The texts and the phone calls have begun.
“I’m here for you whenever you are ready.”
“What’s going on? You sound sad. Let’s grab a coffee—my treat.”
“Keep me posted. I love you.”
“You are in my thoughts and prayers. I said a special prayer for you in mass.”
With these simple and sweet messages that express thought, sincerity, and care for me, my sense of faith and gratitude is restored and soaring higher than I could ever foresee with those few who are by my side.
But the waiting continues on with test results to determine how I must go forward to fight or stand still to not forget that everything can change in a blink of an eye in the worst of ways to bring out to best in me. Without divulging too much for the entire world to read and review, I am waiting on precautionary results that another health battle is not budding and about to tower over me while juggling new found supposedly and hopeful separate symptoms that have risen.
When I look back on almost 34 years of my life, there seems to be two life tactics that I’ve been doing nearly consistently in an inconsistent life:
Waiting and Fighting
The waiting was out of my control. The fighting was in my control.
Waiting for a first kidney transplant. Waiting for my parents to come to their senses to go separate ways. Waiting for my sister to return home from her wanderlast ventures to see her again. Waiting for friends—or, the select few who could embrace and even love my quirks and quandaries to befriend the oddity that I was and still am. Waiting for my second kidney transplant. Waiting for the just the right moment until I had to undergo my hip replacement surgery. Waiting for and still waiting for love—whatever love means. Waiting for test results that determined my next battle to fight. All I wanted were the simple waits in life that others seem to have that I could never have: Waiting in traffic, Waiting on grocery lines, Waiting for tickets to a live and loud concert, Waiting for that ‘right’ person for a proposal or for life to begin in the womb or even before then, Waiting on lines to new adventures and excursions that life had waiting for me in the kaleidoscope of colored horizons.
In all my waiting, I ended up fighting. Fighting really hard. Fighting so hard that I could no longer feel or figure out what was my original intent to fighting. Fighting with insurance companies to cover the costs for medical services that ranged from radiology scans to my oblong, capsule, or round pills that I had to feed my mouth to maintain my kidneys and health. Fighting with doctors to call me back in a timely manner to fulfill my next step that I had in my mind to my health path. Fighting to find the illusions of control only to eventually understand that what I had to wait for was never in my control to begin with. Fighting for my life because, the truth is, the more I have had to fight for life on the brink of losing it, the more I live and value life in ways that no one will understand until that person is about to lose life.
Honestly, though, I have a secret to divulge. I was not always the fighter. I spent much of my childhood into my angsty teenager years asking “Why Me?” and throwing and wallowing in pity parties until I could no longer see who I was and felt like I was disappearing. I do not know when it happened that I just started to surrender. I do not know when I stopped asking why and flying away, and started to ask questions to face and fight.
Funny thing is many in white lab coats foresee “questioning” as “challenging authority” or me as the “problematic patient.” I’ve had a doctor refuse to see me because I asked too many questions and, apparently, she was not available for emergencies according to her nurse practitioner. I’ve been labeled as a difficult and anxious patient—and I do not deny it. I’m on the flip side of the coin because I work in healthcare and I know patients like me who wait and fight. I never wish harm or ill will on anyone. I never expect anyone to understand my life because they have not lived it—nor have I lived your life or anyone’s life…and, even if our experiences are similar, our truths and perceptions are all the different from so many underlying factors. But, I must confess that I have had these words itch on my sharp tongue when the fighter in me comes out: Who would like to live my life for a little while and live in my mind where a sense of fear and knowledge lurks that the other shoe can clunk and fall so hard and so fast until the shoe shatters? It isn’t pessimism because I will always be the eternal optimist and fighter. It is simply reality.
With this reality, I wish and believe that every doctor should be a patient to experience and feel that fear, not knowing, waiting, and fighting for life. Again, no ill will on anyone, but there is utmost truth that we can never understand how someone is feeling until we walk in their shoes. I think these doctors as patients would make the best doctors as doctors of all.
After nearly 34 years of waiting and fighting, I must say that these latest health bumpers in my road have solidified and fortified the fighter in me, but now there a different fighter in me coming out with a deep understanding that I have to see first. I mean, really SEE. SEE in the sense of accepting and understanding that nothing is really in my control and all I can try my best and fight my hardest while holding on to the one and only faith that everything becomes clearer when looking back while having to fight and keep it moving forward.
It takes courage and strength to really ‘wait and see,’ which possess the fine balance of doing without overdoing and trying the best without controlling the uncontrollable. It is when we are all under pressure that we see people as they really are. So, who are you? How do you cope in the wait and see period? Is this something that you strive for? How have you faced situations where you felt like you were losing it…losing your life, losing who you are at the core of you, losing illusions of control, losing loved ones? Did you fight or flight? Did you 'wait and see'?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,