Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Healing Symptoms

I began having symptoms of bloating last fall, around the time I was beginning to date again, despite actually feeling really good emotionally. It was not, however, the most pleasant feeling, not being able to fit into my blouses and pants normally reserved for school assistantship/internship, and going out and socializing. I thought it was bloating from how I was eating.....student food. Or, was it the chinese herbs being too cloying (sweet) and taxing to my Spleen energy? The woman I was dating was beginning to get both controlling and withholding. We saw each other most weekends, beginning in October, and by the end of that month, I was realizing I wasn't all that happy being with her........and, yet, I was trying to give the benefit of the doubt to her, cut her some slack. She was a very intelligent and congenial woman, but, wow, did she ever have intimacy issues.

November, she came out with her disappearing behavior, then re-connecting via tweets. It was actually a good thing we weren't in a tremendous amount of contact, because the trimester was beginning to heat up for the homestretch to finals. December, well, that was it. She was super-sensitive about everything I said or suggested for connection. After she returned from a scuba diving jaunt in Cozumel , she shut me off, cold turkey, nada contact or response to a phone call or email. It hurt for about a day, and then I was fine with it. Or, so I thought. I would catch myself thinking about how much I had cared for her, despite the disconnect between us. Or, I would ask my friend Janet if there were problems with my ability to be intimate, which she assured me was not the case, because she and I had a fabulous friendship.

The whole dating time re-triggered in me the abandonment I felt from D. It didn't take much, but it was there. The bloating seemed to get worse, my belly was now beginning to expand. I would try to hide it with looser-fitting clothing. I was also losing weight, my appetite seemed to be somewhat suppressed. I wasn't taking as much food with me to school. I was losing interest in school, and my fatigue was building. The Clinical Medicine prof unloaded on me in a very shameful way in front of my classmates when I made a mistake during the practical final. That really cut deep, but at the same time, there was a new and instantaneous awareness in me that this tirade was coming from her sexual issues, and that I didn't deserve to be treated the way she had.

By the end of March, I looked 5-6 months pregnant, April, more like 7 months. And, the leg swelling I was periodically having was now more resident. A classmate pulled me aside and, in a very frantic tone, begged me to go see a doctor, because she thought I looked very jaundiced. Others commented about my weight loss. I was in contact with GNM people, but, honestly, didn't feel like any of them were taking me seriously, or were they just expecting me to "work it out myself." My projection, perhaps. But, I knew this was ascites. One practitioner said to me "what, you don't like the feeling of having an expanded belly? It is in healing...." It felt uncaring to me. My main practitioner didn't seem to be as available. On the one hand, I knew this was a healing phase, on the other, it was kinda scary......

I applied for Social Security Disability. My sense was that I was going to need that support.

I was hating living by myself, by that time. I was hating living in a mildewy place. My sister's mother-in-law Mary was still in the nursing home (fractured pelvis day after Christmas, Parkinson's Disease, Degenerative Joint Disease in both knees), and she was beginning to look like she would not be on this earth much longer. I asked Nancy if I could move into the adjoining mother-in-law apartment, and, after discussing it with her husband and daughter, told me yes. Mid-April, Nancy and I drove down to Isle of Palms, SC for my niece's spring softball training week the middle of April. The ascites was quite obvious, and I looked gaunt, and jaundiced. She was alarmed, I could tell, but didn't want to admit it. It increases her anxiety when she has to directly deal with issues. I was beginning to get worried myself.

I went through the month May of the next trimester with one day per week of treating patients at the VA, hiding my belly behind expandable pants, new blouses, and my lab coat. The day we had to do our practical assessments (tested on our needling, moxa and cupping technique), I was wearing two gowns from the clinic, my left leg swollen to the knee. I could tell the faculty who were there, besides all my classmates, were alarmed. The next day, the dean of our program called me into his office. He was very concerned for me, that what I seemed to be exhibiting was ascites, and that was a sign of endstage. I explained to him the Kidney Collecting Tubule Syndrome, that it didn't mean endstage of life at all. He was willing to work with me, he said, whatever I needed, but that he would tell the professors I was not be needled, or receive Tui Na. He left it up to me to manage myself at that point. He did remark "there is such a thing as 'dirty chi' when someone is sick, and we need to consider that impact on our clients......"

My energy level was flagging, it was getting harder to bend over to needle patients when they were either sitting or on the table. My skills as an acupuncturist were very good and very evident, one patient had significant pain relief when I chose a very unique point combination that I had put together from an obscure remark made by one of my professors in class one day. But, I knew I couldn't keep going. Classes were hard to sit through, I barely studied assignments, I was hiding emotionally from my classmates, isolating myself by sitting way up in the back of the class. Social Security notified me that it had accepted my application.

Mary passed away mid-May. I felt a sense of relief for her, that she had let go, finally. I was also excited that I was moving into the apartment, and that I would have "the living situation I wanted, living with family, and all would be grand, finally, in my life!!" That night, I began to urinate....and urinate and urinate through the the point my Urinary Bladder channels were aching like crazy. I had urinated away 9# of fluid!! My belly girth had decreased by almost 50%! It felt so comfortable!

I moved into the apartment the following weekend......and began to encounter issues......the dog's constant barking, his jumping on me and urinating on anything new left on the floor, the dynamics of my sister and her ascites began to re-build after a week.

The beginning of June, I looked into my savings account, and there was a large sum of money deposited the day lump sum back pay from Social Security. I didn't go to classes that week, I called in sick the next day of internship. Later that week, I resigned from school. All I wanted to do was stay at home, rest, and "get through this as soon as possible."