My, oh, my, I have been off of the anti-seizure medication since Tuesday when my neurologist took one look at me and said, “You have to stop taking the medication, if it gives you a rash like this.” Doh. Yesterday, thanks to prayers and meditations from all over the world, I took a badly-needed four-hour nap. I feel as if the buzz of the medication is finally wearing off. My neck is no longer swollen like a jungle frog in mating season. I am no longer covered with angry, prickly rash and the heat that made my skin sunburnt pig pink, has dissipated. In short, I’m feeling near normal.
However, the gray laundry in my head headache floats there over my right eyeball, and the urgency to begin a new trial of anti-seizure medication looms. As it does this, I notice my resistance to the process, the inner doubt that it will work and the hesitation to open my body to another round. I notice that I promise myself one more day of normal, as myself, in hopes that a day of balance will fortify my system so that the anti-seizure medication will be what they call “therapeutic.” I try to imagine what that means.
A “tonic to my system” would be how I imagine “therapeutic” medicine works. I wonder why medications that were supposed to do this for me actually did just the opposite. Is there anything to be done about that? There must be a way and a one that works the right way in order that I get the egg out of my skull. I didn’t even know that I was uptight about the brain tumor and surgery, to be honest. In fact, I felt relieved to have found a clear answer to some of my fatigue, memory problems and headaches. Perhaps, if I had had a normal reaction of panic and distress, the medication would not have triggered so much despair? I hope that isn’t it. I still feel confident that having the surgery is going to help.
I have returned to an old regimen of considering how food may affect my body’s ability to process new experiences. I modify my intake of anything that has become a habit in the past few years – wheat, caffeine, acidic foods. The aim is to reduce “heat” in my system. Though, except for this medicinal rage, I have not had an occurrence of hives for several years, the fact is that the rashes bear resemblance to that old foe enough so that I feel a return to mindful eating is called for and then what else can I do?
With the possibility of seizure now is not the time to start a true exercise regimen, however, it seems like a calming routine of Hatha Yoga might be well worth it, san inversions. This is not a time to try to stand on my head. I notice how stiff I’ve become from simply walking hours a day. Stretching and moving in a slow and deliberate way gives me pause. I see that my rebellion against taking care of myself physically was a bit of childishness that I can no longer afford. I make love to my body by simply feeling each muscle challenged to release this rebellion and accept responsibility for the healthy exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Work with me body and I’ll work with you.
Why should I be so against this body? I purport to love my body, and have meditated on the image of dying and loss of it with a resolve to love all that it offers me, my soul, to experience a physical reality not otherwise available. Still, I want to behave like a child and let the body take care of me. When it does not take care of me then I rebel. I want to eat what delights a few taste buds rather than nurture it with foods I imagine with distaste. I want ease, and all this conscious movement feels like work. I feel my anger that my body cannot simply thrive without attention. It is only now that I recognize that my relationship with my body is somehow the root of a deep problem and that somehow, urgently, I must resolve the conflict once and for all. How indeed to make peace in a concrete, material world way? How can I give up my hours of thinking, thinking, and thinking some more in favor of moving, food preparation, and tidiness? I never thought of myself as someone who lives solely in her head, but it appears that I may actually reside in that egg in my head and my body apparently an abandoned hulk.
Inhabiting my body then becomes a new conscious goal. This will seem very odd to anyone who has successfully lived in their body through their lives. But, for me it is a frightening prospect. I am nervous to make the move out of the egg in my head because my body is so unpredictable to me because I have not always reaped the expected results from “good behavior”. I do not have the sense that if I do the healthy thing that the healthy experience will follow. I have more of a hit and miss sense of my body. I will have to employ the tactic of curiosity once more to my life. That is, if I try such and so, then how will I feel? I have to be willing, even in this time of urgency, to be my own guinea pig and trust that somehow I will suss out the right action towards a feeling that I am in a therapeutic state.
It seems clear that living in the egg in my head has been somehow rewarding in ways that I’m not consciously aware of, and so saying farewell seems to mean that I must trust that, in fact, I do not need the brain tumor in order to be myself. Giving up our crutches is always a challenge, but more so when we are no longer aware that we’re using them. I’ve joked for the last six weeks about this and that being the fault of the tumor, but now I do wonder if the benefit of the tumor needs to be recognized in order to be released. What if, for instance, the egg represents all of the traumas of my past, traumas that have served as excuses for me not to become fully myself? If it is now time to remove their effect, symbolically and literally, am I ready to then become fully myself? Is that the resistance and the rebellion in a…eggshell?