Monday, October 17, 2011

Healing Experience at Carp Ridge Healing House

Oh yeah, right, "just get over this ASAP." Healing symptoms of fatigue began to build, yet I was still in an active conflict of fear, anger. I felt like I couldn't muster up the energy to cook for myself, to walk outside of the apartment, things just seemed to bottom out for me. I was pushing on my sister to help me out, despite knowing she was already maxed out with her family, work, and the recent passing of her mother-in-law. My sense of abandonment was growing every day.

Chris gave me the name and number of Dr. Katherine Willow, ND, of Carp Ridge EcoWellness Center and Healing House, outside of Ottawa, a healing center which uses German New Medicine as its foundation. Luckily, it was only 5.5 hours away from my sister's home!! I called her the next day, and arranged what I thought would be "a nice convalescence in the country...' Well, let's have Dr. Willow tell her experience with my time there, as she wrote about it in her own blog....



When Mariah called me from New York state at the end of June saying she needed two months of rest and good food, I thought this was an easy healing house guest for the summer.


After three days with us, Mariah, an intelligent and sensitive 53 yr old woman, collapsed into bed and needed complete 24 hr care. So began an intense learning process which would deserve many pages to tell properly. It turns out that Mariah had been diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer after prior surgery for ovarian cancer, and unknown even to herself, was waiting for a safe environment to let down into deep healing. Luckily we understood through German New Medicine that it was a healing; from any other perspective it looked like she was dying.

We used every avenue available to us to support Mariah: buying or renting medical equipment, including a wheel chair, for the home; having a lab come to take blood to monitor her progress and our treatments; taking her to see Shannon Rampton, the wonderful chiropractor in Carp, to completely relieve debilitating back pain; having massage therapists Gwen and Amber give her massages and craniosacral therapy in her room when she couldn’t leave her bed; hiring extra help to give care and prevent bedsores; sending her off to a hospital in New York for blood transfusions twice for extreme anemia; having Dr Zhmurko prescribe constitutional homeopathic remedies and Ilsedora Laker consult on the core German New Medicine issues; calling several medical doctors for helpful insights and another perspective; boosting her spirits with various interesting visitors to the centre; letting three year old Felix share his unconditional love (“Are you fixed yet, Mariah?”); inviting Father Jack to offer his spiritual wisdom; using nourishing organic food, vitamins, minerals and medicinal wine to support her in rebuilding her exhausted body; listening with attention while she processed her fears; and most of all, offering constant encouragement that she can do this, pull through and go back into her life with meaning and purpose.

At this very moment, I am sitting in a U.S. hospital beside a sleeping Mariah as she is being given her third and final transfusion before she goes home this Saturday. We had waited with baited breath for the hemoglobin results, as we need her levels to stop dropping in order for her to move forward in her healing. With great exhilaration and high fives we heard that they hadn’t dropped at all in a whole week!! A moment of sheer joy. The gracious and respectful oncologist said Mariah could have a unit of blood, which was thankfully accepted, even though we were hoping for two units. Ten minutes later a nurse announced that two units had been previously set aside and that she could have both. THANK YOU!

So now we sit in a pleasant area with large windows and caring nurses while the life-giving blood drips slowly into Mariah’s veins. I get to write and she gets to relax, eat and watch the cooking shows on TV (she is an excellent cook herself). I will prepare a report on her process with suggestions for the next practitioners she will work with in New York to continue the healing and we’ll be a support from a distance. Mariah is welcome to come back in the future, maybe as a German New Medicine teacher herself, helping others pull through situations that might look hopeless to the medical community.

We have come through an extraordinary journey together and have learned much—both about the possibilities of a healing house in conjunction with all kinds of medicines as well as about ourselves. What Mariah has given us with her faith in the natural healing process will serve many others and help lay the template for how to work with extreme situations. We all thank her, hug her, wish her well on the next leg and hope to see her back.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Healing Symptoms

I began having symptoms of bloating last fall, around the time I was beginning to date again, despite actually feeling really good emotionally. It was not, however, the most pleasant feeling, not being able to fit into my blouses and pants normally reserved for school assistantship/internship, and going out and socializing. I thought it was bloating from how I was eating.....student food. Or, was it the chinese herbs being too cloying (sweet) and taxing to my Spleen energy? The woman I was dating was beginning to get both controlling and withholding. We saw each other most weekends, beginning in October, and by the end of that month, I was realizing I wasn't all that happy being with her........and, yet, I was trying to give the benefit of the doubt to her, cut her some slack. She was a very intelligent and congenial woman, but, wow, did she ever have intimacy issues.

