When I first saw the little saying above, my first thought was, this is beautiful, and so true! Following right on its heels, though, came the memory of my having put that theory to the test before the words ever appeared in front of my eyes – and failing abysmally.
About 2 1/2 years ago, a routine endoscopy revealed that I had two small carcinoid tumours. Carcinoid tumours aren’t all that rare, to be sure, but the location of this one was; in fact, it seems that I was the first patient my doctor had seen with such unusually-placed tumours.
A quick Google search revealed that these tumours are fairly slow-growing, so I didn’t pay much attention to them, even after an attempt to remove them endoscopically turned out to be unsuccessful and I was told that I’d have to have conventional surgery to get rid of them.
Not being particularly thrilled about the prospect, I hemmed and hawed for months before calling the surgeon’s office for an appointment.
In the meantime, I did energy work on myself when I went to bed each night. As an energy practitioner, I had been privileged to see first-hand the amazing results that can happen with the use of these simple techniques – although like the hair stylist whose own hair could use a trim, I usually forgot about using them for my own well-being! This time I didn’t.
Eventually I made up my mind to see the surgeon just to find out what my long-term options might be.
What I found out at that visit was frightening: true, these carcinoids are slow growing; but apparently if they do blossom into what is known as “carcinoid syndrome,” they can wreak havoc throughout the entire endocrine system – and thus, the patient’s whole body – resulting in the surgeon having to remove parts of the patient’s stomach, duodenum, pancreas, common bile duct, gallbladder and other organs: a major operation.
More frightening still, there was no way of telling how long these tumours had been simmering away in my duodenum. They might remain dormant for the rest of my life – or they might erupt tomorrow! There was no way to determine when this might happen; however, I was told that if I had surgery immediately, I would likely get away with a less invasive procedure.
It seemed I had no choice; I said yes to surgery, and the first available date was reserved for me – eight hours of operating room time in case the surgeon decided that the more drastic procedure had to be performed after all.
While waiting, I kept having second thoughts about surgery; I had a feeling that something was “off” about my decision. But what? And what else could I do? The stakes were high, higher than I had ever imagined. And if I chose to wait and see, I would have to live with the constant awareness that all hell could break loose inside my body at any given moment.
The logical thing was to have the surgery, and my mind clung to this option like a life buoy. At the same time, from somewhere deeper inside, came this tiny, nagging feeling of unease that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. However, that little uneasiness was easily overpowered by my logical mind, which made the surgery decision and stood doggedly by it.
The surgery was five hours long; my hospital stay, extremely uncomfortable [I’ve written about it in a previous blog, here]. But I eventually recovered, felt fine, and had nothing untoward to show for the experience except a long abdominal scar that developed keloids (scar tissue that doesn’t stop growing when it’s supposed to). Keloids aren’t especially beautiful to look at, but they’re not something to worry about. My only amused passing thought about them was, No face lifts for this ol’ gal!
But the story didn’t end there.
Eighteen months later I was again under the knife, to have six (yes, six) large hernias repaired. The long line of severed muscle tissues in my abdomen just couldn’t hold itself together, and during the months after the first operation these hernias developed all along the incision line. The story of this operation is posted here.
This time, the healing process took several months, as setback after setback occurred. The drainage tube blocked twice, with accompanying swelling and discomfort, and then the replacement drainage tube blocked; so what began as an estimated two or three days of drainage stretched into many weeks, as I went through the days and weeks with a baggie of blood and fluid swinging around my ankles.
Now that life has once again resumed its normal pace, I’ve often had occasion to ponder the play of events that landed me here:
Perhaps the repair endoscopy, although thought to have been a failure, had actually successfully removed the tumours. After all, this was the first time the specialist had attempted to remove carcinoids in this difficult-to-reach part of the duodenum.
On the other hand, maybe the months of daily energy work I did on myself had played a part in dissolving the cancerous cells prior to my surgery. In my work as an energy therapist, helping the human body to heal itself, I’ve seen some rather amazing things.
And invariably I return to the “still, small voice,” that niggling feeling that something was off about my decision to go ahead with the original surgery.
Over the years, I’ve learned to heed that small voice in most situations – but I was afraid, afraid to trust it with a decision this big. Yet if I had simply allowed that quiet, unsettled feeling to have its say, would there have been no operations, no keloids, no hernias….just life as usual?
And here’s where, once again, the rubber meets the road: if I had it to do again, would I choose differently?
I have no idea.
What would you do?