Avoidance

I am the queen of avoidance.

If I don’t want to do it, or I am scared, or there is a big confrontation, I usually find the quickest way to exit, stage right.

But avoiding is not living, and sometimes you have to grip the wheel and plow forward.

Today is one of those days.

My reproductive organs are basically useless pieces of trash- I’ve known this for a while, but had it confirmed to me a few months ago.

The doctor sat me down and told me that on top of the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) that I was diagnosed with, they also believed I was suffering from endometriosis. And the only way to find out?

Laproscopic surgery.

Oh boy. I know I don’t like the word surgery, but when you add the word “laproscopic” to it, I think I dislike it even more.

So I pondered it. For three months I avoided it.

Heck, I even avoided phone calls from my doctor asking when I was going to set up surgery.

But then I made a short trip to Iowa and met some very inspiring women. I was there to accept my first place award for a feature story in the National Federation of Press Women national competition.

These women, from all over the country, were strong, confident and self-assured. Some of them had been through divorces, were cancer survivors, had been in war-torn countries, survived hurricanes or tornados.

I got to thinking about the article I wrote, the one I was now winning an award for.

The article was about a boy, who is now a man. That boy left Sudan when he was a child, fleeing in the middle of the night to escape insurgent violence. Through the night and day he walked with his fellow Sudanese boys and girls. For close to a month they walked- some dying of disease, others just simply giving up and sitting on the side of the road, waiting for death. But not Abraham – he keeps walking. He forgets the heat, he forgets hunger, he forgets pain, he forgets his parents though he has no idea if they are alive or dead, no, he just keeps walking. Until finally, one day, they reach Ethiopia. They are accepted into refugee camps, from there they are moved to northern Kenya to live in another refuge camp. They were now known as the Lost Boys.

Abraham’s struggle- his fight to survive- is something I can only imagine. When I interviewed him for this article, I knew I had to tell his story right. It was a very humbling experience talking to someone who has gone through all that, because it makes your problems look minuscule. Abraham taught me to face fears head on. When he was standing on the edge of a river- and he knew he had to get across or be killed, he had to make a decision: stay and be killed, or take my chances (though I don’t know how to swim) and cross that river. He crossed. He could have avoided.

So here I am on the day or surgery- and I won’t avoid.

And I am thankful for people like Abraham and the great women at the NFPW conference for showing me that I can be strong.

And that sometimes, the road may be rough, but you have to follow it through.

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