The year began with Niem and I having ramen together with the mutual hope that we would be a match for an improbable miracle. We’re now less than a week away from what then, seemed like a dream and now, could give him a new lease on life. It’s been touching and inspiring to see the support that our community has generated behind us and our families through this amazing journey.
I’ll admit that as the date draws near, nerves start to play a larger role than they did back in the “hopeful miracle days” of this process. Unannounced pangs of nausea shoot up and down my body simultaneously reaching my cranium and belly at the thought of being cut open and sewed back together.
I’ve always been a nervous wreck when I think of pain or hear stories of other’s painful experiences. It’s odd to be in a profession and reach a level in it that works to resolve some of the worst discomforts out there and yet, be so averse to hearing about them. It’s an irony that never escapes me.
I’ve come to reason, recently, that there’s no real way to prepare for pain that’s forecasted to take place in your body. You can’t exactly practice being in it and expect to get better at enduring it when its inflicted on you. Every time I bump my elbow on a drawer or get an oven burn, it hurts just as much as it has every previous time before that! I just don’t see a day that stubbing my toe on the fireplace bricks will be something I just smirk at and walk away from without nearly doubling over.
The dilemma I face is the unnecessary pain to my otherwise pain-free self. Not a choice I often opt for but Niem is one of my best friends and he means the world to me. When it comes to those I know and love, I feel obligated and blessed to contribute positively to their lives.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t taken a few trips down ‘sudden panic town.’ It’s happened on more than one occasion and the most helpful exercise, it turns out, has been to talk to others about the upcoming surgery and be open about my feelings. Everyone responds so well to the surprising news when I initially tell them and, after seeing my own enthusiasm for it, gives me warm-hearted support. The barista at Philz coffee will ask about the upcoming date as much as my co-workers will provide words of encouragement.
Melanie and I have loved involving our three daughters through this process and their welcome positive responses have been one of the most wonderful miracles we’ve experienced. The most challenging part is still on the horizon with the support they’ll need to handle the emotions of their papa being down and out for a little while. We’re doing our best to prepare them. I hope they can learn, as I have, that a miracle worth seeing through can start over sharing ramen with a friend.