Saturday, March 12, 2011

Waiting to Exhale

I awoke in the middle of the night and made my way to the bathroom in the dark. As I stood at the toilet releasing myself, I felt a strange lump in my groin. It startled me because I hadn’t noticed it before. When I got back to bed I began to check it out. It was hard in nature, but there was no pain associated when I applied any kind of pressure. It was fairly large in size, obviously it has been there for some time, why hadn’t I noticed it until now. I had just begun working the preload at UPS a couple of months earlier, the job entailed unloading the large semi trucks loaded with packages at the local center. It was a lot of work and I was often lifting heavy packages. I thought perhaps I was developing some sort of hernia from all the lifting. Preload started at 4 in the morning, because we had to have every package sorted and on the driver cars by the time they arrived to begin delivery at 8. Each morning was a furious race to meet the end goal. Though they had taught us safe work methods, it was still a fairly strenuous process. When I got to work that morning I reported the lump I had discovered in the night to one of my supervisors, because if it was a hernia I certainly didn’t want to aggravate it. My supervisor agreed and put me on a lighter duty for the morning. I remember now it was a Friday morning, because when I got off work, I headed to a Now Care Clinic to have it checked. They too thought I might be a hernia and told me to come back if it didn’t go down over the weekend.

I took a light weekend trying to stay away from strenuous activities. My lump continues to grow and seem to get harder the bigger it got. By Sunday it had gotten to the size of a golf ball I was beginning to feel a lot of pressures in the area. Now I was beginning to freak out. I knew this was not a hernia and that something was wrong. Monday morning after work I visited a clinic, a doctor there looked at it, wanted to do a biopsy, but was reluctant because of the arteries in the area. They arranged for me to see a surgeon to take a look at it the next morning and get the biopsy. Again it continued to grow and was now becoming somewhat painful. A cold shudder runs though my body as I remember the morning I received the call saying it was a tumor and they needed to remove it within the next couple of days. I was just finishing my shift at UPS and my heart sank, as I resisted being consumed by my emotions. The drive home, I was in a numb struggle, gripped by a powerful fear, yet trying to maintain a mental alertness to at least get home safely. Glenn met me at the door, and it felt like all the sorrow I had ever felt in my life rose up and overtook my emotions as I collapsed into his embrace releasing a deep sob. The next couple of hours where like a tidal wave of emotions, stronger than anything I have ever felt. It was a beautiful spring morning and my first impulse was to garden. I have always had a strong connection to the earth, growing up on a ranch that we had farmed. One of my greatest passions is to garden; to me it’s my inner sanctuary where I can escape and feel the earth beneath my hands. In this moment I had to touch the earth and somehow feel grounded again. It must be in my family because I remember when my grandfather died I went out to the ranch to stay with my grandmother. She too worked the soil to deal with her grief and loss. I could see and feel the pain in that little hunched body as she fought emotion and dug with her hands in the rich soil. Now I knew those feelings for myself as I toiled weeding and beginning my spring clean up. It’s funny how uncertain we can become in our lives. We are all vulnerable at any given moment. In a sense it is in these moments we face our greatest fears that we are actually reborn. A part of our soul awakens and we know we are on the incredible journey of life.

VIEW FULL IMAGE: Zach #401

2 comments:

Renaissance Man said...

Well, my kindred spirit...thank you for sharing and most importantly for coming out of this physically healthy and mentally secure and proud of who you were born to be.

Paris29 said...

You are a talented narrator and a great photographer. I hope your struggle will not weaken you permanently.