To close the teeny holes in my head from brain surgery, they used two sets of titanium staples. It was weird at first to see metal embedded in my scalp, but we so easily get used to weird things and I got more or less used to my staples. Leaning my head on a pillow on the staple side hurt so I avoided it. Combing my hair and catching the comb on a staple hurt so I avoided that too. From time to time I reached up to touch the staples, reassurance that something special had happened to me, these little alien things that were now a part of me.
I began to worry about what it would be like to have them removed. I didn’t know how they’d do it (giant staple remover?) but surely pain would be involved! I imagined a team of white-coated doctors holding me down and injecting my head with a painkiller like Lidocaine, which stings like a bitch when injected. I really really did not want to go to today’s appointment. Anything to avoid pain.
The doctor’s assistant did it. I considered asking him if he’d ever removed staples before, but what if he said no? That would freak me out more. The things had to come out. I had to let go and trust the process, like so many times before. My beloved was there, so I knew I was safe.
It was a special one-use-only pliers thing. No lidocaine. A little pain, over quickly. The whole thing took maybe a minute. I’d spent too much time worrying about something that turned out to be not a big deal.
Countless times in the past, I’ve obsessed about something in the future that scared me, and when the thing actually happened it was no big deal, or far less of a deal than I’d thought. It’s so easy to blow things up in our imagination. I used to be queen of this.
What a beautiful reminder, then. My cancer journey — especially this past four months — has been a huge gift of allowing me to live so much more in the present. I haven’t had the energy to think about the future or worry about things, large or small. It’s been wonderful. I want to live like this always. I feel safe and cared for. I feel like I get to spend what energy I have on things that matter.
Little future things probably don’t matter. Not really. Not in the big picture of life.
I have a belief that the more we are able to dwell in the present, without dragging up the past or mulling on things that could happen but haven’t yet, the safer and more cared for we are. I believe something magical happens when we immerse in What Is and refrain from holding on to what hasn’t yet happened or dredging up pain from the past. I believe that when we do this we feel happier. I know I do.
So this is my reminder. To step back a little when some future event looms and scares me. To breathe and remember how loved I am. To focus on what I experience NOW.
Thank you, little staples.
Much love, as always.