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I Am One of the Lucky Ones

The winter has been mild, and the daffodils are already blooming. Too early, in my opinion. In a week or two, the trees will leaf out. I am emotionally not ready.

I like the warmth and bird twitter, but I dread the world filling up with gluttony of green. Every tree will be filled with it.

I want more empty and barren. Yes, empty and barren, only found in the late winter. I have not had my fill of boney winter trees. No depression here. I just love the empty, bare, skeletal trees.

Very few will understand my need for such barrenness.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve gone to four different doctors, each giving me his best diagnosis and referral. Finally, one doctor said, “You are one of the lucky ones. This is not an issue for women until they are post-menopausal, until the hormones are gone. I’ll see five or six women today with this same problem. They are the lucky ones.” What? A sobering thought.

My mother passed away, but I am not without resources. I talk with women friends almost every day about important things, personal things.

Today, I’m sitting on the porch enjoying a certain slant of light that comes this time of the year. I begin with what I know to do: saying the truth out loud. “I am lucky to be alive after dealing with breast cancer. I am lucky to be alive after sitting in a counselor-chair for twenty years. (Who can know how much heaviness one counselor can bear without becoming sick herself?) I am lucky to be alive after growing up in a highly dysfunctional family.” So the doctor is right. I am lucky to be alive. Lucky to be dealing with any mystery.

I guess the hissing self-lies I almost bought this time were: “I won’t be able to deal with another crazy change in my body, and it could be cancer!” Finally, I said to myself, “Stop it! You can deal with whatever the truth is.” What a relief to hear the doctor say it is normal for a 72-year-old body. Not cancer.

Feelings are like clouds, coming and going, cumulus and nimbus. Sometimes happy, sometimes dark and scary. They jump on us, but I am convinced they are important, always moving me toward God. No need to fix anything. And of course, He is the One who put the right doctors in my path at the right time.

I guess it is just hitting me, one more time, that I have a 72-year-old body. Actually, I don't feel 72 on the inside (some of you will understand), but this body needs a tad more tender loving care than I’ve been giving it. More oil on the feet, more cream on the body, more massaging of the scalp, probably more olive oil, more zucchini, more fruit.

The doctor said, “I’ll see five or six other women today with the same diagnosis.” Wow! I am not alone. And if there is medicine to help me, the mystery is solved. Therefore, I’m claiming it: I'll use this hormonal cream and be grateful that I am one of the lucky ones.

Get ready, world, the green trees are coming. It's all just the cycle of life, God's cycle. Another little thing for me to accept because I cannot change it. Thank you, Lord, for not giving me that power.

Photo by Pat Durmon, after a frosty night near Norfork, Arkansas. January 7, 2017.

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