Guruatma K Khalsa

healing from the inside out

February 18, 2014
by Guruatma Khalsa

Gluten/Processed-Sugar/Dairy-Free Diet for Autoimmune Disorders – my experience

47a3cf27b3127cce9854937f1e3a00000038100AauGzdq1ctG2AAlthough it’s a new challenge to have on your plate (pun intended), changing my diet and going gluten, processed-sugar and dairy-free is one of the biggest things I did that helped me attain a state of remission with the autoimmune disease I’m challenged by (Relapsing Polychondritis) since I was 19 years old read my bio

I think the whole idea is to not be adding any more potentially-reactive agents to the body that the immune system could/would register to be an enemy – because then, since it’s the latest thing we’re introducing into our bodies (by consuming it), the immune system gets all distracted and busy protecting us from this threat, and the underlying problems get put off to the side.

So, I think of it (going gluten/sugar/dairy-free) as at least not adding more logs to the fire and at most, befriending my body.

If you decide to go gluten free (a new thing to many of us), there are many on-line, gluten-free support groups.

My fav book on gluten-free living is Wheat Free, Worry Free – The Art of Happy, Healthy, Gluten-Free Living by Dana Kornwith good explanations that I can well-understand, Forbidden and Allowed Foods lists, lots of recipes, etc, etc.


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February 15, 2014
by Guruatma Khalsa
1 Comment

I now have 1 Cochlear Implant – am I going to get another one for the other ear? Report #1 on 2-15-14

Many people are asking me if I’m going to get another implant for my other profoundly-deaf ear.

Here’s my answer just for today because this is a whopping process and a mind-blowing journey – God only knows what’s next in store:

IF people’s voices get to be sounding normal (rumor has it that this will happen; right now all voices sound like Minnie Mouse),

IF the sound of 1) the clocks ticking on the wall to beat the band, and 2) my computer keys smacking upside my head and 3) water running in my kitchen sink like a California Zepher Train coming to a screeching halt – if all these noises can cool it! (deafening right now – pun intended),

IF my tongue gets un-numb,

IF my taste buds come back (please hurry!)

and IF my ear un-numbs (that’s already happening to some degree, but right now I can’t even feel where that big processor is hanging from my ear cuz the top and back of my ear are still so numb) –

IF all of that happens and I’m still occupying this body, and my doctors and the Houston Ear Research Foundation give me the GO AHEAD, I will probably decided, “YES, please – thank you very much, I accept!” for getting CI #2, especially since I have excellent insurance with Medicaid and thanks to the people of the United States of America who pay their taxes!!

As it stands, upon activation of the device on the 10th of February, the amount of hearing/auditory information available via my CI is PHENOMENAL!

Of course, it’s also WAY TOO MUCH in the beginning for sensory nerves that have not been stimulated at that level in 17 yrs.

You do get to control your volume and sensitivity with a remote, but I’m setting my controls at the very bottom of both ranges cuz just the CI alone as it comes is all I can handle.

It’s a process, doancha know.

With my excellent (by my past and innocent experience of them) digital hearing aids on, and no facial cues, my comprehension was 40%. With only one digital hearing aid and the new CI turned on, I had 89% comprehension (not looking at her face) – but that was in the controlled-environment sound booth.

AND, that reading is because I had 45 years of hearing memory for my brain to refer to.  I am most very-fortunate to have had full hearing under my belt for 2/3 of my life and to have worn hearing aids for 14 of those years that kept the nerves stimulated.

I wear the CI all day but I’m practicing with the JUST THE CI 2 times/day (that means I take my beloved hearing aid off ). When I put the sensitivity meter up, I can kinda catch some words, with great concentration – we call this dutiful homework ‘listening therapy’.  

Although I can’t pick up on a melody, I can at least stay in a room with music being played  – that is a miracle!

Thank you, Mary H for preparing me for the experiential IMPACT of the sound of a simple sniff in my own nose – so HIGH, the ssssssniff!  

