Friday, May 26, 2006

no kay, don't go! please don't go!

Early this afternoon I had my final massage session with Kay, my masseuse. Man, what a bummer it is for her to go! She's so awesome. She was my first ever masseuse. When I went to Ease Salon for the first time in January because I was in such a desperate need to unwind in preparation for my upcoming stem cell transplant, she was there to calm me down. Since January, she has been my regular masseuse at Ease Salon although I have also tried the Bendheim Integrative Center a few times for variety.

She's been in the US for three years, but her work visa will end soon so that's why she must return to Japan. She, however, hopes to return to the US in the future. I can't express how saddened I was to say bye to her today. I joked with her a few times today that maybe I and her other clients could rally and petition the government for an extension. Because of the powerful mind-body connection that is stimulated in massage therapy, I have a great affection and respect for her and the wonderful work that she does. It's joked that once a good barber or beautician is found, they are difficult to let go. Well, I guess the same could be touted for a masseuse.

When I met her for the first time back in January, I was a little nervous and my body was tense due to my unfamilarity with her and the practice of massage. But since then, our relationship has grown and trust has evolved between us. In our successive sessions, my body loosened up and I learned to enjoy the wonders of a great massage. I was very open with her about my cancer history and she in response was sensitive to my concerns.

Loving the pleasure of a good massage, I also became increasingly interested in the various techinques and styles that she'd do on my body. I usually asked a couple of questions during each session. Was that a bone? Is that a tendon? How do you know its tense? What technique is that? Is that shiatsu? And so on. I became more interested in human anatomy in part because of my massage sessions with Kay (as well because of just the medical nature of what I had been undergoing during the past few months) and asked her about massage therapy schools and training. She graduated from the Swedish Institute in NYC, which she recommends very highly but told me also about the Open Center in Lower Manhattan, which offers introductory massage therapy classes to folks who have a leisurely interest in it. Thanks to her, I signed up for a massage therapy course there, which began this past Monday. At the moment, I have no real clue what I want to do after graduation from UChicago but I have thought a bit about careers in medicine/health, such as massage therapy. So, the classes at the Open Center are a perfect introduction.

I always left each session with Kay so relaxed. Despite the problems of cancer and the world, at least for that one hour or so they were no more. It made such a difference. She made such a difference. Thanks Kay.

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