Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How I went from hot mess, to total zen master.

For almost exactly one year, I nervously awaited my surgery. Looking back at this blog, it's full of references to managing panic attacks, feeling like a hot mess, and not being able to sleep. I’ve read the research on how stress affects executive functioning and in retrospect can attribute my lack of executive functioning to stress. Such stress induced incidents from the year (which I'm almost embarrassed to write down) include the accident I had where I injured my knee, the time I unknowingly wrote a check from a closed bank account, and when my car was towed for reasons I'm still too ashamed to describe.

I spent much of the year trying, but ultimately failing, at finding balance between home, health, and career. I thought I had finally had things figured out for this coming fall, then a week before surgery, at the worst possible time imaginable, the shit hit the fan and once again my career and childcare were in question.  Then something magical happened two days before surgery... the seas parted and my daughter was offered placement at a preschool program where I had initially applied back in October. I knew that this was both a good match for her needs and mine and would mean I no longer would be working simply to cover childcare expenses.  

Suddenly I shifted from self-described ‘hot mess’ to, as one friend described me, "a total zen master". I felt completely at peace...the stress of the past year now behind me. I approached the days and hours before surgery feeling totally at ease and relaxed. Two hours before surgery I wrote the following Facebook status. "Feel compelled to write after so many well wishes. I'm a few hours away from surgery. Feel confident, calm, and ready. The next time I'm on fb it will be in a body with 95% less risk for cancer than the one I'm currently in. How amazing is that?" And I meant it.

The night before surgery I folded laundry and kept up with the Kardashians. I didn't sleep well, but not in a nervous way - more in a high on adrenaline kind of way. The morning of surgery I messaged friends and listened to music as planned. During anesthesia my husband was my DJ playing the Jam, Generation X, and the Ramones. The last song I heard was Rock and Roll by the Velvet Underground, a song that has become my anthem.

I woke up seven hours later in the post-op room dreaming I was in my daughter’s bed. I asked to see my parents and husband who seconds later were by my side. I wasn't in pain, I had no regrets. A huge weight was lifted off my chest both literally and figuratively.

As I write, I'm still only a week post-op. There have been a few complications and setbacks, but that's to be expected. Mostly I'm good, really good, and feel optimistic and excited as I start this new chapter, healthy in body and mind.


  1. so happy for you. don't have to be a woman to find inspiration in your journey. thanks for sharing.

    Why was your car towed?!!

    1. Thanks so much William. Funny you asked about the car towing story because my brother was also curious for the details on that. It is a long, boring story that may or may not involve a warrant out for my arrest.