Thank you Nancy R for preparing me for Minnie Mouse voicing and offering to share that piano cd with me that was given to you upon activation, for practicing.

..and thank you, Lois J for pointing out about sleeping on the side with the CI – yes, here is another IF for getting a second CI:

IF I can’t eventually sleep on the side that has the CI implanted right there under the skin above and behind my ear, then I have to save the other side for sleeping.

…and, one more consideration and big reason to ‘go for it’ – it would make a world of difference NOT to have to wear a mold in the ear that has a hearing aid attached to it.  Especially in the jungle-swamps of Houston TX, it’s torture to block up an ear with acrylic, vinyl or silicone!  I’ve heard it loud and clear from fellow CI users that going cochlear (which doesn’t require an ear mold) is a huge relief.  IF only..

Boy, oh boy, did going through this make me respect all CI peoples, and the children and babies (the little babies!!), and their parents!!

Thanks to Paula M for sending me samples of the CI Water Accessory and suggesting the right kind of headband to order that holds it on good when in the pool.

Thanks, Mary D for this reminder: 

I still remember when you heard the woodpecker pecking the tree at one of the Walk4Hearings years ago. You had gotten a new aid I think and you couldn’t figure out what that tapping was. You were so excited when we saw the woodpecker up in the tree making his noise. May all your new sounds make you as happy as you were that day, my friend.


Thanks to my husband, too!, who’s hangin’ in there with me through this trying transition. When it comes to simple communications in our home, we are both getting to practice a brand-new, killer-version of patience – I am tempted here to write LOL but, its not funny if ya need to get a point across in less than a day’s worth of normal hearing efforts (I’m sure the CIers know what I mean).  My husband calls it GW – Grimacing Within – lol.

To end this discussion, let me tell you that what meant THE WORLD to me, how I was living with only one hearing aid for 1 month after surgery while I healed, that hearing aid now, is next to nothing (shocking) compared to the Cochlear Implant that now is engaged with my other ear.  That hearing aid serves for balance and right now, it’s still my predominant tool for hearing.

…and WOW about my programmer, Mary Lynn McDonald of the Houston Ear Research Foundation for having a handle on ALL the aspects (including what it takes to deal with guruatma) of the mapping process – you angelwizard, you!

PS – Thanks to Christopher O who washed and braided my hair yesterday at Urban Retreat here in Houston on West Grey (way-cool spa and salon) – my husband gave me that treat for Valentine’s Day.  I haven’t been in a hair salon (except for a Halloween costume hairdo) since my senior prom.  

It felt sooo good to have my head massaged – still so sore from surgery. I highly recommend this kind of scalp/skull/hair treatment to all CI recipients at about the one month post-surgery point, to undo some of the shock and trauma from having our heads cut open and the skull drilled into, one major muscle is scraped off the bone that it hangs onto, another one is totally cut across and peeled out of the way, etc etc – it’s major head surgery that needs special attentions.  

NO – it does not count to wash your own hair; you must sit back, relax and breath – STOP and FEEL IT!

I feel better. I am better. And that is my base YB

Enjoy this day-o!

PSPS – of course, I have many more people to thank and you know me, I’ll get around to that so, stay tuned..

PSPSPS – thanks, Elizabeth F, for the post-surgery gift of the beautiful flowers that I’m posing with in this photo – there’s nothing like receiving flowers to lift you up!

Related Post Cochlear implant in relation to relapsing polychondritis and how important it is to have a support group

Related Info Yoga of Hearing Loss Presentation Notes

Guruatma serves as a mentor for those who suffer from chronic or critical illness, as well as their family members. To inquire about or schedule a one-on-one session, click here:

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February 9, 2014
by Guruatma Khalsa

Ana Calvo on her very own No Barriers TV Program – Interview with Guruatma about Chair Yoga

Official Ms  Whealchair Texas picture_New 

When Ana Calvo locks your eyes in her glance while you’re waiting for the director’s signal to ‘shoot’, you know you’re in good hands – this is one special lady who commands her domain with mastery and grace!

