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Back in the Hospital Again

microscopic image of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Gram-negative Bacteria), photo courtesy of Y_tambe
microscopic image of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Gram-negative Bacteria), photo courtesy of Y_tambe

Apparently, I have a nasty bacteria (Gram Negative-bacteria) that will kill me if we don’t kill it first. I feel fine, so I think we’re on top of it. It makes me feel great that Sharon, the nurse who spotted my erratic fever on Friday followed through and took the cultures that revealed the bacteria. And I thought it was just my nice woolen cap overheating my ears!

Even though I’m back in the hospital, my spirits are high and I’m feeling better. I decided to go ahead and have a feeding tube just to help me get those extra calories while I’m sleeping and to take the pressure off of worrying about food all the time. I’m a worrier. I can’t say having a tube up my nose is the most comfortable thing, but it is a fashion statement of sorts. My whole appearance these days is a fashion statement: I’m a cancer patient. No hair, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, tube up the nose and looped over the ear, chubby steroid cheeks, geeky hat, swollen feet, no butt, chicken legs, tri-catheter. I’ve moved from despair to comedy. I just couldn’t look much more ridiculous. My ideas about my outward appearance are certainly radicalizing. I am this new thing, and I most certainly am not.

In my search for myself in all this chemical induced haze I received some helpful advice from my yoga teacher Kalika. She said:

You my Dear are the teacher.
Listen Brandi,  Keep listening.  I know it’s the hardest
time to be able to hear but you’ve got it.  Keep listening.
Slow down.  “Be” in nature.  All the things that make you Brandi.
Be Brandi.

Brandi is in my heart, and when I listen, I hear that she is very, very tired right now. Not just from the experience of this Leukemia and the chemo, but from her life lived up to the diagnosis. Previous to this much needed rest I packed three simultaneous lives in one. Brandi the director of Brandi the yoga teacher. Brandi the wife of Randin Graves living in a remote village in the Australian Outback. I’ve been giving out, for a long time, but I haven’t made much room for receiving. For listening.

All tied up in receiving is this terrified corner of my heart that never wants to be indebted. Indebtedness equates to weakness, vulnerability, and ultimately the risk of intimacy. Again, experiences I learned to avoid by mimicking my father, though I don’t blame him. These are the experiences I chose to value in order to protect myself. And they served me very well, made me strong and independent. Until now, when suddenly I was thrust into the flip-side, real world of dependence. I am humbled, I am humbled, I am humbled! I am grateful, I am grateful, I am grateful!

So my thoughts are, prior to this illness, I experienced the extremes of independence. During this illness I will experience the extremes of dependence. And then, I’ll have the rest of my life to understand and navigate interdependence? And true intimacy?

P.S. I weighed in at 104 lbs today!

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