When the Healer Needs Healing

As we embark on the new year, my wonderful team from For Good have asked me to meet our blog posting deadline. I love these amazing, powerful, brilliant Indonesian women. They support me in every way. I never want to disappoint. Yet, I sit here doggedly unwilling to write the piece we were going to post on Mood and Food.

Instead, I’ve had several people suggest that I “go personal” and speak my truth about what’s happening to me right now. While uncomfortable because it feels like ego to share, I will brave the sharing because it’s quite possible that my experience will help create a plant-based protocol to help others with dangerously elevated cholesterol levels, clear 58% blocked carotid arteries and take another bold emotional and spiritual step forward to heal a core wound.

So what’s up you might ask….

Back script.

The last two months of 2017 was hell. My father-in- law, whom I loved dearly, died suddenly. I was informed as I landed in Dubai waiting in the immigration line. My knees buckled and I met the cold floor. Fred (or Derf as we affectionately called him) was not the “expected one” in the line up of our four living aging parents. And, I had just spoken to Derf a mere few hours earlier.

I rescheduled my Dubai retreat to fly immediately to the USA to be with my husband as he walked into his deceased father’s home. We wore his sweatpants, his shirts, his pajamas and his shoes as we puttered around canceling his credit cards, writing thank you notes to his medical team and trashing half opened molded spices on the day Derf was to be reduced to mere ashes. We buried this complicated, loving, curmudgeon of a man on a cold day 40 days ago. We then packed up and stored 100% of his material belongings because not a one of us could think of what else to do. It was too early to dismantle this life.

We left Derf’s retirement home to drive to my mother-in- law’s retirement home because she had all the symptoms of someone who’d suffered a stroke. Thankfully she had not. We stayed 10 days and attacked a list of sources of technological stress including a blocked email address, a defunct TV remote and home and mobile phones that weren’t working. We un-jumbled a coagulated mess of her means of communicating with the outside world. We shared Thanksgiving together and we took our grief for long walks in the Asheville forests.

And then we flew back to Singapore on our way to Bali only to hear that Mt. Agung (Bali’s holiest and largest active volcano) was spitting enough ash to close the airport.

So how is any of this relevant on a You!Healing Blog post?

Because, before I left for Dubai, I was informed via sms from my fabulous Singaporean cardiologist that my ultrasound test showed I had two occluded (blocked) carotid arteries. My right artery feeding the brain was 58% blocked at the carotid bifurcation. My left was only a smidge better.

I knew that.

The gift of the gift of sight, so frequently beamed intently on the healing process of my clients, was a purposefully burned-out bulb when it came to mine. I was in pure denial. I had a beloved person to bury, my life partner to support and Gilda to frame for it. As they say in Mississippi, I had other fish to fry.

So, I did what healers can do and I entered a sweet space of denial.

I was intrigued. I was aware of my denial like I’d be aware of the gas gauge needle headed to empty on a desolate country road. I looked at my denial like I would a bug crawling across the floor: with dismissive interest. Interesting I thought to myself; this must be what my clients feel like when I articulate their healing plan. My words of love and detailed healing process wafting around their ears like the smoke trail from holy incense. For them, like me, this day might just be the day that denial is the ultimate panacea. The day that we just don’t want to deal with breast cancer or lung cancer or blocked arteries or this or that. Pillow please….

I was having more than that day; I was settling quite nicely into that month!

As her holiness Mt Agung humbled us all; we waited in Singapore for our eldest daughter to arrive from the US. I put off the call to have additional tests done for nearly a week. I found myself lying in bed a little longer in the morning. I’d lost a bit of my tigger bounce. I found myself over-indulging in long fast walks and talks with friends about anything but me.

And then it hit….I had a clear moment of what the f*** Anne. If you do have a stroke (or worse), you’re going to really muck up your family dynamic right when everyone’s launching their lives in fabulously meaningful directions. And, who will take You!Healing forward without you?

I called my cardiologist and booked in for a battery of tests. Blood results came back and my cholesterol levels landed me in the highest cardio risk category – in my case for a stroke. My liver profile scores were highlighted in red. Never good. But, I’d actually decided that I would fix this situation through natural means and now with my liver out of whack the invitation to take statins had to be politely declined.

I have no reason for elevated counts on any of these counts. I have eaten a plant-based diet for 15 years, been safely un-medicated for my earlier cardiac issues and been very well.

And, for those few who might be reading this and saying “aha, even those people who eat well and drink juices and meditate get seriously sick too”…well we do. But, I’d have been dead a long time ago if I hadn’t changed my diet and my way of living. Check your judgement. It’s not kind.

But that’s another blog….what people said behind my back.

I went to see an Ayurvedic doctor who took several minutes to check my pulses, as they do. After I shared my labs and % occlusions with him, he looked me in the eyes and said “this will all be ok”.

