For the last eight years I’ve battled numerous, shall I say, health issues, mainly stemming from abnormal cell growth in various parts of my body. From 2000 to now, I have lost part of my thyroid, cervix, my entire uterus and recently was told I would have to get part of my colon removed. In 2006, after opting to have my uterus removed because of a large fibroid tumor, I came upon a book called The Journey by Brandon Bays. It was the first time I came across the topic of spontaneous healing. It was also my very first introduction into the mind body connection. Although it came rather late for my uterus, I decided that I wanted to know more about the power I had over my own body. Never before had I been told that I had any control over what occurred inside of my body. It was a bittersweet day when I came upon this truth as I had already lost so many parts of myself.
Since I suffer from the blessing and curse of the need to understand, I read books like The Healing Path: A Soul Approach to Illness by Marc Ian Barasch and Bernie Seigal, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hays and The Mind Body Prescription by Dr. Sarno. I devoured these books and others like them, hoping to get a glimpse of some formula for healing myself. Of course what I really wanted was a short and specific list of what I could do, something like meditate daily, do guided imagery with the part of your body you are trying to heal, love yourself in some way every day, get rid of the baggage. A nice simple checklist I could follow would suffice. I wanted to be told what to do and I wanted to go about doing it.
After much reading I was more confused than ever. There were no specific formulas. Instead every patient had their own unique path that led them to healing. Many had made a significant transition in their lives, like leaving their spouses or jobs. Some became very spiritual and quiet in their quest for healing. Brandon Bays had sat for hours and visualized the healing of her own very large fibroid tumor which all but disappeared over the next few days. I wondered about my path. How could I heal my chronic back pain and this newest growth in my colon? More importantly how could I heal on an emotional level so that parts of my body would no longer be confused as to their function and role in my body.
So far, I tried the traditional route for my back: went to a chiropractor, an orthopedist, a physical therapist, hot and cold packs, lumbar supports, but nothing worked. Then one day I was in my gym and they were offering free Reiki sessions and free massages. I chose to have the dainty Asian woman perform Reiki, an energy form of healing on my body. I lay on my stomach, as she placed her warm hands on my back for about 20 minutes. I had flashbacks to my fanatical upbringing and the laying of hands but I tried to shut those images out of my mind and surrendered my body and mind to healing that day. By the end of the twenty minutes, my sciatica pain was gone. Within the next couple of hours the pain returned gradually, but this experience with Reiki prompted me to explore energy medicine and the energy blocks we have in different parts of our body. I realized that for those twenty minutes, I let go and let something higher than me take over, but when I returned to the real stresses in my life, my growing unease with being married, and the fear of leaving and being alone, my pain returned. I also believe that the root cause was yet to be discovered and healed.
In Chinese medicine, disease is considered blocks in your Chi, your Life Force. As for me, I had a deep sense that these blocks were rooted in trauma. My thyroid cancer came at a time when I was choking on secrets, protecting others at the cost of myself and stifling my own voice. The abnormal cells in my cervix were connected to my repressed sexuality. I rejected myself sexually and punished myself by not allowing myself healthy sex or intimacy. My uterus was deeply connected to my feelings of inadequacy as a mother and the strong desire to never mother (ruin) another child. I hated the idea of becoming a mother again, because I had deep shame about not protecting my daughter. My back pain was associated with my inability to support myself having been dependent all my life on someone else and not believing that I could support myself financially, emotionally and physically. My colon issues were directly related to all the, excuse my French, shit, I was holding on to. Everything I had held in for so long was there growing inside of me. All these parts of my body were calling out to be healed, teaching me the lessons I needed to learn, guiding me to let go of the wounds.
I believe that there were several significant components to the healing process for me:
Believe it was possible to heal my own body.
Believe that I deserved wellbeing.
Allow it in.
Return to my Self, through love and self care.
Heal and release the emotional trauma and current blocks in my life.
Shifting the first two beliefs took time and reconditioning of previously held beliefs through reading books and the stories of others who were healed. Immersing myself in these stories shifting what I previously thought was possible. Allowing it in entailed allowing myself to have fun and experience joy in my life and staying away from thinking that blocked my wellbeing. This took quite a bit of conscious effort on my part especially when it came to my thinking. Learning to love and take care of myself started at first with nutrition and performing Reiki on my body. Reiki is very loving. There is something magical about placing your own hands on your own body in a loving manner and allowing something higher to work through you. Finally healing and releasing the emotional trauma and current blocks was perhaps the hardest and the one I continually work on. I have obviously not released ALL of my emotional trauma or even the current blocks in my life, but it is the act of even beginning to let go which allows wellbeing to flow more easily through you.
