One of the best things about growing older is the sense of acceptance that you (hopefully) grow into. The concept of “don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff” makes a whole lot more sense to me in my fifties than it did in my twenties.
Yes, I’m still anxious a lot of the time and get upset, but it has become more of a habit to fume for a bit and then move on. I don’t have to hang around to be on the post-game show, complete with the endless replays and the requisite self-recriminations. I’m beginning to gain perspective.
My newfound sense of acceptance has also brought me an additional benefit. By acknowledging that my lymphedema and tendency to form blood clots are disabilities, I have been given the great privilege of becoming an active member of the disability rights movement. I am no longer a hired-gun organizer looking in from the outside, nor do I have to intellectualize my commitment to social change. I am working with my peers to improve our lives.
Unfortunately, I have recently learned that I am a bit more embedded in the disability community than I originally thought. You can now add cancer patient to my resume.
I buried the lede a bit because it’s not like I’m in mortal danger. Half the people my age develop growths, mine is attached to my kidney. Eighty percent of these types of growths are mainly liquid and require nothing more than occasional monitoring of their size. I am in the other twenty percent category–a solid mass that more than likely is cancerous and must be removed surgically. During the procedure, called a partial renal nephrectomy, They also take away a portion of the kidney where the growth was attached.
Once this is done–currently scheduled for April–I will be fine. Yeah, I’m a bit freaked out by the whole deal, but the bottom line is that I will be fine.
BTW: isn’t Solid Mass a great rock band name?