November, she came out with her disappearing behavior, then re-connecting via tweets. It was actually a good thing we weren't in a tremendous amount of contact, because the trimester was beginning to heat up for the homestretch to finals. December, well, that was it. She was super-sensitive about everything I said or suggested for connection. After she returned from a scuba diving jaunt in Cozumel , she shut me off, cold turkey, nada contact or response to a phone call or email. It hurt for about a day, and then I was fine with it. Or, so I thought. I would catch myself thinking about how much I had cared for her, despite the disconnect between us. Or, I would ask my friend Janet if there were problems with my ability to be intimate, which she assured me was not the case, because she and I had a fabulous friendship.

The whole dating time re-triggered in me the abandonment I felt from D. It didn't take much, but it was there. The bloating seemed to get worse, my belly was now beginning to expand. I would try to hide it with looser-fitting clothing. I was also losing weight, my appetite seemed to be somewhat suppressed. I wasn't taking as much food with me to school. I was losing interest in school, and my fatigue was building. The Clinical Medicine prof unloaded on me in a very shameful way in front of my classmates when I made a mistake during the practical final. That really cut deep, but at the same time, there was a new and instantaneous awareness in me that this tirade was coming from her sexual issues, and that I didn't deserve to be treated the way she had.

By the end of March, I looked 5-6 months pregnant, April, more like 7 months. And, the leg swelling I was periodically having was now more resident. A classmate pulled me aside and, in a very frantic tone, begged me to go see a doctor, because she thought I looked very jaundiced. Others commented about my weight loss. I was in contact with GNM people, but, honestly, didn't feel like any of them were taking me seriously, or were they just expecting me to "work it out myself." My projection, perhaps. But, I knew this was ascites. One practitioner said to me "what, you don't like the feeling of having an expanded belly? It is in healing...." It felt uncaring to me. My main practitioner didn't seem to be as available. On the one hand, I knew this was a healing phase, on the other, it was kinda scary......

I applied for Social Security Disability. My sense was that I was going to need that support.

I was hating living by myself, by that time. I was hating living in a mildewy place. My sister's mother-in-law Mary was still in the nursing home (fractured pelvis day after Christmas, Parkinson's Disease, Degenerative Joint Disease in both knees), and she was beginning to look like she would not be on this earth much longer. I asked Nancy if I could move into the adjoining mother-in-law apartment, and, after discussing it with her husband and daughter, told me yes. Mid-April, Nancy and I drove down to Isle of Palms, SC for my niece's spring softball training week the middle of April. The ascites was quite obvious, and I looked gaunt, and jaundiced. She was alarmed, I could tell, but didn't want to admit it. It increases her anxiety when she has to directly deal with issues. I was beginning to get worried myself.

I went through the month May of the next trimester with one day per week of treating patients at the VA, hiding my belly behind expandable pants, new blouses, and my lab coat. The day we had to do our practical assessments (tested on our needling, moxa and cupping technique), I was wearing two gowns from the clinic, my left leg swollen to the knee. I could tell the faculty who were there, besides all my classmates, were alarmed. The next day, the dean of our program called me into his office. He was very concerned for me, that what I seemed to be exhibiting was ascites, and that was a sign of endstage. I explained to him the Kidney Collecting Tubule Syndrome, that it didn't mean endstage of life at all. He was willing to work with me, he said, whatever I needed, but that he would tell the professors I was not be needled, or receive Tui Na. He left it up to me to manage myself at that point. He did remark "there is such a thing as 'dirty chi' when someone is sick, and we need to consider that impact on our clients......"

