August 27, 2014

What it Means to be Truly Brave.

Thomas Anderson/Flickr

Today I stand in awe of my friend and her courage.

I learned a couple of weeks ago that a friend of mine was going in for surgery for a complete hysterectomy.

She asked for a hypnotherapy session, as well as a custom hypnotherapy recording she could listen to before, during and after the surgery.

Of course I said yes, and we had the session last week, which I also recorded for her to take.

This morning, the day of her surgery, when I got up and checked my Facebook account, I saw she had sent a message late last night saying she was having doubts. I called her immediately this morning to talk.

The hardest thing for her to think about, she explained to me this morning, in a carefully calm, sleepy voice, is the loss of her cervix.

She discussed this with her doctor in great length in the past weeks, coming to the conclusion that it was necessary, but acknowledging that this was the most difficult thing to get her heart behind and make peace with in the entire procedure.

She is clear that she needs to remove the large cysts that are present. She has made what peace can be made with them taking her ovaries and womb.

And through all of the meditating and praying she has done about this major event that is happening in her life, she has and continues to do her personal work around mourning the loss of so much—to include the body parts, but also the hormones, the chance to ever be pregnant, the internal landscape of her vagina, etc.

She has come out of all this self-work knowing that this is actually some sort of “rebirth” for her.

She continues to have the vision of a butterfly emerging from the cocoon, leaving the old, dried-up husk of the sheath behind her, as she emerges beautiful and made new again. She has also been hearing her inner voice repeat the phrase, “clean slate,” over and over, every time she meditates on it.

She explained to me how, last night, she had begun to question the cervical removal part of her decision again.

She explained that all her orgasms have always been deep, satisfying, “blow the top of my head off” cervical orgasms. Even her first orgasm, years ago, was cervical in depth.

She’s afraid to know what lies ahead without her cervix, without those regular (for her) orgasms. Having had plenty of this type of orgasm, myself, I can damned well understand her fear. And any anger she may have, too—because it makes me angry for her.

I am angry that there seems to be no other option for her.

I thought about how I could somehow do some last minute research online and in some dark corner of the internet find some new, experimental procedure by some obscure doctor in some other country, perhaps, and how we could fly that doctor in and have her save the day—and my friend’s cervix.

All of that popped in and then out again of my mind in that sudden flash of anger.

But I know my friend. She is femininely powerful, intelligent, outspoken. In the next flash of thought, I knew she had done her homework, the research, the praying. If it could be saved, she would have known how to do that.

She spoke of sitting with the fear last night, breathing into it, listening. She spoke of feeling the doubts about her decision. But she said, through it all, even with all the fear and doubt, she kept hearing, “clean slate,”  meaning, for her: Let them take the cervix too.

I sat at my kitchen table in my robe, in front of my laptop, the phone to my ear, just a couple of hours before her scheduled surgery, and we cried together.

I cried because I could feel how brave she was, and I was in awe of that courage.

I could feel how much she had wanted to hear a different message from her wise, inner voice. I could tell she had been hoping that the fear that arose in her was some sort of sign, a message, that she should keep, at least, her cervix.

When it turned out it was not the case, when she still heard, “clean slate,”—through all that turmoil, through all the fear and doubt—I could only imagine the descent into disappointment again, how the necessity of letting that hope fly away once more must have felt like just one more blow to be endured in an already unfathomably horrible battle.

I could feel the bravery coming through the phone. Yet, I could also feel the pain, the fear, the doubt, the sadness.

But the beautiful gift she gave to me in those few moments was one of showing me the path of how to sit in the pain, doubt, fear, anguish, etc. and listen and hear the inner voice anyway—then how to keep moving forward, despite those emotions—moving toward even something so devastating.

How her heart must have been breaking. One. More. Time.

My prayers today have been for her good health and speedy recovery—on all levels—and also that I may somehow be able to honor her and her heart-breaking journey by taking with me the remembrance, the feeling—as much as I can hold—of the massive amount of courage she revealed to me this morning.

Because if I can learn to live from that place, manage it even for a few seconds every now and then, perhaps I can ride on the coat tails of that pure, clear beauty she created with her grace—and, like her, be transformed by it.

Godspeed, my sister.




Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Thomas Anderson/Flickr

Read 4 Comments and Reply

Read 4 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Grace Cooley  |  Contribution: 6,100