Dear Teton Char,
We share a friend. Andrea and I met when we were 14. You live near her now, in the Tetons. She tells me you asked how my brain tumor got there. You and I have never physically met, just as I never met your sister whose brain tumor eventually led to her body's death. But my heart mourns your loss. I honor you as a woman and sister. So I'm here to answer your question.
When my tumor was discovered through an MRI, the neurosurgeon assigned to my case told me, "It could have been growing for 10-20 years."
I named her Fidela. Somehow, to me, she was my friend. As was Dr. Lewis Hou, whose Buddhist nature shone through his eyes and silently said, You can trust me to get that tumor out.
So when he offered the options: 1) We can do nothing. 2) Neurosurgery. 3) Chemo. 4) Radiation... My response to him was, "Let's go in. Let's get it out." Though Fidela was my friend, she wasn't meant to stay inside my brain.
"We don't know why it's there," said Dr. Hou.
That was fine. I didn't need him or western medicine to know. I knew why Fidela came.
Right or wrong don't belong in this place. My story isn't "right" -- it's simply mine. In 2006 I did a workshop called It's All Made Up. Its lesson landed. We make up the story, the why, the reasons things happen in our lives. While science is useful, continuously, it disproves itself. Factual, material "realities" are consistently rewired, reworked, rewoven. Just like the human brain.
Fidela was my body's latest and most effective attempt to get my attention. It was a piercing cry, a roar, a terrorized plead, a prayer from a body who knew she was worthy of being held by loving arms.
I had a lifelong addiction to sugar and food. As a baby, my big feelings were met sometimes with EQ's tender, loving arms and gentle words. Other times, I was given sugar -- with no blame or judgment of my parents or others who would pass me "a treat" to soothe my cries -- I was given toxic and highly addictive pain killers called sugar.
My brain had been wired by mine and others' choices,
Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, is a lifelong letter writer, Love-based leader and eternal fan of Mr. Rogers. This deeply personal blog and our free recorded conversations are devoted to one of her greatest passions: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.