Empowering Myself Before & After Surgery: Guest Post by Cyma Shapiro

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in women's health | 1 comment

Did you catch last Friday’s post about reaching deep to find the strength to ask for help? Cyma Shapiro, author of The Zen of Midlife Mothering, did and sent me a wonderful post about her own surgical experience in solidarity. Here it is, in its entirety; I hope that it inspires you as much as it did me.

Zen stones

I’ve been very lucky. In my lifetime, I’ve enjoyed good health, good friends and not a lot of unforeseen external circumstances. However, this recently changed when I needed surgery.

It’s difficult to explain the (many) steps I took leading up to this decision, but as insignificant as it might have been, how monumental it all felt. And, while there are far more people struggling with far more serious illnesses, my recent foot surgery was so pivotal in my life that I’d like to share my short journey with you.

As an avid and passionate proponent of Eastern modalities, I’ve spent an entire lifetime focusing on healthy eating, healthy living and healthy practices. I believed that in doing all of this, I’d be spared  more serious complications. So, when I broke my foot last year, I felt as if my world had shattered. I was literally stopped dead in my tracks – a difficult journey for someone as active as I am (rock climb, bike, hike, etc.).  I had no choice but to heed the call. And, I needed to do just what the doctor ordered: stop.

So, for six months, I tried to smell the roses: I reflected on the state of my life and of my “mid-age.”  I thought long and hard about the things that I did and didn’t accomplish, and of the….well….mortality of it all. Most importantly, I realized that my apparently well-ordered life was certainly not that – that many more things (than I’d ever considered or thought possible) were simply out of my control.

To me, having surgery felt like death – not only for the potential perils and outcome, but for what the circumstances suggested – that I simply was no longer as immortal as I believed.

And so, in counting down the months, then weeks, and then days before the surgery, I fervently kept up every practice I knew – praying, breathing, exercising, meditating, reading, etc. And, as the weeks became days, I nearly lay myself prostrate in asking for help, guidance and support during this period. I also did one more thing: I asked my closest friends to pray for me and send light and love.

Nearly immediately, I felt an energy shift in my body. And, as much as the panic threatened to overtake me, the internal support I felt helped propel me forward.

On the day of surgery, I asked for help from the support nurses (requesting that they hold my hand and pray for me) and told the doctor that I had prayed for him. (I had, asking for guidance and love from the support team. To me, we were all in this together – I’d put a photo of him up on my computer weeks earlier.)

Today, I am healing. I am also doing fine. However, I have also changed – in my feelings about Western medicine, about how a higher power is truly in charge, in learning how tough and resilient I really am (despite my overwhelming fears otherwise), and how the power of others can support you in your life.

While I realize that some of you may scoff at this, believing this to be a minor blip in the journey of life, I believe that the success I’ve experienced here will translate into greater successes, should more serious things arise in my life. And, for this deeper understanding and in climbing another rung of life’s many twists and turns, I am so very grateful.

About Cyma…

Cyma Shapiro, 56,  is the writer/creator of NURTURE: Stories of New Midlife Mothers (www.MidlifeMothers.org), the first art gallery show dedicated to women choosing motherhood over 40 (now traveling North America), and the subsequent blogsite, www.MotheringintheMiddle.com, for all-things midlife mothers. A speaker and writer for several sites including Huffington Post, whose work has been featured on NPR and on Psychology Today (online), Cyma is passionate about supporting women who choose later motherhood, and giving them a face, voice, and forum. She is the mother of 9 and 11-year-old children and 28 and 30-year-old stepchildren. She recently published The Zen of Midlife Mothering (essays from MotheringintheMiddle.com) – the only anthology on the market by and for midlife mothers (and fathers).



One Comment

  1. 2-15-2014

    Cyma, What a poignant story about your experience and transformation. I believe that sometimes what we might consider “minor blips” turn out to be powerful learning experiences. Thank you for sending this to me. ~ Barb

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