It was plenty exciting being in the TV studio (& sooo cold – brrrr) with many different kinds of super-bright lights all over the ceiling and tons of wires crossing and rolled up all across the floors, real-tall ladders and 5 cameras, the crew in motion all over the studio having much discussion about set-up on and off the stage, and then trying to get the mic wires untangled and in the right place on and hidden in our clothes.

5-4-3-2-1 – it was a BLAST!

But the real treat for me was getting to work with Ana. Here’s a link to her story:

The theme for this particular program was Adaptive Exercise.

My segments were about Chair Yoga for People with a Disability.  She introduced me and asked questions in the first segment, and then I did a demo with her and a volunteer participating in the exercises.

Ana was an Ambassador for the Abilities Expo here in Houston this summer where I gave a talk on The Yoga of Moving Through the Medical System – How to Get What You Need From The Doctor’s Office.  We did a breathing exercise and short mediation at that presentation, and that’s how she found out about me and my Chair Yoga classes.

Guess what Ana taught me!!!

She kept using the term “people with disabilities” and so I called her after the show to ask her about that.  Here I am saying, “Chair Yoga for Seniors and the Handicapped” for all these 6 years we’ve had our class at the City of Houston Metropolitan Multi-Service Center where I was rehabilitated in the aqua/pool and art therapy programs.

Ana said that HANDICAPPED IS NOT THE ACCEPTABLE/PREFERRED TERM since about the mid-90’s.  The older generation still uses it (yikes – that would be me!) but it’s not politically correct.

The correct way to say it is Person/People with a Disability.

The word ‘handicapped has a long, interesting history, dating all the way back to 1653 when it was the name of a kind of sport.

Ana pointed out that a negative stigma evolved around the word when it became associated with disabled, unemployed people holding out their caps to collect money on the streets.  So, many people dislike the word because of its afiliation with old-fashioned attitudes towards impairments.

Thanks for that lesson, Ana!!  Saying ‘Person with a Disability’ tells the simple truth without judgment and removes the stigma of being identified by a ‘condition’ that we happen to be challenged by, one that happens to SHOW – like everybody in a body on this planet doesn’t have at least one (lol) subtle or hidden handicap of some sort.

….and it feels better to me to say it that way!  When someone uses that word “handicapped” to describe me, with my particular HOH status and bi-lateral deaf-ness, it separates me from everybody else. The power of the spoken word is everything – our words create our reality.

Recognize the other person is you.  YB

Ana has her own centering, meditative practice and a holistic approach to life. She radiates a very high spirit and at the same time you can feel her inner peace.

She said, “..of course, I do have my days when I wish things were different but for the most part, you know, I am content.”

A few days prior to taping, she puts everything she’s got into preparing for her show and after close-up, she takes a break.  She said, “I disconnect myself from everything and really keep it to a minimum, because I need to connect with and re-center myself – it is good for the spirit.”  She’s a good example for all of us in balance, and self-care and nurturing.

I sure hope I get to connect with her again – she is so cool!

Here’s my favorite link about Ana.  It’s very touching and impressive to me because when I was real sick, I didn’t drive for 13 years – that was a HUGE ISSUE for me! Look how DARS, the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services came up with a custom-made vehicle for her so she could drive – woo hoo!

Here’s what Ana says at the close of each of her programs:

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

 I say, “I don’t place barriers when I sit in my chair, why should you?”

Right before the No Barriers taping, I found a Martin Luther King quote that says,  If you can’t fly, then run.  If you can’t run, then walk.  If you can’t walk, then crawl.  But whatever you do, you have to move forward.  For Chair Yoga, I add to that,  If you can’t crawl, then shake.  If you can’t shake, then vibrate, and if you can’t vibrate, then  RADIATE. – like Ana Cavlo!

