Circling the Summit
This journey of ours, and the journey of life, often feels like we’re making circles around the same mountain as we pass through moments to surrender, moments to fight, and moments to celebrate. I’ve used all these words before, but I’m learning to use them all at once. Our circles are getting tighter and tighter as we pass through these responses repeatedly. We spiral inwards, which leads us upwards, until we are able to surrender, to fight and to celebrate - for different reasons, but all simultaneously. We are learning to live poised on the mountain pinnacle of perfect balance.
We surrender to the circumstances. This non-instinctive response has become natural, a newly-learned reflex. There is only One in control, who leads with perfect vision, and it is not us. We have become like children, trusting fully. We are the ballroom-dancer, flying backwards across the floor, led on by her partner as he sees over her shoulder. We push the small of our back into his hand - as long as we remain pressed into him, we will not fail or fall. This blind surrender is the easy side of the mountain, the response that has become most natural. We surrender to the circumstances in order to focus on the fight.
We fight for the specifics. Declarations have become a new language. We have been given so much and yet we press hard for more.
We celebrate every step. Can we ever fall into the trap of taking things for granted again? It seems unlikely. Every breath of every child, every goodnight kiss, every solved sum, every laugh, every disagreement - we are living lives of celebration. There should be champagne running out of our taps at home!
Surrender to the circumstances.
Fight for the specifics.
Celebrate each step.
The operation was a success! As she blinks her eyes open, I try to orientate her: “You’ve just come out of surgery. You’re doing great. Dr. -- did a great job!” Her eyes flash open widely and she lifts her hand to gingerly touch her head. She understands! I nod and agree with her, my voice thick with emotion, “That’s right! You have a bone on your head! Clever girl. You’re much safer now.” She looks pleased, though still very dozy. She tries to talk and she’s asking the time. She wants to know how long the op was and if she is in ICU yet. She’s slurring and very hoarse, but she’s getting words out, which is a great sign.
Last night as the doctor gives us his report back, we are standing on the top of the mountain. Surrender is ever-present. The celebration and the fight smash together at the top of the spiral.
She is alive and she is stable. She remained stable throughout the op. They were able to reconstruct her skull with her own bone - the best case scenario.
We have been praying fervently for life to flow through the bone in her abdomen. As it turns out, it had been so well vascularised - blood flowing around it and bringing it life - that a lot of it has been absorbed by her body, removed by the blood that is feeding it. While that’s not great for the fit on her head, it means the bone is alive and well. We’re trusting that this healthy bone will grow back now that it is in place. It’s not really expected to grow much - but we believe in the power of life unstoppable.
He’s not promising us cosmetics. There are a number of gaps without bone on her head. Most of it will hopefully be covered by healthy hair. He tells us there was not much he could do to build up the bone on her temple and around her ear. He is expecting a deformity or cavity there. There are options of filling it with cement once her skull is adult-sized. The fight in me kicks in. I want it all, not for me, but for her.
“It’s not important,” friends reassure. It’s just cosmetics, I know, but she’s already had to put up with so much. We will keep fighting for the specifics, without forgetting to celebrate each step.
Today Kiara is stable. She is having a tough day, as she is sore and nauseas, and the pain meds make the nausea worse, so it’s a bit of a juggle. She is thankfully sleeping most of the time. The drains from her wounds are filling slowly - there is no visible sign of hemorrhaging thus far. When she is awake she seems to be speaking sense, though she’s mostly quiet and tires easily. She has no appetite.
She leans heavily toward surrender. And we are leaning towards relieved celebration. Without disregarding either of these, I believe we’re still allowed to fight for the specifics!
We are praying for the wound to heal without hemorrhaging or leakage of brain fluid, and for no infection. Her skin on her head is pulled pretty tight, which is sore, and we are praying for the deep stitches to be absorbed perfectly as the tissue grows together, and for the surface sutures to be able to hold the skin as it heals. There is quite a lot of tension and the skin is very thin.
For her throat to heal from the abrasion of the pipe.
For her brain to settle and for her to be clear-minded and not confused, with no neurological setbacks.
The abdomen took some strain as the bone had adhered to her soft tissue and had to be cut away. So it is also pretty sore, and we pray for it to heal without infection.
Her replaced bone is too small, but still very much alive. We’ve prayed this bone healthy, now let’s pray that it would grow, grow, grow!