A Surgery Date Coming Up

Well, Sports Fans,

It’s happening.  Around the beginning of June, as soon as I finish the semester and get the kiddos graduated and my son and his girlfriend moved, I am having hernia surgery.  Normally that would be a non thing.  People have those all the time, right?

Of course they do! And of course mine isn’t normal!

I have these huge bumps in the middle of my belly that have  gotten bigger and bigger since my 2017 surgery.  After I was healed and feeling better from that surgery I went to a surgeon here in Austin (I had that surgery in Dallas) and was told in no uncertain terms that the hernias were there to stay because no one in their right mind would touch me with a scalpel after  what had happened in Dallas.

So, I let that ride but decided that after three years and 80 pounds and building muscle I would see someone who specialized in hernias.  I found a very thorough and honest guy:  He was horrified.

Looking at me now he could not believe what I went through then.  He said I should have gotten this over with sooner. He was poking on me and looking as serious as death so I said, “Maybe we should just leave them alone.” He replied,

“No. The longer you wait the bigger it will get.  This is not three distinct hernias;  It is one giant one.  I don’t know if I can remove it laparscopically but I will try.  I have a feeling I will get two hours in to the surgery and have to open up your belly again.”

The thought of this freaks me out due to my experience three years ago when  I ended up in ICU for two weeks and  in the hospital another two beyond that.  It took me months to recover.  But, logically I know that won’t happen because I am at least 200% healthier than I was then.  It is just going to hurt a lot.

I also know he is not going to pull my innards out and re-arrange them like the Dr. in Dallas had to.

What this guy will be doing is just the opposite.  He will be stuffing everything back in to where it is supposed to go and using a piece of mesh to hold it in place.

I am trying to focus on the fact that I won’t have to always wear loose shirts anymore.  In fact, I had hoped this surgery would include a plastic surgeon that would take care of a few other key places that are, shall we say, baggy, since I lost all this weight.

Hahaha…. the joke’s on me.

What is really going on here is fear.  I used to march bravely into surgery no matter what it was;  I didn’t care.  I had total faith in both the outcome and in the medical community’s ability to keep me safe and comfortable.

All of that blind trust has been replaced with blind fear.  I feel broken and I have no faith whatsoever that a doctor with a scalpel, even one with good intentions, won’t either screw up or underestimate the weird ways my body reacts.

Here is the rub: Having a good attitude is key to success in this sort of thing.  Fear, and it’s first of kin, anxiety, work against having the best of outcomes. Both emotions stimulate the production of cortisol in the body and dampen the immune system.  Goodness knows I don’t need help in that area!

But, there is grace in abundance, even in  the parts of our lives where we experience fear.  In my case, grace has presented itself in the guise of time.

It is only the first week of April and I will not have the surgery for another seven or eight weeks.  This gives me plenty of time to work on my own monsters.  I will do that by processing all of what is going on with G-d and I can do that with his representatives in my life: my spiritual counselor, my family, my non-religious Jewish therapist, and many more people who come  and go in my day to day.

I will learn from them and reflect with them and take my uncertainty to the One who created me.

In the end I will trust that what happens, happens.  I cannot control all the outcomes.

In fact, I don’t even have to control all of the outcomes.  Maybe that should be comfort in and of itself.  I just don’t feel that way yet.