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Lions Roar : July 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2006 79 looks at her two-year-old. “It’s great. I’m fascinated.” She met my surgeon. “As you know, I’m in Ob-Gyn. I don’t get to see inside guys.” “Oh good, you should come along. I’ll tell the anesthesiologist.” Then we all laughed. That there are excellent things about cancer seems a joke too. I understand odd things. For example, when I lose something precious, I can be happy for the person who found it. All these forces led me to the G1 clinic in Duke University Medical Center. The Medical Center is defined by corridors that are color-coded—orange, brown, etc.—and are nonetheless incomprehensible at first. G1 is the urology place—the stream team, they call it. Anesthesia is the dream team, radiology the beam team. I decided not to ask about fertility. The physician’s assistant has done the orientation so often that it’s a kind of standup routine. He’s a guardian spirit, helpful, skeptical, sug- gesting what to believe, what not to believe, how to get into a research protocol, offering his cell phone number. How many surgeries does the team do in a year? A couple-hundred. (Surgery is, among other things, a manual skill like tennis, and it’s generally acknowledged that you are better at it if you practice a lot.) Outcomes? Over ninety percent have good functioning within a year, usually much sooner. Transfusions? We don’t like to spill blood. I’m scheduled for surgery, first on deck on the morning of Feb- ruary 22. Kind people have given me hypnotherapy, acupuncture, bodywork, Taiji instruction, and also refinanced my house. There is a rational part of my thinking that says, “This is good. I have a genetic history for this cancer, get it out of me if you can.” And then there is something more like a lizard consciousness that is deeply perturbed and says, “Knives, blood—bad!” Sometimes the lizard’s eyes roll in his head. Sometimes he feels sad with an intimate, animal sadness. It’s not a poor-little-me sadness—it’s just that his eyes are wet with the kindness and sorrow in things. I must say that I like the lizard. So far it all comes down to this. It’s the joke of life, a funny joke, not a bitter one. I have stepped off an edge and am falling, happily, toward an outcome, like Alice down the rabbit hole. I can take marmalade jars off the shelves and look at the pictures as they go by but no decisions are needed. The universe is man- aging things and I imagine that I’ll emerge in a place that’s dif- ferent from anything I might expect. I don’t have to listen for the call. The call comes and the response just appears, “Yes.” Unex- pectedness is itself a kind of freedom. “Master!” “Yes!” “You have cancer!” “Yes, I do!” ♦ Call today for a brochure: 1.800.944.0240 www.yurts.com WORLD’S LEADING MANUFACTURER ® at home in nature at home in nature TM From seaside getaways to mountain retreats, the Pacific Yu rt goes where you want to be.