On of my favorite songs lately starts this way:
Please let me make something beautiful,
A thing that reminds us there’s good in the world.
A thing that reminds us there’s still something out there worth fighting for.
Because it feels like the world has gone crazy.
Spinning faster and cheaper than ever before.
And it feels like there’s nobody giving a damn,
That it’s getting worse.
Let it be something wonderful.
Let it be something beautiful.
I find the song calming and lovely and even a little hopeful, I suppose. So I put my earbuds in and close out the sounds and movement that is everywhere at Cleveland Clinic. This place is so big and so busy it is more like an airport terminal. It has three story ceilings, marble floors, and rows and rows of check-in receptionist desks marked like arrival gates. Really. I’m at desk A15. It’s nothing like the quaint Cancer Center back home. So I slip away to the charming melody and simple piano notes and let it take me down from the ledge.
As grateful as I am for the incredible resources here, it’s not without its challenges. When I’m here, I have more information thrown at me than I could ever have ever prepared myself for. Each piece is thrown on to the scale that balances my mind and heart and that threatens to tip me into emotional panic and fear if overloaded. There is more information than I could possibly digest.
Also, because Cleveland Clinic is so mass focused, it’s also hard to get answers to personal questions. As a result, I sat through a canned presentation on the breast surgery that I am profoundly afraid of. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to hear about it. I didn’t want to be forced through it in the small room with the stranger I’d never met who couldn’t answer my personal questions. So I blinked back tears while focusing on each letter of the hand soap in front of me, trying to anchor myself to the chair so I wouldn’t run like hell out of there. If I let myself crack, the flood gates would open and I’m not sure I would be able to close it up again and get through the 5 other appointments I had that day.
After a full day of poking and prodding and lecturing, Tom and I learned that the blood clot in my heart hadn’t resolved like we had been lead to believe it would. We learned it’s bigger than we thought- 2cm. It’s now attached to my heart wall. It’s actually not on the “mild” category, but along the “very serious” line. We were then tossed between experts, getting volleyed back and forth like a hot potato that no one seemed to want accountability for, and the best we could muster is that more answers will come tomorrow. It was frustrating and confusing and information kept shape shifting in front of us every 20 minutes or so.
And what is odd is that cancer isn’t even the issue at the moment. Cardiac and vascular divas have stolen the show. I have a little time bomb in my chest and I feel like I’m waiting on an evolved “red wire, blue wire” decision where none of the parties are communicating particularly well. The Clinic has turned into the 20 armed octopus that is stumbling and tripping over itself having lost its cadence somewhere between Bozeman, MT and Cleveland, OH.
And throughout it all, Tom and I seemed to occupy the same space. What do you call it when you are so used to being blown apart that the assaults simply don’t penetrate as deeply anymore? Apathetic? Tired? Tapped out? Perhaps we are just patient and waiting for the next set of instructions. We can’t make a plan, we don’t really even know anything but the basic simple fact. Instead, we have become quiet in our waiting, in both our minds and our hearts and with each other. We speak without saying a word. We’re just kind of here. Together. Waiting.
Not to say I haven’t wondered about it. I feel like an involuntary suicide bomber- the ones that wear the vests of explosives. The physicians have been clear that the clot, as big as it is, could travel to my lungs or brain and kill me. I honestly haven’t thought much about dying since much earlier on in my diagnosis, and even then, it seemed remote. But now I’m revisiting the issue in kind of a clinical way. When I press my face against that glass to peer inside, I just see unfinished business.
I haven’t had my moment. I haven’t shone. I haven’t made something beautiful and I so, so badly want to make something really beautiful.
So I’ll say this. Please let me make something beautiful. A thing that reminds us there’s good in the world. A thing that reminds us there’s still something out there worth fighting for. Because if all I get to do is make this world a sweeter, better place, that’s all I really want. To make people feel safer, more loved. To be a voice of love and patience and grace and hope. My dream is to create that space in a brave, bold way. I just want the chance to do big, good things.
And I’m certainly not finished yet.
Give ‘Em Hell.