Sunday, January 30, 2011

advice from unlikely places

Yesterday, as Iz and I were having a late lunch at Bruce's (the new diner that opened on 6th Avenue that has amazing potato pancakes and sweet potato fries and a greek salad that's insane), we talked about me and the slump I'm in.

I guess one could call this a slump.

I suppose I'm officially calling it a slump.

The Elissa Stein Slump of 2011 (although it went on for much of 2010 as well).

We talked about why I'm not creative anymore. Actually, I talked about that and she insisted that of course I am—it's all still there, it's just overwhelmed by everything else that's going on.

We talked about perhaps being on medication was what's taking away that drive, that insane drive that so often consumed me to make things happen.

She looked straight at me, hard, stopped eating the chocolate cake that they bring to the table before you even order, and told me I can't stop taking them now, not with this major operation in my near future. Very calmly, very wisely, she told me there was too much stress in my life at the moment, that when facing such a major event I shouldn't even think about stopping meds, but that after I'm healed and in a mellower place I could think about it and slowly see what it was like to stop knowing that if I could always go back on them if I didn't feel right.

Words of pure wisdom from my not-yet 13 year old.

Words of truth.

I'm finding, as I contemplate this surgery, that I'm shutting down in many ways. It's hard to get things done. Contemplating laundry, scheduling appointments, cleaning my desk (which always borders on disaster), can be too much. I want to escape into sleep but then wake up often during the night. Things that should be automatic and easy, like planning my dog's birthday party that's taking place later today, are almost impossible.

I'm slacking. The fridge is almost empty. I'm not on top of homework the way I should be. I haven't even started thinking about camp. I need a haircut. I can't get control back of my apartment. I still can't do a headstand in the middle of yoga class even though of course I can. I'm not eating well and can't seem to get back to a healthier place.

I think I'm scared, underneath it all. Scared of the surgery. Scared of being put under. Scared of being unconscious on that table for hours while strangers are slicing into me.

Scared of the pain. Scared I won't be able to handle it. Scared of the recovery.

Scared of waking up and finding out they couldn't do the transplant.

I have one test left—a mammogram tomorrow. That and a re-do of the urine test I keep failing. If these results, plus those from my gynecologist are good, my testing is done. Then it's waiting for the donation/transplant teams to sit around a table discussing whether to go forward or to say I'm not qualified as a candidate.


But, I suppose, in the scheme of things, this lethargy and turning inward isn't bad when I look at the bigger picture of all I'm facing at the moment.

My apartment's not that messy. The dogs don't have huge expectations of what a party is. We're all wearing clean clothes.

I'm learning to be kind to myself through all this - the opposite of the beating up anorexic mindset I had for so many years.

Damn. I'm taking care of myself, even healing, in the middle of this craziness.

That realization just left me speechless.

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