Camino into the Heart
Updated: Jul 20, 2021
Hello! After a very long hiatus, it’s good to be back ‘on the blog.’ I hope you are all happy and healthy.
The title of this post is the title of a book I have in progress: the story of how my husband and I met.
I’ve had in mind for some time to write our own story, encouraged by many friends and new acquaintances’ comments along the lines of ‘that’s such an amazing story’, and ‘your story is like a Hollywood movie.’
So I fleshed out the brief notes I had taken during our ‘Camino of Discovery’ (our first in-person meeting and walking the Camino de Santiago, the almost 800 km route across Northern Spain.) Then I put it aside, with the intention to come back to it after finishing the novel I was currently working on (Missing Peace, the sequel to Peace of the Puzzle.)
Life took an unexpected turn and getting our story recorded became much more important for both of us than completing a work of fiction (I promise I will get back to Missing Peace, and sorry to those who have been asking!).
In February 2019, as a result of infertility investigations, I received a diagnosis of a large, partially inoperable, likely benign tumour in the lining of my brain. It was an incredible shock, as I had none of the symptoms commonly linked to brain tumours. I suspected I had a hormonal issue, but never imagined that the cause was a tumour squashing my pituitary gland.
What followed was an extremely challenging eighteen months. I was facing my worst nightmare, being told I had to trust the medical system which, from a young child, I had feared and distrusted. On top of that, I learned how the private health system operates in Australia. I had paid for insurance for some fifteen years but never needed to use it. I’d heard stories from friends about ‘gap payments’ so figured I would have some additional outlay, but was shocked when I received the surgical quote, although I’ve since heard of much more eye-watering costs interstate and overseas. During every conversation I had with my insurer, they reminded me that, if something went wrong during of after surgery, they couldn’t guarantee to cover the additional cost. It all depended on what eventuated.
As a side note, it occurred to me more than once during this health journey that we collectively treat our cars better than our own health, and this extends to our insurance systems. With a car, we know we have a set rate excess (gap payment) and, after that, all costs of repair are covered by the insurer. If the mechanic does something that causes an issue during the repair process, they have to fix it. But, with our own bodies, there are so many additional, hidden costs and potential costs which the insurer doesn’t cover. I’ll leave you to ponder that one.
In June 2019, I signed up for surgery in the public system. The surgeon would be the same, there was no immediate urgency so I could wait a few more months, and the possibility of large cost blow outs would be avoided, which I saw as necessary due to our personal circumstances at the time.
Due to the overloaded state of our hospital system, the estimated wait time extended to April 2020, then scheduled surgery was postponed due to COVID-19. On 25 September 2020 the surgery went ahead, but I almost pulled the plug due in part to ever-increasing anxiety and concerns over my physical state resulting from a minor procedure three weeks previous which had resulted in a complication.
They removed the part of the tumour they could access and lab tests indicate it is a benign, grade 1 meningioma. The remainder is being monitored for now.
It has been a terrifying, multi-layered, frustrating experience but I was very blessed with an uneventful surgery and skilled surgeon.
Recovery is going well, although at times I get worried by setbacks. I do get tired much more easily so my pace of life is definitely slower than before. My body is still repairing itself so there are uncomfortable sensations, and my right eye doesn't have the near-perfect vision of before surgery. Good news is that I can drive again, go for walks, ride my bike, write,
and do yoga (those of you connected via FaceBook or Instagram will have noticed an increase in posts about yoga. I missed the physical aspect of yoga during the early stages of recovery and am so happy to be able to both do and teach it again!)
I have learned, and continue to learn, so much through this experience; about myself, other people, human nature, our medical and insurance systems, the power of intention and the creative intelligence which governs our life experience.
Thus Camino into the Heart has morphed from a simple Camino diary which began with a chance online meeting, whirlwind romance, international moves and Spanish wedding, to something much more thought-provoking, life-changing and gratitude-inducing. I am learning there are ever-unfolding layers to this journey into the heart, which we call life.
On that note, I express my unending gratitude to all our family, friends, facilitators of complimentary therapies, conventional medical staff, and meditation buddies for the many and varied ways they have supported us, and continue to do so.
My incredible husband, Joaquín, is phenomenal with his unconditional love and support. He is my port in the storm and I give thanks for every moment we have shared together, and all the moments that are yet to be.
To receive updates on the progress of Camino into the Heart, be notified when it is published, and a few offers and opportunities I have planned, you are welcome to join the mailing list via my website. (I am not a fan of receiving a lot of emails so I promise to keep it to a minimum, and never share your email with anyone.)