We are heading up tonight to check into a hotel near the hospital in Redwood City as I have the fun big pre-op bowel purge to do and donâ€™t think driving in the Friday traffic with legs crossed in knots is the best plan. Â I talked to my surgeon and am REALLY impressed with herâ€”she does not think it is cancer but she also recommends a total hysterectomy and appendectomy â€œwhile Iâ€™m in thereâ€.
Iâ€™ll be in hospital till Monday some time. We are growing but I donâ€™t think we asked to be dealt an AFGO!Â XX H
Whoo-ee, are weâ€™re gonna ride! Â Allâ€™s well. Â Everythingâ€™s gone. Benign. Â What a joyous end to this roller coaster week. Â Amazing Docâ€”She clearly saw my pain level and came in on the weekend ~ am I ever grateful. Â Of course the morphine could be entering into this glee but Iâ€™ll take that.
Iâ€™m quite a bit loopy but deeply grateful for all your loving support and concern and wanted to let you know the good news. Â When I said â€˜everythingâ€™ that means ovaries, tubes, uterus and cervix and an appendectomy, too, while weâ€™re at it. Â So there should be no more worries at all. Â Iâ€™ll probably be here in Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City through Sunday, then home to Aptos to reunite with the doggies, horses, llamas, redwoods and meadows for two weeks recovery where lots of walking and activity is part of the recovery routine.
Ariel and Jim are here joining me in sending love and gratitude for this and to you for being such beautiful presences in our lives.Â Â XX H
â€˜Where is the end of them, the fishermen sailing
Into the windâ€™s tail, where the fog cowers?
We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
Or of an ocean not littered with wastage
Or of a future that is not liable
Like the past, to have no destinationâ€™
T.S.EliotÂ Â Â â€œFour Quartetsâ€Â â€˜The Dry Salvagesâ€™
Blessings to you, dear Taos friend! It appears we abide in the miracle of cyberspace clouds. Â Medicine is amazing grace, as you among us all surely know. Â And I am sending my deeply grounded prayers for all that I have seen, felt and learned to bring back from this brief journey to abide with us all. Patience for going with the river, trust, hope, and gratitude for what is, has been and will be.
My crisis appeared dramatically with the bleakest outlook and then suddenly began shifting and every day got better. I think I landed in the hands of the best possible ob-gyn oncology surgeon. Katie Oâ€™Hanlan is a marvelâ€”fun, brilliant, expertâ€”researcher, clinician, teacher, et al. Though weâ€™d never laid eyes on each other before, she had us laughing on the way into the OR. Â By 7:30 AM, while they rolled me toward the operating room on the gurney, Jim and Ariel walked alongside, holding my hands.Â Ariel had my iPhone in her pocket and it beeped to announce a text from Gabriel.Â It said â€œCan you ask if you get to keep your uterus after they take it out?Â I have fond memories of my first apartment.â€
Ariel read this aloud.Â Katie guffawed aloud and snorted, â€œNo way, kid.Â You canâ€™t have it because every cell I remove is going to the pathology lab.Â But I will take a photograph for you!â€Â With that, Jim and Ariel released my hands, patted my legs good luck.Â We rolled through the double doors, laughing and soon I was under.
Later that afternoon afternoon Katie stopped by with the photograph and to reconfirm that everything was benign.Â The photo showed a rosy pink healthy uterus in the ominous shadow of a Darth Vadar-looking purplish blue black swollen mass.Â I felt like Dorothy looking at the body of the wicked witch of the North. Now that witchy serous adenoma is shrunken, scraped off the walls of the nearby tissues it had been draining blood from, and has been sent unceremoniously to the path lab with the other six no longer needed body parts (tubes, uterus, ovaries, cervix and, for good measure, the appendix) sheâ€™d removed.
Ding Dong, the witch is dead!Â Katie said I was doing so well and since the procedure had been at 7:30 AM I had had the full day to recover and if I could â€œwalk and peeâ€ I would be much happier to be at homeâ€”so with that encouragement, I managed both and by 8:30PM I was home in Aptos! Â My regimen now is pretty much do everything normally. Â Walk, walk, walk through the pain. Â Exercise, etc. Â Because it was all done by laparoscopy the recovery is a miracle and there are no stitches.
When I called my wonderful doctor here in Santa Cruz after the surgery yesterday to thank her for her Herculean efforts all last week, she closed by saying sheâ€™s on her way to Spain for a week. Â She reminded me that I would have been hiking and river rafting in the Grand Canyon as of now as well. Can we only imagine the scenarios if this had presented tomorrow instead of last Monday!Â And this afternoon, though it wasnâ€™t the Grand Canyon hiking weâ€™d planned or the rapids weâ€™d expected to run on the Colorado River, we hiked this canyon at home, a mile and a half loop with the dogs leaping and playing, glad to have me home and the familiar returned, up through the redwood meditation grove, pausing for gratitude at the altar of Avalokiteshvara, the boddhisatva of compassion and deep listening.
We will miss you so much in person at Twin Brooks next month, but I feel your love, our deep connection and the soft flutter of angel wings that pass between us.Â Honor your art and be well, my dear friend.
Oh, I forgot to tell you about the sweet poignant farewell Ariel offered to her â€œnestâ€ and Gabrielâ€™s â€œfirst apartment.â€ Â Before they came to collect me for the surgery, she climbed upon my hospital bed and cuddled in.Â I put on my iPod and we each took one earbud and listened together to the monastics at Deer Park Monastery chanting â€œNamo Avalokiteshvara Yaâ€ It was so soothing and centering.Â Then we listened as Sister Jewel sang the beautiful â€œDonâ€™t ask the way to peace, peace is the wayâ€ and finally, Ariel, stroking our â€œnestâ€ sang me the words to the round â€œStanding like a tree with my roots down deep, my branches wide and open, Come, come the rain, Come come the sun, Return to the earth, Return to the one who is standing like a tree with my roots down deep, my branches wide and openâ€¦â€
With abiding love,
Breathing and smiling,
PS Dr. Oâ€™Hanlan released me from the hospital that same nightÂ with the injunction to â€œWalk, Walk,Walk!â€ and do every athletic thing I felt I could manage, so Sunday we hiked a mile and a half, Monday, two days post op, back to Pilates, Wednesday, back riding Shambhala!! Yee Haw!Â XXX H