Victoria NeuroNotes

Looks Can Be Deceiving and A Question Of Faith

107 Comments

My thanks to Zoe who gave me the inspiration to write this post.

In mid-November (2015), I saw a general practitioner who ended up referring me to a specialist. Then, that specialist referred me to another specialist, who then referred me to another specialist. That specialist referred me to a specialist at an out-of-state cancer institute. I was then referred to another out-of-state specialist.

With each doctor I saw, I was poked, prodded, jabbed (no, they all don’t have the same meaning in this case) and scanned. Between February and May, I went under general anesthesia 4 times. A routine mammogram showed a “suspicious” area, resulting in an excisional biopsy, and a 5.8 cm (2 inch) scar on the underside of my left breast. The “suspicious” tissue was found to be benign.

The second time was an attempted LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) which failed because fibroids (common in women) were obstructing the cervix opening. The third time was due to a colonoscopy. A CT scan indicated that a “mass in the mid ascending colon was consistent with primary colon carcinoma.” The post operative colonoscopy report indicated “malignant features present.”

In early March I was diagnosed with cancer, even though the first pathology report indicated that two polyps (adenomas) in close proximity of each other, were benign. However, it was the consensus of a team of doctors that the initial pathology report was most likely an error, therefore, an invasive procedure, a right hemicolectomy, was suggested. Not a non-invasive procedure, a polypectomy.

A full hysterectomy was also suggested because a gynecologist and a gynecologic oncologist suspected cervical and/or uterine cancer. Both surgeries were performed at the same time

I was under the knife for 4 hours. They (two surgeons) removed close to half my colon, multiple large fibroids, my cervix, ovaries, uterus, and numerous lymph nodes. The risks were infection, hernia, blood clots, injury to nearby structures including the intestines, stomach, bladder, blood vessels, and the ureter (a tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder).

I was also told that a leak could occur where the intestines were reconnected, requiring more surgery, and a need for a stoma. Thankfully, there were no complications.

The operation took place in late May. So, from March through May, I had a lot of time to think about my possible fate — a physically painful exit from this life, or poisoning my body with chemo chemicals and the grueling ramifications, which could result in prolonged suffering, and death.

I didn’t fear death, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the prospects of dying. I also relived the remorse that I had wasted so much of my adult life as a devout Christian. I was just beginning to live. Those who’ve been there know what I’m talking about.

I understand that religion—faith in a personal god, and afterlife, may bring some comfort to believers. However, I was so glad I didn’t go through all of this while believing in a personal god.

Athiest comic

Former evangelical pastor, Bruce Gerencser, wrote an insightful post (God Gave Me Breast Cancer Because He Loves Me) on the mindset of many Christians when facing serious illnesses, or other misfortunes. It really puts the above image into perspective.

Another insightful read is Neil Carter’s post (The Predatory Side of Religion) about those of us who used to be devout, and the “tricky challenges” we face (especially those of us living in conservative, religious communities) when going through trying times.

 

Internet friends“I dislike the phrase “Internet friends,” because it implies that people you know online aren’t really your friends, that somehow the friendship is less real or meaningful to you because it happens through Skype or text messages.

The measure of a friendship is not its physicality but its significance.

Good friendships, online or off, urge us toward empathy; they give us comfort and also pull us out of the prisons of our selves.”

~ John Green

 

Having lost my offline social network after deconvertion, I am so fortunate to have met such amazing people online, especially those I consider my dearest friends with whom I had privately shared my recent journey.

The outpouring of love, compassion, wise counsel and unwavering support, with emails, phone and Skype calls, text messages, cards, flowers and gifts from people I’d never met in person (yet), got me through a very trying time. You gave me the freedom to be authentic—to be fully human. You will always hold a special place in my heart.   ❤

btw

As it turned out, the final pathology report revealed that the doctors jumped the gun. I didn’t have cancer. At. All. And such an invasive surgery was unnecessary.

Looks can be deceiving.

