Taking Care

With my 43rd birthday a few days behind me, I endeavor into this new year with ‘self-care’ at the fore.

My random To Do lists on half-sheets of recycled paper sit on my desk, ordering my priorities. I enjoy the process of crossing out tasks as accomplished. Once the majority of a list is nixed, a new list gets created. Any straggling tasks that are yet to be completed, get transferred to the new page.

For literally a year, or more, two doctor’s names have continually been ‘transfers,’ never seeing a red line. This past week, I moved on both, addressing the sun damage on my face, and the lingering cyst on my ovary that hasn’t been assessed in two years.

My purpose here is not to drag you through my health issues (and I can assure you that I feel fit as a fiddle, strong, and healthy). What interests me are the stories behind the ‘ailments,’ and how they shape my life experience. And how can these specific stories of mine, translate to an experience that anyone can relate to?

As a brief overview, I’m a fair-skinned girl who always wanted a tan, but mostly burned. It’s taken me over 30 years to realize that my genetics want a gentle morning sun for no more than 30 minutes, then a shady reprieve from which to admire the sunlight from afar. I cannot sunbathe. But I didn’t know that growing up, and the dermatologist tells me that the red and brown spots that have surfaced on my face over the last five years are direct results from sun damage in my youth. These are called “actinic keratosis” and if left untreated can become “squamous cell carcinomas”. These “SCC’s,” according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, can “become disfiguring and sometimes deadly if allowed to grow.”

Hence, a cream has been prescribed that is to be applied to my entire face. It works at removing the “AK’s,” that are visible, as well as any that are yet to surface in the future. Sounds good! Except the images shown to me in the doctor’s office, warn of a 2 – 8 week period of surfacing sores that can look like a person is suffering from leprosy. During this period, one should not be in direct sunlight. And from what I’ve heard from others who have undergone this process, one does not even want to venture into the world at all. I’ve been offered simple sentences to recite to the check out clerk at the grocery store when she asks, “How are you today?” and then gets a look at my face peeking out from beneath my big-brimmed hat.

Qualifiers have been suggested, along the lines of “Pardon my face, I’m going through a treatment for sun damage.” I’ve been cautioned not to include the “C” word, even in the context of “pre-C,” as they won’t hear the “pre,” only the “C”, and it will simply add more intensity to the moment.

But c’mon! Would a person’s face look so heinous that it would need its own disclaimer in the check-out line? According to many I’ve spoken to, yes.

So I’m on day four of applying the cream. I apply it at night, and the Bohemian and I wake each morning, waiting to see the Monster surface. So far, nothing.

So scared was I that my skin would have a severe reaction, I began the first two days only applying the cream to my forehead. After no results, I announced to the Bohemian last night, “That’s it. I’m doing my whole face. Let’s get this done.”

I’ve gone from fear of a reaction, to being hopeful for one. It’s been said, be careful what you wish for. Well…

Doctor’s say it can take more than a week to begin to see the cream take effect. We will see what the next days hold. As of this morning, not much of anything.

As I’ve faced my fear (pardon the pun) of going through this process, one of the buoys for me has been the opportunity to live a great story. How will I go through my days with crusty sores all over my face? How will I interface with the world, and how will the world interface with me? This will be a fascinating study. And I hope to share some of it here in the Archives.

For now, this is enough medical focus. I’ll save the ultrasound I had yesterday for a different post.

Though both the sun damage and the ovarian cyst are issues I’d rather not exist, it feels really good to have those tasks in ‘pending’ status on the list.

imiquimod

From the Heart – A Real Run for Mayor

It’s called Dustin Barca’s Run For Mayor. I’m gonna run around the whole island and pay my respects to all the people and cultural sites of Kauai. I’m going to sail on a Hawaiian canoe from the end of the road on the north shore to the west side [There’s no road connecting the entire island.] Then I’ll run around the rest of the island. It’s going to take three days and it’s a 90-mile trip. We’re going to do events along the way. We’ll set up voter registration booths. Talk to community members, and get the word out along the way.
~ Dustin Barca, SURFER Magazine: Dustin Barca Interview May 23, 2014

DB-run-final-2update-1

In a true run for mayor, Dustin Barca is bringing something real to a realm so often appearing as non-sensical as the Queen’s court in Alice in Wonderland. As I type these words, he’s circling Kauai on foot, literally putting his body and soul toward raising awareness of the serious issues facing our island’s future (and present).

Running on the slogan “For the People, From the Heart” his ambitious trek circumnavigating Kauai is literally utilizing that blood-pumping organ to full capacity. Whether one agrees with Barca’s politics or not, it’s undeniable that the man is truly putting his heart into the race.

As our island becomes more aware of the insidious infiltration of GMO testing, a fresh infusion of sustainable-minded individuals are announcing their candidacy for local office. I’m inspired to see real people, rooted in the fundamentals (water, food, land, perpetuity), aspiring to help shape Kauai’s path forward.

Dustin’s footsteps will have traversed many a mile. It will be a journey of a lifetime for him, whether he wins as mayor or not.

The Hawaiian word, imua, roughly translates as ‘forward.’ It is exclaimed as the group paddles a canoe in unison.

Imua, Dustin!

Imua, Kauai.

You can read the interview with Dustin in Surfer magazine here.
The story on ESPN here.
And check out his website here.

It Takes Two

Saturday morning, and I’m enjoying the creative efforts of others in the WordPress realm. Steve McCurry’s photographic collection of couples from around the world is Freshly Pressed and reminding me of the power of two.
It’s hard to say which shot is my favorite, but the French photo of the couple with “Alliance” on the wall touched me deeply.
Which one speaks to you?