Monday morning we report for surgery. I’m hoping while I’m under they can tack on a Tommy John too. For those of you who don’t know, Tommy John is the name of a surgery that is common for baseball pitchers with elbow problems. You may remember a few post ago I said I hated to use the term “former athlete”, but now as I sit on the couch 8 hours after our Bates College Alumni baseball game, I don’t have any problem with that anymore. I had completely forgotten the game was scheduled for this weekend and was crazy excited that I was able to go. It was another reminder of how wonderful the people in my life are and have been in the past. Back on the field with the sun shining down I could feel my smile stretching from ear to ear.
It was quite a change from how I was feeling just a month ago. Hmm, how do I explain it. March SUCKED! I think that’s the most honest way to describe it. If you know me, you know I like to have a plan. I like to have some semblance of control, and I like to get my way (if I’m being honest). For the entirety of March I didn’t have any control and nothing was happening according to my plan! I was taking my qualifying exams, which is the last landmark before officially becoming a doctoral candidate, I was trying to continue my research, and Dad was in the hospital for essentially the entire month. That would have been a lot to handle in itself, but then it seemed like everything that could go wrong did. I got the flu and fell behind on the written part of my exam. Dad was released from the hospital only to be readmitted days later when it was clear nothing had been fixed. I was losing control and soon I was losing sleep.
One of my friends had a bout with insomnia last year. He says it was miserable. He would try and sleep because physically he was tired, yet no sleep would come. His body wanted off, but his mind pushed on. That was how I felt. I’d fight exhaustion all day trying to be productive, get home and get ready for bed and then my mind would be off to the races. It seemed nothing could slow it down. Eventually I would stop fighting it and watch TV or read or stare at the ceiling til 4 or 5 in the morning. One friend suggested I read before bed to relax, my nurse friend suggested benadryl to make me drowsy, another suggested just sleeping whenever I was tired. Nothing worked.
Eventually though, I did find something that worked. Giving up. I had been fighting hard for control, but losing sleep over the fact that I didn’t have it. I wish I could say I at some point I stepped back from the situation, a light bulb popped over my head and I realized how simple it all was, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I gave up because I lost the fight. I lost. I’d been standing bashing my fist against a stone wall and my fist broke, while he wall remained unmarked. I hated it. I hate losing. I felt broken, I felt lost in despair (melodramatic much?), but then I felt something else, relief. I came back to the one thing that has remained constant through my life; trust God and he will provide.
That statement doesn’t mean I stopped working my hardest on my exams, that I suddenly didn’t worry about my dad, and that I spent the rest of my month on the couch watching spongebob saying “Oh I’m not worried, God will provide.” It meant that I tried my best and I had faith that whatever the outcome God would get me through it, like he always has. I worked hard, I still worried, but suddenly I could sleep. Often when my mind would start to race and I’d think I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, I’d open that old leather bound book I keep by my bed, the one that far too often I let accumulate dust, and I would read. I especially liked reading the Psalms (I have one tattooed on my back). I liked to see that David, the same David who was called a man after God’s own heart, was moody like me. Sometimes he’d be thankful or happy, but other times he was sad, angry, even depressed. In these times I’d remember that its OK to have emotions. God gets that and I think he prefers to see these emotions. If you’re the all knowing creator of the universe, you’re probably well aware of the fact that no one is going to be uber happy every single day of their lives and therefore pretending to be is just lying. I’d read these Psalms and talk to God, telling him what I felt. It brought me peace.
Some days were still harder than others, and some nights didn’t involve much sleep, but in general I felt much better. I had peace. Now, we’re two days away from surgery (technically one since its 2:39AM) and still I find peace. There have been ups and there have been downs, but still peace. After the surgery there will be more ups and downs, but hopefully more peace.
Tomorrow I’ll likely log the last entry for awhile. It’s one that’s been on my heart for awhile. After that we’ll find a way to make sure updates are available on how dad and I are recovering. Until then thanks for your endless support and love. From Maine, from New York, and from Florida. From Ireland, Canada and Mexico. Thank you and pray for peace 🙂