Before I could write this post, I needed to give myself time to process and resolve some feelings of frustration and anger. But that is behind me now, and, for the record, I’m recovering remarkably well.

The 33 cm (13 inch) zipper-like scar on my abdomen no longer reminds me of a dysfunctional medical system, or predatory-type Christians exploiting my circumstances. Now, when I look at my scar, I am reminded of the beauty and solace that comes from authentic human connection.

As noted in the header, we matter because we matter to each other. We make each other important.

Now, getting to the question of faith. Do I have faith?

Absolutely!

I have faith in the innate goodness of people wholly connected to their own humanity.

 


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Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

107 thoughts on “Looks Can Be Deceiving and A Question Of Faith

  1. “We matter because we matter to each other. We make each other important.”

    Love it.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Quick recovery my friend.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. This post is rich with character. Greta Christina, Bruce Almighty :), Zoe, Neil Carter, and YOU – all mentors (I removed the modifier “online”) of mine. All people who have grappled with physical and/or mental torment and come out a more wise person for it. Not only that, but all share their wisdom with others, in hopes that what they share will not only have meaning for their audience but will actually help someone. Each of you matter, to many.

    So sorry you had to go through all of that. Now, KICK SOME ASS!!! cackle, cackle. .

    Liked by 9 people

  4. Well that certainly explains why you’ve been so quiet for the last several months. What an ordeal! Shocked that you had to go through with it, happy that you don’t have cancer. I’m disheartened that you had unnecessary surgery, but glad that it turned out this way, rather than the other way ’round – not having surgery and it turning out to be cancer after all. If there had to be a side to err on, I guess this was the more preferable one. I realize its easy for me to say that having never had to go through what you did. I’m probably just rambling trying to make a shitty situation less so.
    I know that it’s easy for you to lament the time you spent as a devout Christian as time wasted. I work on seeing things from a more optimistic point of view rather than a pessimistic one everyday. You do have your eventual emancipation to be optimistic about. Things could be worse – you could still be a devout Christian!
    Good Lord! Imagine if that were still the case? LOL

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Ashley. I was concerned that my post might come across as being negative or seeming ungrateful. I do see the silver linings, and I agree, better to error on the side of caution. I left out a lot of details of this long, drawn-out journey, so grievances weren’t so much about the unnecessary surgery, but rather the systemic problems (as noted in the link) that plague America’s health care system. It wasn’t intended to bash doctors. From the link I posted:

      “The researchers caution that most of medical errors aren’t due to inherently bad doctors, and that reporting these errors shouldn’t be addressed by punishment or legal action. Rather, they say, most errors represent systemic problems, including poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, the absence or underuse of safety nets, and other protocols, in addition to unwarranted variation in physician practice patterns that lack accountability.”

      Also, the sting of having wasted so many years of valuable life has waned significantly. I only mentioned it because I’ve had such a zeal for life (in the world AND of this world), that the thought that I might have only a short time left naturally made me feel a sense of remorse. But yeah, I don’t even want to imagine still being a devout Christian. 😀

      Liked by 5 people

  5. Your moment of inspiration has led you to the perfectly worded post. Beautifully said. Now…I want at least a post of week from you to make up for lost time. There’s no excuse for slacking anymore. Also blogging helps scars heal better. That’s what I’ve heard. 🙂

    Liked by 9 people

  6. Can I say What the Fuck?

    The decision to undergo all that must have caused some sleepless nights.
    You have fortitude beyond my ken.
    I would have gone frakking mental.

    Just wow!

    I am truly at a loss as to what else to say.

    Liked by 8 people

  7. I’m so sorry Victoria. What you went through is dire. Colonoscopy doesn’t usually require a GA. and talk about false positives. Unbelievable 😦 You shouldn’t have had to go through that.

