The other day somebody asked me the question: “So what have you gained from this whole experience?” Being in an interview conversation, I felt the (personal) pressure to say something amazing. I mean, come on Megan, you’re alive to tell this story! But, I stuttered around the words and for some reason—at that moment—I couldn’t quite define it. It’s a no brainer for me, a heck of a lot has come out of all of this: a new me, and an old me that still lingers (especially when there is chocolate around).
What I had to realize and admit is that there is still a lot of processing I have yet to do. I told myself throughout the process: “I don’t want time to rush—I have these two beautiful children to watch grow, and time is already accelerated as a parent. But for some reason, as soon as things became challenging again, I found myself back in the impatient patterns that I scorned when I was diagnosed—and swore to release.
Part of that is due to vision issues that I have been dealing with. The truth is, sometimes I don’t want to deal, so I look for the way out—but losing your vision forces you in, and that’s really what this has been about for me. The part of the story where I can’t stop digging, as my treasure is five feet away. Yes, cataracts are fixable, meaning I will see again. And yes, I am SO grateful for even just knowing this. And I cant help but often think of my friend Devon who deals with a debilitating blindness, and can’t get a surgery to fix it. I’m inspired by the thought of him, as he DOES deal. He smiles, he surfs, he’s a great dad, and he is present for all that life hands him. So why have I struggled? Have I not gained all this amazing patience, self love and reverence for life that I thought I had? Yes, I have, I just think I needed to be angry for a minute.
If there is one thing I have learned, it’s not to suppress emotions. So, I would get myself out past the breakers on my surf board. I would sit and cry, I would stick my head under water and scream until my chest hurt and I was empty. I’m not going to feel guilty for being pissed off and hurting from that. I guess it’s just a part of my process. It’s not about the “keep digging” part, it’s that I have to dig really really deep, and FEEL more than I see. So while I waited for cataract surgery, that’s when my summer vacation really started. Halfway through the summer, I decided to give up on being pissed off—it wasn’t getting me anywhere, and it’s quite tiring really. I believe part of that came from having to ask for more from those around me. I really wanted to be independent and free from “can I get a favor” land. But the shift I had begged for had started to appear as soon as I let go of all my expectations of each day, or each moment. I really had no idea of the possibilities until I just let go.
I began to notice subtleties, in “movement” or energy rather, while in the water surfing. On point breaks, I would hear sets coming and could dial in the timing I had to prepare for the waves. I would also “feel” an energy in the water that comes right before a set or larger wave comes. I called it the pre-bump. I had never noticed this before, and I started to feel free again. Free from the constraints of “you can’t see the waves, you’re never going to catch one.” Yes, I would paddle my ass off, and may not catch every wave, but there was a feeling that came with a drop in, something different than seeing and being in the right place at the right time—which is crucial for catching a wave. I found myself falling less, as I was only going to pop up if it felt absolutely perfect. A lot of this was accomplished with the help of my sweet husband and dear friends letting me know where and when to paddle, count downs to duckdive, and how to avoid problems. Miraculously enough, I began to catch waves. Then there was the feeling of actually riding a wave—racing a section, ripping down the face, and having my feet “feel” what the wave was doing. Finding a new way to do something I have done for years made me feel free.
My sense of smell shifted. It has a sharper quality to it is the best way I can explain it. With the smells come pictures in my mind, and I will usually smell someone before I can see them, which is helpful. A fun game to play with myself is guessing who is there before they speak or I catch a visual up close. One thing that of course makes all this easier, is I have had my eyes my whole life. So this is really about just figuring out how to “feel” my way around for a bit. A temporary inconvenience—and quite an enlightening experience. I often find myself closing my eyes when speaking to someone, so that I may really feel what they are saying. I feel more compassion for myself and for others.
So this process has brought me that much closer to feeling who I really am, and maybe for me, its one step further than knowing.
For more on Megan’s story, check out B4BC’s documentary following Megs through her journey: www.ChasingSunshineProject.org