“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” A Tale of Two Cities

This next journey which I call ‘The Big Adventure’ was a bit like a Dickens novel. As with so many things, there is the good part (The best of times) and the super testy part (the worst of times). I was filled with innocence and excitement with the possibility of letting “Tiny the Tumor” go. Little did I know of the tests that would greet me on this great adventure.

As I last left off, we were rolling down the Hospital corridor grooving to the sounds of “Happy” by Pharrell and going to surgery. It was a moment of true happiness. I was ready for anything, or so I thought.

I don’t remember much of the next 8 hours…kind nurses and anesthesiologists greeted me as I arrived in the operating room and then…I entered the void. The next thing I remember was 8 hours later and being back in my room, looking at the “Wall of Love” and experiencing pain…and then more of the delicious void as the pain killers and epidural did their job.

I have no memory of what happened in that operating room but it was conveyed to me days later by Sada Sat Kaur and my doctors. They did not want to upset me in those first few days of recovery. It was a difficult operation. I was lucky to be in the blissful fog of anesthesia. Here is where Sada Sat Kaur’s prayer of “Operate on this man as if he will live a long and healthy life,” and your so many messages of love, light and healing had their greatest impact.

“Tiny was not so tiny.”

I gave Tiny his name to give him a diminutive image so I could manage the existence of him. What I didn’t know was how much he had grown. If he had a mother, she would have been proud. Tiny had become like the big biker in a grade B Biker Movie who is a mountain of a man but they call Tiny. Oh well….

When they opened me up to remove Tiny, Tiny had grown to be the full size of my bladder and then some. The doctors had never encountered such a large, hard, brittle tumor of the bladder. From their training their initial assessment was that it was an inoperable cancer and they should just sew me back up and prepare me for palliative care. But then something happened….prayers and magic. They heard the prayers of so many. The doctor told me that even though this was new territory for them, something told them to try even though they were not sure where to start. He said, somehow they knew it would be o.k. (aha, the power of prayer). He told me that it was my trust in him that inspired him to do everything possible to remove Tiny. So, they began. 5 hours later, they had removed Tiny, 2 lymph nodes, some surrounding tissue and God knows what else. It was a success and they were both happy and surprised by it. So, Tiny did become tiny after all. I am happy to say, I was clueless about what it took to make that happen but I am so happy and grateful those doctors decided to take a chance.

“The Dark Night of the Soul”

I grew up super-Catholic. My mother, of Irish Catholic descent, was by far the most Catholic person I have ever met. I was introduced by her to many of the great Catholic philosophers of ages past including, St John of the Cross, a Spanish saint of the 16th century. He wrote a book called “The Dark Night of the Soul”. It is his journey through the darkness and doubt into the light. The next few days became that for me. As we talk about light, it is easy to forget sometimes you need to go through some real darkness to arrive there. And did I ever have that experience over these next few days!

At this time, it was also the week before Easter which was a perfect metaphor for my experience. Before the resurrection of Easter, the Christ had to first go through a great suffering, which is called The Passion. It is all so Catholic and on Friday, Good Friday to be exact, I experienced a suffering such as I’d never had.

For the few days immediately after the surgery the degree of pain was intense. Even with different pain killers, etc., to help manage the intensity there were waves of pain that I did not know were possible. It was like being kicked in the abdomen by a horse, over and over. Not a nice experience to say the least. I think the hardest part was there was no position in which I could become comfortable. And then on Friday, it hit like a ton of bricks. Pain and then intense nausea which brought the next experience which I don’t need to describe but suffice it to say, I was closely and intimately familiar with what I had been eating during those days…yuck!

