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It’s a beautiful midday just before the summer solstice and I am exhausted. I make myself a cup of plain cocoa and water, my version of black coffee, and prepare to write. Sit and breathe…
My being feels pulled in two: positive excitement to be reopening the centre this fall—and anger with deep underlying sadness about difficulties that have erupted between my sister and me. The details need to be private to honour my sister. She doesn’t spread her personal life in blogs as I do. And yet, I still feel that it’s important to mention this as it isn’t unique and causes much pain in families. Witness this article sent to me by Sylvia McGee, which acknowledges that there is not very much written about sibling conflict. Or very much support. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201503/the-ties-unwind?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost
The issues between us go back to childhood of course and bring up so much emotion that I feel swamped, especially at night. I keep turning bitter thoughts around to opening my heart, feel better for a while, and then relapse into reactivity.
…Several busy days later, early morning. It’s the actual solstice and Father’s Day. Yesterday we celebrated the longest day with Trish Wall https://ecowellness.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/trish-shines-at-solstice/ and then attended the annual barn dance hosted by our MPP Jack MacLaren https://ecowellness.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/when-politics-is-heart-warming/. Then home to tend to an orphan skunk I found staggering around the main street in Carp on Friday evening, bewildered and dehydrated. https://ecowellness.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/cute-but-smelly-visitor/
…Now it is a whole week later. I have not been able to write in the midst of my turmoil. The good news is that my sister’s recent brain MRI was clear of cancer and she is doing exceptionally well. After speaking to my close friend Stephen, I see our process from a bigger perspective of family healing: the bitter old toxins need to leak out and as they clear, my love for my sister will emerge stronger than ever. This helps me handle the strong emotions by aiming to remain as neutral as possible, focussing on my breath instead of escalating the story, thereby allowing the process to move forward without getting stuck in it. I am grateful to have found a path through the clouds!
On the easier side of things, I am full of summer energy and using it to plan the new version of the centre. Today I had a delightful meeting with three young counsellors for the holistic summer camp which starts soon and I’m hoping to offer another week in August, then a full summer in 2016. We have a new member on our staff, Sue Hall (see link), with whom I am developing various programs, a unique online store and holistic services. More about that in the next newsletter. Finally, I am realizing my dream of holding free monthly healing circles at the Carp Memorial Hall where we held the Carp Dinner Talks last year, working with Reiki Master Sylvia McGee who was central to the dinners as well.
My personal health continues to improve and I feel younger than I have in a long time, despite the emotional distress. My joint pains are almost gone where before I could barely walk when waking up in the morning. My digestion is slowly starting to normalize after two decades of distress. My eyes are stable so I can continue to avoid cataract surgery. My energy is improving, allowing me to have sleepless nights and still be productive the next day. Even my hair is slightly less gray, something I’d heard could happen, but haven’t seen before. The breast reduction surgery is having some repercussions with a slow-to-heal sore and tenderness—but I am so delighted to be lighter in that area, it barely bothers me at all!
On the emotional and mental levels, I continue to work with EMDR therapist Mary Ann Carmichael. This is the most important factor in allowing me to spiral up even as I get older as stress is my weakest link and the cause of most of my physical conditions. Other than the family situation, my main challenge is not to do too much with my somewhat manic energy this time of year, grin…
Much reason for gratitude for sure, as well as the pleasure of being in a career where I can pass it on! Wishing you well during these beautiful summer days and looking forward to seeing some of you in fall.
It’s still the dark of early morning and cricket sounds are soothing as I bring my thoughts into focus about these last few weeks.
My sister Lili, who lives in upstate New York, came to visit on a whim on July 23rd. After dinner with a friend, we sat at the kitchen table chatting as sisters do and she mentioned some funny visual symptoms. My mind went very still as she told me about a brief sensation in her head when they started 3 weeks earlier. To make sure I wasn’t blowing things out of proportion, I called Telehealth* and repeated her symptoms. We were told to go to emergency immediately.
We decided to go across the border to the Ogdensburg hospital where Lili would have insurance coverage. After the usual wait, Lili was ushered in for her first brain catscan. I was allowed into the office and watched the screen as an egg-sized, fluid-filled lesion slowly emerged on the right side of her brain.
It is incredibly fortunate that German New Medicine is the foundation of my understanding of health and disease, because brain tumours are the ultimate healing sign within this revised concept of medicine. (This doesn’t mean treatment is unnecessary, see www.newmedicine.ca for an explanation.) I was able to be calmly supportive for Lili as she descended into the inevitable diagnosis-shock of the unexpected. We were told to stay for an MRI and were then informed that she had a cystic brain tumour and needed to see a neurosurgeon.
My sister is not one for taking any challenge lying down. By the time we had driven home she had alerted family and friends and gotten appointments with two top neurosurgeons in New York City for the following week. The next day we went to emergency at the General Hospital in Ottawa to further check out the eye symptoms on the advice of a family member who is a medical doctor. Eyes were healthy, but the visual symptoms had greatly increased, probably due to the shock.
Lili had brain surgery on August 5th and flew through recovery, riding on the prayers and positive thoughts of thousands of friends and family. She weaned herself off pain medications with homeopathic remedies, discontinued the anti-convulsive drugs that were making her sick and successfully replaced the steroids, which were upsetting her sleep, with an herb that reduces swelling in the brain. By the time she left the hospital, she looked her usual gorgeous self, determined to restore her health. She has a follow-up MRI in mid-September to see how her brain is doing and to decide on treatment. Now she is radically reducing the stress in her life and focussing on calming herself with meditation and prayer. GNM teacher Ilsedora Laker has played a pivotal role in helping Lili come out of her fear and panic.
There is so much more that I could write about this, it would become a book. Maybe I’ll do that someday. In the meantime, I plan to divide my time between here and New York to support Lili until she gets through this, as I’m certain she will. How unbelievably lucky that I now have the time and attention to help this much!
During this event I am having a new experience of myself: more energy, clarity and emotional stability. I’ve been to New York three times since that July evening, with late nights, complicated logistics and high stress all around me and yet feel more positive and healthier than ever before. I suspect that working with Sheila Earl and faithfully taking her remedies, supplementing with a very specific regime to buoy up my weak areas and continuing my therapy are all key, but that there is something bigger going on here that will reveal itself as time goes on…
I look out my kitchen window and see the outlines of the spruce in the new dawn. In a few hours I’ll be travelling to Guelph in the hopes of being useful at the homebirth of Stephen’s first grandchild. His daughter Sophie sounds relaxed and confidant and ready to go into labour any time. Felix will stay here to see his mother in the Pride parade.
I feel blessed and supported.
Here’s to a peaceful ending of summer and a smooth transition into the more turbulent energy of fall. Time for an early fall cleanse if you can. I’m waiting until October to do mine and only if life has slowed down.
*Telehealth is a wonderful service for Ontario residents, a toll-free number which reaches kind nurses who will help you decide whether you should go to a hospital or not: 1-866-797-0000. A good one to put up on the fridge!
–On another note, some of you have emailed me and not gotten a response, even before this new development. It is my intention to get back to everyone, but if you want to help speed that up, please email me again and thanks for your patience. I hope to see some of you at the Creativity in Nature event on Sept 20.