He then prescribed a specific method of eating and drinking with very precise times and he insisted that I wake before 6AM to greet the day. However pleased Thoreau might be with that advice, many of my clients know that I do not love to get up before the sun and have no OCD traits. Both aspects of his specific timing and early rising were going to be a challenge for me.

But little did I know.

I started the regime on Monday with my family’s support – I think my husband wanted me to take the statins to better assure I’d be around longer and yet he and my immediate family and friends have seen me heal naturally from worse. They had my “I believe in messages from the body” back. And, I love them for this.

The first day was pretty easy. The second day by 11:30 AM, I could not finish a thought, could barely walk from the couch to the kitchen and felt oddly frightened. I’m usually a pretty energetic one, not a copper top bunny, but energetic.

I sat with that and again wondered how often my clients have felt this debilitating fatigue, the kind you’re afraid that you’ll never recover from. I was walking with a dear old friend in the Botanic garden and I was seriously wondering if a helicopter could come pick me up as the half mile back to my place seemed like an ultra-marathon. I should have told her. I was too afraid I would just keel over before the words came out. I did what so many people do = nothing.

By day three, I finished my morning walk, consumed my Ayurvedic potions and could barely make it to my bed. I laid down and just started to bawl. I wasn’t crying those small tears that roll down the cheeks, for which tissue makes sense. I was weeping uncontrollably; the kind of tears that you wipe on your hoodie sleeve. My daughter came into the room. My first response was to try and console her. She was so skilled; she just held me. Many minutes passed before the Universe made this deep sadness clear to me.

 

I was actually going to be ok again. Yes, I forgot to tell you… 8 years earlier I had also had blocked carotid arteries. And, I had a full recovery within 2 months. My arteries then unblocked and I sported a calcium score of zero (nearly impossible for my age)

I had engaged in two months of radical changes to diet and lifestyle.

But, in order to be ok again, I was going to have to take the next step in my own personal healing. I also forgot to tell you that my immediate family has been estranged.

To someone like me, who practices the kind of healing work that I do, I had arrived at the spiritual lesson through this barrage of tears.

I realized that it isn’t the me I consider me who’s being rejected, unloved or unwanted. I am representing a villain in the story created by my family possibly because they are filled with pain, disappointment and fear. And if that’s not at all true, their behavior towards me is still far beyond loving.

I booked a session with my angel of a counsellor. After about 30 minutes of quality reflection, he asked me what “I would do in a world with no judgement”. With shocking clarity and lack of physical emotion, I was able to tell him what my conversation with God would entail. He said nothing after I finished…my counsellor I mean, not God. Leo knew that he facilitated my knowing. And we both knew the hard work was about to begin….

I did exactly what my Ayurvedic doctor asked me to do. I woke before dawn. I drank this at this hour and that drink at that hour. I also consciously prayed into a space where I actively addressed the trauma suffered from this breach with my family whom I have tried for 5 decades to love, support and accept. And, to whom I have been nothing but a disappointment. How? That’s another conversation.

Just one short week had passed on the Ayurvedic plan. I went back to have blood work done at the same Singapore lab as my previous tests and…drumroll.

The cholesterol scores are all trending in the right direction. Liver profile remains “red” which means pharmaceutical solutions are also not a wise decision (as in I have to tackle this naturally) and kidney function is improving significantly.

This is after consuming large volumes of turmeric, pomegranate juice, litres of tulsi infused water and other fresh herbs as well as waking before dawn (ok not on every morning) and only cucumber for dinner. I also rubbed Aroma Life Young Living oil on my arteries 4 times a day and visualized them clearing. I have also sought qualified help to engage in the next step toward healing a re-opened core wound.

I was so elated when the positive blood work came back. I celebrated that night with a full meal with friends. I woke the next morning (ok again after dawn) and back with the regime. I would then re-do my blood test the next week to keep collecting the results. I think my body is again being used as a petri dish.

Every one of my personal medical issues has resulted in new knowing, new clinical connections, new plant-based protocols and new spiritual gateways. Me, the sample size of one, guides me, You!Healing and often the on-looking medical teams to a deeper awareness of other, better, safer, more permanent roads to wellness. Or, that’s at least the lamp light that has guided You!Healing through other forms of darkness for decades.

My story is not over yet. I know that. I know my risk.

So I post this in empathy for the many with whom I have worked who have also caved sweetly in the darkness of denial, dehydrated through the sobs associated with core wounds and then stood up to take charge and redirect 'dis-ease' and choose healing.

But more than anything, I am grateful for the year that has brought so many challenges of immense proportions to me. I wish us all a year of unblocking, clearing and self-care.

I’m here for you, as so many of you have been here for me!

With love,

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