Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.-Tori Amos
My sweet friend, Tori Amos, the glorious singer-songwriter, is so right about healing. Courage is required for healing anything physical; to heal, you must dig deep to find out what’s going on from the inside out.
To me, it is imperative to find ways to live from the inside out. Listen, I am my own “best” client (well, at least I hope I am, sometimes I don’t even listen to my messages… go figure!). When I finally do understand something and feel better, I want to share it with others so that they can feel better too.
If we consider it, we live only a quarter of our lives when we focus just on the physical aspects of our whole human being-ness; consequently, the significance of our emotional, mental, and spiritual components is overlooked. We are all four parts, and each one is a teacher in some way.
Thank God, I discovered this big time just the other day! Phew!
It’s been a hell of a summer!
I told you about the experience I had an hour after Bruce died, being admitted into the ER with a 197/97 blood pressure and a heart rate of 93, right? That was July 9th. Then, my brother-in-law died two weeks later, and a friend of mine died three weeks after that. If you remember, I recently wrote a blog How To Peacefully Put Friends In “The Wall” which was a story in and of itself!
Right after being in the ER, I scheduled an appointment with the cardiologist and he told me he wanted me to get a CT scan, so, I got the scan, which showed a 70-90% blockage in my right coronary artery. And, on top of that, the report showed an “anomaly”, where the right coronary artery is coming out of the left side rather than the right. How does that even happen? I had this my whole life and didn’t even know it.
The ER Cardiologist said I needed a stent put in as soon as possible to unblock the artery and scheduled an angiogram for the following week (August 16th).
Time for a fact finding mission.
I began to go on a fact-finding mission, which I always do when something physical comes up and learned that stents may not be the perfect solution. I needed to know more before undergoing any procedure.
I was not psychologically prepared for such a rapid procedure. To top it all off, I didn’t feel “cared for” or “valued” by the doctor. I felt as if I were simply another patient to him, and that he had a brusque bedside manner rather than one that was kind or caring.
When I told him I didn’t want to have the surgery on the 16th, and that I’d rather have it on the 23rd, he copped an attitude and became condescending, which is NOT my favorite response, especially from a doctor who is supposedly “caring” for me.
He handed me the surgeon’s contact information and scheduled a Zoom telemedicine session. I had that meeting, but it didn’t satisfy me.
Becoming your own health advocate.
On top of all of this, one of my best friends was diagnosed with breast cancer and needed to have a double mastectomy. She was sharing how grateful she was to have such a caring and competent medical team. That triggered me and I realized I didn’t feel that way about mine, so I immediately knew I needed to do something about it.
Being a life coach and death midwife for individuals and families during times of need, I know how important it is to care for others and have a team you trust both medically and socially. I always encourage my clients to have the best supportive teams possible, so they feel cared for. It’s part of the healing.
Finding the right doctor for you.
I needed the same for myself. My fact-finding led me to search for a “functional” medical cardiologist, who is more of an integrative doctor, using natural supplements/procedures as well as medical interventions when necessary.
I met her from a course we had both taken together years ago. I even bought her book when she first published it way back then. When I first saw her, I was relieved. I was hopeful I found my caring doctor.
She examined me and gave me a stress test, telling me that my heart did well in the test and that maybe the blockage was in the lining of the artery and not in the artery itself. Boy, I’m telling you when you get opinions, they range all over the place! She prescribed a bunch of supplements!
My family runs high in cholesterol. You’d think we manufactured it or something. The goal was to get my cholesterol down too. To my surprise, she prescribed me statins to lower my cholesterol.
I told her that my body didn’t like statins, that my muscles cramp up and they make me feel awful. She did something that some people do when they study mind science and spirituality. She said, “Well, since you study with Dr. Joe Dispenza, then you know what he would say, “If you think statins are bad for you, then they will be.” It was in a condescending tone, and it didn’t make me feel supported at all. However, I listened to her reasoning and filled out the prescription, but I didn’t feel good doing it.