    I do hope you have recovered from unnecessary surgery and are feeling ok. I really feel for you going through all that for nothing though 😦

    Liked by 7 people

  8. Shit Victoria!!! Wow, am I glad you are okay but what horrible experiences you went through! UGH!

    There were several times I thought to email you, telling you how I missed you and your online presence these last few months but decided not to. ::head shake:: Now I wish I had! However, I am so grateful and pleased to hear that your online community had provided you with love and support. I’ve found the same to be true for me.

    How are you recovering from your surgery? ((gentle hug))

    Liked by 6 people

    • Well, Quixie, I certainly would have welcomed the email, but not because I was going through trying times. I just really like you. 🙂 I’m sorry I haven’t commented lately on your blogs, but my involvement on WP has been significantly curtailed over the last several months. I’ll be full steam ahead very soon.

      I am recovering nicely. I’m “almost” like new, with the exception of a few missing organs. 😀

      Thank you for the hug. *hugs back*

      Liked by 5 people

  9. You are a special lady! To have all of that hit at one time, the uncertainties, the questions, the physical toll. You managed to face it without failing. You did not hide from it. You did not let it destroy who you are. Then to find out that you had to go through all that and face those nightmares, the surgeries, the consequences, the recovery all for nothing and you still stayed true to who you are. You did not take out your rightful anger on others. I find you an inspiration and I admire you. As I said at the beginning, you are a special lady. Many soft warm healing hugs.

    Liked by 10 people

    • Beautifully put, Scottie; my thoughts entirely.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Scottie, thank you so much. I can say that having experienced the mistral winds before kinda prepared me for the frigid cold and turbulent seas. I’m so glad I had others on deck to take the wheel when I felt exhausted and chilled to the bone. The tune below may not be your cup of Joe, but it’s reflective of my journey. Btw, there’s some cool footage just after the 4 minute marker.

      You wrote: “You did not take out your rightful anger on others.”

      I suspect Arch and a few fundies might not see it the same way. Lol

      I want you to know, that I, too, find you an inspirations, and I most definitely admire you, Scottie. I love reading your comments on other blogs. Talk about owning your story and staying true to who you are.. ❤

      *returns the hugs with a smile*

      Liked by 4 people

  10. I remember you mentioning all this to me earlier. I’m so sorry you had to endure all of it. But, I’m glad you’re OK, and I’m very glad you do not have cancer, though I wish they could have figured that out without removing half your innards. You’re thoughts here about humanity and internet friends are things I echo and find great comfort from myself. So glad you’re here, Victoria. I’m a better and wiser person because of the things I learn from you.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Indeed, I did mention it to you in my about page when you were so kind to check in on me. As you may also recall, I was still rather peeved at the time. Going to followup appointments, it was interesting how my doctors (who were so sure I had cancer) reacted to me, one in particular. To make a very long story short, when I was in the recovery room from the colonoscopy, the doctor came in and told me and my family that it was definitely cancer, and to come to his office in a week to find out what stage it was at and what treatments I would need. So, that was a dreadfully long week, but the day came. My mom, brother, and I were sitting in his office when he came in and quickly looked at my files. It was quite apparent to us that he was looking at the pathology report for the first time. He seemed surprised, and said, ‘well, looks like you don’t have cancer.’ This was the first pathology report. Needless to say, we were elated. I wanted to cry from relief, but I held back until we got into the car.

      But, he still recommended that I have the polyps removed, so that’s when another doctor came into the picture. My brother and I went to the appointment together. The doctor presented me with a black and white diagram of the abdomen showing all the organs, and marked the areas where the polyps were. However, he wrote “cancer” next to one area of my colon, and I was like, huh? So I asked him why he wrote cancer, and he looked me in the eyes and said that he was certain the pathology report was in error and that I needed to “come back to reality.’ I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it.

      Before I went to see this doctor post-op, I was already aware of the final pathology report. I had read it online first, before I was informed by my doctors. So when I went back for my followup after being gutted, he says to me “Aren’t you glad you don’t have cancer?”

      I kid you not.

