What Can We Change?

Like the serenity prayer says, there are some things we can change and some we can’t. It’s our job to draw on our wisdom to know the difference, and to pluck up the courage (and sometimes just the willingness) to make the changes we can.  

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with tongue cancer. Who knew? I’ve never smoked and I rarely drink, but somehow I had small lumps that needed three surgeries.  They were successfully removed, but every time I went back for check-ups, there would be iffy, pre-cancerous cells present. Finally I asked myself, “What can’t I change and what can I change here?”

I went to a complementary healer, Anne Westfall, and found that I had underlying candida that affects my immune system. I could radically alter my diet to eliminate the candida. Within 3 months, the remaining bumps on my tongue were gone! I’ve needed no more biopsies for almost a year now. The diet is way different than my usual – no grains, sugars or anything that turns into sugar in the body—but interestingly enough, I don’t feel deprived. I feel empowered, grateful and free.

Last summer I was on vacation in Montreal with my husband when another unexpected thing happened. A large Murphy bed that had been attached to the wall of our small apartment came loose as I was lowering it for the night. It threw me to the floor and pinned my leg underneath it. I was rushed to the hospital where I found out that I had a severe crush injury. I have been recovering now for almost two months. That accident was a reminder of just how quickly things can change. Although I wish I could, I can’t change what happened. What can I change? My attitude for one thing.

I’d been feeling really sorry for myself. Not only did I have to rearrange my life to stay off my foot, sleep and heal, I couldn’t ride my beloved horse, Blue Angel. Finally, after weeks of life not being the way I wanted it to be, Blue helped me remember what the horses do so naturally: Be honest about how you feel, no matter how messy.

I wrapped my foot in an Ace bandage, put a big men’s boot on over it, and climbed on Blue for the first time all fall. I told her how vulnerable I felt, how sad I was that I hadn’t been out to the woods with her once to see all this glorious color. I told her how much I felt I had missed and how much pain I had been going through. I asked her to take care of me on this first ride with my foot and ankle still in precarious shape. And she did.

Those are the things I could do: go to my edge of comfort by taking a little bit of a risk in riding and tell the truth about the tough stuff. It was a glorious ride. I knew I was going to be okay – even if the ankle never gets back to the way it was.  

© Lynn Baskfield 2014