Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I had the quintessential Eastern experience yesterday. Beyond that even, in that it could be called a supernatural one. Or religious. Or whatever. It's been a while, I know. Meredith arrived Thursday and we spent four days like the Energizer bunny doing Bergdorf's. I drafted a nonstop itinerary for us packed from morning—yes, I was up—to night.

Friday we spent the day at the un-fucking-believable Spa at Icon Brickell. You can see all my photos on FB. We reveled in a decadent 2-hour treatment that began with reflexology and culminated with a raindrop essential oil massage.

I'll preface this by saying that my lymphdema has been in complete remission for months. I was directed by Muriel, my fabulous lymphedma therapist—hi Muriel!—to avoid that arm in massages though. Typically I have spa massages about twice a month, depending on what I'm writing about. Because of the remission, I neglected to instruct the therapist to avoid the left arm. Why? Because I thought for one time, it would be okay. That I could just be a normal patron.

Saturday night before heading to Prime Italian—to die for, but one of those places you'll wait an hour with reservations—I noticed my left arm beginning to hurt. I was aware, but chalked it up to paranoia and being insane in the membrane, if you will.

Sunday I awoke to excruciating back pain again, a la the expanders. You remember that? When every day I was faced with debilitating pain in my left scapula thanks to the 'skin stretching' brought on by the tissue expanders. You'll also perhaps recall that the back pain brought on by the horrific expansion process was one of the worst elements of my breast cancer battle.

Well, imagine being cancer-pain-free for months and then awakening to a pain associated with the worst part of the cancer ordeal. So that your mind automatically associates the pain with one of the most dire periods of your life. 'What,' my mind said, 'the hell is going on here? A flashback? A recurrence?' I thought this was over. I cringed with movement. I reached for the Tylenol, moved to the yoga mat, tried to stretch it out. All to no avail—this pain was sticking. Radiating from left boob to back. When you have breast cancer and your boob pulsates with pain, well it's not the easiest thing to deal with or downplay. I went downstairs to the gym where Meredith was and worked out through the pain. Not like I can't deal with pain, but behind the pain was the thought, 'holy shit what the fuck does this mean? Is this a sign that the cancer could be back?' We chalked it up to an awkward sleeping position and proceeded as planned, driving to the Neiman's outlet. (Big surprise.) By dinn time at Michael's Genuine, it was still hurting. I'd linked it to the massage by then, mentally punching myself for not knowing better.

(Indulge my long-windedness since this is my first post in a week+, a Dishalicious record.)

I knew Chad would be my first call in the a.m. and if he couldn't fix me up, the scary prospect of the plastic surgeon's diagnosis loomed.

Chad squeezed me in and I hobbled into the room.

"We'll do mostly energy work today. I have been trying to slowly build your body back up to being able to handle that kind of pressure, but it's not quite there yet."

He put more needles in me than usual and determined that my muscles were loose, concluding even that I'd been over-massaged this month.

At the end of the session, he instructed me to "breath in and out, expelling the bad energy out of your body as if it's water being pushed through a hose."

I began doing that whilst thinking 'ugh, I'm never good at this breathing shit; he's so going to know that my mind is racing and not able to grasp the concept of expelling bad energy from my body.'

Then the unthinkable (to me) happened. As Chad's hands were hovering about two inches above my left arm, he began brushing the air between us, from the shoulder down to the fingertips. I tried to visualize the water thing, and while I was doing that, I felt what can best be described as a magnetic type force in that empty space between us. I could feel the energy coming from his hands, sweeping my 'bad energy' out of my system. The hair on my arms stood up, I had a warm tingly feeling, the whole nine. It was my first true spiritual experience in that the energy was actually tangible. Even though this whole time I've been saying that Chad 'healed' me, I'd never quite fully grasped what being a 'healer' meant. I don't want to cheapen this experience by sounding like a New Age freak, but it is what it is. My back feels better, I'm less depressed than I was yesterday and I have tangible evidence that acupuncture is a whole hell of a lot more than needles.

Below is Chad's bio. Laura went to him once and is now hooked as well. The night she got treated for the first time, she slept like a baby—something she hadn't done in ages.

As Shin’s resident acupuncture, tai-chi and martial arts expert, Chad Bailey brings an enormous wealth of knowledge and expertise to each of his sessions. He discovered the martial arts at the tender age of 12 while growing up in rural Pennsylvania and his love for the eastern teachings quickly developed into a much deeper passion. He earned his under-graduate degree at Temple University in exercise physiology and did his graduate work in oriental medicine at The International Institute of Chinese Medicine in Santa Fe. While in Philadelphia, Chad had founded his own martial arts center and used the move to Santa Fe as an opportunity to expand his passion for teaching. It was here that he was able to experience a wide range of fighting styles and self-defense techniques. He relocated to Miami in 1995 and discovered Shin during its earliest stages. Now, as a fixed member of the Shin community, Chad offers acupuncture and needle-less acupuncture, teaches tai-chi, herbology, Chinese diet therapy as well as Qi Gong, a form of meditative breathing. - David Gonzalez