      Anyway, I just want to thank you again for checking in on me, and for your thoughtful comment here. Means a lot Jeff.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Jesus fucking christ, what an ordeal! You seem to be handling this fairly well for being gutted (literally) without cause. You have every right to bitch, complain, moan, and scream. This idea that you can’t be upset or you’ll be seen as “negative” is fucking ridiculous. You shouldn’t have to be positive and see a silver lining in everything…some things just suck ass (like having half your guts ripped out). I am so sorry that happened to you…I don’t have the proper words to tell you just how sorry I am. While the doctors were acting with good intentions, you now have to suffer the consequences of these surgeries for the rest of your life. That is no small price to pay.

    Many hugs and much love, victoria. ❤

    Liked by 9 people

    • Fuck yeah, Violet! Sometimes I think that women in particular are constantly expected to just smile and be agreeable. I remember Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women talking about that on one episode. Who says we have to smile all the time? I agree, Victoria needs to be honest about her emotions and disappointments. She did go through several dramatic things at once.

      I love you, Victoria. You personally already know how I feel about all of this. I just want you well.

      I will disappear for now. Hopefully, I’ll reach you in a few weeks. I’ve got check in at 9:30 tomorrow.

      Take care.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Violet, it’s great to see you. Swarn and I were talking on the phone the other day, and he was fully aware of the hesitations I had about writing this post. First, as biblical Christians, we were brainwashed taught to never “complain” about our circumstances, but rather “rejoice” as we were partakers of Christ’s sufferings, and this is all a part of god’s perfect plan, and that it’s all going to work out for the good, yada yada yada. You know what I’m talking about. So I do think I still struggle a wee bit about sharing so personally in a public place. Not because I still believe that nonsense, but because I’m still working out the kinks of life-long conditioning to “be seen but not show up.”, if you get my drift.

      I agree, I shouldn’t have to be positive and see the silver linings, but in this case, I definitely saw them with the outpouring of love, support and kindness I experienced from my friends online. It became quite apparent to me that they were not fair weather friends. It became quite apparent to me of the importance of connection, owning my story, and letting myself be fully seen. These are the many qualities I admire about you, Violet.

      Thank you for the hugs and love. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • True friends are indeed a good thing, and one can never be too grateful for the love and support we receive from them (I’ve received much support myself on WP, and a good deal of it came from you!).

        And yes, the christian concept of “bearing your cross” without complaint can go fuck itself. 🙂

        I’m thankful you made it through that medical mess and came out reasonably well on the other side. Still, my compassion for what must have been a HORRID ordeal for you is unending. As a nurse I have seen these procedures and know what the recovery is like, and it’s “difficult” to say the least. You deserve a break from calamity, that’s for damn sure.

        Big hugs! ❤

        Liked by 2 people

        • Violet, I just gotta tell you that your irreverence makes me, well. . . cackle. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • “As a nurse I have seen these procedures and know what the recovery is like, and it’s “difficult” to say the least. ”

          Having it all done at the same time was no picnic, for sure, but I am recovering remarkably well, considering. I was told I’d be in the hospital 5 to 7 days. The surgery was on a Friday, and I was home by Monday. I was damned determine to get out of that hospital. LOL But it took me about 3 weeks before I could sleep in my bed. Thank goodness for La z Boy recliners. 😀

          I should mention, on Sunday, because I “pooed” for the first time after the operation, they put me on a “regular diet”. Do you know what they brought me? BBQ sandwich, French Fries and ice cream. I shit you not.

          Liked by 3 people

          • This reminded me of a hospitalization I had back in the 90’s. Two weeks on I.V. for inflammatory bowel disease with gall bladder complications, fighting for my life, wasted down to 103 lbs. (5’7″) and the first meal I was given was a dry pork chop, yellow jello and a ginger ale. I was so upset that they got the dietician and I instructed her on how to feed people with Crohn’s Disease. 🙄

            We can put a man on the moon but still don’t know how to eat.

