Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday's Words for August 20, 2008

There are several reasons that I undertake the writing of this essay every week. The first is that I pure and simple love to write essays. I love writing, but essays are special in that there’s a freedom of poetry and flow you can’t always use in fiction. The second reason for these weekly compositions is that I enjoy sharing my opinions and inspiring debate. Notice, dear readers, that I said “my opinions” and not “the truth”. My words are only my opinion, and I welcome all discourse, whether in agreement or opposition. Another reason is yes, a self-serving one. I’m a writer of fiction, and in penning these essays I am promoting myself as a writer, as someone whose stories you may perhaps want to buy.

But there is one reason above all the others why I write these words each week, and that is to share. I’m a woman in my middle years and I have known good times and horrendous times, and if sharing my experiences with you brings you some measure of comfort, or peace, or just lets you know you’re not alone, then everything I have gone through has served a higher purpose.

You may have noticed that last week, my words were actually posted on Tuesday. That’s because last Wednesday I was at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, Ontario, undergoing eye surgery. I had a lesion on my lower right eye-lid that would not go away. This past spring, I discovered that it had evolved into basal cell carcinoma.

The surgeon removed most of my lower eye-lid, and then grafted a new one from the skin of my upper eye-lid. I have stitches in both places, and I’m bruised all around my eye—it looks like I walked into a fast traveling baseball. But I can see just fine, and the discomfort is minimal. Also, the prognosis is good. With the lesion removed, that should be the end of it.

Because of my past history—I had a triple by-pass nearly six years ago—it was decided that they would perform this surgery after giving me only sedation and a local anaesthetic. It was a very strange experience, let me tell you. Normally, I have a freaky thing about my eyes. The thought of someone touching them gives me shivers. Thankfully, the sedation took the edge off that. It also took the edge off the pain, and once the local kicked in, there was no pain at all.

I didn’t care particularly for being able to see them working on me. Remarkably, I fell asleep during the procedure, which was just as well. When they wheeled me out of the operating room, it was right back to the day surgery ward, no recovery room needed. They checked my blood pressure, which proved to be excellent.

They also checked my blood sugar, because something else happened to me this year I’m just now confessing to all of you: I was diagnosed as diabetic.

Fortunately, I am able to control this with diet, exercise, and oral medication. Needless to say the pool is out for the next few weeks as I wait for the skin around my eye to heal. Doesn’t matter, I will get back to it. Swimming is a part of me now.

Now, I’m telling you all this not because I want you to feel sorry for me, but to let you know that everyone of us has stuff to deal with in our lives, and it really is an ongoing, never-ending process.

Most of my life I have lived a sedentary existence. In my thirties I smoked, which was particularly stupid of me. I never really exercised, nor did anything to promote good health in myself. I had a way of living in denial that was almost an art form.

Denial is a good short term coping tool, but it always comes back to bite you in the ass.

Today I’m in my fifties and paying for all those youthful indiscretions which weren’t, in the annals of indiscretions, all that bad to begin with. I feel as if I need to pose for a poster with the caption, “Don’t let this happen to you!”

But I’m not a model or a poster artist. All I have are these words. If you take them to heart, they will certainly be enough.


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