Remembering my Uncle Ole'
Two ears, one mouth, and ten fingers to cover it with. So many things I "could have" written of, these past three months, in an effort to make connections. But oftener and often, I feel that all my connections are ships in the night, that personal communication is merely a proxy for or distraction from what's really going on, that "what's really going on" transcends space and time, and death.
I found out last night that my Hanai uncle Ole' left this embodiment two days ago. He was in his 70s--younger than my dad, older than my mom. As far as I understand, for the type of cancer with which he was fairly recently diagnosed, the demise was mercifully rapid. We were ships in the night; we were also deeply connected. In a post-Ole' world, will I still be so sure that deep connections transcend depth?
No perfect solutions; Tough lessons on due diligence
All the way back in early March, I reported that I’d had a root-canaled front tooth extracted. Almost half a year on, we’re well overdue for an update.
Summary: getting the tooth yanked was definitely a good idea. Root canals have no blood supply to bring oxygen and carry away toxins, but they are perfectly placed to pick up and harbor infections and, again, no blood supply means no white blood cells to deal with infections. Mine didn’t smell bad like some people report, but there were visible signs of infection.
However, the “thereafter” portion of missing a front lateral incisor, the cosmetic aspect, how to fill the gap… that’s been a much bigger issue than I was prepared for. In retrospect, I wish I had done a lot more research and acquired more of a roadmap for what I was getting into. I have something to fill the gap right now, but the story is far from over.
Once the tooth is gone, no replacement is going to be perfect, and I ran into unexpected issues with effects on my neurological functioning.
blogging about blogging, and when not to follow advice
You may be reading this post shortly after it was written, following the sequence of my postings, or you may be reading it at any given time (probably, but not necessarily, subsequent to my writing it). Blog posts straddle a crossroads of the immediately relevant and the timeless treasure. Emphasizing the “timeless treasure” aspect, advice to blog writers often counsels against meta-discussion of situational or sequential issues--it draws too much overt attention to something that will likely be irrelevant two weeks from now.
It’s good advice, but since when have I followed advice 100% of the time? So yes, this is a post about what this blog is for and what to expect from it. The short version: I remain E-la-stic, but there is a rhythm to my blogging.
but yes, constant awareness and vigilance
I need to address the good-natured objections of people who say “it’s a restrictive diet.” “It makes social eating all-but impossible.” “You used to be crazy-obsessive about tracking everything you ate and now you’re doing it again.” “It’s even a calorie-restricted diet.” “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…”
Believe me, I understand the concern. I’ve been around myself-and-eating-disorders long enough. I hope it’s reassuring to hear that I’m monitoring my own obsessiveness, am keeping tabs on tendencies to restrict too stringently, and have set the intention to be able to keep myself in balance without always having to weigh/measure/track.
Here’s some more on how to distinguish between a therapeutic dietary strategy and an eating disorder.
first of many posts on this
A strict ketogenic diet has taken me:
From a near-constant state of brain pain and agitation (ranging from irritability/anxiety to outright psychosis, from suicidal depression to suicidal mania) to ambient calm and peacefulness.
From a near-constant state of severe gut pain to occasional lower levels of pain, and still improving.
From a near-constant obsessive preoccupation with food, calories, diet, body image to conviction that I know what I need to do and can focus on more important things.
How, how, HOW?! (lots to say about this in posts to come)
And--how ironic that food obsession has been cured by what really is a strict diet, given that most eating-disorder treatment focuses on getting patients to give up strict rules. When I explain why/how the ketogenic diet is working, you’ll see the beauty of this: it’s likely that even the anorexia, as destructive as it has undoubtedly been, was a subconscious effort at self-regulation and healing. Nothing has been wasted…
I talk to myself--would I have listened?
Dear Former Self,
At this point, you would rather die than have a weight in triple digits, and you say so sincerely. You can’t hear how melodramatic that sounds; in fact, from your standpoint at this time death is close enough to lose its melodrama. But at some level, admit it: you must realize that weight gain is on the cards. You’ve gained a couple pounds already because of this ghastly new thing binging and purging, even despite all the brutal fasting you’re doing the rest of the time, your other tricks aren’t working anymore, you know you’re out of control and need help, and, at bottom, you know that your chances of finding a practitioner who would help you lose weight from below 90lbs are approximately zero.
a litany from the open heart
I want to pause a moment on this insight I mentioned last time, that nothing has been wasted. Even when it felt like my life was unadulterated pain and misery, there were elements that got me to where I am now.
On Saturday evening, I went to Dances of Universal Peace, a Sufi event where all comers sing and dance together, songs and dances from traditions all over the world. I had a moment of self-consciousness about this bigger body I now find myself in, and I looked around the room at the 12 or 15 of us ranging in age from 20s to 70s, ranging from tall to tiny, from broad to spindly, dark skin to white skin, myself included in the circle, and my heart opened wide.