            Liked by 3 people

  12. Good grief, what an ordeal! I knew something was up, but wasn’t sure. I’m so glad you came through it reasonably well. My very best wishes, Victoria, and I hope to see more of your excellent blogging going forward. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Scottie’s already said what I wanted to say, Victoria, save for offering my huge respect both for this courageous post and for your endurance of all that it details on your horrendous medical trials. Thanks for the beautiful quote from John Green, too, whoever he is, and with which I am in complete agreement. H ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Hariod. You have a way of always bringing a smile to my face. Only recently have I learned who John Green is. He’s listed as a New York Times best selling author. He’s a humanitarian, and a liberal Christian who’s been forthright, admonishing Christians who dis evolution, who believe the bible is inerrant, and take the bible literally. So far, from what I’ve read and seen on his Vlog “Crash Course”, he’s a pretty cool guy. I’ve come to really like his perspective when critiquing books, because he recognizes the depth and breadth of simple words, vernacular speech, which he sees as containing complex meaning, though critics and other writers may fail to recognize it. Case in point: — which he hones in on after the 4 minute marker.

      I’m thrilled that our paths have crossed, Hariod, and I am really looking forward to getting to know you better. You are a magnificent writer, and I stand it awe of your talent. Much appreciation for you dropping by. V ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, it’s him! I’ve seen several of his Crash Course videos over at Mike’s blog:

        https://selfawarepatterns.com/2016/08/29/libertarian-free-will-is-incoherent-and-thats-good-for-responsibility/

        Thankyou for your kindly generous, yet wildly unjustified, compliment, Victoria. I am a neophyte writer with a huge amount to learn, 90% of which I never shall. Still, your words are a wonderful encouragement, and I appreciate them deeply. H ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • “Ah, it’s him!”

          I did a quick scan over at Mike’s place, but haven’t watch the videos yet. Was your comment one of approval or disapproval when you wrote “Ah, it’s him..”?

          Like

          • Oh, approval, definitely. Mike uses the Crash Course videos as they’re so brilliant at informing lay people such as myself on science and philosophy issues. I hadn’t intended for you to watch the video at all, Victoria, and simply thought I’d give Mike a name check as his is a great blog. I trust Mike’s judgment on science stuff – maybe not totally when it comes to the future of AI, but then who knows what that may entail? H ❤

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thanks for that. Yes, Mike’s blog is brilliant—always meaty. He’s incredibly intelligent. I used to be a faithful reader of his blog, but lately, with all that’s been going on, I haven’t been able to keep up with my reader as I’d like to. Also, the multiple trips to la la land (going under anesthesia) and the duration I was under with the last one, has impacted my ability to concentrate at times, which I hope is temporary. :/

              Liked by 1 person

              • Ah, I didn’t know you were formerly a reader at Mike’s! My apologies for the error. I’m sure your current attention issues are temporary, Victoria, but I know what you mean about needing your wits about you at Mike’s place. o_O

                Liked by 1 person

  14. SPLENDID, SPLENDID, SPLENDID!

    And scars are sexy 😉

    Liked by 6 people

  15. Rarely do we know what goes on behind the screen in the lives of the bloggers we follow and enjoy, so many private battles fought, hopefully just as many won. I have found online friends to be just as much support as offline, in some cases more-so; the sharing of the mind alone makes for different levels of intimacy and appreciation I find, and all are as ‘real’ as those people we see in front of us quite regularly.

    I’m sorry to hear of your own battles, but you’ve channeled them here into a cracking post, and at the same time let some more people get a little closer to you as well, which is healing in itself – just look at how many voice concern and send good wishes! A balm of its own is that *smiles*. May your path be lighter Victoria from now on, you’ve come a long way, and found strength through the reality that comprises of your friends, rather than an imaginary fickle God. Well done that woman.

    – esme hugging Victoria tight upon the Cloud.

