The other day after a shower, I suddenly noticed some suspicious rash on my body. I tilted the little mirror in the bathroom, and looked properly. There were some very we-e-ird looking circles under my left breast.
I really did not want to think it was because the weather was too hot and I was too fat, or my breasts got too saggy. I was much keener for it to be some other, more respectable disease.
Having sat my husband (an ex-doctor) in a bright sunlight, I asked him if it was a sign of skin cancer, or just because I was fat with saggy breasts. Husband said he was not even going to dignify the skin cancer question by answering it, and (repeatedly) that Azeries just love to imagine the worst. However, suggested I saw the GP.
Due to lack of any appointments this week, I went along to see the urgent clinic nurse.
Hmm?...- she said, and reached for a book with pictures. I don’t like it when they have to look in a book: it really does not fill me with confidence.
She told me it might be ring worm (what?!!!) and I should not worry, but slap this cream on three times a day.
In the morning, the rash continued to spread- now all over my back. I decided I was worried after all, and went back to the surgery, this time having managed to see a GP.
Oh, no, no, no!- he said excitedly- it is not anything like that!- It is a condition called Erythema Multiforme. Don’t worry,- he said- it is not contagious, is very mild, and there is nothing you can do about it, just wait.
But why? -I asked - Is it because I am fat? Old? Dying of cancer?
He said: nobody knows. But the good news was, only young people get it, he said, glancing at his computer screen to check my age. Probably caused by some virus and it has to do with weakened immune system.
So, my immune system is weak.
But why? What have I been doing to it?
A friend of mine is a vegetarian Jew. (I just like the way it sounds)
First of all, she insists that we were all meant to be vegetarians.
She also (perfect timing, as usual) sent me an article which claims that vegetarians live longer, and don’t get cancer as often as the rest of us. So I am just sitting here now, waiting for some form of cancer to knock on my (blotchy) door.
On the other hand, she said, it was probably because I was stressed.
Which made me wonder: Am I stressed? If so, why?
I live in a gorgeous place- a perfect mix of countryside and town living. I work part time and don’t have a lot of stressful deadlines. My child, dog and husband don’t annoy me too often. I thought, perhaps it was not the fact that I live a stressful life as such, but more to do with my utter inability to relax these days.
The last time I felt properly relaxed was a few years ago. I was still childless, and went back to Baku for a break. It was summer, and my cousin took me to her dacha. (Dacha is a must-have for successful Baku people. It is normally a sea-side summer villa) I was not sure about it to start with, as it meant three days away from civilization and the friends I came to see in Baku.
But, surrounded by my mom, both cousins, their kids and the housekeeper, I suddenly felt incredibly relaxed. Sitting there on the veranda, sipping chai and stuffing my face with cherries, I was amazed at how slow the pace of life can be somewhere like that. It took me a little while to unwind and stop panicking that I had to be doing something, or be somewhere to get the most of my break (like go to the beach and get tanned while I had a chance).
But then I decided that sometimes, all you need is your family, a big bowl of cherries, a dinner cooked by a smiley housekeeper and a light summer breeze in your hair. To take your foot of the gas, just for a while and unwind.
So what I was thinking this morning was, if only I could teleport my blotchy body to that place and time right now, instead of sitting in a stuffy hot office under a pathetic fan, I would quickly get my immune system back to normal.
And since that is impossible.... well, I will just have to have a Chinese take-away my husband is treating me to, a bottle of cold white wine and a pedicure tomorrow. Not quite the same, but I am hoping it will help.