11 years ago today I underwent a 10-1/2 hour surgery that gave me my life back. I was reborn at the age of 52 with the promise of less pain, fewer hospitalizations, the ability to eat again, the ability to live again.
My breaking point came at a family friend’s viewing. I vividly remember standing in front of his casket, looking down at this 82-year old man who had passed away, and wishing with all my heart it was me in there instead of him.
By late fall 2005, my physical symptoms began to dramatically affect my day-to-day life. I couldn’t continue to tell myself it was just stress or that I was “run down.” I began my quest in earnest to discover what was happening inside my body. It’s also when I discovered that even doctors don’t have all the answers.
It’s a story about a life interrupted by an insidious disease, and the discovery of how deep-seeded is this thing we call “Hope.”
It took me several years to truly understand that what happened with my friends was not malicious or intentional; it was the unfortunate by-product of change. It was the natural shift that occurs when people are no longer moving in the same direction. Like a road that reaches a fork, I went left while they went right.
The wheel on the hospital gurney made a continuous squeaking sound as they wheeled me down the hall to the operating room. It was one of those incessant noises that would normally drive me crazy, but for some reason that morning I found it comforting.
Nothing prepared me for the physical, emotional and spiritual fatigue, and the ongoing insomnia I would experience when I became chronically ill. It goes well beyond the occasional night or two of no sleep. It’s so much more than being “tired.” It’s exhaustion at the cellular level.
Like many women, I thought of self-care as selfish or indulgent, served up with an undercurrent of guilt. It seemed extravagant – like a weekend at a spa, rather than emotional first aid of the highest order. Like the classic example flight attendants give about putting on your oxygen mask first before helping others, it’s important to tend to yourself first.
That was the year as a midlife woman that I felt the undeniable call of my soul’s desire. That I felt the undeniable need to live with Intention, which meant casting aside so many things I’d been tolerating that were keeping me from becoming the woman I wanted to be. If you find yourself feeling this same sense of urgency, get ready to start your own [R]evolution™ by jettisoning these 17 things from your life. How many of them are you currently tolerating?
"Paging Evelyn," I heard over the loudspeaker. "Paging Evelyn: your life is calling." I don't mean I literally received this message over a loudspeaker. It was more like one of those messages the universe likes to send us now and then when we're busy making other plans.