    Liked by 5 people

    • A balm of its own, indeed, my friend. I often lack the ability to articulate exactly what I’m thinking and feeling, whether in writing or spoken word, but there’s no greater joy than to have friends who can read between the lines — and get “me.” Esme, meeting you and getting to know you better has made my path lighter. Thank you for your email. It meant the world to me. ❤

      – victoria savoring esme's hug upon the Cloud.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. What a breath-taking and moving blog post, Victoria! And the same goes for the comments above.

    Lots of hugs to you from Sweden. You’re my #1, Victoria! Always full of inspiration.

    Liked by 3 people

    • So happy to see you again, bb. Haven’t seen you around much sense our dear friend, Charles, passed away. Sigh.

      I am honored to be considered your #1, and can’t thank you enough for seeing the inspiration in my posts, even though they may come across as non-inspirational, dark, or negative. You are one of those few I commented to Esme about — who “gets me.” Who sees my motives in the purist light. I hope to see you around more, and drop me an email when you have the time.

      Thank you for your hugs and thoughtfulness. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for sharing your recent medical ordeal. I am so sorry that life has filled your plate to overflowing with things that not only cause suffering and pain, but could also kill you. I am glad your surgery went well and I hope that cancer will not again rear its ugly head. I admire your strength, your willingness to keep slogging forward. As someone who has a full plate of health problems too, I find it encouraging to see others haltingly pushing on.

    Much love to you, my friend. And those online friends? I am beyond grateful for online friends. Since I am home bound most days, my online friends mean the world to me. They are, in every way, real friends.

    Bruce

    Liked by 5 people

    • Bruce, your post, which I noted in my OP, was so spot on, and like you shared with me on FB, there is a comfort in knowing that there isn’t an “all-knowing, all powerful” god, representing a father figure, who allows so much pain and suffering,, and doesn’t do a goddamn thing about it. No father in their right mind would do this. As you said, “shit happens.”

      I admire and respect you very much. Your posts have been psychologically healing to me in ways only an ex-devout Christian could understand. Much love in return, my friend. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Proud to call you friend. Glad your back among us. Love ya sis

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Victoria I would say that you went to a real hell and back. It really makes one think how insignificant our daily problems are. People are definitely our sources of strengths and sometimes our weaknesses and a god at best can only be an emotional aid. All the best love to you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • sklyjd, I’m so glad you stopped by and replied. Welcome. I think that may be another redeeming quality (or silver lining) after having experiences like this — the typical daily problems we encounter do tend to sting less. I can understand why some people would find a god belief to be an emotional aid, except for the fact that humanity gets short changed. Such people rarely give themselves the credit for their own inner strength, or credit to those who were there for them, who offered emotional aid. That’s a travesty.

      Thank you for your thoughtfulness. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  20. I’m late to this post… a funeral to attend, donchaknow, and as usual an event that reminds me to live well no matter what life offers. It is both terrible to read what you’ve been through and so refreshing to hear you ‘get it’ about having experiences and then the fortitude and wisdom to make it count in a life-affirming way. It really is quite wise. Whether you want to be or not, you are such a good example.

    I have missed your posts, it is true, but assumed you had your reasons. Little did I know…. good grief, but all of that just sucks.

    It has been great seeing you comment here and there lately… always a good addition. And I am reminded just how fortunate so many are including me that you will continue to do so as your health stabilizes. You go, girl.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Tildeb, sorry about the late reply. I’ve only attended one funeral in my life (and I’ve been to many) where the person who passed away was the primary focus, if you get my drift. I have disdain for funerals for that very reason. One thing is certain, it’s very difficult to “live well” when you’re in a lot of pain. Sometimes, people, who are not the ones suffering, seek assurance from the ones suffering that their suffering isn’t as bad as it really is. The ones needing comfort end up being the comforter to those uncomfortable with another’s discomfort.

      There’s a cultural conditioning, an unspoken obligation of sorts, where the sufferer downplays their suffering around others. To find people who are wholly connected to their own humanity, and give others the freedom to be real around them, are rare gems in my world. I am quite fortunate to have found such priceless gems, online.

