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.