Typically I am not much of a moaner but in this case, it is all I could do. Every now and then I would re-enter consciousness for another bout of pain and then slip back into the void as the next round of pain killers would do their job. In the moments of pain, I would open my eyes and there would be the Wall of Love. I was not happy to see it. It was more of, oh God, if I have to see one more positive message, I think I’ll take that whole wall down. Back to an earlier emotion, I was looking for sympathy and not some positive message. But, despite my unhappiness to see it, those messages still entered my consciousness and my psyche. Sada Sat Kaur’s conspiracy was working and winning. As I closed my eyes, I could hear the mantra, “Healthy am I, Happy Am I, Holy Am I”…and I’m thinking, enough of that already; I’m not healthy, I’m not happy, I’m not whole and I am really uncomfortable. But still that mantra and the positive love persisted. I had my internal battle, my Dark Night of the Soul. Eventually the positive won out. There was no choice, I was surrounded by it, held by it and was experiencing the miracle of it. By Friday night, the pain, the nausea, the vomiting disappeared…they were replaced by light and lightness and I felt held in the arms of angels. It was truly miraculous and was not by my doing…I had been going in the opposite direction. I am the product of the prayers and love held and projected by so many. There is a power that transcends and love is truly that power. I know it carried me to my own transcendence and victory. In part it is a miracle but on the other hand it is the result of the purposeful intention held by love and did not happen by accident. I am profoundly grateful for that.

Again, the timing of this is not lost on me. By Sunday, Easter Sunday, I have to say I was reborn into a new consciousness and into a new life. I meditate on that and I am allowing that experience to shape me in a new self-identity and purpose. I have learned to open myself to the present and let things come. I am learning to let go of what was and accept my new self. I am not in a hurry for it, I am not impatient for it. I know, all will reveal itself and all will be well.

Remember, “The time of the Lone Wolf is over”

I have already mentioned how much love and support I have received through all of this great adventure. It is truly overwhelming and I know I could not have done this alone. The time of the Lone Wolf is truly over.One thing I do need to mention, is the love and care I received from the Staff in the hospital. Everyone was so kind and filled with love and care for me. It was truly inspirational. At the same time, they were top professionals and demanded from me a commitment for my own health and recovery. The day after the surgery they already had me walking. I hated it! It was so painful but made such a difference in my healing. One of the nurses, Silvia, looked me in the eyes and confronted me. She said, “You have to ask yourself, who is going to win?…you or the bed. If you don’t walk, the bed will win. When you leave the hospital, do you want to walk out or go out in a wheelchair? “ And I’m thinking, how about a hug? And she is saying, “Walk!” So, I walked. I can smile now but then, oh my, what I was thinking…

I had 6 nurses, 5 nurses aides, 2 nurses in training, 2 room cleaners and 5 Doctors looking over me, loving me, taking care of me, healing me….incredible. And each one of them, so kind, so competent, so loving…and that’s not the pain killers talking…those are long gone. By the time I left, they were all so happy for me and proud of the wonderful work that they had done. They truly have a right to be.

Plus there were the visits of friends and family. What a great joy that creates. And since it was Easter, enough Lindt Easter Egg Chocolate and Perugina Chocolates to feed an army. I figured since they were given in love, I would say yes to the Universe and eat them in the love they were given. I think each bite of that chocolate was infused with love and healing because I got stronger with every piece I ate. I did share them and eat them in moderation of course and ate wonderful home-made soups and fresh veggies as well.

Say Yes to the Universe and the Universe will say Yes to you.

I think this is the most wonderful realization that I have had through this experience….the ability to receive and be open, let things come and don’t judge them. Even when it’s things you may not like. Accept and love the whole package. I am still working on that one and know I will forever.

Remember Hilda? She has been with me through everything. She keeps reminding me, don’t be afraid, open yourself and what you need will come. When the offer comes, say yes…even if it’s Tiny. Embrace it! Don’t say no, no,no. Let the Universe serve, and honor it. I don’t want to be cliché or maudlin here but when you open and allow, what you need comes. Help will come. Challenges will come. Blessings will come. And the more you open, the more that comes. Say yes to the Universe so the Universe can say yes to you. It is all part of the infinite plan. To me, the fact that I am still here is proof enough.

Love to All, Peace to All, Light to All.

Sada Sat Singh