Friday, September 23, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I just want to give a quick update to let y'all know that I am back in action. Which is good, because there is SO MUCH awesome stuff happening.
I am back in the garden, playing with my plants. After several weeks of staying inside and quiet, nursing my poison ivy, I almost forgot how happy it makes me to be with growing things.
I am spending a good deal of time and energy helping to pull off the Village Harvest Festival coming of this Saturday, which promises to be a fantastic time. We are going to have talks and and tours and demos, food and vendors, music and dancing, and playback theatre in the evening. I am really excited!
I also have several jobs prospects on the horizon and an Exploring Member interview scheduled for October 4th.
Life is good.
Friday, September 2, 2011
August 29, 2011
UGH! I’M SO ITCHY!
I have the poison ivy. And it’s everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. I have it all down my arms, all over my neck and chest and belly, on my back, down my thigh… it’s even on my face! I have poison ivy on my eyelid! And it is driving me crazy!
I have no idea how I got it. It must have been in the garden, but I am usually so careful and aware. And it mystifies me how it got everywhere. My only idea (and I’m not entirely sure it holds water) is that the day after I woke up itchy the first time, I took a hot shower because it felt good. Having never had poison ivy before (I’ve been so lucky up until now!), I neither recognized the symptoms (for some reason, the rash hadn’t shown up yet and I could not figure out why I was so itchy!) nor knew that taking a hot shower apparently allows the oils to spread. So maybe that’s how it got on my eyelid.
I have washed with poison ivy soap a couple of times since then, so hopefully it is done spreading. But it still itches like crazy. I have been taking cool showers and jumping in the creek. (Although, the weather has been so beautiful – 70’s and breezy – that it almost isn’t hot enough for me to stand the icy creek water!) I’ve been rubbing down with jewelweed decoction ice cubes, using Red Moon Herb’s poison ivy relief spray, and anointing with plenty of tea tree oil. (That stuff is magical! It dries it out the rash and leaves a cool, lingering tingle. I need to find somewhere that sells it by the gallon.) And I will admit that, at this point, I am not too proud and have been slathering on the good, old-fashioned hydrocortisone. I am sleeping with really soft socks on my hands, but I am still waking up several times all night long, scratching, scratching, scratching. I am just really trying not to tear myself up. Especially my face, as the whole “meth addict” look really just doesn’t work for me. I have to say, this would be a particularly creative method of torture.
But, on the bright side, this too shall pass. I have seen a bunch of people go through the ivy torture this year alone, and it runs its course. And while I have it, it has been teaching me some valuable lessons. When I think I am about to completely lose my mind, I have learned to stop, take a deep breath, and just be with it. Just be in my body, accept the reality that my skin is on fire with itchiness, and breathe through it. It is making me more patient. It is certainly making me more sympathetic to other poison ivy sufferers. (Having not had it before, I wasn’t able to really get how uncomfortable it is.) So, as Lyndon and Patricia like to say, here we are. (I love that phrase – it is a simultaneously a simple, honest acknowledgement of the reality of the moment and a call to move forward no matter the current position.)
I am also feeling extremely low energy, which is stressing me out because I feel like I am getting behind. It becomes this crazy feedback loop. I am itchy, so I am not sleeping, so I am low energy, so I am not getting things accomplished at the pace I would like to, so I am getting stressed out, so I am not sleeping, so I am tired, so I am grouchy AND am not getting things accomplished at the pace I would like to, and I am itchy, which continues to stress me out… GAH! I need a nap! And I’m itchy.
September 1, 2011
So, despite the fact that I would much rather stick my head in the sand and pretend like it isn’t happening, after supper last night, I had to get real with myself: I have been starting to experience the same symptoms that I was experiencing shortly before I ended up in the ER for an ulcer earlier this year. Discomfort after eating has given way to general discomfort all the time, and extreme discomfort bordering on pain after eating. Last time this was happening, it only took a week (during which I ate mostly easy, bland foods) for it to escalate to ER grade pain.
So, here we are.
I have been reading up on the approach that alternative medicine takes to healing ulcers, and what I have read is encouraging. According to several sources, conventional medicines, which work by reducing the body’s production of stomach acid, will take care of the ulcer in the short term. However, reoccurrence is very common because the drugs do not restore the natural balance of microorganisms in the stomach, so they will not heal the ulcer in the long term. In fact, acid-reducing medicines set up the body to become permanently dependent on the medicines.
Luckily, I am surrounded by friends and neighbors who are ready and willing to help however they can. Earthaven is home to a wide variety of natural healers, and my housemates are being incredibly supportive.
Since I was finally able to be real with myself last night, I decided to be real with everyone else during house meeting check in. I cried. I am not sure why, but I think perhaps because it scares me (another reason I did not want to be honest with myself), and because it is hard for me to open up to people about my health challenges. For some strange reason, I have this complex of feeling guilty when I have health challenges, as if I am personally responsible for my illness or in some way deficient as a person because I am sick. If I had only tried harder, had more self-control, etc., this would not be happening. Seeing it written now, I realize it doesn’t make much sense, so I suppose that is another way that this experience is providing me with opportunities to heal.
Anyway, everyone rose to the occasion, and I now have the aid of three different healers and the support of my whole community. Along with a variety of herbs and a homeopathic remedy, I have decided that I am going to attempt Rosemary Gladstar’s favorite remedy for ulcers – a seven-day cabbage juice fast. While I am not at all looking forward to consuming nothing but raw cabbage juice (a truly repulsive substance) for seven days, but I am ready to try it because I trust and respect Rosemary Gladstar and I am very serious about healing this ulcer once and for all.
Then after house meeting, Patricia took me into Black Mountain (in her bio-diesel-powered ’82 VW Rabbit) to get a significant amount of cabbage and to wash my laundry. I had at least three large loads, as I changed my bedding and have been changing clothes all the time to prevent the poison ivy from spreading any further. We had a good time. We stopped by the thrift store to pick up some novels (she wants me to be taking it really easy while I am fasting and healing), and she even took me out for ice cream as a pre-fast treat.
I feel so blessed! Here I am in this truly awful situation, and yet I feel strong and empowered. I am surrounded by people who can help me, who support me, and who love me. This is community. I am home.