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Posts Tagged ‘head vs heart’

Let’s see…. where was I? Oh, yes. More tests, more surgery – the wheel of fortune was still whirling.

It was the merry month of May’09, the month before I was to return to ‘the knife’, and I was frenzied with anxiety about the looming surgery and the tests that would determine the course of treatment, and at the same time excited about the discoveries in each new day.

Shortly after my visit with Dr. Feldman, my anxiety was spiked by a phone call from a friend. The call was not out of the blue, per se, as this friend knew about the oncotype dx test and was calling to find out the results. I told her about the great scores and my initial elation, and then the sobering response of my surgeon the next day. This friend had considerable experience with aggressive breast cancer that she fought aggressively with top doctors in world renowned hospitals, so I listened to her educated opinion. She thought the lymph node dissection was essential which pumped up my resolve; but, she questioned the need for a PET scan explaining that her doctors were against PET scans due to the amount of false positives.

Huh? I scratched my head. Prominent physicians in the field differ with Dr. Feldman, my hero? An airborne seed of Doubt was planted in fertile soil – I didn’t want surgery, I didn’t want chemo, I didn’t want more cancer and, so, I didn’t want Feldman to be right – and that seed grew like a weed in my head.

“I need a second opinion,” Doubt said.

“OH NO,” a loud moan came in response from my heart. Trust, a resident of my heart, raised its voice several decibels in order to circumvent a long battle with Doubt. Trust & Doubt have ongoing skirmishes within me over things like wrinkle removing creams, campaign promises, my daughter’s insistence that she did her homework; but this was a high stakes dilemma, determining whether or not to relax in the care of a breast cancer surgeon, so Trust had to be formidable to overrule Doubt. Fortunately, I had a reference point for this sort of war within me: my courtship.

The condensed version of that long story is that my head fought my heart almost all the way to the altar. My heart was sure of Reade and our right fit. In fact, I was somewhat ga-ga in love with him from the moment of our first kiss which had been a white light experience for me, and, so, I was certain that our union was written in the stars. My entire being relaxed when I was with him. When he held my hand, I felt safe and looked around at the world for the first time. I’d lived in New York for fourteen plus years and was so “street wise” that I hadn’t taken in the sights until I walked the streets with Reade. Plus we had similar values & dreams, laughed a lot together, traveled serendipitously, fought fairly, he listened to me and seemed to appreciate my poetry; and, even with all the evidence in his favor, every time I returned to my studio apartment alone, my head, or, rather, the Doubt in my head, tried to talk me out of him. Doubt’s primary argument: Reade did not match the criteria of the man of my dreams.

For years, every morning on the subway on my way to work and every evening when I climbed the four flights of stairs to my one room apartment, I dreamed of the man who would save me. I imagined a practical business man, actually, a wealthy business man who would provide a large house and all the resources I needed to be an artist. In truth, I had lived alone for so long, that I couldn’t imagine co-habitating with anyone, so I dreamed of a very large house with a wing of my own, and a busy, money-making mate who I rarely saw. I never dreamed that I would fall in love with an artist – an actor, no less – and that we would share and champion each other and grow together. My head fantasized to assuage my fears. My heart knew my true needs.

Nancy Anne Tappe, a great psychic that I referred to earlier in this blog journey, told me in a reading twenty plus years ago that I had a “floating head syndrome.” She said that I had not been in my body for most of my life, and that my body was actually my greatest psychic sensor. She said, “your experience is your truth.” I didn’t know what she meant until I had the experience of my body feeling at ease and my heart feeling full and at peace in Reade’s presence in contrast to the agitating thoughts I had about our future when I was alone. I listened to my heart, and now, sixteen years of all sorts of ups and downs later, my heart has proven to be the wiser.

So, when my heart deflated in dismay because my head started to doubt Dr. Feldman, it was a red flag, and I determined to write an email rather than to rush after second opinions that would take time and money and, perhaps, add to my confusion.

Dear Dr. Feldman,
Frankly I felt confused after our conversation on tuesday 5/5 and I’d like to be absolutely clear about the intent of further surgery before I succumb to the knife again.

The body of the email was long as I reiterated my entire case and expressed my doubts which essentially amounted to “but but but do I have to?” My big concern was that he was already pro chemo given the speck in the sentinel node, and that all of these added procedures were moot points.

Thank you for taking the time to give me peace of mind.
All Best,
Linda Kelly

Dr. Feldman did not respond to my email. Rather, he called. And as soon as I heard his voice, my hair ceased to stand on end, the furrows in my forehead softened, my skin cells stopped spinning, and I took a full breath. I heard his explanation for the  PET/CAT and his assurance that a clear scan and clean lymph nodes would satisfy him for forgoing chemo. But, he highlighted, “any lymph node invasion and then I strongly recommend chemo therapy.” 

And, while his explanations did give me peace of mind, I was already certain that he was the right doctor for me – that we were written in the stars – by the way my heart inflated and resumed to beat. About this matter, my head and my heart were aligned.

(to be cont.)

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