There is a great American culture myth that you have to make every experience a useful experience.
I am not sure that I want to do that yet with the current illness.
It is interesting to note the "stages" I've gone thru in this illness. I've been overwhelmed by having cancer - there is something about the name cancer that makes one feel incredibly vulnerable.
Then there was a stage of being extremely confident that I would come thru this with no or little pain, discomfort, deformation, or even effort.
There was a weekend of weepy regret. While I loved having what felt like deep feelings, my sinuses didn't love the mucus and swelling the weeping brought on. And I couldn't figure out what triggered that phase. It came stayed three days, and in good Franklin style left before it began to behave like a fish.
Then I had minutes of anxiety. I actually wasn't all that scared when it came to surgery. I don't know why, but I wasn't all that afraid. When I was given the sedative that was supposed to merely relax me, I was gone. I remember getting the sedative in my iv line in the right hand. I was told that I'd see the surgeon in the hall before we went into operating room, but that would be the last thing I saw. Nope. Remember being rolled into the hall, but that's it.
Recovery has been going very swiftly and I'm incredibly optimistic. I'm feeling like the pathology report is going to come back positive - i.e., no spread of the cancer. I've got the feeling that the p.t. is going to go well, even though I had significant weakness when we removed the bandage last night.
I've been supported, prayed for, loved throughout the journey. Did that help? I suspect so, but I would hesitate to say that the cancer and its effects have been ameliorated by the support and love. But I also would hesitate to say that the support hasn't made a physical difference. That, as a religious professional, is a really interesting feeling.
I know that I'm "supposed" to support the idea, intellectually, that prayer does make a difference. Intellectually I am not convinced. Emotionally, I haven't "felt" strength coming from others. Yet, a part of me, an inward and secret part of me is beginning to awaken and say, "Oh, wait, think. All this prayer, all this love, all this support and positive vibes, they have made a difference."
But have I learned something from this?
Or is it enough that I have just experienced all this? Right now I'm opting for the latter. I just experienced all this and I am experiencing all this, and I don't have can't have any generalized knowledge that I've gained from the experience.