Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Opposite of Wonder and Delight

Three short months later at my regular check-up with the dermatologist, he biopsied a mole that I had not even seen because it was out of sight, right below my neck at the top of my back. The test indicated that further work was needed, so I set up yet another trip to the Procedure Room. After having the positive experience with the healing of my leg, what could ever keep me from embracing the same strategy following this new procedure? The sad answer is that I was too busy to even think about the quality of healing. This procedure was done in May, which was the busiest time of the year for me. I was busy planning a little reading party, busy making homemade awards for each student, busy doing report cards, busy packing up the countless books and supplies in preparation for summer much busyness, so little healing.

I vividly remember the sound of my doctor's voice as he removed all the stitches, only to watch the wound completely open up again. Here was my confident doctor standing in disbelief while trying to find the words to explain to me what had just happened. "Oh my," was repeated two or three times, followed by a heavy sigh. Since I could not see what he was looking at, I was more that a bit worried by this unusual tone. He proceeded to calmly explain that since the entire wound had opened, it would have to slowly heal from within. I wasn't exactly sure what that meant or how long it would take. I felt numb as I listened to all the instructions he laid out for us to follow over the next several weeks. It was at that point that my head became a bobble head, randomly nodding up and down as his explanation became more and more involved. Now it was my turn to say, "Oh my!"

As I left the clinic, my arms were filled with all the supplies needed to help the wound begin to gradually close. It's difficult to explain what was going through my head on the short trip home. I felt a mixture of guilt, shame, fear and uncertainty...guilt for being so self-absorbed in school related matters that I had no energy or thought left to give to my healing; shame for treating my body in such an unlovin way, fear about the possibility of it not healing properly; uncertainty as to why this would be happening to me. By the time I had arrived home, I was physically and emotionally drained.

Jessica was home from college for summer break, so I carefully explained to her and Jim all the details of how they would need to help with the special technique for cleaning the area and changing the bandages. After telling them that I had not seen it, they were both curious to see what I was talking about. I will never forget the silence that hung in the air as they cautiously inspected the wound. I knew it was serious when Jessica looked like she had just seen a scary reptile, and the only thing she said was, "Mom, are you sure the doctor said it was safe for you to come home?"

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