Ceasefire


This warrior is exhausted.

It's been a long road back to health. Bad mammogram, biopsies, lumpectomy and axial dissection, napalm-level chemo, radiation, third degree burns, (mud run!), tamoxifen, insanity, tamoxifen-triggered pre-uterine cancer, (life-altering trip to India!), hysterectomy, hospitalization for potentially deadly infection during which I hallucinated artisanal donuts and somehow still managed to finish the screenplay I've been working on for years.

I finally said, "Enough," and got back to my life, joined a new fight gym, wrapped my hands and began again. I took off for a weekend in Syracuse to reunite with old Drama Department friends, good for my soul, but forty-eight hours after I got home, I couldn't get out of bed. For days.

This has never happened to me. I didn't want to eat (which most definitely never happens). All I wanted was to read a good book, but the stack of work staring at me kept calling, and I couldn't concentrate enough to relax or even watch an entire movie (except Minions). I started calling my doctors - something I also never, ever do. I've had my fill of them in the last few years, but I couldn't seem to bootstrap myself out of the sheets, no matter how much raw will I exerted. It took a week to get any doctor on the phone, and longer to get in the door.

Finally, I saw all three of my doctors within three days, and, interestingly, they all said the same thing. Apparently, I've been through a trauma. I don't know, because I ignored it to survive it. They prescribed swimming, yoga, biking, reading a book. Not hitting things, which triggers a fight or flight reaction. (Maybe. I'm unconvinced.) But something about the way they all said, "Stop fighting and heal," rang true in that intuitive spot in my body, just below the lotus tattoo on my solar plexus. Sleep, eat, flow.

Just thinking those words made my shoulders relax, my breath deepen. Weight started falling off immediately. I went to Urban Zen restorative yoga at Yoga Shanti - an experiment - and melted. I got in the pool at Mercedes Club and swam laps for 45 minutes; when I walked home afterwards, I felt like I'd returned to my body for the first time in a long while. As I counted laps, I started to think about what I really want to do now that I don't have to spend every moment fighting for my life. So I'm giving this prescription a go.

My creative mind has begun to spark. I'm reaching back to the things that made me feel home. The water, the mat, the bike, the theater, my notebook. And my seat in Wynn Handman's studio. But that's another story.

Warrior at rest, to be ready. I can get behind that, for now.

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© 2015 Leslie Nipkow