Shock and Awe Part 1

I have not written a blog in quite a while.  I apologize but can only say that the last 2 months have been filled to the brim with so many incidents that I have been overwhelmed.  I can only charactize my life in these 2 months as full  of shock and awe.  The little girls face in this picture can either be showing extreme shock or a sense of awe and that is what this blog will be about.  A rollercoaster of events and emotions that even those with the strongest of stomachs may walk away with a tinge of green in their faces.

We don’t necessarily put emotions of shock and awe together in the same framework.  But that is exactly what the last 2 months have been like.  Shock – then awe, then shock – then awe and on it has gone like a crazy runaway roller coaster looking totally out of control but in reality it was all part of the ride.  That’s because God has been busy the last two months riding along with me and helping to turn the overwhelming shocks into amazing works of awe.  He’s been my amazing shock absorber.

So it all started about two months ago.  Life was pretty normal.  I was going to work, seeing my elderly mother pretty near every day, loving up my  cats and so on.  One morning I discovered blood when I went to the bathroom.  I was not too concerned although I knew that at age 60 this was not normal.  It did not stop so that night I went to Emergency.  I had a wonderful doctor ( part of the awe in the middle of the shock)  who very gently talked to me about how relieved they were that I had come down to Emerg. so fast.  There was talk of cancer (shock) and things started moving fast.  The doctor was setting me up with an ultrasound right away.  She was getting me a gynecologist appointment and told me to see my own doctor right away.  I was definitely in shock and some of my first thoughts as a caregiver were what do I tell Mom.  Do I even tell her?  What happens if I am too sick to come see her and look after all that I look after for her?  As a caregiver these are always questions that are on the tip of your thoughts.  As caregiver whatever happens to you also affects the one you look after.  You are connected in everything in a profound way.  I had decided I could not tell Mom after getting advice from her nurse and others in my life.  As the days went by I struggled with the thoughts of having cancer mostly by myself.  I did tell my church family to help me be covered in prayer.  I talked to my psychiatrist who gave me worst case scenarios to help my fears diminish.  I had a very very painful biopsy (shock) and then waited in dread for the results.  All through this time Mom knew nothing.  It felt like I was hiding something from her.  We tell each other everything but I knew this news would just put her in a tailspin of despair and no matter how much I wanted to confide in my beloved Mom I couldn’t do it to her.

During this time as I manouvered through doctor’s tests and visits I had a strange phenomena happen that I still can’t explain except to say it was the protection of God on my life in a lonely time.   I could see a wall of glass in front of me all the time and on the other side of the glass was all my worry, fear, anxiety, dread etc.  It would all peer at me through the glass barrier but it could not touch me.  I was literally separated from all fear, worry etc in my life.  It was a strange experience I have never experienced before but one of amazing awe.

I also forgot to mention that during this time I was quite sick with a virus that wouldn’t go away and ended at Emerg and put on antibiotics.  This virus persisted for weeks but finally was helped with asthma medication that I didn’t know I needed. (awe)

So while all this was happening, something sinister was happening in the background which reared it ugly head and faced us head on – Coronavirus!  I knew things were starting to shut down where I live but was unable to understand the gravity of this virus (shock) or the impact it would have on my life.  It was March 14 and my brother and family were coming down from out of town to see my Mom.  They got here at 2pm.  The nursing home shut up tighter than a drum at 12 noon.  Suddenly the idea that I could not see my Mom and I did not know how long this could go on put me into severe shock.  I cried and cried,  I was depressed,  I was lost.  Seeing Mom was a big part of my daily life.  Suddenly there was a big hole and something even more dire was the loss of control in my life.  Being autistic, control is a big thing.  We like to be able to know we can control large parts of our life and suddenly a large part of my life was out of my control. ( severe shock)  I couldn’t check on Mom,  I couldn’t make sure she had everything she needed,  I couldn’t bring her the cookies she loved,  I was completely separated from Mom.  All we had was the phone to still talk to each other but even that is fragile when Mom can’t hear well.  Today is April 26.  I have not seen my mom in weeks and weeks.  She even had to celebrate her 92nd birthday by herself.

Later that week that the nursing home shut down,  I found out the results of the biopsy and I did have cancer – cancer of the  uterus (ultimate shock).  The only good thing was that we had caught it early and it had not spread outside of the uterus from what they could tell. (ultimate awe) I was overjoyed that the cancer was contained and that it could be treated with surgery.  I was scheduled for surgery later that week.  The day before my surgery I got a call from the hospital.  They regretted to tell me that all elective surgeries had been cancelled due to Covid 19 and I would have to wait goodness how long to be rescheduled. ( extreme shock)  I was terrified.  I had this cancer in me that could be spreading as we spoke and I could do nothing about it.  How long would I have to wait.  Was it going to be too late.  Would I become terminal?  I was a mess but God was still providing me with that wall of glass with all my terror on the other side so I could just rest in Him and trust him to provide what I needed.

I had many people praying for me (wonderful awe) and I felt wrapped in love from my church family and friends.  During this time of waiting for surgery I also had to get used to self-isolating in my home and social distancing.  I was not working at the library anymore as it was closed too.  All the stores were  closed except for grocery stores and  pharmacies.  I have no family at home with me except my two cats.  It was strange to not go out with a friend to Tim Horton’s or go out to my friend’s farm.  Being in the house all day was not the best thing for a person who thrives on routine and consistency.  I was lost at times and struggled to structure my life. (shock)  One thing that brought much joy to my life was being with my two cats all the time.  ( great awe)  And they loved it as much as I did.

So this is where I leave this blog tonight.  I am waiting desperately for my cancer surgery and I am struggling with being totally separated from my beloved Mom and struggling to manage living in this new world of Covid 19.  Tomorrow night I will do PART 2 of Shock and Awe continuing the story of my last two months of being on a crazy roller coaster ride.  Stay tuned.

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