The next number of posts, all titled Conversations on… come from email communications between a dear friend and me. With her permission, I am publishing excerpts from them because I feel they pertain to everything we’ve been discussing on the blog. Kate is in the process of trying to figure out how to be a writer and still maintain her teaching job. At her request I’ve changed her name and am using initials for people she brings up. It’d be great if you all would join our conversation…
I am taking Thursday to travel to New York City to see an otolaryngologist that BK recommended and also his acupuncturist, whom he claims is very special and gifted diagnostically. It’s all very high end for me, with a lot of logistical challenges getting there and back, but I’ve got to find answers to what is going on with my voice, the pain, the persistent physical issues that are making my life so stressful and uncomfortable every day. I know that my life and work—and not just the physical problem—are also at issue here, and I am moving rapidly toward resolving those deep and important questions. This work is so difficult, as you know. I continue to move forward. But I desperately need some help form someone who is competent to treat the health issues. So that’s what I’m seeking on Thursday. We’ll see if there are any answers.
The next five weeks are going to be unbearably busy. But I am determined to stay in touch with you and with what’s important, regardless.
I am so, so sorry that things are terribly challenging for you there. I FEEL the pressure of your work and I ache for you. I am so glad you are off to NY tomorrow, even if the logistics are troublesome. I trust there will be some answers as a result. I’m so glad you’re feeling some resolve of those deep and important questions. Both tacks, taken together, should help you find relief.
Try to make it a little vacation—at least a part of it.
From Kate after New York:
Yesterday was a very strange and challenging day, but it brought me closer to where I must go. The acupuncturist, whom I had never met before but is close with and has worked with my friend BK for years, felt my pulses, stepped back, and said, “You’re grieving.” That began our session. It was uncanny how he knew exactly where my pain (physical pain, that is) lives and he completely understood its relationship to my psychic and spiritual pain.
He basically told me that my core has died, the adrenals and kidneys, which are the essence of the body’s energy source in Chinese traditional medicine are so depleted—beyond depleted—that they are basically nonexistent. My chi has gone completely cold; there is no life in it, he said. His words were, “There is no light inside.”
He said that my body is currently unable to heal, that it can’t even process the nutrients that I take in, and that if I were to have surgery on my vocal cords now, which he thought would likely be recommended, the results would be “disastrous” while I am in this condition. What he meant is that this particular surgery, which is often quite successful, would be doomed to fail if it were done while I am in this state, and it would fail such that I would probably lose my ability to speak altogether. Forever. He said that I need intensive Chinese herbal therapy for a minimum of three months, focusing on the immune system, to try to get my strength back, along with acupuncture to get my core back to some kind of health. He offered to send the protocol for this treatment to my local acupuncture practitioner here in MA, and though he isn’t taking new patients, he said he’d be happy to see me for a follow up visit in May.
He did an amazing treatment applied to the areas that are in deep distress. During the treatment I was able to increase the volume of my voice by 2 decibels. Of course this didn’t last, and he warned me it wouldn’t, as I’m in such a deep hole energetically. But the fact that there was improvement during the session is important and gives me hope.
Here’s the thing I really want you to know about: He did some needles and some electro stimulation on my larynx area, and then he asked me to imagine golden light (not white, as that’s too strong) shining on my neck and throat. He turned out the lights, turned on ocean sounds and left me for 10 minutes. During this time I tried to visualize the golden light, but all I could see was the portrait of Kelee bathed in golden light. I told myself that that is the light I need to fall on me and help me heal, and I so envisioned sharing that light with him. At the same time I had a very strong upheaval of emotion, including flashbacks from my childhood, feeling as though what I said to you about my dying moment had been fulfilled, that my inner light and my core life force had essentially died. I lay on the table, barely more than a body, but with intense images flashing in my mind. It is difficult to describe what that was like, though I know you know exactly what I’m talking about. But part of me was still alive enough to cry from a deep, dark and depleted center and understand what that moment meant.
I know that this means I need months of complete rest and that I need to remove myself from the toxic life that has worn me down to where I am now. I accept that I must explain to my boss that I will not return next fall, but this will require that I somehow steel myself to all the truly kind and generous concessions he will offer me to try to keep me from going. I know I am more important than that place. But I am still going to have a very hard time disengaging from the expectations of friends and colleagues and the needs of my students, knowing there will be nobody to take the mantle for me when I leave, and the department and the students I serve will struggle. Some who are currently at risk may very well not succeed without me there to help and support them. The people who understand this will resist the necessity of my leaving. I also have to accept that people I care about will have to carry a heavier burden than they already do now and for the foreseeable future as a result of me leaving. This awareness is very hard for me to tolerate, though I know intellectually that my colleagues will manage and the world doesn’t revolve around me. I don’t like hurting people, and this will hurt people that I care about.
All that said, I know what the right thing to do is. The only one I can save is myself. I am no longer struggling to accept that. But there is a lot of emotional entanglement that I have to work through to get out to where I can see the stars.
BK firmly believes that I should leave my job immediately and not even wait until the end of the semester in a month’s time. While I understand where he’s coming from, that’s just not something I can do.
That’s all I can say for now. I hope I didn’t tire you out babbling on about all my problems. It must be exhausting listening to all this. I just wanted to share the significant developments with you, so you know where I am in my process.
To be continued…
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Love to you all,