There were other factors involved in my healing path such as having a major transition in which I let go of my thirteen year marriage. I started to take care of myself more nutritionally and emotionally. I used Dr. Sarno’s method in The Mind Body Prescription in order to heal my back pain. His theory is that most back pain and some other ailments are caused by our brain in order to distract us from something we perceive as too painful or difficult to handle. There is an actual loss of oxygen to a part of our body which causes tension and pain. This pain keeps us from the emotional pain. He recommends you make a list of what has been bothering you lately, any childhood trauma, any stresses in your life and that you speak back to your brain and let it know that you do not need a distraction from these things and that you can and will deal with them. Within two weeks of using his method and repeating the mantra whenever I felt pain, the sciatica was gone. Now whenever I even get a twinge of pain in my back, I talk back to my brain. I say, “I know this pain is not due to physical causes, but due to my not wanting to think about….” At this point you go through each item on your list. Instead of being more depressing it is actually quite freeing to just see it all on paper and not be overwhelmed by it mentally.
As for my colon, which I was told would have to be resectioned, I did not have to undergo the surgery. Ironically during the colonoscopy to remove the rather large polyp and a endoclip which never released after a previous colonoscopy, my bowel was perforated. I was told before the procedure that I would end up in surgery if a perforation occurred. The doctor did not notice the tiny hole and I went home only to end up in the emergency room a day and a half later in severe abdominal pain. Sounds like a sad story? Ironically the doctor not noticing the perforation, ended up to be a blessing in disguise. I ended up in a hospital where the doctors were very conservative about surgery and wanted to see if the hole would close on its own and if the infection would clear up with a good old round of antibiotics. I attracted the perfect doctors for me, the kind who didn’t want to slice me open at the drop of a hat. On the other hand I also attracted the perforation, which landed me in the hospital for seven days, also a blessing in disguise.
Each day I was checked, there was always the possibility that they would come in and say, we have to go into surgery. As a result of my new beliefs in my ability to help heal my body, I started to use my mind more to facilitate healing. Each day I worked on being positive and grateful for being alive. I will admit there were moments of fear, doubt, and all out bawling but for once I had to really focus on myself completely. For once I knew it was largely up to me whether I was going to end up in that operating room or not. My blood pressure was a bit haywire and so were my white blood count. I used these as gauges to determine if I was allowing or resisting wellbeing. At one point my white blood count was almost at normal and then shot back up. I shifted my thinking, and started to listen to music and dance. I read and listened to inspiring books and audios. I learned to cherish being well and move away from my addiction to being sick. It was a rough seven days, four of which I could not eat (one of my favorite things to do). Each day I was told maybe tomorrow you can eat and by morning the news came that another day would go by without food or water. Most days I was alone and it was difficult to stay positive moment by moment. I kept reminding myself that I had more control than I believed at this moment and that if I continued to focus on all that was good in my life, I could get through this. At the end of the seven days, I was in the clear. Even the doctors were surprised that my body healed itself quickly and that I didn’t end up in the operating room.
Today I know there that each of the illnesses I encountered, were in fact backdoor blessings. My illnesses were there to speak to me and lead me to a greater connection with my body and Self. I neglected and ignored my body for so long, never listening to its signals and so it continually gave me something bigger to deal with until I finally started to pay attention. I also connected being sick to being loved since it was the only time, my mother nurtured me. This understanding only came after being sick so many times with ailments that were usually reserved for people older than me or people with a hereditary history. I had no history of cancer or precancer in my family, thyroid disease, cervical cancer, fibroids or polyps. I believe two things were happening, I attracted these in order to get love in one of the only ways I knew how and my body was speaking to me in the only way it knew I would listen.
My mind and body are connected and so as I tend to my body I must pay equal attention to what I allow to go on in my mind. I must plant better seeds both mentally and physically so that I may flourish in both areas, each feeding the other as they are unmistakably intertwined. Now, I no longer need to be sick to feel loved. I don’t want that kind of love anymore. I also speak to my body and my brain occasion. I soothe it and let it know I am in control and that I can deal with whatever it is. I also speak to the Universe and I say, “give me smaller signals, I promise this time I’ll pay attention.” So far, my body lets me know when I am not in alignment through smaller aches and pains or even a cold. I promised myself I would listen more carefully. I am now more in tune when my body is speaking to me. I know when it is telling me there is something I am not paying attention to, something I am resisting or holding on to. It causes me to go inside, where really all the answers are waiting for me to discover them. When I go in, I don’t always find the root cause or pinpoint the answer, but as I return to my Self, I am allowing, I am loving myself and I am letting go, all necessary components of healing. I am learning not to seek outside of myself for a magic pill, a cure, but rather to embrace the healing journey within.