DAILY REFLECTIONS July 4 IDENTIFYING FEAR: “The chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear…” When I feel uncomfortable, irritated, or depressed, I look for fear. This “evil and corroding thread” is the root of my distress: Fear of failure; fear of others’ opinions; fear of harm, and many other fears. I have found a Higher Power who does not want me to live in fear and, as a result, the experience of my spiritual program is freedom and joy. I am no longer willing to live with the multitude of character defects that characterized my life before today. This is my vehicle to freedom from these defects: I pray for help in identifying the fear underneath the defect, and then I ask God to relieve me of that fear. This method works for me without fail and is one of the great miracles of my life.

Just lately, I’m an emotional basket case. Fearful. I cry at the drop of a hat. In fact, I’m tearing up now. Like terminal PMS, only not the bitchy kind. (There’s that silver lining.) I figure I have emotional fallout from being so sick, like PTSD.

The lingering physical reminders only encourage this PTSD:

My hair is still falling out in bundles. This pile is from this today’s shower. It’s like that every morning, and it falls out all day long. I pick it off my clothes and out of my food. Yesterday, the maid swept up such a huge pile of my hair out of the living room, she brought it in to show me, it was that impressive. Why am I not bald?

Meanwhile, I’m still having to pluck whiskers off my chin, cheeks and boobs. This is just so wrong.

My voice is the pits: cracking, hoarse, squeaky, zero power. I have to admit, I’m discouraged about this. I’m figuring God won’t take away two things at once: my voice and my hair. I’ll give him the hair, but I want to be able to do theatre and sing with the radio and yell at the boys. I know you can’t bargain with God, but I may give it a go. What have I got to lose? Besides, I know he likes me.

I’ve had a persistent, hacking smoker’s cough since I got home, but that is so much better. For awhile, I didn’t want to go anywhere because I coughed all the time, pretty uncontrollably. It’s not a lung thing, it’s a throat thing: The Tickle That Wouldn’t Quit. I live on Hall’s and Vick’s Vapor Rub – that stuff is GREAT! But, the cough is now a fraction of what it was. I went to a theatre event tonight and hardly coughed at all. This is a huge relief.

And lastly, the most disturbing fallout: I’m suffering a loss of confidence in my body’s ability to see me through the next 50 years. I’ve always been ridiculously healthy: we take boatloads of vitamins, eat well. I ran 6 miles a day for years, taught aerobics for years, yoga, bodybuilding, stretch, meditation. I was going to live to a ripe old age, like Granny Boo. But suddenly I’m harboring an irrational fear of getting sick again. God forbid, I should feel anything unusual on the left upper part of my body (the pneumonia was in the left lung) – I totally freak out. It’s downright creepy. Fortunately, it’s starting to piss me off. I hate being at the effect of something.

It’s how I quit smoking. One day, I got completely annoyed that cigarettes and matches ran my life. I couldn’t go anywhere without thinking about whether or not I had both items or the money and means to get them. Argh. What a waste of time.

I know that all this, too, shall pass. I’ve only been out of the hospital a little over 10 weeks. I am happy to be here, content with my lot, love my husband and boys and chickens and dog. Still skinny. Yay. This is just documentation, something for me and Oprah to talk about. She loves this kinda stuff. So, on with the show:

This freak almost-dying thing changed me. “Duh,” you are saying. But it caught me by surprise. It’s not a change I can put my finger on. I don’t act different, talk different, or dress different. I don’t think different, that I can tell. I feel different. Deep down grateful and appreciative. But more than that. It’s like, there’s a layer of energy gone from my person, an anxious layer. A buzz that is quiet now. Not that I’m calm. That’ll happen when I’m 100% dead. Maybe calmer. Even though I have anxiety about my hair and my voice and my loss of confidence, that is momentary, really, items on a list. They aren’t at my core like this new feeling. Sorry I had to almost die, terrify my family and spend all the lunch money to get to it. I guess God thinks I’m really, really stubborn. Wonder where he got that idea?

Everything else is as it was. I’m doing yoga to build my strength, meditating every morning, hanging out with friends, watching movies with Hal. It’s waaaay quiet around here right now: the boys are visiting friends in the states for a month. Hal and I are Alone.

I know what you are thinking: “Woo-hoo!” That’s what everyone thinks when I tell them the boys are away. They all wink and roll their eyes, tilt their heads, shake ’em knowingly. Honestly, people’s minds go right to the gutter. Ok, so maybe there’s a little more of that going on. Who knew old people could still have so much fun naked? Naked, bald and squeaky. Yeah, that paints a pretty picture, eh?

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