How to rub your belly

Just got back from my Southampton acupuncturist. Her message for the day: rub your belly! Belly rubs don’t just feel good, they help with digestion which means the body absorbs more nutrients, more energy and functions better. “Have I told you the story?” she asks. “Nope.” I reply.

Apparently she was watching the television and this prominent acupuncture doctor, now eighty years old, was being interviewed. He was showing off his hair, his teeth, his muscles, saying he’s one healthy man. And his secret (at which point she lowers her voice and leans in close), he massages his stomach every day.

How do you massage your stomach? This is what she told me. It’s not exact advice, so if you have a sensitive stomach or any kind of concern, please don’t start rubbing your belly on my account. Be sensible.

Right, so you ‘find the middle line’, which is essentially a vertical line that runs from your solar plexus to a bit below the belly button.  And you poke it. Just poke away.

Next you poke along the horizontal axis (essentially around your belly button again).

Lastly you rub the area in circles. Not too hard, just a light massage.

Also, she likes to give a little heat to the area. I guess this can be done with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel, laid across the stomach.

Every morning she pokes and strokes her belly – “Get the digestion moving. Good for the bowels. Good for the energy. Make immune system better.” That’s what she tells me. Frankly I often forget to rub my belly (and meditate, eat broccoli, take my supplements, get enough exercise) . . .  so these visits are great reminders.

I’m rubbing my stomach right now, more from hunger (lunch is cooking) but it’s the right track.

Mikhail Bulgakov

Today while lying in bed with a cold, sipping on some ginger tea and gulping down my supplements, I received a wonderful gift. Giving gifts can be tricky – because guessing taste needs a mix of judgement and luck; besides even if you do know a person’s taste what then? After the second box of tea, third kitsch trinket (etc.), gift ideas run dry. This is a constant challenge.

But this was a wonderful surprise delivered by my wonderful husband from a friend at his office.  The gift was a book, The Master and Margarita.

If you have never read this title but do love to read, then I suggest you head immediately to your favourite bookstore and sink into the first chapter. In all senses of the word, this story is fantastic. I haven’t read much Russian literature (Anna Karenina is my list topper for ‘need to read’) but, from what I’ve read, they pen a trippy ride. Man, those Russians can write!

Anyhow – I had woken up thinking, “My goodness, yesterday was wonderful but today I’m stuck with a cold,” and couldn’t find much good in it. Now the silver lining is clear. If I hadn’t had my cold, then I wouldn’t have been in bed, and therefore (objective qualitative inference has led me to this conclusion) I would not have been in the perfect setting to receive the perfect book. By my calculations it was approximately five years, four months since I last read Bulgakov’s novel. It’s about time for another dip into that pond.

Hard cover too. 🙂 Extra exciting.

My cold is clearing. This I cannot attribute exclusively to the gift, because I absolutely must credit my acupuncturist. I arrived at her office feeling sluggish, stuffed, and grey as the sky; I reached my bed an hour later with the sniffles receding and now they’re gone. Mixed with my mom’s supplements, a pot of ginger tea, kind attention from Zsolt, and a little bed rest – that acupuncture(pressure) really makes a difference. I don’t even mind that she finds painful points all over my body and rubs them till I can’t stand it. (In fact, I kinda like it – fun!) “Pain means it’s working”, so she assures me.

And now, cherry on the top of my  ice cream sunday: Zsolt is playing Ennio Morricone’s  “L’avventuriero” on repeat in the other room, and that music fills me right from the inside.

Yesterday was lovely. I made fruit salad, rhubarb crumble, and chilli for Zsolt. We took a long walk followed with a little dancing to Frank Sinatra. We went out and pub quizzed with friends over at Trago. The entire day felt good, good, and good. So good to be normal.

Today stared miserably with a cold and some sweats – but that’s England for you, things change with every push of wind. Outside there are clouds, and it’s still fizzing rain . . . but inside, here in this bedroom and under these covers, I feel pretty good.  [Nothing befunds me, not even not knowning what befund means . . . however, according to my online dictionary I am most certainly using this word incorrectly. What do you think, Tony?]

My cold is finally passing. But just to be sure – I’m taking a nap!

Kicking breast cancer ass

Now it’s all starting.

Cancer is a scary word. Like my mother said, hearing the diagnosis initially feels like a death sentence. But it isn’t – it doesn’t have to be. And like the nurse said, if I had to have a cancer, I’d choose breast cancer. So there you go. It’s scary, but not impossible. And now is the time to start kicking ass.

My family has dug into the research. Thank goodness for them. My husband is googling everything he can. My mother is finding food that inhibits estrogen production. My father is giving me meditation exercises. My brother has referred me to an acupuncturist (he’s one himself, but I’m not in Canada). And my other brother is always good for a chat and a relief of the mind.

Today I called and booked an appointment with a TCM acupuncturist. That’s Friday afternoon right before work. Tomorrow I have a MRI scan to check the rest of my body. Next week I have more scans.

I have two lists of food – those I can eat, and those I can’t. Here’s a list if you want to see yourself, however I have to check a few things out more comprehensively and compare to other sources of information before I’m certain on all these points.

I’m meditating. I’ve always said prayers to myself late at night, but now I’m focusing on releasing my fears and releasing pent up energy from my body.

I’m punching. This is something my mom always does. She ‘punches out’ her anxiety and issues. Normally I don’t do this – I write instead. But she has been encouraging me to punch. So, late last night my husband and I started punching for about one minute. We were punching out the cancer and telling it not to spread.

I realize they aren’t medically proven techniques, but does that matter? What I can say is this: all day yesterday my breast was sore, and that soreness was spreading. But last night after my meditation, punching, and cup of estrogens-inhibiting orange juice, the soreness melted away. Though it may return as new doubts swamp my mind, It’s good to have a plan.

When I take action I feel like myself. I don’t feel like a victim.

By the way, if anyone has any great recipes for the following items, I’d love to hear them. Keep in mind I can’t eat eggs, beef, pork, potatoes (boo!), or tomatoes (and a number of other items shown through this link) because they all produce estrogen, which would cause the cancer to grow in my body.

Berries, Broccoli, Buckwheat, Cabbage, Citrus Foods, Corn, Figs, Fruits (except apples, cherries, dates, pomegranates), Grapes, Green beans, Melons, Millet, Onions, Pears, Pineapples, Squashes, Tapioca, White rice, White flour

Man, I’m hungry for lunch!