My energy level was flagging, it was getting harder to bend over to needle patients when they were either sitting or on the table. My skills as an acupuncturist were very good and very evident, one patient had significant pain relief when I chose a very unique point combination that I had put together from an obscure remark made by one of my professors in class one day. But, I knew I couldn't keep going. Classes were hard to sit through, I barely studied assignments, I was hiding emotionally from my classmates, isolating myself by sitting way up in the back of the class. Social Security notified me that it had accepted my application.

Mary passed away mid-May. I felt a sense of relief for her, that she had let go, finally. I was also excited that I was moving into the apartment, and that I would have "the living situation I wanted, living with family, and all would be grand, finally, in my life!!" That night, I began to urinate....and urinate and urinate through the the point my Urinary Bladder channels were aching like crazy. I had urinated away 9# of fluid!! My belly girth had decreased by almost 50%! It felt so comfortable!

I moved into the apartment the following weekend......and began to encounter issues......the dog's constant barking, his jumping on me and urinating on anything new left on the floor, the dynamics of my sister and her ascites began to re-build after a week.

The beginning of June, I looked into my savings account, and there was a large sum of money deposited the day lump sum back pay from Social Security. I didn't go to classes that week, I called in sick the next day of internship. Later that week, I resigned from school. All I wanted to do was stay at home, rest, and "get through this as soon as possible."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

No need for anxiety

I do have to admit, not too many people are willing to listen to the truth about health and healthcare. I do experience a tremendous number of people who really are up in arms about our current medical paradigm, and espouse the use of "alternative medicine." Yet, what these people don't understand (and, I was one of these people earlier in my life....) is that they are still colluding with the system they eschew because they don't understand the biological laws. Their experience is a practice, a method based on fear, because deep down they believe the inaccuracies of western medical science, and let fear motivate their "treatments." They continue to fight against something that is actually working for them, is a biologically superior process, albeit a difficult one at times, but is designed to make the organism more able to survive conflict.

I went through a good patch of time without any heart palpitations and irregular rhythms, and was progressing along quite nicely with my energy and emotional level. Pushing myself a bit more over time. Then, I had a series of emotional overwhelms last month, which brought back the healing symptoms of an overwhelm conflict. This gave me a push to go deeper into why I get on this track of Overwhelm. In addition to gently stabilizing myself through coming to understand how I tend to piggyback stressors onto myself, I also continued with icing my head, receiving acupuncture and herbal formula, meditating, getting more sleep.

But there was this underlying anxiety all the time, and that was the subject for me in talking with my mentors Caroline, Chris and Altazar. A light bulb went on in my head "there really isn't anything wrong with me, my body is showing me just how quickly it heals" because everything I was experiencing WERE healing symptoms. It was this immediate "aha" or conversion experience almost.....I am perpetuating this condition by the low level of anxiety I have carried my ENTIRE life, as most people do. And, the energy I had been putting into anxiety was now directed at marveling at how much my body has responded in the healing of lifelong patterns of conflict, I was changing at another layer.

I was changed, especially after a real heart to heart with Chris. I kinda was in this mode of blinking my eyes, looking around, and realizing I was seeing practically everything in my mind and physical existence completely differently. My sleep that night was deep, relaxing and I woke up in the anxiety, no worry, no wondering what was going to transpire for me that day. That day was also anxiety free. Every night since that revelation last week (March 6 and 7th), my sleep has been sound with the following morning being.....fresh, new. I was communicating in ways which were honoring of myself, instead of anxiety-fueled self devaluation or not able to see my talents and intelligence.

This gave me the realization, also, that my quality of life was in my control. Meaning, how I looked at things. Admittedly, I did have two days the end of the week filled with anger, like a boomerang effect. But, I was also in the presence of people who do very little inner work with themselves, and I tend to be a sponge for people's emotional waves.... By Friday night, after getting away from classmates, it all settled down again to that calm hum, that feeling I was basically happy and healthy, even with living a very different life from what I used to think was "happiness."

A friend of mine and I went to a concert last one point, the duo sang a love song they had co-written. My friend, I could sense and see, was kinda depressed. She had broken up with someone a number of months ago, and was working through that one yet. The song for her was hard to hear, because she attached "other" to the experience of love. Me, I had a very different experience than what I would have had in the recent past. I heard that love song as a celebration of the love within me, for myself, and for all the love there is in this world. It was the most marvelous experience.