“Baby, You Will Be Okay.”

Via on Jun 8, 2012

“I’m bleeding,” I said.

He looked at me and, for a moment, I was distracted by the handsome man in front of me, wearing only a towel.

“So what’s that mean?” he questioned cautiously.

“It means I have to go to the hospital. I’m not supposed to bleed. They’re probably going to have to give me something to make it stop,” I said in a too fast voice that was threatening to become a wail, as my eyes welled up with tears.

Not wanting to ruin our precious time together with my dreary medical drama, I took a few deep breaths, straightened my shoulders and strengthened my resolve. “I’ll wait and see what happens. If it continues, I’m probably going to have to go, though.”

With that, we went about our evening, and we had an amazing time.

Still however, I chastised myself for almost losing my cool in front of him about the medical situation. I had been two and half seconds away from crying over a little unexpected bloodshed.

His calm inspired me to find my own calm, where I rested with the pain for the remainder of the evening.

Gratitue

The next morning, it continued.  I prayed, and I prayed.

Please God, I don’t want to have to go to the doctor again. I’m tired of doctors, I’m tired of tests, I’m tired of all this; haven’t I been through enough?

The bleeding stopped (for a little while, anyway) but my doctor said I had to come in today.

Going to the doctor usually puts me in a horrible mood. I’ve been to the doctor more times in the last two years than a geriatric patient has been in their whole entire lives. I usually come home a frustrated, depressed, easily excitable, riled up mess.

Finding out you might have cancer, and then having doctors argue about it—it’ll do that to you.

Having various body parts excised over a few month period will do that to you, too. Waiting for test results that never really result in anything—these things will do that. They will drive a sane person mad; especially if you’re the sort of sane person who was already a little mad to begin with.

Waiting would be so much easier if there was an end in sight, but I’ve learned to stop looking for the end, because when it isn’t where I expect it to be, I end up horribly frustrated and depressed.

Now I have someone to wait with me and because of past experiences, on bad days, I find myself half waiting for him to drop the bomb that he can’t deal with this or me anymore. But he doesn’t.

Not even when I send him 100 frantic text messages he can’t respond to right away because he’s at work.

Not even when I get into “Woe is me” mode and feel like I’ll never be “normal.”

Not even when I’m crying on the phone because I’m in pain. Not even when I’m making him drink green juice because I drink green juice, so I think he should too, because it will help him stay healthy.

In a country that doesn’t have a healthcare system, but an illness management system, I’m all about “staying healthy.”

After someone tells you that you may have cancer, two things happen: 1) You say “FTW,” “YOLO,” or whatever the popular lingo is these days and party like a rockstar because you’re convinced you’re going to die tomorrow or 2) You turn into a wheat grass juicing, yoga loving junkie who is determined to love life.

The denial stage—a.k.a. using the motto “You only live once” as an excuse for making piss poor decisions—didn’t last long with me. I’m too much of a control freak. So it was only natural that I progressed into a wheat grass juicing, yoga loving junkie.

However, there’s a fine line between a green juice goddess and a neurotic (organic) nutcase. 

Sometimes, I’ve crossed that line.  He’s brought me back to the shores of sanity.

“But I feel like it’s my fault I’m in pain, because I haven’t been eating good lately, and yesterday I ate…”

“Babe. It’s fine,” he said firmly, reminding me that it isn’t what we do once in a while that hurts us or helps us; it’s what we do habitually.

I breathe, and I let it go, gently and firmly, just the way he reminds me.

There’s no use being angry, frustrated or upset with myself. No use beating myself up. I can only do better and move forward. Yet sometimes, I continue to toe that line between being hyper vigilant and lackadaisically languishing. (I’m known to say I’m never going to the doctor again when I get particularly frustrated.)

That’s what happens when someone tells you that you might have cancer—all of a sudden your body that you never paid that much attention to anyway becomes a scary place.

