THE BLOG
03/29/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Territorial Self-Devaluation: What's The Inner War All About?

I just had my PET SCAN. Put down a $20 payment on a $4,183 fee. For this pricey experience I had to fast for six hours, not swallow sugar, caffeine, carbohydrates, alcohol or even chew gum for about fifteen hours. I arrive without any hint of discomfort to come, no explanation of the IV about to be inserted, the iodine injected 90 minutes later, the chaser to swallow that tasted like a pineapple twist with a roofie slipped in for good measure. Received was oppression, hot flashes and a metallic taste in my mouth.

After my morning drink and the unexpected vein-penetration, I sat alone in a cold contaminated room for over an hour. I'd grabbed my reading glasses and reading material but forgot my lip-gloss in my coat pocket, and the only thing I found to put on my lips was my concealer. The one good decision I made was to read my diary from March of 1986, instead of all the leukemia and chemo research D3 suggested I read to educate myself. I'd pulled the slim yellow volume off the shelf after talking to the Oregonian nurse yesterday.

The Nurse is named Meredith. She's the gal who works the machine that Lisa Hill swears by. The same machine that has helped to identify and heal so many of Lisa's and her mother's ailments over the last two years. Meredith told me that leukemia is about territory and asked if I had any of those kinds of issues.

My mind immediately flashed on the fact that I was born in the midst of my maternal grandparent's nasty divorce ... My mother, when siding with her father, lost all the aunts, uncles and cousins from her mother's extended family. What had been a close-knit ensemble disengaged with devastating losses. This is not my loss. This was not my divorce. This was the environment in which I was raised. I remember always hearing how couples in those days didn't divorce. I also heard that it was news all over Long Beach.

Meredith told me to explore the issues of "territory" for leukemia and "self-devaluation" for lymphoma. She said to write my feelings and memories as raw as possible, "don't edit or question accuracy, just get it out and onto the paper." I was then instructed to burn or shred these pages.

"Meredith," I asked with intention. "I have a bookshelf filled with books into which I've written raw since I was twelve and a half. Should I go through all these pages and weed out for burial all the negative feelings that are stuck on paper in books bearing my name?" I often go through my diaries, but always find it too easy to tiptoe into territory that throws down any self-esteem I might have at the moment.

What if during these next six months I could stop self-destructing (numbing myself out) with the television (boob-tube)? Having already jettisoned all other abuse tactics, what if I could finally kill off these negative memories and paragraphs I've written to express my soul's discomfort back when I didn't know I had other options but to endure what was in front of me?