Throughout my life I have given thought to trees. I rather enjoy trees. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Oak. It is useful. It provides shade, provides us with a show throughout the year as she changes her colors, and, if need be, provides us with a good, solid wood with which to build on and walk. What a grand, magnificent tree the Oak.
I also have loved the Weeping Willow. Its graceful arches and soft listing branches swaying in the wind; a sad tree if ever there was one. It did not go unnoticed by me when I found our little dream house - that it lived on Willow Street. It was a further sign to me that this was our house - but I digress. I fancy myself stuck between these two trees. Often finding myself being the Willow - sad but still standing; but always hoping I would end up as the Oak - deep roots, strong sheltering branches and always standing tall. But now, I don't feel much like either. I feel more like the little Bonsai tree.
- June 5 - daughter was born - spent next week in NICU
- June 12 - woke up with Bell's Palsy on right side of face
- June 15 - started round of steriods - no visible improvement
- July 1 - had first MRI - am told they found 1 Meningioma
- July 13 - had second MRI - am told they found a second Meningioma and that I have Optic Neuritis affecting my right Optic Nerve - I may have MS
- - took a break from doctors for the rest of the summer -
- September 30 - met with brilliant NeuroSurgeon in Dallas - he reviews my MRI films
- October 5 - have 3rd MRI
- October 23 - get letter and report from NS in Dallas regarding 3rd MRI - his findings are that I do NOT have Optic Neuritis OR MS but I do have a THIRD Meningioma on my right Optic Nerve. He does NOT recommend radiation therapy, yet.
- November 10 - met with a Neuro-Opthamologist in OKC. He examines me, examines all the MRI films - says he agrees with NS - 3rd Meningioma, no MS, tells me I will go blind in my right eye - recommends radiation therapy and refers me to another Neuro-Opthamologist. Also recommends Lumbar Puncture.
- November 11 - present - break from docs again.
It has all been too much too fast.
During all of this people have tried to make me feel better about what is happening to me. I get a lot of, "You are being shaped by these experiences." "God is molding you - shaping you into your best expression of Him." "Through you, people will see God."
I don't want anymore shaping; no more PRUNING. Pardon me, but I want to keep what branches I have. I feel as though I'm being hacked at, pruned with left out in the rain too long, rusty, old hedge clippers.
The branches of my tree - the branches of the possibility of my life - my future - pruned by diagnosis after diagnosis: Meningioma, *snip* Bell's Palsy, *snip*. Pruned by medical procedure after medical procedure: MRI, *snip*, Lumbar Puncture, *snip*, Radiation, *snip*. Pruned by the medical certainty of my outcome: Blind in right eye *snip*, BP residuals - Synkinesis *snip*, Cranial Surgery, *snip*.
I feel like a bloody stump of what I once was: of what I hoped to be, of what I COULD be.
So now I have to find a way to acclimate myself to this new sense of reality, of future, of possibility. Or maybe I need to find a way to just live in the now. Limit my hope to tomorrow or the end of next week rather than twenty years from now. Maybe both.
I am learning how to be the Bonsai tree.
Perhaps I am being shaped with a purpose. Perhaps it only looks as though I'm being hacked at because I'm still in the "middle" of the work. After all, Bonsai is considered an art form in Japan. And maybe there is a hope of a long future as a Bonsai tree. The oldest known living Bonsai tree is over 500 years old and is considered a national treasure in Japan: 500 years of something pruned and, in its own way, beautiful: 500 years of inspiration given to a people and a culture.
Maybe being a Bonsai tree is not so bad after all. Part of the art of Bonsai is patience. I know that patience is a big part of my lesson in all of this. So this is me then - the little Bonsai tree. Pruned, bruised and battered, but still growing - still trying to BE something. I am learning. And I am trying: with love, with hope, and with patience.