The Dancer’s Knife Fight


IMG_20150801_121358574_HDR (1)The Dancer is recovering. I’m hovering. Her apple-sized cyst, wound around a major nerve, arteries, neck muscles, pretty much everything on the road from the brain to the rest of the body; the cyst is gone.

“We saved the nerve,” said Dr. Samant, still in his scrubs as he walked towards me in the waiting room after the uncountable hours of surgery had passed. My certainty, and I am certain of very few things, that this guy was the best, borne out in his smile has he sipped a well deserved Diet Coke on the hottest day of the year and told me what he had done and what that meant for the Dancer, That she still had her smile, still had movement of her left arm, that recovery and physical therapy time was different for everyone but that she was strong.

That night in the hospital room she played Bach for the healing. I left late in a steamy summer thunderstorm roar and came back a few hours later while she was watching the ferocious sun rise over Lake Michigan. An almost full day battling back the same clusterf— ck of administrative nonsense also known as our health care system that had made this a seven month journey from the time the mass in her neck had started setting off alarm bells. A health care system on its way to being fixed—but still needing work. Held together in real life by heroes also called “Nurses” –Andi, Michelle and Margaret–who kept amazing us with their care.

And now home. I hover, she rests, our thanks are overwhelming. God motioning to a Doctor named Scanlon, a surgeon who saved my life at age 13 and now with us in spirit, God saying—I hear all those prayers. Watch this one please. So thanks to those who prayed for the Dancer, Dennis, Suzie, Becky. Maria’s Mom and Dad, my Mom and spirit of my Dad—who I know was watching, our siblings and friends who sent good wishes,my buddy Bruce who made checking in a regular thing, the gorgeous flowers from family in Indianapolis, Cassandre for keeping us fed and fed wonderfully.

This morning we drove for coffee, (going for walks still a goal) wishing we could see Carly at Asado, but still being grateful we could go anywhere. Hesitating, and a little bit worried, about someone staring at the bandages where the drain was or the new scar, so we got a line ready just in case. The Dancer would point at her neck, nod knowingly and say,

“Knife fight. And you should see the other guy.”

18 Responses to “The Dancer’s Knife Fight”

  1. Jeremiah Horrigan Says:

    This sounds very encouraging Roger. I’m sure there are stories yet to tell, especially concerning the “health care” system. But in the meantime, wishing your and your wife many morning strolls very, very soon.

    • chicagoguy14 Says:

      Oh you are sure right about more stories of health care to tell! And after being introduced to Pulse by you, I have a pretty high bar!

  2. paulhaider1974 Says:

    I’m glad to hear that Maria is feeling better post-surgery. It is appropriate that you didn’t play Jackson Browne’s “For a Dancer” given the song’s real subject matter. Perhaps ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” is more fitting for your queen. By the way, the healthcare system in the USA is still quite ill; removing the profit motive from people being sick would be a good start. Of course, nothing is as sick as the insurance companies.

    • chicagoguy14 Says:

      Paulie–Maria actually LIKES Dancing Queen. But somehow we’ve stayed together 20 years anyway!

  3. pastorcarol22 Says:

    I am so glad that Maria is doing so well. Your image of “hovering over” reminded me of Genesis, when the Spirit of God hovered over the swirling chaos and created order. Glad the breath of new life is blowing strong for both of you!

    • chicagoguy14 Says:

      Thanks Pastor Carol! On of the things I read while waiting was Thelossians Not sure why it resonated but it did. The genius of Eugene Peterson and his translation likely had a lot to do with it!

  4. Dave C Says:

    Roger, So glad to hear you were led to a great surgeon and Maria found a great nursing staff and the support of family. Most of all that recovery and health wait on the far side of therapy. Maria has prevailed over a few challenges already and is still strong. I am so glad for her – feel a little inattentive not to have known – please relay my well wishes – Will keep her on the prayer list. God bless you both.

  5. rusust Says:

    Roger, thank you for this update on Maria . . . and so relieved to hear the surgery went well. She is special to many, many people as you well know, and her close friends and colleagues at Roosevelt have been rooting for her. Glad to know she has you at her side as she recovers! In friendship ~ Mike Bryson

    • chicagoguy14 Says:

      Mike, she will really appreciate this note! Right now she’s spending most of her time sleeping, watching baseball games and we’re binge watching the old cop show from the 80’s Hill Street Blues. And somehow she finds ways to interject Sustainability into the conversation around all of those things. You would have appreciated her commentary on the lack of sustainability in the hospital! We really appreciate this note and please pass that along to everyone at Roosevelt!

      • rusust Says:

        Glad to hear this, Roger! And I hope that in the week since you posted this, she has continued to improve. Please let Maria know that while our SENCER presentation went very well yesterday at Roosevelt, she was greatly missed. I know Maria would’ve been gratified by the great conversation that ensued after our talk — and I remain grateful for the incredibly hard work she put into our project last fall. We couldn’t have done it without her. ~Mike

  6. Naomi de Plume Says:

    Well, the other guy deserved it. Glad the Dancer won that fight.

  7. chicagoguy14 Says:

    Thanks Naomi!

  8. Bill Brashler Says:

    A cyst the size of an apple!!??? You sure it wasn’t the size of a 3-0 fastball to Chris Bryant? Either way, it is so good that the surgeon had his way with it. And knowing Maria, she was probably conscious throughout and advising the cutter a little to the left, no to the right, okay–right there. Our best to that strong lady. If at all possible, can we see a photo of the offending cyst? Nah, we have Trump instead. All good feelings to yuse guys.

  9. boomerbob Says:

    I spent 30 years in our health care system in and administration role and I can honestly and whole-heartedly agree; nurses are heroes.

    I saw health care go from a wonderfully fun and true humanitarian mission to corporate bureaucracy with one goal in mind – investor returns.

    As government/corporate paperwork and red tape increases, it always falls on the shoulders of our heroes who must continually bear the burden of the career they sought through years of education and the horrendous increases in workload brought about by the mindless bureaucrats to support those investors and the government regulations.

    Any time I hear someone say a nurse is being nasty/bitchy, I say; “if you knew what they have to do on a daily basis, you would be appalled at your own statement.”

  10. boomerbob Says:

    BTW – Tell The Dancer to feel better and I’m happy all turned out well, despite the BS you undoubtedly were exposed to

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