We did a meditation at the end of the demo using a positive affirmation that we repeated out loud together:

I feel better.  I am Better.  And that is my base.     YB

The show airs some time at the end of February.  I’ll post a link.

Ana Calvo Interview Guruatma K Khalsa on No Barriers HCC TV Program

Stay tuned…


Guruatma serves as a mentor for those who suffer from chronic or critical illness, as well as their family members. To inquire about or schedule a one-on-one session, click here:

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February 6, 2014
by Guruatma Khalsa

Make a Complete List of Your Questions & Concerns for your Chronic/Critical Illness Doctor’s Appointments

Our doctor appointment are SO IMPORTANT, and they’re FAST!

So, in order to be fully prepared to take total advantage of the opportunity to meet with my doctor and get all my issues addressed, all my questions answered, I take a manilla file folder and in the days before the appointment, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that comes to mind in relation to that appointment, I write it down on the front of the folder. Sometimes my list even runs onto the back of the folder!

To the left of each issue, I make a little empty box and I don’t leave that office until every little box is checked off.

I gave a talk at the Abilities Expo this summer here in Houston, TX.  Here’s some of my outline from that presentation:

The Yoga of Moving Through The Medical System –

How to Get What You Need From The Doctor’s Office:

  1. Second tool: Medical Calendar.
    1. It should chart your symptoms and your medical data – whatever you’re supposed to be paying attention to. This will give you a way to identify what makes your symptoms worse.  It gives you a graph to watch your progress or decline.
    2. exhibit A (show 2 of my calendar pages) – present your evidence/proof – what’s THE TRUTH in this picture
    3. depository – I think of it as an offering/place to let it go.  I found that writing it down took it off my mind so I could be more in the present and able to move forward; otherwise, the information kept cycling in my mind (obsessive)
    4. took some of the emotional charge out of it, to report it
    5. your body tells the truth – capture the information!!!
    6. your mind can twist things and misrepresent the truth
  1. Third Tool: Take Someone With You
    1. Make sure you never go to a doctor appointment alone.
    2. Have a friend, family member or caregiver go with you!!
    3. Give them a copy of your checklist. They are your backup. If you forget to ask the doctor something on the checklist, their job is to point it out so you get all your questions answered before the doctor leaves the room.
  1. Fourth tool:  Appointment Checklist
    1. Make a checklist for your doctor appointment. In the days and weeks before your appointment, create a checklist of everything you want to ask the doctor. Have it written down and in your hand when you go in the doctor’s office.
    2. The checklist is critical!
    3. Doctor appointments are intense/concentrated/pressurized situation
    4. with a prescribed time frame – the dr is in a rush.
    5. A good dr will ‘go there’ with you. You are actually helping them by creating this list and
    6. the dr will see that you’re organized and focused – and that sets the tone and puts you on a different track
    7. because you are making a statement about who you are and identifying your needs
    8. – you are a force for that doctor to contend with.
    9. Give a copy of your checklist to your doctor and
    10. whoever is with you has a copy of the checklist and takes notes on it.
    11. take a recorder with you, make an MP3 of the appointment – but you have to get permission first.
    12. It’s really best if you are not taking notes, you’re paying attention.  Let the person who came with you take notes.
    13. You do not leave the office until both you agree that all the little boxes are checked off.
    14. If 2 people are in the drs ofc, they hear different things, so you need to compare notes after the appointment.
    15. The records you create for yourself through your illness will empower you to overcome this challenge. It is vital to keep good files for yourself.
    16. all the refills and referrals you need are listed and need to be checked off
    17. write your current weight and BP on that file folder at the beginning of the apt
    18. if your doctor can’t answer a question, ask them to please direct you to someone who can 


Guruatma serves as a mentor for those who suffer from chronic or critical illness, as well as their family members. To inquire about or schedule a one-on-one session, click here:

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February 4, 2014
by Guruatma Khalsa

Did you go through a grieving process when you lost your hearing?

