Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Slow Paths Through the Storm

 My last blog post was made as a "grand opening" to my developing view of practice. Slow Paths is my name for learning to live life your way, which requires time to learn who you are (as opposed to who you think you're "supposed to be") and to learn how to properly care for yourself.

Just after I published the previous  blog post, some chronic pain I've had for a long time worsened. And worsened some more. After various false starts at diagnosis, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer, had a hysterectomy, and just finished my first round of chemotherapy last week.

Finding out you have the Big C gives anyone, even someone who had gotten a little pleased with their mindfulness skills, a need to pause. So I did. I took time to learn what was going on, as much as possible. I took time to process--that's ongoing. And I took time to decide what I want for the rest of my life, however long that ends up being.

Some of my conclusions were joyful. I want to be with my darling husband as much as possible. I want to continue my work. I want to live each day with even more gratitude. Some conclusions require resolution. I want to speak honestly and forthrightly, even when I feel like the little person in the hospital gown while the big people with medical garb tell me what my life will be. I also want to be better at being the person in the medical garb in my practice. I've had wonderful doctors, nurses, and staff at the offices I've visited. I want to take their clear communication, positive way of speaking, and careful stating my rights as a patient into my own practice more clearly than I have in the past. In spite of everyone's best intentions, I have felt small, vulnerable, and like a piece of meat frequently in the past few weeks. While I don't think anyone can completely eliminate that feeling, I can be aware of it, and do everything I can to give my patients the certainty that I understand their freedom to be in charge of their health and their life.

The Slow Paths outlook has helped me. I've been Team Me as much as I know how to be. I've worked really hard to Feel My Feelings (and learned I shut down in extreme stress in ways I didn't recognize before). I've Loved my Limits in energy, time, and what I allow to happen to me in appointments. I've Committed to being Curious in a kind-hearted way to what my body and mind are trying to tell me as I navigate this health crisis, and learned more about myself and how I don't always recognize how wonderful my friends are. And I've reminded myself I don't need to hurry. Not to get this blog post out, not to learn everything I can about what may be happening to me, not to try to figure out the future for me, my practice, and my family. Have I been perfect? No more than anyone else would be. But I've been walking the Slow Path I've come to believe in. And it feels a lot better than the anxious darting to and fro I've done in the past when a crisis hit.

I will need your patience for at least the next year as the limits I try to love affect my ability to be as present for my work as I would wish. I continue to be committed to practicing a gentle, natural medicine that is flexible and honors each person’s need for time and space to grow and change and heal.