      Your last paragraph really touched me. Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Victoria, as you know, I expressed my thoughts on Zoe’s blog. But I did want to add myself to your long list of friends who are so VERY happy that you’re OK and back among us.

    P.S. I tend to agree with Jeff — those docs need to be “reprimanded” for their oversights, misdiagnoses, and just plain stupidity! Yes, I read your quote about “systemic problems,” but IMO, this is letting them off the hook far too easily. On the other hand, I can understand not wanting to focus on this horrible event any longer than necessary. It’s totally your call.

    Looking forward to more of your stimulating posts! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Nan, I appreciate you taking the time to comment here as well. I shared with Swarn and Carmen that after I commented on Zoe’s blog, I felt a release. The writer’s block I’d been dealing with lifted. It’s good to be back. 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Damn. First I am very pleased you came out of this ordeal alive and healthy, and in a much better frame of mind than I would have. There would be Dr’s digging holes to hide in had that all happened to me. Which means your temperment and outlook are on another level. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing 🙂

    Glad you have this all behind you, and I’m glad that old dog religion is still barking up another tree. It takes resolution and understanding of our fate in this uncaring universe to get through the ordeals without appealing to that old useless crutch.

    If you will get to posting I will try to match you. Wait, if you will get to posting I will try to match 50%. Wait, ah hell nevermind just get to posting lol. Like Swarn said it helps healing 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • “There would be Dr’s digging holes to hide in had that all happened to me. “

      Haha — I can assure you that in my case, there’d be more than just doctors digging holes to hide in. 😉

      I’m glad to have this behind me, too. Friedrich Nietzsche said “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

      That’s not always the case, however. Some people experience post traumatic growth (positive change) and others don’t. Research shows that those with the highest aptitude for psychological adjustment demonstrated the least signs of positive change. They already understand that difficulty is integral to life. I don’t find that I grew from this experience, per say, or became stronger.

      SD, thanks for the warm welcome back. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. “Now, getting to the question of faith. Do I have faith?
    Absolutely!
    I have faith in the innate goodness of people wholly connected to their own humanity.”
    THIS!!

    I’m also late seeing this post as I’ve been out of town..but shit!! WHAT you’ve been thru! Victoria! And I, like so many here…am ever so glad you’re still around..and likely will be for a long time yet!

    And boy do I LOVE that pic above of the hand reaching out from the computer. People who haven’t discovered how incredibly valuable and special online friendships can be….just wouldn’t understand it. But who cares.. WE do..and that’s what counts! ❤

    Liked by 5 people

    • ” People who haven’t discovered how incredibly valuable and special online friendships can be….just wouldn’t understand it. But who cares.. WE do..and that’s what counts!”

      Well said, Kathy, and thank you! ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  24. Wow… what a collection of ‘saints’ this would be if we were all still believers. My vision of the Church, where all were family and would gather to console and congratulate, confirm and affirm each other in and thru trials of life.
    Thank you Victoria for helping me with the understanding that my vision was not just for the Church, but it was truly just human, and had been co-opted.
    Your posts are truly a meal and a half, chocked full of new thoughts and ideas for someone like me trying to fill in the gaps of decades of ignorance. And the community you have gathered, who love you and support you is more than any church ‘family’ I have ever experienced in reality.
    I’m so glad you are felling better and look forward to more of this great posts. -kia

    Liked by 4 people

    • Mike, I couldn’t agree more with what you said — that the community I have gathered, who love me and support me is more than any church ‘family’ I have ever experienced in reality. It’s been a real eye-opener. That’s not to say that there aren’t sincerely caring people in churches, but their caring had nothing to do with Christianity or belief in god. They were simply in touch with their own humanity and that overflowed onto others. They were fully human. Nothing worse than being around people who are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.

      “I’m so glad you are felling better and look forward to more of this great posts.”

      Thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  25. What a horrific experience. So glad you are recovering physically and emotionally, Victoria!