I made an appointment with my primary doctor, my internist, whom I’ve been seeing for over 30 years. With all the reports in hand, I told him everything that had happened up until then. He said I needed someone great to do the angiogram because of the anomaly, not just someone “good”. He suggested that I see his cardiologist who had years of experience, had done thousands of angiograms and knew what to do.
I called the cardiologist, and he got me an appointment the following Friday. Based on what he saw on the CT scan, he told me that I might either need stents or open-heart surgery with the anomalies, but he needed to do the angiogram first to determine the next steps. He scheduled the angiogram for the following week. And then, he went fishing for 10 days.
Medical procedures, nerves, and rock and roll.
The time had come. As they prepped me, they put an IV into my left arm and injected the radioactive dye into my veins, so they could see where the blood would flow in the heart during the procedure. Then, they wheeled me into the operating room.
As I was lying on the table, I was getting a bit nervous and asked, “Are you going to give me something to relax?” They said, “Yes, in a moment.” I asked him what they were giving me, and the nurse said, “Fentanyl”. I said, “Oh you mean the drug that people are dying from?” He said, “Yes, but we are only going to give you a little bit.”
Hard-rock-and-roll music was playing on the speakers, and I wondered if they needed that kind of music to stay awake. It was not soothing to me at all. I then asked if they could change the music, and he said, okay. He asked me what I would like to hear, and I said something soothing, and meditative, (after all, it was MY experience and I wanted it the way I wanted it). The moment I heard soothing music, I felt better.
I was lying very still with both arms strapped down to keep everything in place. After they prepped my right wrist artery, I was ready to go. The doctor came in and said, “If I fall asleep to this music and you find my head on your stomach, just let me know.” So maybe I was right about the music keeping them awake.
I couldn’t feel anything, but just knowing he was using different little, teeny tiny cameras on long tubes was amazing to me. I was fascinated by how they can reach into the heart from these arteries and see what’s going on in there. I had to lay very still the whole time. I was a bit in la la land.
After the procedure was over, the doctor came into the recovery room. He told me I needed a nuclear stress test because he really couldn’t tell for sure what was next. It was then he told me about his 10 day fishing trip in Canada. We would schedule the nuclear stress test when he got back. I figured I must not be an emergency case if he was going fishing, so I scheduled the angiogram for September 19th.
Since he left, I did not feel well. I was fatigued all the time. My energy level was low (imagine that?) and I couldn’t take in big breaths. My blood pressure was high.
I was caring for my friend after her double mastectomy, making her favorite foods and desserts, going shopping, and wanting everything to be wonderful for her. When she got home from the hospital, I laughed that sometimes I pooped out so much, I had to lay down next to her, and her daughter would take care of two gimpies.
A trip to the ER that turned into the retreat I needed.
I’d been checking my blood pressure several times a day, recording it on my sheet, and because of the warning not to walk, exercise, or engage in other activities that might stress my heart, I was stressed.
I spent the first part of the week with her and came home on Thursday. I didn’t feel that great, and my blood pressure kept rising on Friday night. I called my internist to ask him what to do and he said, “Go to the ER.” So, my beautiful son-in-law took me to St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, where I had my angiogram procedure done. I live in Sherman Oaks, so it was a schlepp, and I was feeling worse and worse but knew I could make it there.
They wouldn’t let my son-in-law in as a visitor and if he went in, my daughter would not be able to switch, so he went home, and she came to go in with me. We were in the ER for many hours, with the nurses NOT being very friendly, which I was surprised by. I came in around 9 p.m., and they decided to admit me into the hospital at 3 a.m. It was a long night. They picked up on the fact that it was safer to keep me there.
They did a chest x-ray, took blood samples, and performed a CT scan to see if a blood clot had traveled into my lungs. While preparing me for the CT machine, and injecting the dye into my veins, the technician came out and said nothing was going into the IV and that I needed a new one.
Thank God, they gave me a valium because I was pretty wired/hyper and couldn’t get myself to relax.
My daughter went home, and I got a room. On Saturday, they did more tests and my blood pressure remained high. Because they didn’t know the cause of the high blood pressure, they didn’t offer me any medicine. I even went for physical therapy and walked around, yet my blood pressure was dropping drastically, rather than rising as expected. Who knew what was going on?
