I don’t know how many of you I have to “catch up” and how many are already caught up, so I’ll just kind of go at my own pace.  so many things have happened in the last six days that I haven’t been able to process them yet mentally or emotionally, really.  I’ve been processing the love of God only — that’s just huge enough to occupy me totally and simple enough that i can take it in intravenously and quietly, receiving its health mysteriously and all-powerfully.  i wrote this long poemthing before I went into the hospital, and I think it catalogs things well.  I’ll add more, often, I hope.

but I will limn Your care
by writing for the record the ways.
Dr. White, in the beginning, pap, visit: $30.
referred to gynecological oncologist after $300 ultrasound,
Dr. McDonald who saw me for $50,
talked so kindly and gently with me & mom & Emily
for an hour.  diagnosis.
being on the Interfaith Health Clinic board, he
called and made them see me that day (instead
of jan 8, which is what I got when I called),
kind Charlotte Dr. McDonald’s nurse,
scheduled my surgery for four days later
after faxing records to the Clinic (said she’d carry
them by hand if she had to), after moving all
the other surgeries “like crazy” to get me in,
making sure by calling me on my cell
that I knew what was happening.
filled out papers at Interfaith and
qualified for a 90% reduction of hospital costs,
prepped for surgery by Dr. Allen,
whose first words upon bustling
into the room with me were
“I’m so glad to finally be able
to do Dr. Mcdonald a favor; he’s
helped us out so much.”  she was
small, earnest, busy, and looked me in the eye
and told me there was NOTHING
to be worried about.  somehow
that made a difference,
I said ‘ok!’   blood tests, chest x-ray,
visit, referral to hospital: $52.

I picked up a jug of something to be ingested
while fasting the day before surgery and then went on
Tuesday for pre-surgery exams.  by this time the
original diagnosis was not so sure, since my antigen levels
were so high (normal 0-30, mine 238.5), and so Mom,
Emily, and Natalie drove me to Baptist West with the
knowledge that I might have cancer you know,
sobering, so they bought me house-shoes
a shirt with beads and yellow pajama pants,
waited (thank God I didn’t have to)
for three hours while my right ovary was excused
on account of its malevolence, and got the
“borderline ovarian cancer” news just after.
surgery done incredibly cheap (what a dear, dear man!),
Katie and Lauren broadcasting the news in Nashville,
Mom, Emily and Natalie broadcasting in town,
others sending their own messages urgently
and it felt like the whole world was praying,
it felt like I couldn’t do anything but rest in
a hammock slung in God’s back yard
(“Hang out here for a while
while I work everything out”).
I wrote that “somehow a blanket lowered
from heaven, filled with saffron stamens
or uncut diamonds
would hardly surprise me”
and they’ve come,
and I’ve no been surprised.

I will never hear Karen Peris sing
“nobody knows how they are loved”
without thoughts of this moment in life
again.  the severely beloved English Dept. kids and
the professors sent me a thousand dollars and
a million breaths of love I don’t know how
to understand,
just as all the friends here came to me
in the hospital and brought flowers and told me
with their eyes what an amount of love
there was.  and is.
how I’m loved, I can’t understand, hardly,
believe, but I guess if I’ve been living
in mercy of God for these short
chaotic days, if I’ve been able to somehow believe
the love of God I can believe others’ love,
and i will. 

the pathology report is back, and it’s just the borderline ovarian cancer, not the “bad” kind,  we’re metaphorically dancing in the streets, though I can’t dance at all for a few weeks.  I’m eating solid food and have not left whatever haven God got ready for me a few weeks back and has extended into the future….I also get tired really fast.  so, I’m sure this post has been weird to read.  but I think you get the gist.  more to come. 

is it not the most bad-ass thing ever that I’m a cancer survivor, now???

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