What Trying To Be A Lone Lion Taught Me

I have always been a cat when I am sick. Go hide in my safe place, with a pen and paper, shut out the world and slowly heal my wounds. Why change a system that works, right?

In 2012, I found out I needed to have a sudden hysterectomy at the age of 42. My Mom had taken the prescribed drug created in 1938(!!!) called DES (Diethylstilbestrol) to prevent miscarriages. Which in turn caused cancerous cells and other issues in utero in the female offspring. It got to a critical point and my specialist said, it is time, NOW. So I scheduled my surgery right away and prepared my home “aka cave” for my healing. 

A couple close girlfriends said they would take turns with taking me to the hospital, being there when I woke up and taking me home. I said, “Thank you that is SO thoughtful, but I am good.”

I finally caved in.

When my friend with breast cancer who was needing to have a hysterectomy the moment she was off of chemo said, “Actually I need to be there so I know what to expect.” For some reason it made sense in my head, because it wasn’t about me. And I could help her in some way. So I agreed and listed her on the hospital form. 

In the anesthesia room, my hospital bed was next to a teenage boy whose Mom and Dad were by his side. The Mom kept looking over at me and finally asked if she could talk to me. With great concern, she whispered, “Who is with you?” And I said, “No one. Oh, I am good!”

She softly moved her chair next to me, put her hand on my arm. Can I sit with you for a little bit? I nodded my head yes, tears running down my face. The anesthesia was starting to kick in. Before I passed out, the last thing I remember was asking her if she would ask the surgeons to please try and keep my ovaries. 

(How is that for a get to know you game! “Raise your hand if you have asked a stranger to ask the doctor to not take your ovaries?”) 

After letting my friend, that took me home from the hospital that was five minutes away, know for the tenth time with the surgery drugs still running rampant in my system, “I am gooooooood. I gottttt this.” Home alone in my loft to heal, I shut off my phone and slept.

About five days of going internal stealth cat mode, I turned back on my phone to receive a whirl of messages. I responded to each one, with

“That is SO thoughtful. Thank you SO much. I am good.”

One of my best guy friends, Michael, sent me a text requesting my address for a delivery. I responded with his request, after receiving a few bouquets already from other people. And knowing he was always thoughtful in that way. The next thing I know he is outside my secured building requesting to come in. GULP.

I hadn’t washed my untamed lion mane and only spot showered thus far, because of the five holes in my abdomen. Where Edward Scissorhands had cut up my insides and removed my uterus and cervix. (Spoiler alert: I kept the ovaries.)

So back to being a cat. 

We don’t like to show when we are down or wounded. And I looked, well, not on my best feline game. To say the least. 

First time I had walked more than ten steps, I slowly walked down to the elevator. Met him at the front door and let him up to my loft. 

While wearing my overly worn pajamas and crazy hair, for the next two and half hours we sat on my big yellow couch talking in great depth, and laughing. (Side note: it hurt to laugh with five fresh holes in my belly.) I felt so loved up and seen. He had brought me my favorite cupcake. After remembering the story that my Grandmother who I loved dearly, had a tradition of making Red Velvet Cake for all of our celebrations.

After I had healed enough to be back in the world. I went over to Skippy’s, my best guy friend from undergrad. He had texted a lot during my hiding-cat-heal-phase and I had the same response, I had to everyone else.

“That is SO thoughtful. Thank you SO much. I am good.”

When I walked into his home, I could tell he was not pleased.

He said, “Lola, sit down.” (Nickname from college, a story for another time.) I slowly sat down. GULP.

He said, I texted you and called you several times and you were MIA or would respond with a canned response. Internally, I was thinking, “Crap! How did he know that was my canned response to everyone?!” I tried to interrupt with a smile saying, “But I am good!”

And the words out of his mouth will forever be imprinted in my being. 

His voice softened. 

“It is not about you, Lola. It is about the people that love you being a part of your world, the good and the bad. And being open and sharing your vulnerability and letting others care for you as much as you care for them. This is what life is about. It isn’t one sided or perfect. And when you shut us out and “do your thing” you aren’t allowing us to be part of your world. To grieve and heal. And celebrate along with you.”

Hearing those words made me cry. Because it cut to the truth of what is truly the essence of being a human. And I knew it.

Being there for one another

in all phases of life.

Birth to death, and everything in between. 

So take it from a former hiding-cat-to-heal-human.

Let your community in.

To love you in all the myriads of you. To be there to grieve, to heal.

And most of all to celebrate.

*And if you need any assistance on the path, reach out. I got this lesson down now. And have been able to assist a lot of clients with releasing this old story that the only way to do the hard stuff is alone.*