When Tears are NOT an Option

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Days 24 – 30

When Tears are NOT an Option –

What was I thinking? When I first took on this face journey and promised to share it with you, I knew it would get worse. I thought that all the endurance erg-ing and the race had prepared me for the amount of bravery required. But I have to say, Saturday and Sunday night, courage in the face of adversity went out the window. Perhaps it was due to the number of sleep disrupted nights, or that I feel lost without time on the erg, or maybe it was the the dental visit from hell, (not due to my lovely and talented student dentist, just ‘cuz it was painful to have my mouth open for so long), or that I feel ugly, or that the last couple of days of treatment burned the worse, but whatever the cause, all I can say is – I was a hot mess!

I could not settle. I experienced most everything in a negative, disconnected, and alone in it all way. I was sitting at the desk in the office, wretchedly inconsolable, when my mother put her hand on my head and said I love you. The first tear brought a searing burn to the delicate skin under my eyes, providing immediate feedback to my ungrateful, not finding joy in the moment ways. Clearly tears were NOT an option but what was?

I looked for strength. Inner athlete HAH, I haven’t done more than a few Pilates classes and a couple of walks since the treatment got bad!  Calm and serene zen-like experiencer of  all of life as one, HAH!  Deep breathing through pain meditative sister, HAH!  I thought try it out loud. WHAH! I felt silly. Again. Whaaah… Louder. Whaaah…w-h-a-a-a-h…wh-aaaah… aaaah. The more the sound elongated and slowed  the less pathetic and more primal it became. AAH, could it be powerful? More of an inhalation than an ex?  Just like that, breathing in the moment helped it pass, allowing me to get back to what needed to be done.

Later that day, I looked to the beautiful flowers that had arrived from my dear friend Deborah. Remembering her kindness inspired me to check my emails, where I found warm thoughts coming my way from friends everywhere. That night after a gentle call from my beloved, an old friend kept me company on the phone when I couldn’t sleep. At 2 am with the tv as my witness I finally got it, I may feel alone but I am indeed connected, protected, and loved.

Monday marked the first day of recovery, which has been rocky so far. The cortisone cream that I had been looking forward to for so many days, burned beyond belief, and finally after two days I called my dermatologist who immediately replaced it with Aquaphor, which is a little better. My skin is in the crusting phase, what else can I say? This too shall pass.

On Tuesday, thanks to the energy uplift, I was able to spend the day at Lilja school working at the polling station. Despite low voter turn out it was reassuring to see democracy at work. My wonderful angel of a neighbor and her children helped out with Molly and mom, so it felt a bit like being on holiday. Lots of people asked about my face, and I felt like I was performing a valuable public service by providing skin cancer awareness. It was good to have a focus for a day and to feel useful.

Today, thanks to the patience of my defoliation expert Donna, I feel minty fresh, and ready to take on another day of burning itchiness. Despite a forecast for snow, it may be safe to say spring is finally here. It was just a little setback after all. At this rate I am hoping to be back on target to start on the erg in about a week.

Until then I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the shock is finally over and the healing has begun.


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"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 bakka2thesource a collaboration of musicians and artists.
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14 Responses to When Tears are NOT an Option

  1. Linda says:

    I am impressed with your resilience and courage. Thank you for the glimpses into your journey…..

  2. Nikki says:

    Hi Beth!
    I am so proud and HONORED to have been lucky enough to get assigned a patient like you! I have been trying to keep up with your blog and all I have to say is that wow, do I have respect for you and your strength!! Take it easy and please let me know if you are not feeling up for another 3 hours with your mouth open – because, TRUST ME, I understand. 🙂

    • Leandro says:

      16a1403535fI want to show my appreciation to the wtrier for rescuing me from this setting. Because of looking out through the world-wide-web and getting basics which were not beneficial, I thought my life was gone. Living devoid of the solutions to the difficulties you’ve fixed by means of your good short article is a serious case, as well as those which could have in a wrong way affected my entire career if I hadn’t noticed your blog. Your own knowledge and kindness in playing with almost everything was priceless. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had not come upon such a stuff like this. I can now look forward to my future. Thanks very much for this expert and sensible help. I won’t think twice to propose your blog to any individual who should have recommendations on this matter. 195

  3. Amy Lapetina says:

    Beth, you are so brave; I am at a loss for words. Your courage, your spirit, your endurance are absolutely remarkable. I feel honored to be your friend.


  4. marge gildner says:

    oh special friend…. how do you keep going? there is so much each of us learn from you. sending healing cells and healing warmth your way. Love you!!

  5. Dear Beth, LIGHT to your healing with Grace and ease. I admire you for reaching out to all of us who care and for your courage and wise heart knowing “this too shall pass”! Beyond erging, I looking forward to rowing with you out on open water from Little Harbor Boathouse and growing a friendship. Hugs, Maryellen

  6. smacken2008 says:


  7. Shawna says:

    🙂 Who knew that minty fresh chachinas could be found in the midst of face-skin hell?? 🙂 that is a little ray of sunshine!!

    BTW, the 7th picture on the left -hand side immediately reminded me of the picture your mom has of you on the corner table in the living room – you were in your black power suit…take a look at it again, as that seems to me that this is the way your face is changing shape…back to what it remembers (vibrant energy, strength, and momentum…), and not to what it left behind (the face in the picture of you and the statue of ‘nicki’ at salem).

    miss you lots, and good juu-juu to momar…


  8. Erin says:

    Beth, you are the strongest, most courageous woman I know.

    • I wouldn’t be this person without my friends, and that certainly includes you. Thanks for your kindness!

    • Pariya says:

      You are an excellent wrietr even if I have thought your writing seems sad sometimes! I am so glad you are honest! The truth will set you free, is true! I love you and I am so blessed to be your Mom!

      • Pariya, Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I am sad sometimes, but don’t want to pretend otherwise because it is real and THIS TOO SHALL PASS. It is wonderful to have my journey witnessed by such kind and loving people as yourself. I look forward to hearing more from you.

  9. mike says:

    Beth, seems in the face of adversity, you’ve always shined like the brightest of stars. Something, not many people can do. You’ve always been strong … knowingly or not. Don’t you dare ever change.

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