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I Found A Potatoe In My Bed

Jun 27, 2023
Reading time 3 min.

My surgery was last week. Exactly four days ago. The procedure is called a colectomy. Considering the procedure's complexity and the length of the surgery, my recovery feels easy. I was discharged after only two and a half days. I'm feeling tired and sore. Lined up on my kitchen counter are all the medications I need to take to help manage pain and other potential complications. It's a lot of stuff.

Since first knowing about my diagnosis, many emotions have surged through my nervous system. Today, relief and sadness are the predominant ones. Quite a paradox. Every morning it's been my habit to take a few moments to look at myself in the bathroom mirror. It is a way to do a self-check-in. I look at myself and ask how I am feeling. Despite all the challenges, I acknowledge myself for making it this far in my life and feel gratitude for the life I was given. I also give thanks for what feels like getting off easy. This morning all I could feel was the incongruity between the diagnosis of cancer, the surgery, and my life. Cancer in my life just doesn't make sense. But there it is. Undeniably so. Then I remembered finding a potato in my bed; all I could do was laugh.

One thing that remains from my first marriage is a connection with my brother-in-law. I don't know how it started. But we would hide potatoes and other fruit in each other's bed. It was a harmless way to express our juvenile tendencies and a prank that reinforced our connection. It was stupid man humor that made us laugh. My brother-in-law called a few days ago to see how I was doing. The phone call ended with us laughing at the memory of finding potatoes in our beds. It amazes me how a shared connection of love and appreciation between two people so easily helps reconnect me to my heart and the divine presence of Grace that flows through my life.

In the days leading up to the surgery, I couldn't help but feel like I was tuning myself into the “authorities” for some past transgression. It felt like there was no way out of my dilemma. I was boxed in, and my fight-or-flight response wanted to take over. I couldn't escape the thoughts of my pending mortality, even though that was far from the truth. I could begin to imagine what it might feel like for others who were facing the immanency of their own passing. It usually is a terrifying realization, especially considering we live in a culture that, for the most part, is in denial about the process of dying.
We can only come to terms with this primordial experience for ourselves. I have been in a spiritual practice for most of my life. I have spent a lot of time with shamans in South America and have worked with plant hallucinogens throughout my life. In the face of fear, I have learned that the only option is to turn into it, embrace it, and surrender to the present moment. The timing of our life is a mystery not in our control. I have found a lot of personal learning and insight from my "brush" with cancer. Maybe the most important is that amidst the chaos and uncertainty of life, I remain open to Grace and the gift of my life.

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