A woman in my Hearing Loss Association sent me this:
I am taking an online course to be a Peer Mentor.  I have to interview someone with hearing loss.  Would you mind answering a couple of questions for me?  After I get your response, I may have a couple more questions.  Thank you for your help.
 When you started losing your hearing, did you go through the grieving process?  What was that like for you?

 Here’s my answer:

I had a sudden loss of hearing. One day after the 6th of 13 rounds of IV chemo, all my hearing was GONE.  There was no opportunity to process about anything except surviving without my hearing; that was an all-consuming job especially because I was deathly ill at the time and for 10 years after that happened to me.

 I don’t think shock is one of the recognized stages of the grief but it reigns supreme in my process of loss.
The truth is, that after 17 years of being profoundly deaf, a sensation of shock pricks me every morning when I wake up, innocently thinking my hearing is of course in tact.
My Dad, who became a bereavement counselor after my Mom died, used to tell me you couldn’t skip the grieving process, and my thought was that as soon as things let up and I wasn’t so all-consumed with figuring out how to hear the next transaction in life, I might get around to it.
I know that one of the stages of grief is anger.  On and off, I felt downright insulted that this happened to me but once again, I just had no choice  but to keep going and figure out, one conversation or event or drive in the car at a time, ways to push the block out of the way.
For three years I was totally deaf with no hearing aids, and I was trying to stay alive while being tossed between 13 different clinics in the Ben Taub County Hospital system.  To me, that was no different than fighting on the warfront in Vietnam and believe me, I didn’t have a moment to pause for grieving during that period of critical illness.
Was I angry? I was fighting; that’s all I remember.
I’m still fighting.
Did I go through a stage of depression at the loss of my hearing?
Well, when the possibility of Cochlear Implant came up for me at the tail end of 2013, I sat down and wrote you a list of all the things in my Hard-Of-Hearing life that were getting so hard for me, and I noticed that I was choosing to not participate in all kinds of activities anymore.  I was surprised that lengthy list came out of me – I had never looked at the ‘state of my union’ from that perspective and I sure can see that there was an undercurrent of depression in the flow of my life, and for quite a while.
Acceptance is a stage of grieving, too. Can’t say I’m there with a capital A but all the things that came into my life, like you and my precious Hearing Loss Association  family, and all the tons of things I have learned about myself and the people who I cross paths with, the blessing to teach others from my experience in the deaf/hoh arena, the constant opportunity to exercise the yogic theme of “Stop relating to anything that limits you”  – all the doors that have opened have helped me accept the loss, one moment at a time.
PS – The loss of hearing my beautiful & soothing-to-me voice singing in my own ears was the greatest loss for me. No part of me can figure out what to do about that particular pain except to constantly offer it to the highest part of my Self and keep my head bowed. I could not allow myself to ‘go there’ and grieve about this – I just keep my focus on the blessings and let it go at my altar.
…and with that said, February 10th and 11th are the Activation Days for my new Cochlear Implant.
Best case scenario:  I’ll be celebrating a whole new world full of sounds.  They say it will be easier for me to hear, and I’ll be able to hear ‘P”s and “S”s – YEAH!!
Stay tunes – I’ll keep you posted.

Guruatma serves as a mentor for those who suffer from chronic or critical illness, as well as their family members. To inquire about or schedule a one-on-one session, click here:

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January 26, 2014
by Guruatma Khalsa

How killer-hard I worked to belong to the hearing world

i’ve been allowing myself to ‘fess up’ and admit just how killer-HARD i work to belong to the hearing world


here are the things on my list:


the phone is torture, even with CaptionCall software program on my computer – for goodness sake, besides personal calls, i’m working a business!! and there’s so many ‘conditions’ my hearing loss brings into the space


i hardly speak on the phone with my 7 brothers and sisters anymore 


i totally lost music- still seems like a punishment to me   


i don’t sing (and i have a beautiful voice that loved to sing)


when they turn on the music in our morning group yoga and meditation practice, i get up and leave


