It turns out my tumour had grown a little bit between the time it was first discovered in early September, and the time it was removed in early November. The description given to us after the surgery was that it was the size of a tennis ball. When I look at my neck, I can’t imagine where it was hiding. It was not really showing on the outside, so it’s no wonder it was pressing on some vital things on the inside, things like my trachea and esophagus. The good news is that it no longer presses there, my trachea is no longer taking the scenic route to get air into my lungs and my breathing is much, much easier. The not perfect news is that a year of coughing teaches the body about a new normal and my body isn’t quite ready to go back to what I thought my normal was. I had a hint of my smell and taste returning for about ten days and then it suddenly disappeared again. While I wasn’t thrilled with this, I was thrilled that I haven’t lost it for good. We simply have to figure out the secret. I know I have excellent health care workers helping me, and I’m confident this mystery has a good solution.
Meanwhile, I’m able to hike and do most of my regular things, and this week I’m allowed to get back on my bike, on the trainer in the basement. Sometimes I feel impatient with my progress. Mostly I feel grateful.
This past week I saw a tweet from Kelsie Snow. Kelsie is a writer. She also happens to be married to Chris Snow. Chris, the assistant general manager to the Calgary Flames, was diagnosed with ALS in the summer of 2019. At the time, he was given a grim prognosis, 6 – 18 months to live. Over the past eighteen months Kelsie has written about Chris, about their family, about ALS, about the heartache and the victories. I don’t know this family personally, but I have friends who do, and it is through them, I have been following Chris and Kelsie’s journey.
The tweet from Kelsie this past week was this.
@ChrisSnowYYC goes in for a feeding tube next week. All the good thoughts and white light and prayers and whatever you believe in are welcome. He’s able to eat some solid foods still, so long as he is careful, and so we are deep into Operation Eat What You Love While You Can.
This tweet really stopped my world for a minute. I cannot imagine what this family is experiencing. I cannot fathom the courage they have. I cannot picture how they know how to put one foot in front of the other. And yet, they do.
When I read about Operation Eat What You Love While You Can, I began to think of the rest of us, about the challenges each of us faces this year, whether as a result of the pandemic or as a result of walking the earth. I have yet to meet anyone who travels a perfectly smooth road. I suppose the word Operation struck a chord with me because of my surgery, but I’ve since begun to think of it in a whole new way.
When we use Operation in the way Kelsie Snow used it, we think of an organized and deliberate focus on a particular thing, by a number of people.
As I think of possible restrictions coming our way, restrictions that will no doubt create a Christmas season unlike any other, I wonder what Operations we each need to establish. Not all of them need to be serious, nor do they need to earn us a medal. Do we need Operation Find the Joy in the Small Moments? Operation Get Out in the Mountains and Hike? Operation Who Needs My Help? Operation Keep the Faith? Operation Show Kindness? Operation Show Up? Operation Different is OK? Or as little Ben loves to say, Operation We Can Do That!
I am trying to not get absolutely paralyzed knowing things will be very different this year. This week I successfully carried out two operations: Operation Finish the Toques for the Christmas Tree Hunt, and Operation Enjoy Our Family on Our Tree Hunting Expedition. I’m trying to look outward, to see where I can help, to think of how to make this a Christmas worthy of looking back on with love and happy memories. I’m trying to remember there are some people out there who find themselves in boats in far, far rougher seas than is mine. For them may we all offer Operation Good Thoughts, White Light, and Prayers. And perhaps even some practical help.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What Operation is needed?’
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has particular expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to carry out successful Operations.