Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bring out the Blankets of Love

This afternoon I FINALLY heard from Yale-New Have Hospital, about the time to arrive for my abdominoplasty. Robin and I are to arrive at 6:30 AM, which means the surgery is probably scheduled for 7:30 or 8:00 AM. I am going to ask if you will wrap me in a blanket of sky-blue love from, say, 7:17 to 7:45 AM EST.
I am as ready for this surgery as I'll ever be-soon I am going over to Meg's so she can(reluctantly) take some before pictures. She's not thrilled because of -euww-seeing her mother half naked, but I told her if she could take dead bodies out of cars as a firefighter, surely she could click a half a doze pics of me in bra and panties!
And I get to see Myla again, too, O Happy Day!
I still have a lot of organizing to do. I always pack a book, though I know it will be weeks before I read and retain info again. I've got three pairs of night garments because I don't know exactly how the drains will work. I have a list of people to call and e-mail
I am very grateful to Robin, who is a massage therapist in the Cancer Center in our local hospital. I know she will be the best advocate I could have, so I don't have to hold it together on my own.
And give thanks for all of you who have promised to pray, meditate, etc., holding me in my sky-blue blanket of love so I can let go and go with the flow of the surgery and the beginning of healing afterwards.
Blessings to all of you, Margo

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Banishinhg Anxieties

As February draws to an end, we finally begin to get more winter weather. I'm not sure which goddess is in charge of weather. I think perhaps Demeter, because she  caused permanent winter when mourning for her daughter Persephone, kidnapped into the underworld. All I know is that I could wring her neck, as we are in the middle of a typical storm.
Of course I choose to live in South Eastern, CT. Our winter storms tend to be the snow, sleet, rain, then when night falls everything freezes over. Finally, it is likely to snow some more, so the roads look just snowy, but have glare ice underneath. Now, I have always worked jobs in medical facilities that never closed, so I got pretty good at leaving early and driving slowly and carefully. These days I seem to be retired, so why should I care?
Usually I don't, but yesterday I had two vitally important doctors' appointments-vital for the surgery. Without them, there will be no surgery. One was the second half of a stress test, required by my cardiologist. The other was an appointment with my new PCP, required by my surgeon. Both canceled me at by 7:30 yesterday morning. I am blessed in some ways because each was able to get me in on Monday, after I freaked and explained my situation, but I am cutting it REALLY close.
I do not seem to be worried about the surgery, or its aftermath, but I am doing a lot of totally unnecessary free floating anxiety about what I need to do between now and Thursday. I had scheduled my appointments much earlier in the month, but because of storm, doctor's sick children, and scheduling mix-ups, too much has come down to the last week or so. Of course, I do know it's all my control issues rising up to grab me by the head to throw me off balance. And perhaps some unconsciously denied anxiety about the surgery itself.
Now that I have written this down, perhaps I can work onchanging my thinking. After all, I do know the only thing I have control over is myself, what I choose to do and think. And Demeter, like all archetypes, is not interested in me or any individual, just is creating her own pattern of energy. Who can control the gods and goddesses, anyway? (Actually, now that I think about it, lots of religions seem to try, from the Hindus marching their statues down the streets on festival days to the Catholics who ask intercession by Virgin Mother-another archetype- to the Buddhist who does good deeds to improve his karma, to me with my little altars and shrines all around my house.) 
So yesterday, I let it all go, using one of Peggy Huddleston's suggestions (She is the developer of the Prepare for Surgery and Heal Better that I am using.) Her suggestion is to take 30 seconds and go to your "place of relaxation" in your head-any place that is relaxing for you- and get away from the worry. I go to a hammock by the Tobyhanna River in the Poconos. When I return, I've got a better handle on the unimportance of whatever anxiety I have. Thank Goddess, it works for me. I just have to remember to do it more!
It is difficult to look at how much I let myself suffer, when I have tools that work to change the situations that make me crazy. But I am learning.
Blessings, Margo