    “I was so glad I didn’t go through all of this while believing in a personal god.”
    Absolutely. No “why God?” on top of everything else.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charles! So good to hear from you! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • What a nice surprise to see you, charles, and thanks so much.

      “No “why God?” on top of everything else.”

      Exactly. No thoughts about having one’s faith tested, or thoughts about some lesson to be learned, or thoughts about “it’s all a part of the “perfect plan”, or thoughts about searching one’s heart for unconfessed “sin”, yada yada yada.

      Shit happens. It’s that simple.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yep. Shit happens.
        Here’s some confirmation bias… after reading your post, I have run into two people today currently undergoing chemo.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “Shit happens. It’s that simple.”

        Sigh, it’s more complicated when shit DOESN’T happen, as you discovered post-surgery! I never knew how important and un-simple shit was until I had my first child. For real, BBQ and french fries?!? Binds me up just thinking about it! Seriously think hospital dietitians do more for the morgue and repeat business than they do for healing….

        But seriously, Victoria, I’ve been off the grid and have no words other than I’m sorry you’ve been through this unnecessary ordeal. I noticed I hadn’t been getting any emails about new posts from you and thought maybe I had accidentally unsubscribed from your blog (like Violet did from mine LOL). Thank you for sharing what you’ve been through so we could learn from it and give you the outlet and support you need. I’m glad to hear you are poo-ing and mending and getting great support from this community.

        The John Green quote is great. I used to chastise younger people that “Internet friends are not REAL friends.” But over the past two years, while going through de-conversion and all the confusion and anger and sadness that brings, I’ve learned that online friends can be just as real and just as supportive as in-the-flesh friends, and often a safer and softer place to land. Until the trolls come in, inevitably, but then the online friends bring out the online firepower against the trolls. There’s comfort in that, too.

        Keep healing and having faith in the things that matter. And please keep writing! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Skirt. Just for clarification, my comment “it’s that simple”, was not intended to devalue the importance of the experience. Just that it’s not all mucked up by a belief system, where there must be a divine reason why this all happened.

          Anyway, I’m happy to see you. You wrote:

          Seriously think hospital dietitians do more for the morgue and repeat business than they do for healing…

          Especially if you live in the South.

          “But over the past two years, while going through de-conversion and all the confusion and anger and sadness that brings, I’ve learned that online friends can be just as real and just as supportive as in-the-flesh friends, and often a safer and softer place to land.”

          Well said. Because unbelief goes against the tide of our culture, especially in the bible belt, it’s difficult to find in-the-flesh support groups and/or community. I know, where I live, being openly secular can be detrimental to your quality of life. As an aside, with every pre-op (and there were 4 between Feb. and May), they asked the same questions. One of the questions is what religion do you belong to. When I said none, I always got “the look.” Lol

          Thank you so much for your thoughtful, in-depth comment. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sorry, I hit “reply” on the wrong comment, was supposed to be on the one where you “poo”ed and they gave you that godawful meal!

            “The Look.” Yikes. I live in the South, too, so I understand. (Behind your back they probably also said Bless Your Heart, which means 1) they are right and 2) god is on their side.) Still, getting “the look” under those circumstances must have been so reassuring, not 😦 Maybe they couldn’t help it. Most likely they were waiting to see your forked tongue and horns sprout. Because down here, not believing in god means you worship satan. Because there is no other way. Oy vey.

            You take good care of yourself!!!

            Liked by 1 person

  26. I am happy that you don’t have cancer but very unhappy with people who diagnosed wrong.
    Point is, even in such situations we have to hang on to God. And you did that.God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mary, thank you for your thoughtful words. Welcome.

      I’m not a Christian or a believer in god, but as I noted in my OP, I can understand why people turn to their cultural religion/god to help them cope during trying times. I turned to my friends and family. I got through the storm because of the love, compassion, empathy and unwavering support of human beings, predominately nonbelievers. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  27. A lovely article. Glad all ended well.

    Liked by 1 person

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