Being Mindful Sometimes Bites the Big One

I just went through the most trying event of my life. And, I’m still in it; it’s just not as in my face. I can finally type several words correctly on the computer keyboard, but the delete key has become my best friend. I am soooo conscious of my body, of its shortcomings, of its need to take it slow and rest. I want to be to be better NOW. It has been two plus months already. I laugh at myself… but today I am still a little angry.

I need to tell you what happened. After having a headache that would not go away for seven days then a weird bout of dizziness, I discovered I had three lesions in my brain and one in my lung. I was rushed to the hospital. (Let me add that I am in my late forties with two young daughters and a hubby, and I thought I was in good health.)

At the hospital I went from having stage four cancer of the lung, to a rare infectious disease called Nocardia to a more precise but even rarer infectious disease called Nocardia Beijingensis. I spent over a month and a half there, including a recovery center, complete with two brain surgeries.

Funny how two paragraphs can sum it up very nicely and compactly? Did I mention how I couldn’t do #2 for over two weeks and a nurse had to stick her hand – yes, there – because I was in such pain and nothing would come out. Did I mention how I couldn’t move a lick for seven days because a tube was coming out of my head filled with brain fluid? What about my mom and husband having to decide quickly whether or not to give me a second brain surgery as my first round of antibiotics didn’t seem to be working, my head was swelling rapidly and I was savagely vomiting. Oh, this gives in much more zest, doesn’t it!!

And oddly enough, I have been ok with everything. Doesn’t mean I haven’t been sad or upset, or as I mentioned before – angry. I knew, somewhere inside, that it all needed to happen... to be knocked off my socks so my “old way” of doing things would no longer be as enticing.

As you can probably understand, I have been incredibly mindful of my body. I have been a student of mindfulness/meditation for almost 20 years but I didn’t know how much I still didn’t feel or notice. For example, I now realize how wonderful it is to simply feel good. I encourage all of you to not take this sensation for granted. I sure did. It is so nice to sit and feel your humanness and to feel everything working in harmony, even if not perfect.

I am also very self-conscious of my speech. I started teaching again my advanced meditation classes a couple of weeks ago. My participants are so kind (they have been amazing through this whole experience) and tell me that they can’t notice anything. But, I notice... and I have to really think about things that, before, seemed to come naturally.

And goodness I can’t tell you what this does to a family (as I start to get teary.) To have a husband that has taken the world on his shoulders and is still patient. Who had to give me three IVs a day and stay up late every night. Who, I realize, I took partially for granted. For parents who stayed at our house for two months. And kids, friends and neighbors... all of it. You know how important a tribe is but when you really need to use it, you realize truly how darn special it is.

To sum up this story (and what a story it is)... being completely aware of my body and its functioning is something I thought I knew how to do. Now, fortunately and unfortunately, I really understand. At times, I must admit there are days and moments where I wish I didn’t know what “being mindful” was. But I attribute my living through this and being successful (apparently I am still doing amazingly well?!) to my meditation and mindfulness practices. They have made me “just be” in ways that I didn’t know were possible. My journey goes on...

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