On one of my final trips back to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital I had my usual radiation and TEM treatments. For some reason I felt an extreme anxiety about needing to stay at the hospital for a few days, so I had a serious talk with the doctors about being allowed to recuperate at the apartment instead of the hospital. Their initial response was negative, but having known these doctors for years, I had the necessary nerve to implore them to at least reconsider. They left the room and when they returned a few minutes later they made a "deal" with me. I listened with intense interest as they laid out the rules for me to accept or reject. All I needed to do was show them that I had the ability to maintain a calm stomach (no vomiting) for only four hours. They warned me that this would be an impossible task, but I paid no attention to that detail because I knew that if I was successful, I would be released and therefore allowed to go with Mom back to the apartment. I immediately accepted the challenge, feeling nothing but confidence in my ability to win. I have a crystal-clear memory of sitting on the edge of the bed with my attention focused on the large wall clock on the opposite side of the room.
It didn't take long for me to realise that I might have reason to doubt my confidence. Within the first hour, the ever-dreaded nausea took a solid hold of my entire being. But due to my desperation, I would not give in without a valiant effort! Within minutes of the onslaught of the nausea, I lost all the contents of my stomach (a nice way of describing vomit). I was ready to accept defeat, when suddenly I considered the possibility of renegotiating our agreement. I had the quick suggestion that we could reset the time in order to start over. You see, I figured that since I had already lost everything in my stomach, there may be nothing left to lose (another nice way of describing vomit). The doctors were willing to accept my proposal. Lucky me! I had another chance to succeed.
I'm quite certain that you have already figured out the ending to this chapter of my journey. You're correct if your assumption was that I had no chance of winning this challenge. Yes, I had a three-night stay in my hospital bed...sad but true. The powerful strength of nausea may have won back then, but while looking back at the memory, I can't help but have a quiet smile within as I touch into the fact that I also had a powerful strength within me to fight for what I needed. What I had originally considered as another heartbreaking example of my wretched sense of desperation as a fear-filled little girl, was in truth an early example of the power and sense of growth and determination I possessed. Believe me, these traits would play an important part in my journey with LIVING.