“Test, Testing, Corey This Is a Test….”

Today is the first  non-tragedy laden day since a week ago today.  My life as I once knew it has been mired with loss, serious illness, and my own personal fallout, following a face-plant in my flip flops just about three weeks ago. Today is the first day since I underwent surgery last Thursday where I am not in “crisis mode.” These last days have pushed me to new limits, new lows, and mostly a new revelation of the life-altering sort.

Yesterday was the day I thought, this is it, I am just going to break. I awoke at the maniac’s hours. Faced with my pug, Julia Bleu, and her scheduled operation for a cancerous tumor removal as well as my own doctor’s appointment to take care of my leg, I sipped coffee, and held Julia Bleu. I spent my time busy blogging but beneath my surface I was fraught with worry and wonder, about the questions this day conjured up.  I knew I had to surrender to the unknown.  We are always in a state of surrendering to the unknown, we just don’t actually usually feel life that way.

So many questions for one tiny day.  Would I know any answers before it was over?  How was I to go forward, fully aware that I wouldn’t have the one answer my mind so desperately needed?  Through all the sickness and loss, I neelife is toughded, and I still beg to know, will Julia Bleu’s tumor be what we are hoping: a stage 1 or stage 2 tumor? It is all that I ask, not a lot, just a little. I hope that God agrees and spares us all more loss at this time.

My immediate worries, no tiny prescription pill would quell.  Would Julia Bleu just please make it through her surgery?  Would my appointment with the surgeon, give me hope or more despair about my limp leg?

I got Julia Bleu to the vet’s for 8:30. The vet would operate on my little Julia Bleu, and I prayed so fierce to just get her through this very maligned situation. Once I was done and said good bye to little Bleu, I jumped into the car and rushed right to my doctors.  I had a 9 am appointment for my injured leg.  I realized I had given little to no thought about my own precarious health.  Now it all hit me, would I need another operation?  If so then when, and what would it entail?  I had just had a metal plate and screws, put in to aide my fractured leg.  I have thirty stiches to prove it and the x-rays were damning.  My first initial appointment with my surgeon was hell.  Without warning or sensitivity he blurted I would never run again.  I was levelled by that news two weeks ago. Would he feel differently today, after my surgery and my new MRI?  I realized without hesitation or defense, how selfish I appeared for being leveled by not running.  So many people are just so fortunate to walk, and so many others, can’t even do that.  I am truly sorry for my selfish ways, but I felt and do feel like I must fight for my body.

I am 39 years old, and I fear the surgeon is looking at putting me right out to pasture.  I will fight, I will be selfish when it comes to my health.  How dare he not fight to the bitter end, to see me out running with my beloved Bella?  So please understand where my selfish seeds sow….it isn’t really about running; it’s about being given up on.  Ok so now that I realize how ill-equipped I am, I am called by the tech, the doctor is ready.  I limp and hobble my way to the room, when suddenly I think of little baby Bleu. Nothing has gone the way it was expected, I worried and prayed one more quick time.  Now it was time for me and MY health.  The doctor walked in, a big smile on his face.  “How are you Corey?” “I am well,” I said.  He went on to examine my still fresh incision.  “Looks Good,” he stated with a hint of pride. Then he turned to the sophisticated imaging machine, to bring up my new MRI.  I held my breath, I wanted to say something and beat him to the punch. “So doctor, I have been thinking.  I am not ready yet to give up on my running.” With a look of curiosity, he looked right at me.  “You need another surgery as soon as can be.  I must repair all this extensive damage your knee has endured.”  I looked him right in the eye, I was going to create my first two answers of the day.  “Okay, let’s do it at your first available slot.  I am going to run doctor and I need you to buy in.  Please whatever you can do surgically, I would appreciate your best effort as old as I may be.”  His eyes danced, and he said to me, “I think you might just actually surprise me.  When I look at the x-rays and all the MRIs, I don’t see a knee that will run again.  However, when I look at you and hear your determination, well it’s so fierce and strong, you leave me very puzzled. I will do everything I can to get you back to running.”  I fought back the tears, as I thought of my daughter and I road racing once again.

It was only 10 am and three answers I had be given.  Yes, I would have surgery, it would be in one week.  Yes, I thought as I beamed bright inside, I will run again. I was already exhausted by this new dawning day.  I got home and lit a candle for Julia Bleu. I sat for some time, and the tears silently began.  This time was different, I had a true moment to myself.  All that I had traversed right up until then, came flooding at me like a gushing damn. I haven’t dealt with much of anything.  I have been just surviving and not doing that well.  I realized everywhere that I looked, the fragility of myself, and moreover life.  I have never been asked to shoulder so much at one time.  I thought how all this was one big test.  I realized quite frankly, I was prepared for the questions.

The phone rang, “Hello this is Corey.” “Hi Corey,” the vet responded to me.  “Our baby Bleu is well in recovery.  I believe the surgery went well, we will have to wait for the results. I will see you at 5:30 to pick up Bleu.” Tearfully and with much needed relief, I whispered, “Thank you doctor.”  I slumped on the couch.  I picked up my thoughts of this last week.  I realized it wasn’t nearly over not even close.  I still had surgery, and had to get Julia to well, living with the question of her tumor staging for the next week.  I knew I had today “off” or at least I assumed. Tomorrow I will pick up Jack’s urns and I wait in blurry angst for my ex-wife and daughter to return from Europe.  Then the real grieving of Jack will begin.

I muddled through the day, and did some mindless cleaning.  I went with my Stephanie to pick up Julia Bleu.  She came bounding to see us, sporting a new pick calico bandana.  The vet and I spoke briefly; we were both so exhausted.  We got baby Bleu home and settled down.  I texted Budapest where my ex-wife and daughter had just arrived.  I let them know Julia Bleu was okay, she was on the mend.  We called it a done day and headed to bed.  I was too tired to think but knew I must, I grabbed my prayer shawl and wept a few words.  “Thank you,” I said, as I continued to cry.  “I am so grateful for the strength you have given me.  Although much has been so hard and so low, I am nonetheless blessed for all that I am.  Dear God, I thank you, and I ask for just a bit more.  Please continue to give me the strength in the coming days.  Thank you dear God. Amen.”  I curled up in my prayer shawl with Julia Bleu right beside me.  That was the end of yesterday.

This morning I awoke again during the maniac’s hours. I went to get coffee and I thought more about being tested.  I realized in the darkness of the night, I was indeed being tested but not how I thought.  I believed I was being tested to see if I will survive.  Now with certainty I know that is not true.  I have regularly prayed for divine inspiration and strength.  The only thing being tested is the amazing strength bestowed upon me.  It is not a test to see if I pass; it is a test to show me I will surely succeed.  What a gift, I worry no more.  Whatever comes next, I will surely overcome. For faith, whatever that means to you; is only faith when you have nothing else. Whatever you believe or don’t believe is not important; this is not about my God, or you Jesus, or whatever you chose. It is about pure believing….as good as it gets.