Saturday 27 March 2010

On Lymph Island

I live inside a cataract
in a dim and shrinking world
Peel back the blinds!
I bellow
but the clouds just don't hear.

I live inside a lymph node
A mean and shotty mass
I try to kiss it, to calm it,
to shrink it,
but the node just thinks me absurd.

I wrote this poem last year in October immediately after writing The Year of Yes. Poems sometimes tumble out of me one on top of the other, like an afterbirth, a kind of truth telling. The writing of poetry, for me, is the telling of truths that cannot be otherwise told. Etiquette disallows the real grit of chronic illness to be aired or revealed. I use my eyes and smiles for social occasions and my pen for revelation.

The lymph node. Is painful. My biopsy last year diagnosed me with necrotizing lymphadenitis instead of lymphoma, which was cheering. And is, on the whole, fairly painless. Except for one node. The right cervical node. I want to pluck it out of my neck, where it growls at me, thrashing and biting. I want to ignore it or soothe it or laugh it away, but this feverish animal on my neck clings to me.

painting: frida kahlo, self portrait with monkey, 1940


Maggie May said...

Do you drink green tea? That kind of lymph condition might respond very well to the consumption daily of 4-10 cups of green tea. I started drinking it after my own health problems, and in addition to curative effects, it has preventative effects, which is important when you have an autoiummune disease that is always threatening to disrupt the rest of your body.

You could also take green tea capsules and drink the tea, so you wouldn't have to actually consume so much liquid.

Did you know the best exercise for your lymph nodes is the trampoline?
I got a small one to jump on randomly. It gets the tissues moving the lymphatic substances out.

Lola is in love with Frieda Kahlo right now:) She loves her art and wants to be just like her when she grows up. I say yes, minus Diego.

Shaista said...

Maggie, thankyou so much for your advice - I'll get on the green tea straight away. Wish you were my doctor!
As for the trampoline... er, I'll just start with the green tea shall I? ;)

Tess Kincaid said...

Kahlo lived with a lot of pain, as well. I'm sure she would appreciate your poem, Shaista. Peace and blessings, my friend.

Cloudia said...

Your courage inspires me.

REIKI has been an amazing thing in my life...perhaps?

Sending you blessings & Aloha from Hawaii my Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Maia said...

I have an intimate knowledge of the battle with the lymph nodes, since having been diagnosed with stage 4 hodgkins at 29. That said, Hodgkins is like a bowl of cherries compared to lymphoma, so really I was lucky. That said, I had a tumor the size of a grapefruit in my chest, and the much smaller one in my neck that diagnosed me was removed for biopsy, only to leave scar tissue that plagues me to this day. STill plugs up my ear canal and makes it difficult for me to fight throat infections on that side. Lymph nodes are supposed to cleanse and support us, so it's an ironic turn of events when they turn on us. I feel for you, my dear. I really do.

Lisa said...

I wish I could write you a poem as beautiful that would blow the clouds and squish the node away.

You are strong and you inspire and I'll join in on the green tea.

lupie said...

Feel better soon!


I've heard that green tea does wonders!!!!

Eila said...

Another wonderful poem- thanks Shaista.

@Cloudia- I'm getting my first reiki session done this week- I hope it is as good for me as it is for you:)

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Your words go so well with the Frida Kahlo painting. I agree with willow, she would have been touched by your poem, with your courage and etiquette and revelatory pen.

Anonymous said...

This poem expresses the frustration of pain so well. You are a strong person to deal with all this and still stay positive. I think your writing must be a big help in getting the frustration out. Thank you for sharing.

Yin said...

Hello Shai! Sorry to hear it. That must suck no end. And hey I recommend the trampoline too... maybe you should come visit us here and come with me to the baby gym I used to take Izzy to - they have a floor-level trampoline and when the kids are being herded out sometimes you get to sneak in a bounce or two... :)

karen said...

sorry you're not feeling tea...yes. Hope it helps.
wishing you well.
sending you my love and light.xo

Gigi Thibodeau said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your lovely comment tonight. I love that you saw poetry in my prose, because I am first and foremost a poet and a teacher of poetry, so it seeps into all of my writing.

I'm so glad to have followed you back here to your place, too. Your journey sounds deeply painful, and yet look what you do; you write poems that help so many others. That is a true gift to share with the world. I admire your work and your strength.

All best,

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

I was painting a picture of Yoli's baby, Paloma, just united with her; that is until I read your poem and have put it to the side. Paloma is young and strong and Yoli is the thrid warriar in my life. (you, Maia, Yoli) So it can wait. But tonight I turn my brush and paints to you and your neck and your fight. And I love you so much that I want to fly over and pluck that thing out of you. said...

Pain is something that can't be avoided like a big stone on your way...If you don't have the means or possibility to remove the stone, you got to find the way around it.
Sometimes, this is easier said than done and can consume your lifetime.
I don't know what to say to you, I guess feeling comfortable, relaxed, helps a lot, but the rock is there.
Courage, my friend.

RNSANE said...

It is so hard to live with chronic pain - and it certainly does make me question the joy of old age. But I plod along, finding happiness in whatever I your poetry and bravery.

* said...

You inspire so much with your words, do you know it?

I loved this to pieces,
"Poems sometimes tumble out of me one on top of the other, like an afterbirth, a kind of truth telling."

I feel the same way. I tend towards writing 1-2 poems a week, but have so many more bottled and shelved up inside me, waiting to pour out.

PS: Ditto to Willow's comment.

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