "an upside down rainbow day".  I set out to do errands and other stuff I do in a day, and when I got out of my car at  the pediatrician's office, I saw something I have never seen upside down fucking rainbow!  I whipped out my camera to capture this incredible beauty that Mother Nature (or whatever you believe in) was giving us in that moment!  Click, click, it!  

I was like a crazy kid in a candy store....or, because today is 10/31, I will say I was like an overzealous child ready to burst out the door to trick or treat.  I was smiling.  Smiling huge!  I think I might have even been giggling a little.  Giddy?  Yeah, that.  Wait...and the rainbow was smiling too!  See it?

I felt the need to share this awesomeness with LOTS of the people at the front desk of the pediatrician's office, the peeps working at Starbucks...It was just such an invigorating experience, I was bursting with "must share".

As I drove to my next stop, I thought about how seeing these unreal sights may not always happen....due to MY mind, my "set of eyes" in any given moment.  I received great news from my dermatologist a few days ago- BENIGN results...but for the week I was waiting to hear, I'm not sure I would have even seen this upside down rainbow.  

I love this reminder that everyday may not be good, but that something good may be found in each day.  I NEED this reminder it times of fear.  I need to remember that nothing lasts forever...and that that is a good thing.  

Here's to the days on this path we are all on....that we be reminded of the importance of always looking for the blessings in each day.  As the wise philosopher Heraclitus said, "The only thing constant is change."

So, what I tell myself, and thankfully, others tell me, is....cherish the good while it lasts and HOLD ON during the rough times...this too shall pass.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rituals: unique, weird, odd...and maybe, actually not uncommon?

A ritual.  What is that?  Well, by definition, it can read like this:
ri-tu-al:  A detailed method of procedure faithfully or regularly followed.
Or like this:
           ri-tu-al:   An automatic pattern of behavior in reaction to a specific situation.

Why do I bring this up? I have become very aware of a ritual I have developed over the past 4+ years, in relation to my dermatology visits.  

Rituals can provide comfort in times of heightened anxiety. They can be calming.  They may even offer up a sense of control in a situation where one feels powerless.  Rituals have been said to be an effective "strategy" for dealing with things that are out of our control.  OK, good to know!  I love strategies....especially ones that are helpful in trying times.  

It makes perfect sense then, that I have created what feels like a well developed science, crafted with care, that I use each and every time I go for my full-body skin checks.  

Keep in mind, I do not delude myself with my ritual, in thinking this will have some magical sprinkling of a positive outcome on my visits.  I don't.  I know I am completely powerless over the results of each visit.  But rather, I use this purely as a way to help myself navigate the landscape of uncertain times.  

And so, here goes my pre-dermatology visit ritual...
Step 1- Pop out of bed before my alarm goes off. Sometimes, anxiety works even better than coffee.

Step 2- Grab a brand new razor and jump in the shower to do a most excellent shaving job, so as not to have a tiny hair follicle be mistaken for a mole. 

Step 3- Before getting dressed, I reach for my handy black marker, fully inspect my body for moles that look "suspicious"...and circle them (at least 20, I can assure you).  Yes, I look like the canvas of a Miro work of art (I wish).

Step 4- Dress in all black, a skirt or dress, no jeans.  This step I have definitely fine-tuned over the years, learning from experience.  Black is the only good option for blood.  I once wore a white top and had a mole removed from my ear, and on the way home in the car, I felt something wet on my shoulder, and sure enough, it was blood dripping....ok, you get the point and my reasoning for all black.  Oh, and jeans are just no good if you have bandages anywhere below the waist (guys...maybe an Irish kilt could work?).

Step 5- Breathe in, breathe out...knowing I am doing everything I can do (trying to listen to the sound of the breath, rather than the thoughts in my head!).

Step 6- Let go....and GO!

Oh, and here are a couple of the songs that will be blasting ( I like to BLAST!) in my car as I drive to my appointment...

And, of course, I have found a quote to support my cuckoo-ness....

"Ritual is necessary for us to know anything."
~Ken Kesey

(Yep, that's the guy who wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  lol.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

As if getting comfortable, in and of itself, isn't hard enough, attempting to get comfortable with the UNcomfortable feels like an impossibility at times (most of the time, that is).  Well, this seems to be what the universe wants me to work on, because I have been given lots of opportunities to practice this as of late.  

I'm speaking specifically about my eye ordeal.  I went for my 6 week post-op visit yesterday, and was overflowing with joy to be given the green light on returning to contact lenses.  Ready to run out of the office and home to my little, delicate, disk-shaped, polymer wonders that I have missed so much...I was told that I would need to be refitted in my left eye for lenses....because my eye is forever changed.  

A new set of eyes?  Hmm.  Yeah, I can see that.  A piece of eye taken out=shape changed forever.  And it was then I realize that not only is my eye changed forever, but I am.  

For six weeks I have been out of balance.  Literally.  I feel a tad bit sideways when wearing my glasses.  I've noticed I park my car in the garage about 2 inches too far to the left.  I trimmed my hair very unevenly, with the left side much longer.  When I go to yoga class, I get the sense that I might just fall over onto my neighbor at any point...not to mention my mind cursing my glasses in downward dog, as they slide down my nose, making my vision half totally blurred and half in focus.  Below is the best example I can give to you in terms of trying to explain the sensation.
I mean, I wasn't really seeing double or anything, just an overall feeling of being a little bit sideways (I hope that makes  some sense).

Throughout this whole healing process, I have been forced (lol) to see what little patience I have with myself.  Typically, I want things to run on MY time, be done quick, quick, quick, and NOW, NOW, NOW!  Well, what I have come to realize, over and over again, is that the body does not care about MY agenda.  It knows better than I do.  It knows how it works, and there is no controlling that.  

Sometimes I believe I was not given a fully expressible gene for patience.  Excuses, I know.  I just suck at it, and know that it is one of the many things I need to work on...daily.  And so it is.  I am given many opportunities to become comfortable with the uncomfortable.  This feels bad while in it, but ultimately, it's a time that heightens awareness, fosters mindfulness, and builds gratitude.  All good things!

Patience...We have become better friends over the past 6 weeks (not by choice, of course).  I have gotten to know patience personally, beyond a concept, beyond an idea.  It's part of me, whether I like it or not, and I'm ready to embrace it! And so, with my newfound "like" of patience, I decided to do something that will forever remind me that patience is necessary; that it is the key to serenity for me.
Yes, a tattoo... a symbol of patience in Hindi.  (ouch!!!!!!!!!!!!)
I'm hoping this reminder on my foot will keep from from sprinting across the parking lot to the door of my eye doctor's office tomorrow, as I go to get my new eye fitted for lenses.  We shall see....

A new set of eyes, a new perspective.