When dealing with health issues, I find myself having to face my internal demons who have skillfully hidden in the recesses of my subconscious. They lurk in the shadows of my consciousness until my fears over my physical condition feed them, making them strong enough to surface.
As we age, most people experience some health decline. But at 72, I’m amazed and frightened at how steep that slope has become. I’m like an old car; when I fix or replace something, another part breaks. It is a continuous battle trying to stay healthy, and it usually involves forcefully having to change. In my experience, this old jalopy just keeps on breaking down despite me following a nutritious diet, exercise, meditation, yoga, using natural remedies, and oh yes, “thinking happy positive thoughts.” lol.
My body, or “meat suit” (as I affectionately call it), has been shaped through years of emotional upheavals, unhealthy food, bad choices, past substance abuse, and not such “happy” thoughts. This body has definitely seen its share of self-abuse, so why would I be surprised that I have to work so hard now to keep it running. (Or should I say limping after experiencing two broken hips in five years)
Now I’m back to an old issue that I had thought I’d fixed, and I find the fear I thought I’d defeated was just hiding in the shadows of my consciousness…again.
In 2006 I was diagnosed with glaucoma, a condition where eye pressure builds, and if not treated, you go blind. No sweat, says the doctor, “Just take these drops…the rest of your life.” The problem was I’m chemically sensitive, and all of the medication we tried had side effects. Meanwhile, I was losing vision.
They did a laser procedure to open up the blocked mesh allowing the eye pressure to escape. It worked for 6 years, but I developed advanced cataracts and could only see the world through a haze, and then the mesh blocked. They operated on cataracts and, in the same surgery, gave me a trabeculectomy. During this procedure, a small hole is put into the eyeball under the lid to release pressure. I had to have two more procedures to repair a leaking eyeball. The anti-inflammatory drops (steroids) caused large black bruises to appear on my legs. It all took six months.
My mother lost almost all of her sight because of glaucoma. So you can imagine how my fear demons were in control during that time.
Now in 2021, the merry-go-round circles around again.
I’ve been an artist for 50 years, and I process my world visually and imagining blindness is worse than death. The trabeculectomy has scarred over, pressures up, and I am scheduled for a procedure to correct it on this Wednesday, in two days. It will be with the CAJA, our social healthcare here in Costa Rica. We do have good social medicine, but it is a toss up as to whether you get the right part or not.
The most giant demon, fear of blindness, is my orchestra’s conductor of fears: mistrust, anger, hopelessness and helplessness, depression, self-loathing, lost confidence, suicidal thoughts, self-pity, apathy, sadness, and emotional meltdowns, just to mention a few.
The light in the tunnel is my ability to rely on my faith. I do believe in a supreme something running the show, and my life has always felt guided. Relying on faith is all I can do at this time to subdue the demons. After all, those demons are old guys too, and they’re not as strong as they used to be.
At this age, I have developed the ability to observe my inner challenges. Although this doesn’t usually change the feelings, it does give me the understanding and faith that “This too shall pass”; it always has before.
I’ve been meditating and visualizing on the new non-profit organization I created and the exciting future I am embarking on for several days.
After all, isn’t my life a testament to “What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger?”
I ask all those reading this to not post comments of encouragement but to save it until Wednesday. If you could just take a few seconds Wednesday morning to say out loud, “Katya, you will be ok,” that’s all I need. I will hear your chorus of voices, which will help me dispel those demons and emerge victorious from this fight.
Sometimes all one really needs to hear is someone to say, “It’s all going to be ok.”