From the inside out.
My journey beyond the cancer seas.
I had no idea. Really none at all. I am not certain what I expected when I arrived in the endoscopy suite, slightly out of breath and confused owing to the gargantuan length of the corridors and signage. When you have been through a year of procedures and appointments for a cancer diagnosis, you get used to the grim and yet professional settings of hospitals. So I had considered that coming for my sigmoidoscopy would be a similar experience made bearable by the wonderful staff. And initially it was following form. I was asked to disrobe and put on the flimsy hospital gown upon entry, surrounded by other folk waiting or recovering in a very small ward room. And tended by a couple of really kind nurses, one of whom who made the insertion of my cannula needle look like the easiest thing on the planet to do. No mean feat as my veins tend to do a wiggle dance to escape.
I had opted for sedation because, well just because, anything to take the edge off yet another invasive procedure and besides my recent ear infection meant gas and air was off the table. This test is but one to ascertain if I do indeed still have parasites in my system. Though I failed to see why a look into my low bowel would reveal anything relevant, especially since my pain has been liver, gallbladder and right upper gastric area. Still, one must follow the protocols and in this instance I surrendered. What I wasn’t prepared for was the screen. I mean I knew it was going to be a camera inside me affair, but not that I would be able to see my insides!
Some people may find it weird to see inside their intestines. For me it was mesmerising. Utterly wondrous. Looking at the screen and knowing this was my fantastic body. The enema I had done earlier had rendered the intestine clear and so it was an array of winding pink, plump tunnel that the camera meandered through. As I watched, something inside of me let go and softened. Even before they said my bowel was clear I knew it was. And seeing a piece of my inside that is functioning well has really helped me to find some perspective.
As a cancer survivor it is always in the back of your mind that your body could go on overdrive again and create another situation. The treatments are so awful, that it is hard to live with the anxiety of reoccurrence. Yet in that moment seeing my insides so clear and healthy has utterly calmed me. Yes, of course I am not naïve in thinking nothing may happen again. Or indeed that the pesky parasites have left the building. Yet I must find a way to navigate and this moment helped immensely.
In a different yet equally relevant way, whilst the screen shots of my inside was helpful. It was also helpful to be minimising screen time on the outside. I realised recently that the zoom calls and social media land had all but taken over my social ability. It has been crucial to use these tools whilst going through cancer and shielding with my immune system, but the downside is heightened anxiety surrounding going out and being around others. I have had lovely one to one connections all the way through my isolation time, but a few days after my internal screening I went to my first house party social gathering. It was odd, in that I found myself staring at people around me in the kind of way one does on a screen meeting. Slightly detached and yet fully present. I had a few well placed hugs and some enriching connections all the more sweet from being in person.
I must say that I feel more balanced as a consequence of this weeks proceedings. The strange affair of seeing inside with a screen and connecting outside without one has reminded me of who I am. Odd but true.
Wishing you all balance from the inside out.