Thursday, July 17, 2008

Puzzles.... a lesson in patience and healing

I spent a few hours at the Cancer Clinic at Stanford today while my Step Father received "the cyber knife" (crazy fascinating technology) radiation treatment. This treatment will hopefully zap that damn lil' piece of %$#@ tumor on his Pancreas. Keep your fingers cross. If nothing else, this one time treatment will buy us some time with him....we will take it!

At this clinic there is a room where patients wait to get their radiation treatment. We waited there while my step father got his. In the middle of the room is a table with a puzzle on it. When we walked in, there was one woman working on that puzzle. There she was in her hospital gown, her body showed all the signs of chemo and multiple radiation treatments. You could just tell that she ached from her skin down. I found myself drawn to her. She had this gorgeous and kind aura about her. She sat there patiently working on that puzzle with a very slight smile on her face. So I decided to join her. We sat, chatting lightly about nothing much but mostly we just sat in silence and worked on the puzzle. She said that particular puzzle had been finished a few weeks ago and they were starting over. I sat with her, to be near her but at first sight of this puzzle I thought "this looks so hard, it's futile, how will I ever find even a few pieces that go together". It was one of those puzzles with lots of muted color but the colors just blended together with no sharp and easy to define patterns. My new friend worked away and said "it's easy, you just need to be patient and keep trying". I did that. I was patient and kept trying, then one by one I built a row of 6 pieces. It felt like an amazing accomplishment....6 pieces wow! She said another patient who works on these puzzles with her, lets out a little squeak each time she successfully finds and connects a piece. So there we sat, in silence mostly, sprinkled with little squeaks (followed by a giggle of course) every now and then. I enjoyed sitting next to this squeaking lady, who smiled constantly, who took a grueling 2 hour train and bus ride to get to this place of medicine to receive this treatment. She was beautiful and she inspired me.