I was in the hospital for two whole days. When I look back on it now, it was like a retreat, where I just laid in silence. I believe I slept more during those two days than I have in years. On Sunday, after coming home, I simply rested.
Oh, those aha healing moments.
Then, something occurred to me. All of this happened right after Bruce died. After all these years, I realized that I had been carrying heartache from my disillusioned marriage. I felt anger, disappointment, hurt, and was very sad about him not being kind.
I am a forgiving person, and I don’t hold grudges, but I realized I was holding onto all of these emotions, and it was blocking my heart. Once I understood what was happening, I began to feel better. I’m not kidding, I mean better!
What I learned through this experience is that there may be something going on in the physical, but if we don’t address the emotional, mental, and spiritual parts of ourselves, then we are only living a quarter of life. We must address ALL aspects of being human. I’m not saying I don’t have an anomaly, but I am definitely healing emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and am focusing on mending my heart, not dwelling on the sadness in my heart.
These are the things I’ve been doing to change the course of my heart:
I cleansed my house with sage, consciously letting go of those painful emotions and negative thoughts I’ve been holding onto, and burned rose incense to bring in positive, loving, and sweet energy.
I’ve been using the “BEMER” machine thanks to my beautiful client for loaning it to me. I’ve watched some phenomenal videos on how this machine helps increase blood flow in small blood vessels by calibrating its frequency. I’ve been doing that twice a day.
I’m drinking more water. I’m conscious of the thoughts I am thinking and how I am feeling. I have changed much of my eating habits, and I’ve been playing more, and well, taking care of ALL PARTS OF ME, so I would say, I’m addressing myself holistically, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I’m living a yummy delicious full life! No more living a quarter of a life for me!
I just got off the phone with my cardiologist to go over the results of the nuclear stress test and to talk about the next steps.
The results were in.
He told me I had two issues: The right coronary artery is a congenital abnormality and is growing from another side, and the left coronary artery has a fistula. He said in all of the 40 years of his cardiology experience he has only had one person who fixed it with open heart surgery. He said if I was 20 and wanted to run a marathon, then I would want to fix it, but because of my age and I have no intention of running a marathon, that I would not need ANY SURGERY on ANYTHING! He said, “Stay away from surgery and I will see you in a year.”
I screamed with joy, literally, and told him I am so happy. He said, “They all say that when they don’t want to see me. Just monitor your cholesterol and get it down and do whatever you’ve been doing. Happy New Year.”
And, I screamed, “YAYAYAYAYAY.” All my visions just came true, and I am sooooo damn happy that I did not rush into having the stents put in with the first doctor, because my cardiologist just told me NO OPEN HEART SURGERY, NO STENTS, NO NOTHING, exactly what I was hoping I would hear!
He said, “I’ll see you in a year. Just don’t go beyond your exercise threshold, and if you have any one of these symptoms, you call me: 1. Chest discomfort. 2. Shortness of breath. 3. Fainting spell. If not, I will see you next September.” And so next September it will be.
A learning moment.
I want to express my gratitude for your friendship and love. I am so grateful that you have reached out and wished me well. Having supportive friends sure does matter in this world of ours.
I believe that we can all learn from each other’s difficult experiences, so it’s fulfilling for me to be able to share what I’ve learned with you all
I hope you glean some wonderful things from my experience. Remember:
- Find a supportive medical team that cares about YOU.
- Rely on your friends for support and love.
- Go beyond the physical to see where it’s related.
- Ask your body what it wants to tell you, and what you need to know.
- Let yourself rest in the quiet.
- Keep your sense of humor, even when you think, you’ve lost it.
- Let yourself FEEL everything you feel without judging.
- BE kind to yourself through it all.
- You are human, which means you have four parts: the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. All need your attention.
- Take the courage to dive into all parts of yourself and live from the inside out.
Here’s to FEELING BETTER! Feeling better means feeling better and there is nothing better than feeling better. Here’s to healing!
It’s your life. Enjoy the journey. And remember to bring love into everything you do.