Friday, November 18, 2005

Picture This

My son Daniel was a champion swimmer when he was 12. Part of his training involved visualizing each race – watching himself take his mark, leave the block, swim the length of the pool, make a perfect turn, swim back, however many times, and then finally touch the wall at the finish before any of the competition had arrived. Over and over he would hit the wall first, shake the hand of his nearest competition, and then pull himself out of the pool. The mind gradually replayed that victorious finish with no effort.

A woman from Washington Hospital Center called this week to conduct my pre-anesthesia interview – all sorts of questions about my last surgical experience and my general health history. Then another woman called today moving up my surgery to 11 AM instead of 1:30 PM on Wednesday. At least it’s moving in the right direction.

It must be time for me to get out my “Successful Surgery” CD and start visualizing what is going to happen this week. I will find myself in a room that is safe and comfortable. I have capable staff all around me. They give me something in my IV bag that gently puts me to sleep. I see Dr. B reopening the incision from my last year’s surgery. She gently separates my remaining thyroid lobe from my vocal cords, taking care not to injure the delicate parathyroid that sits just behind. She cuts out the thyroid lobe, about the size of a large chicken heart. An assistant prepares it to be sent off and analyzed while Dr. B attends to my wound, first closing the inner skin with dissolving sutures. Then the outer skin is once again pulled together and stitched. Someone applies antibacterial ointment and then tapes a gauze pad over the new incision. The anesthesia is discontinued and I am wheeled out to a recovery room. I wake up to see my family who have been silently cheering for me during my surgery.

Every time I go through the visualization of the surgery, I always wake up and everything is OK. That’s the best part.

I’ve had another thought about what is removed. Maybe it would be possible to load that thyroid lobe with all of the things I am currently carrying in my body that I would like to get rid of. I would put in:
– All precancerous basal and melanoma cells.
– The inflexibility in my hips.
- My lack of balance and fear of falling.
– My sometime lack of self-confidence.
– Feelings of guilt surrounding my parents’ deaths.
I can see that thyroid lobe as the repository for all of these things. When it comes out, so do they.

Maybe tomorrow I will actually listen to the CD, with its soothing music and female voice. Then the visualization will become real. What powerful imagery to work with...

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