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Asking for Help

I am writing this entry to ask for help, something I am still learning to do in my life. I will get to what I need shortly, but first I'd like to catch up.
January was a reasonably slow month, mostly spent fighting my own doctor's office and workers comp for physical therapy, with a few assorted appointments thrown in for "excitement." February has taken off like a rocket and I am now lock stepped into a race with time as I count down to surgery on February 28. I have had to fight with most of the doctors' offices to squeeze me in, because I need their OK's for the surgery. This process is always necessary and always exhausting.
Then I have to force myself to actually get to each place at the appointed time. Between now and then I have appointments with my pain treatment specialist, my cardiologist, my surgeon, a brand new personal care physician, my therapist, three appointments with my physical therapist, and three with my personal trainer. I'm exhausted just contemplating all this! Each doctor's appointment is stressful, especially meeting my new PCP and saying, "Hi, you don't know me, but please clear me for surgery!"
And, of course, there is the surgery itself. I have chosen-and fought the system-to have an abdominoplasty. This is essentially a very extensive tummy tuck. Since I lost the 220 pounds, I have been left with literally pounds and pounds of hanging skin and fat, which cannot be exercised or dieted away. Every time I get out of the shower and see myself in the mirror I smile wryly and think of the Elder Statesman in the Babar series-I am wrinkled from my breasts to below my knees!
Of course I know I am lucky to be here, healthy enough to look in the mirror at all, and the point of the gastric bypass was health, not beauty. Butone does end up with a new kind of deformed body and new medical problems-rashes and infections where the skin hangs down. Hence the need for an abdominoplasty.
(Skip the following if you are not interested in specifics) The surgeon at Yale/New Have Hospital will make a roughly X shaped cut from below my breasts to above my pubic mound, cut and tighten my stomach muscles, slice off hunks of skin and fat, then stretch the remaining flesh back together and staple it into a long scar around my waist. I'll end up with drains, pain and a couple of months of healing and exercises on my part to rehab.
Now you would think after all the surgery I've had-one biggy a year for the last four years, eleven since 1994-I would not get nervous anymore. Not true, of course. I seem to get more scared each time. I'm not worried about the general anesthesia (if I die, then my time was up, and I'll go on to somewhere or nowhere; I have no control over that) or even of the surgery itself. What I am scared about is the pain afterwards. I have found that any surgery cranks up my normal level of chronic pain, and it can be months before it settles back down to a dull roar. This fear inevitably gets in the way of facing surgery calmly and resolutely.
So this time I am using Peggy Huddleston's "Prepare for Surgery and Heal Better " program. This consists of an hour's one--on-one workshop containing guided imagery for deep relaxation and three end results that you choose to enable you to move back to full health easier and faster after the surgery. It works on the principle that a truly relaxed patient is a better patient, and she has tons of medical research to back her up on this. I have had the training given by Peggy, and am authorized to give the workshop myself, which can even be given over the phone. (If anyone is facing surgery, all you need is to buy the book and CD, and I can give you the workshop free, over the phone, as it is one way I am volunteering these days.The book and CD cost about $30.00)
A friend led me through the workshop, and I have been listening to the relaxation CD regularly, in preparation, and this is where I need all the help I can get. I need at least 20 people to wrap me in sky blue blanket of love in the half hour before surgery. You can do this with prayer or meditation or picturing me or sending it out across the universe, whatever feels right to you. And then in the first few days after the surgery, you can also hold me up for easy healing whenever you think of me. If you are involved in a prayer group or meditation circle or spiritual meeting, please spread the word. I welcome all denominations, all faiths, anyway one connects with the Light.
I do not yet know what time my surgery will be yet, and probably won't until the day before. I'll make an entry as soon as I know so you'll know when to send the love to me. (I know this is a hardship for those who live on the West Coast or out of my time zone, but as long as I am asking for help, I might as well do it big time!) Again the surgery is Thursday, Feb. 28.
Phew! I did it. Asking for help is never as difficult as I think it will be, and I am getting better and better about it.
Blessings, Margo