Days blended into days, my routine becoming normal, back to living my life. It was easy to ignore, easy to forget. I felt normal, I was encouraged to return to all my activities and live my life.
Tomorrow marks 8 weeks since my surgery. Eight weeks since part of my body was removed. A part of my body that was actively trying to kill me; growing and spreading to nearby organs. A part of my body that served a function, but now is replaced by a synthetic hormone I wake early to take each morning.
I woke up this morning to a chill in the air, the feeling of fall. One of those beautiful early fall days, crisp, sunny, blue skies. It's not yet fall, with hopes for more summery days over the next few weeks, but the feeling of transitions, of seasons changing.
September 1st. Tonight, I was scheduled to be on a flight to India; first to Delhi, and then onto Ladakh, for 3 weeks of trekking and climbing in the Himalayas.
I drunkenly worked to take off the toenail polish, questioning the decisions of the hospital - why my toenails?!, but following them anyways. Superstitiously. If I do all the things, I will be ok.
I gulped down a glass of water. 11:30. Only half an hour more of taking anything into my body. In the back of my mind, I questioned the beers, assuring myself they would be out of my system come morning and congratulating myself instead for not getting high along with everyone else I was out to dinner with.
This moment had come on too soon. From the time we scheduled the surgery two weeks prior, I worked hard to put the reality of it out of my mind, other than the fears that would seep in around the edges in unexpected moments.
I used to climb mountains. We would talk about the risks - all the objective and subjective risks. The risks you can control and the risks you cannot. Weather and crevasses and roping up and routes and conditions. Judgement calls and other people and how your body responds to altitude. So many risks, all to be considered and managed. For anyone who spends time in the mountains, it is that risk, that fine line we walk that is part of why we go out there. To be able to play with that risk, to manage it and come out the other side, safe and sound, but having lived it.
'...anyone who stands on the edge of the unknown, fully in the present without reference point, experiences groundlessness. That's when our understanding goes deeper, when we find that the present moment is a pretty vulnerable place and that this can be completely unnerving and completely tender at the same time." -- Pema Chodron