It’s been four months since I had abdominal surgery to remove a grapefruit sized fibroid from my uterus. I’ve written about my friends supporting and taking care of me, and I’ve covered how this  experience has opened my heart to kindness. But what I have failed to mention is a series of favors from the universe, or to be frank, straight up miracles. I wouldn’t publicly out my corpse paint wearing ass as a believer in miracles if they weren’t in fact happening to me. I keep this blog and a dozen handwritten journals, tracking of my shortcomings, my dreams, creative ideas, things I’m grateful for and day-to-day happenings, but often when there’s astoundingly good news I’m quick to forget it.

In a book called “The Buddha’s Brain” I learned that the mindbody (the whole shebang) takes in over eleven million bits of information per second, but our consciousness can only process sixty. That means a really harsh edit is constantly underway. The human brain has evolved to keep us alive, so it puts the bad news first, right up at the top of the list are the threats. Now, without a Siberian tiger chasing me, my brain subs in other threats, financial, health, relationships, or a dose of self-critical thinking if there’s nothing more pressing. Quite frequently I am my own Siberian tiger. Next the brain scans and allows neutral information, just incase there’s a threat cloaked in neutrality. And finally, if there’s any room left the brain will allow some good news. Now this sixty bits per second also includes all the information from the five senses which orients you; where am I?, is it light or dark out?, what’s that sound?, that smells good, my cheek itches. So within sixty bits all of this information is absorbed, but it leaves little room for the good news, which is why its so important for me to write it down, to push the good news to the front of my mind and write it down so i can remember that good things happen when my brain has me cornered by Siberian tigers.

So my surgery went picture perfect and once I was home recovering my friends rallied and I was well cared for, but then the bills started coming. My deductible was $6,350 and the out-of-network costs, which are the difference between what the hospital charges and what the insurance values the services at, were over $21,000. So suddenly, I was looking at over $27,000 in medical bills. Grateful to be healthy, I accepted that I would be paying off the bill for the next decade and even took it so far as to fantasize that I would be taking the debt into my next relationship, explaining to my imaginary boyfriend, “Yeah you get all this Robin-radness, but I come with a hefty medial bill.”

Not one to shirk my responsibilities, I called the hospital to make a payment plan and it was suggested I apply for financial assistance through the hospital’s charity. I did the paperwork and one month later I got a letter in the mail confirming that not only did I qualify for help, but that the entire $57,000 surgery was covered. BOOM. MIRACLE! You’re welcome imaginary boyfriend.

There are baby miracles, which unfortunately I’ve already forgotten because my brain had to make room for more shit talking and threat assessment, but today – another straight-up, mothrafrakkin, MIRACLE. So for the past two months I’ve been seeing my dentist to get scanned, x-rayed, and measured for a tooth implant. It’s been four years that I’ve been without a tooth and I’ve gotten used to it. I chew on my right side and it really doesn’t bother me, but my dentist explained that without a root the jaw bone will atrophy, so we were gonna do an implant in the nick of time. While that sounds great, the kicker is that it would cost $2,100, which for a freelancer is a chunk of change.

teeth xray / jaw scan

 

So today was D-Day, drill day. The day we were scheduled to drill into my jaw bone. You better believe I said some prayers this morning as I was driving to the dentist. I got there and he put the bib on me and then we reviewed the scans, a mold of my mouth, and then we did some math; measuring the length and width of the implant, reviewing the amount and type of bone in my jaw. Long story short, after months of preparation and pulling two grand from my 401k, turns out I am not an ideal candidate for a dental implant. We discussed a bridge as an alternative and I asked if I’d be OK if I did nothing. Long story short, today I saved two grand. BOOM. MIRACLE!

The best part is, in between these two miracles, I booked a flight home to see my family on miles I’d been hoarding, knowing one day I’d want to go home and not be stoked to purchase a ticket. Since buying the ticket I’ve been worried about dough, as a freelancer I should be here hustling, but as someone who just had major surgery and hasn’t been with their family in 14 months- well I want to go home. So I’ve been stressed. When I walked out of my dentists office it was so plain to me that everything that I fear and over-think ends up resolved. When I can accept what is happening, deal with reality and accept it, and take the next right action miracles happen.

I’ve been thinking about how I used to live, resisting everything, always having a plan or an answer and therefore unwilling to accept any other conclusion, and also not allowing for the potential of something better than what I, with my caveman threat seeking brain, can imagine. I was watching “Cosmos”, and they were showing molecules and the atoms within the molecule. Everything has an order, a flow, accepting its’ path. I feel like I’ve been an atom trying to go the wrong way and wondering why nothing was going my way. Now moving in acceptance of things as they are, no matter what the situation is, I get the unexpected benefit of accepting unexpected happy endings.

 

I just took my first shower in twelve days, having had surgery eleven days ago. If you’ve been keeping up with this blog you know that the fibroids started out in 2011 as a joke. That progressed to “oh damn” levels of pain, combined with healthy doses of sarcasm. About six months ago, I found out the fibroid needed to be surgically removed and like Morrissey said, “that joke isn’t funny anymore.”

Forced to take responsibility for myself, which can still be challenging as a forty-one year-old, I spent months fighting for the right insurance to get into the only hospital I’ve ever been to, Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles. I became a beaurocrat. I fought paper with more paper and I out mailed ’em.

But once I had that sorted I had nothing but time to freak the fuck out. I promptly began stockpiling food, water, cat litter, and hauling it up the three flights of stairs to my apartment. By preparing and exerting tons of controlled discipline on my life I hoped to control my fears. It didn’t work, but I readied the house as best as I could, figuring out how to move around without the use of my core, fortuanately it was cost prohibitive for me to install bars on the walls and a pulley over the bed.

I’ve always been more comfortable to give than to get, to care for than to be cared for and to be needed more than to be in need. Now, nearly two weeks since my surgery, I’m home nursing an abdominal incision and having my mind blown by the generosity of my friends. A self professed recluse, in recent years I have become notoriously private, even from the people I love, and I’ve had more visitors in the last week than in all three years combined since I moved into this apartment.

Prone to saying, “I got it” and “Don’t worry about it”, I don’t know how to ask for help, because it’s not a muscle I like to use, but recently I’ve had to ask, and accept it, and the funniest thing has happened. The only cure to this isolating self-suffieciency that I suffer from is to ask for help. That’s it. Just ask for help, without shame I say, “Hey I don’t have the answer, I can’t carry this weight, can you please help me?” And low and behold the help comes and the isolation and fear leaves.

I’ve got dog people cleaning that cat box, I’ve got vegans bringing steaks, I’ve got flowers, cleaning ladies and groceries being sent from friends who can’t be here with me. It’s amazing, humbling and most incredibly it’s forcing a change in perception. My feelings inside don’t match up with what’s happening outside. It’s undeniable, I can see it. I know I am taken care of every time I hear one of my friends unlocking my deadbolt to check on me. This surgery has forced a shift in perspective that I could not have predicted.

To have been wrong about my place in the world is amazing. I had the flux capacitor, I just didn’t have any plutonium, and they’ve been droppin’ off plutonium all week. So alright, now I’m back to the future.

Katja, Beth, Brandi, Ker-Bear, Yoon, Anne, Sam, Cynthia, Camille, Lindsey, Lesley , Autumn, Mau, Benji, POD & KBAOD thank you for making it easy to ask for help.  XXOO

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