Traumatic events are often blended out, I am told. Indeed the minuscule facts and even the bigger events of late, especially of the cancer experience, have already merged into the Larger History of Lokita. The other day I spoke with Susie, a woman who is currently going through breast cancer treatment.
We sat on that little bench and talked about hair loss, different chemo drugs, side effects, tips for skin care during radiation treatments, meditating in the chemo lounger, holding ice cubes to avoid hand-foot syndrome, steroids and antihistamines during chemotherapy infusions, chewing on ice during infusions to keep mouth sores at bay, and so on. Quite specialized subjects. Not your everyday conversation. It was like being in a weird reality show.
Here was “I” – Lokita, talking with Susie very knowledgeably about all these things. This “Lokita” person knew all kinds of things about cancer and treatment etc, and she talked about it as if it was her natural, normal thing to talk about. “I” was observing this conversation as an outsider, thinking that, “this is just not possible”.
A parallel reality! How does “Lokita” know about all this stuff? The reality of cancer has faded away, and pretty quickly, yet I am able to access a huge information source immediately when it is needed. It was a very strange experience.
Then, two days ago I fell. Hard. I hit my nose, my wrist, hip and ankle. There was a lot of blood running out of my nose (it did not break, thankfully). I was shaking, freaked out. Managed to get to my cell phone and called Bee, one of my neighbor friends who came almost immediately, followed by my other neighbor friend Carolyn who has worked as a first responder for many years. They helped me calm down and stop the bleeding.
As I sat there with my head down, with a large icepack on my neck, and holding one to my nose, I felt an intense pain near the crook of my elbow. I could not believe it! It was super painful. I raised my head a little to see what was happening there. – Absolutely nothing. There was no injury, no blood. Nothing.
Then the pictures came: it was a trauma recall. Memories got triggered – from the chemo infusions, from being stabbed with needles there to have my blood taken every few days for many months, from the surgery. The traumatic pain of these moments is evidently still in my body memory, just waiting to be relived until it is resolved, released. So apart from the very real experience of blood running out of my nose, I was in severe emotional and physical pain from the cancer treatment that ended over a year ago. It was weird. That’s the only way I can describe it: weird, very weird. A parallel reality, again.
It is amazing that my body and my subconscious have stored every little memory of cancer and its treatment, when to me, in my conscious mind at least, it often feels as if the breast cancer never happened.
But then, when I stand naked in front of a mirror do I know for sure that it was real.