This covers day 26 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I'm collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here; you can read all of the entries in chronological order here.
I didn't talk about it, I guess, but I was wicked sick this June. As in, flat-on-my-back, no-work-for-two weeks, lost-my-voice-for-two-days sick.
And it didn't stop at two weeks because of course, after two weeks of being confined to my quarters, I started to lose my mind and had to get out, had to start working. So as a result, some five (or is it six?) weeks later, I'm still a little sick, I won't die, but this chest congestion will not leave, and at the end of the day, I start to get a little Brenda Vaccaro-ish around the vowels.
I've never really talked about this, either, I guess, but when I was sick with my Crohn's onset, the real onset, after I'd been hospitalized and diagnosed and to me, the worst of it (the not-knowing) was over, I really embraced my illness. I remembered my mom talking about embracing her cancer this way, and thought she was flippin' nuts, but once I was really and truly Sick, I got it: you have to make peace with everything that's in you, because even if it's only temporary, it's a part of you. (And by "you," as the Youngster likes to say, I do mean "me." So if it's not your thing, I apologize, and I totally get that we all do this differently.)
Someday I'll scan them in, but for now, I'll just tell you about the two spiral notebooks full of drawings I made of my colon, where the Crohn's was centered. I don't know what inspired me to do it; I think it might have been wanting to acquaint myself with a part of me where there was a whole lot going on that I couldn't see. The summer had been one, long, scary mystery, and there was a peaceful kind of control I felt just drawing my colon.
I didn't draw it as perfect and rosy-pink; I drew it with "bugs", the bacteria I believed had triggered the Crohn's, and hearts, all the very toxic but potent meds they were pumping into me to stop the immune response. And as I drew them everyday, I thanked the bugs for teaching me what I needed so much to learn, and told them they could go now because there were some new, different bugs to take their place. (I put myself on heavy doses of acidopholus, and, once I was up to making it, SCD-legal yogurt.)
Greg and I started this Hypno Project a little late because of this new teacher that had shown up. It might be my teacher, but infections being what they are, it could still make Greg sick, too. And early on in our sessions, while I was under Greg asked if maybe the Teacher might be willing to leave; she demurred, saying (rightfully) that I was a little willful and she wasn't comfortable taking off entirely. He got her to agree to perhaps a sabbatical, and she agreed to pack and plan the date.
Yesterday, he talked to the Teacher again for the first time in awhile. She's still not willing to go, and was a little defensive about the need to stay. Hell, she was defensive about everything, and it was pretty clear she felt like persona non grata in the kingdom.
So Greg did an interesting thing: he invited the rest of the crew to come and say "hi" to the Teacher. One by one, they all popped in and damned if every last one of them wasn't fine with her. They all knew it wasn't anything personal; like the rest of them, she was just there doing her job.
Even as I was talking, because I am always aware that it's me talking, I thought it was a little strange that I was taking on the personality of this cold/flu/whatever that nailed me to the wall. But of course, it's not really about that; it's about me giving myself permission to be sick, to be flawed, to be imperfect. About taking my sweet time to learn my lessons, even though I know I "should" get them faster by now.
I finally (kind of) got that I will always have the Teacher around in some form, because it's my job to be the student. Of course, I'm going to keep working towards the lessons being a little more fun and a little less painful, but if I ever have no Teacher, it means I'm Done.
And you know, for as much as being sick can be a pain in the rear...or the lungs...or wherever, I'm really not ready to be Done yet.