My sister-in-law, Heather, had surgery yesterday to remove a mass from one of her ovaries. Going into the surgery, we didn’t know if it was benign or malignant, or if they would have to remove one ovary or perform a full hysterectomy. It was an exhausting day that had some missteps – her surgeon was called to an emergency at another hospital and her surgery was delayed several times – and, thankfully, some humor – I accidentally went to the wrong hospital and was helplessly lost for over an hour before I realized I was in the wrong place. Oops.
I’m happy to report the surgery went well. It was the longest two hours I can remember, but the news was very good. They only had to remove one ovary and the growth was benign. I’ve known about all of this for several weeks but chose not to write about it until now. Partly, it was because it was her ovary and her story, not mine. But also, it was because whenever I thought about writing something, I felt an intense urge to curl up into a ball and watch “Bridget Jones’s Diary” on a continuous loop.
I have a unique ability to imagine terrifying medical scenarios, especially for myself. Remember my colonoscopy? I can definitely be a whole lotta crazy, but it’s fear more than pessimism. At my core, I’m an optimist. Yesterday, in the hospital cafeteria, I told my mother-in-law I couldn’t see the doctor coming out of surgery and telling us it was ovarian cancer. I was literally unable to imagine the scenario playing out in my head. I was either in denial or it just wasn’t going to happen.
On the phone last night, I said to my mother-in-law, “We dodged a bullet, didn’t we?” I regretted the words as soon as they came out of my mouth because dodging a bullet feels lucky, and luck is something for which you can’t really take any credit. Whatever was growing inside Heather’s body was out of our control, but on the outside, we had a choice – to swarm or dance. (Are you sick of that one yet? Sorry.) We chose to dance. We put all of our energy into love, hope and even some laughter (ending up at the wrong hospital helped). The outcome of Heather’s surgery wasn’t just luck. It was a lesson, too.
In the afternoon, I had a half hour to kill before picking up the boys at school, so I watched the first few minutes of Oprah’s final show on the DVR (I missed watching it on Wednesday). She spoke of how all life is energy and you get what you give, and she said something incredible:
“You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy you bring to others.”
How true! I’ve experienced this energy force many times in my life – when I danced on stage, when I healed from my molar pregnancy and when I gave birth to my two boys. I felt it yesterday, too. I wish none of this ever happened, and I’m beyond grateful about the outcome, but I’m also thankful for the reminder that energy matters. Thank you, Oprah.