Body Signals

When I got the news that my mother had cancer, I was at work. Prior to the phone call, my skin was clear. After the phone call, my face was covered with deep, painful, cystic acne. I went from looking fresh-faced to looking like pepperoni pizza in the space of just a few minutes. A coworker said he’d never seen anything like that in his entire life. It was if my skin erupted. It was first for me, too. For several months I had to sleep on my back, because even touching my cheek to the pillow was so painful I couldn’t get any rest.

That was the moment when it dawned on me that my subconscious was pretty darned powerful. When it wants to send me a message, I tend to get it, loud and clear. Fortunately it doesn’t happen often, but when it does… wow.

When the sheriff’s office called to tell me that they’d found my boyfriend’s body in his truck, still clutching his asthma inhaler, it sent me a similar message. This time, prior to the phone call, I wasn’t feeling bad at all. Afterward, Bam! I had the full-blown flu. Fever, aching, and my head and chest were so congested that when I took the plane to fly back home my ears became so blocked that I couldn’t hear a thing for two days. Which was convenient, because I didn’t want to hear at that moment in time.

Another time, the complete opposite happened. I had a bad cold, advanced enough for me to be longing for death, and then I received really good news, and my congestion instantly disappeared as if it had never been there. I can’t even remember what the good news was. (Funny how the positive stuff doesn’t stick with you.)

To this day, when I experience stress I’ll get blisters on my ankles. That area has so many scars after all these years that I find it unpleasant to gaze upon my feet. My doctor is completely befuddled.

I wish I could sit down and have a chat with my subconscious and tell it that less is more. Subtlety would be greatly appreciated. But my subconscious would probably reply, “I would, but you have this annoying habit of being totally oblivious.”

Message received. At least until the next time I need reminding. “Be gentle with yourself during times of crisis or I’ll take you down.”

Pepperoni Pizza Slice
My post-traumatic face. [Image credit:]

8 thoughts on “Body Signals

  1. Okay, so I have a few questions for you and a request. After you answer my questions, might I reprint this post on another blog with that interview. I have had similar experiences of illness coming on quickly but also leaving quickly because I said to my body, “I say no, you can leave now.” Just colds mind you but there have been times when I had strange reactions to stressful situations…and that always made me more curious about the mind/body/spirit connection. You have a direct line of communication going on even when the signals aren’t desirable. Is there gratitude for that or something else? I wonder how many people who read your blog have their own stories of cause and effect in similar scenarios with different details? The blog I propose to feature you on is 🙂 Appreciate your blog every day for multiple reasons.

    1. I would be honored if you share it, provided you include a link back to my blog! And I’d also love it if readers would share similar experiences. I have a love/hate relationship with these experiences, to be honest. On the one hand, I think of it as that truly honest best friend who is willing to say, “Hey, you need to check yourself” when no one else will. On the other hand, the last thing I need when I’m going through stress is one more thing piled on. And I have to say the acne one was kind of embarrassing. One tactless coworker at the time said, “My God, you look like hell. What are you doing about it?” What do you say to that? Thanks? But I would LOVE to see more of the spontaneous disappearing of colds, as well as the good news that seems to be necessary to trigger that response. In general, the whole thing makes me wonder who’s actually driving this body.

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