Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Don't Scratch The Itch?

Several months ago, I was having the loveliest conversation with a dear friend of mine who recently attended a yoga/meditation retreat.  She shared that the teacher/guru brought up a concept I thought was so tangible: "What happens if you don't scratch an itch?"

If you think about it, the opportunity to truly be present with an "itch" is an interesting one. The premise that if you scratch it, your reactive (ego) self is looking for a quick fix. But, what happens if we just let it be? Basically, I found that you can actually breathe yourself through an itch and just be present with it and it simply goes away or moves into another sensation.  At the time I thought it was so profound. That was of course, until I entered my journey with the "Big C" and realized that healing involves a lot of itches.

The body is amazing as it moves through the healing process, and often times the quicker the healing, the itchier you get.  So while I like to pride myself on being a miracle healer after my surgery, lets just say it was an itchy miracle.

And then of course, as I have entered my chemo journey, there is the head itch. They say that around Day 12-14 your hair will start to fall out and as the head prepares for this, there is a lot of itching.

The good thing about chemo is that it is very predictable and there are certain data points that are informal absolutes. So while I hear the doctors share specific details such as Day 3 you will really start to feel it (I did) and Day 7-10 your counts are lowest (will find out tomorrow), and then this head itch thing,  there is still a part of me that feels like I will defy these absolutes.

But, I am also learning that as my world is so unpredictable right now, it is these absolutes that I am actually becoming to appreciate and finding great comfort and guidance in.  Part of befriending my chemo I suppose.  I will say that there is simply no greater teacher than chemo in being present every single moment - and for this I am grateful.

I'm itchy just writing this, but breathing deeply and realizing that some itches are meant to be transcended, and some are simply meant to be scratched. So for now, I find myself  really appreciating that "TINGLER" head massager I received from a white elephant party while embracing the balance of present and future itches.

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