Every ache or pain you get can send your monkey brain reeling, which becomes doubly annoying when you have somewhat of a chronic (but largely stable, for now) condition, where a certain degree of pain is something you might just have to learn to live with.

There are two places where I am learning to feel safe in my body again: on my yoga mat and in the bedroom.

It’s so easy to let go and find myself in his arms. It’s harder to let go on the mat, where I may not have wanted to be all the time in the first place. (Pain is always a great excuse to avoid practice.)

“You’re supposed to catch me if I fall,” I chided, as we fell backwards in each other’s embrace.

“I don’t need to catch you if we’re flying,” he responded.

I giggled in spite of myself. He’s smooth. A paradigm shift, just like that.

What I’d been conditioned to believe had been challenged, and rightfully so.

If I let go, who says that I will fall? Who says that I won’t fly?

As I sat in the waiting room today, waiting to see my doctor, I had an epiphany that I’d long been resisting.

Fears become us, or rather we become them, if we don’t put them in their place. The more I fear dealing with these issues, the more frustrated I will continue to be. The more I cling to having to “be okay,” the farther from “okay” I will be.

Warrior 3There’s a lesson in all of this, and I found it on my mat tonight in Warrior III.

It’s great to advocate for yourself.  But think about that fine line between being hyper vigilant and lackadaisical—both take you out of balance. They are polar opposite reactions to fear.

Remember when I said I was a control freak?

The truth is, sometimes I won’t be “okay.” Sometimes I will need to curl up into a ball and pop a Tylenol with Coedine for the pain. Sometimes I may have to take prescription drugs, even though I’d rather do things holistically. Sometimes I might be a little too whiny, a little too needy, or talk about it a little too much.

I have to get okay with all that—that’s balance, and I have to find it, knowing, trusting, that I will be okay.

Sometimes isn’t all the time.

And I am not and will never be my diagnosis, my dis-ease, or my drama.

Balance means embracing the “best” of me and the “worst” of me—and hey, really, my worst isn’t even that bad.

Balance is something that has to be continually reassessed because it changes. It isn’t just “there”—it’s something we have to find, both on our mat and off of it.

Get used to change.

I made it to the last yoga class of the evening tonight. I wasn’t going to go because my friend wouldn’t come with me and I didn’t want to go by myself.

Unless you’re doing partner yoga, which you are not, yoga is not a partner sport. You only need yourself. Grow up and show up, my higher self commanded.

She sounded pretty serious, so I decided to humor her because God only knows my monkey brain madness wasn’t working for me.

As class began closing with a seated spinal twist, the instructor reminded us all to look in the direction we want our bodies to go.

At that moment, I can hear his voice in my head: “Baby, you’re going to be okay, though,” and I repeat after him, looking off into the distance, but fully present where I’m at.

“Baby, you will be okay,” says my higher self.

Yes, I will.

I let go, and I flew.

I let it all go.

I know gravity is the law, and what goes up must come down, but I know that there are arms to catch me if I do fall. I know that I’m safe no matter how hard I come crashing down.

You should know this too, because baby, you will be okay.

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Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

About April Dawn Ricchuito

April Dawn Ricchuito, MSW was once the type of girl whose idea of “soul searching” was shoe shopping. Today, she's more about the pursuit of happiness, radiance, and a natural glow from within that can't be achieved with bronzer. She has been recognized as a part of "Generation Inspiration" and is also named as one of 20 Young Champions for Women by the White Ribbon Alliance and WIE Symposium, presented by Donna Karan and Arianna Huffington. You can follow April on Twitter or visit her on Tumblr or at Verbal Vandalism to check out her latest written works.

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2 Responses to ““Baby, You Will Be Okay.””

  1. [...] Your universe crashes. [...]

  2. [...] You’ve done Warrior III a thousand times before, yet this front quad rattles as if it’s going to collapse the instant you lose your focus. You’re sweating. Dammit. Sweat means you’re working too hard. [...]

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