communication in my marriage is so stressful.  my  husband and i fight often because i don’t hear him and he has to repeat and repeat and ends up yelling at me and then i yell at him.  although we have been counseled on how to do it right, it just hasn’t worked out for us when it comes to real-life.  i can’t count how many times i’ve had to say to him, “fyi:  i’m still deaf”


many of my friends and associates forget i’m deaf; i think this is because i’m late-deafened and do a super job (because i’m busting my butt doing what i call ‘3-D Sudako’, putting it all together at neck-breaking speed) of hanging out with the hearing world, so they forget i’m deaf


i try not to do any more talking after 6pm – utterly exhausted although my ears can’t tell me that they are tired, but i feel it in my nervous system – the consequence of being at a rock concert all day (that’s how much amplification is going on in my head every waking hour of the day) and the need to save some hearing energy for my husband when he gets home and wants to tell me all about his day at the job 


eating out is so hard and i’ll only go with ONE PERSON who would be on my Comtek mic – and even that is hard


i’m staying away from any church meeting that i don’t HAVE TO BE THERE


there are other meetings that i’d like to go to, but i don’t


you know me, i’m a very social person but i’m avoiding activities, now


very challenging at work, meeting with my clients face to face but i do do well cuz i bust my butt to make it happen- but, once again, there’s a cost to my nervous system


many of my clients are via SKYPE and this is grueling – i have the skype screen up with the captel screen and all their words are BIG TIME jet-lagged, as you know and i just do my very best and in order to be totally accountable to my clients, i read the whole transcript after we meet to see if i missed anything.  LOTS MORE WORK!


i am so sad that all the movies have those captioned glasses now (no more captioned movies, not that there were that many to choose from before) because the glasses hurt my nose and it sure is NOT relaxing. so now, movies are out, too. i used to go to at least 2 movies/month when i had my hearing


i so miss the theatre – i grew up going to plays in Chicago.  for my high school graduation my parents sent me and my friends to HAIR, live on stage


i can’t “tune in” for yoga class because i can’t sing – so i made up my own way but it’s not pleasant to their or my ears (i’m so off tune), but it’s all i have to give so that’s what i do


having someone in the car with me is super-hard because of the noise of the tires competing with their voice, and i’m not facing them


sometimes i keep myself away from relationships with people that i really like but i can’t understand them


traveling is hard enough for me and with the hearing challenge, it’s exhausting, so i don’t travel much – hardly ever, only if someone in my family is dying or for the women’s yoga retreat


i miss my husband’s jokes and he’s mostly given up on tellin them which is very disappointing for him because that’s his style and how he was raised, and we miss out on that fun


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January 24, 2014
by Guruatma Khalsa

Autoimmune disease remission – how I achieved that status

A woman in my FaceBook autoimmune support group for Relapsing Polychondritis, asked me:

What if anything did you do to be in remission? Was it medication? Supplements? Good luck?

My answer:

I did tons of things! – diet and nutrition, herbs and supplements, alternative/complementary medicine like acupuncture, kiniseology/chiropractic/homeopathy!/reflexology, I was a vegetarian for 17 years (until I needed to eat meat during chemotherapy), finding the right doctors and experimenting to find the right combinations of the right drugs!, busted my ass to wean off all those drugs (years of death-defying, grueling, dangerous effort), I had support and help from family, friends, neighbors, spiritual community  and I also had 13 Medicaid-paid caregivers in the 6 years I was going through the worst stage of the last relapse, LEARNING TO PRIORITIZE AND CHOOSE SELF CARE/SELF NURTURING/SELF LOVE ABOVE ALL ELSE, getting all the mercury fillings out of my teeth!!!, commitment to moving the vehicle of my body and aiming to sweat each day, learning breath awareness and how to control that precious breath of mine!, KUNDALINI  YOGA and MEDITATION since 1978 which helped me break the smoking habit (10 years a smoker), lots of counseling – taking away the ‘ghosts’ of my life and rearranging my attitude, BIG-TIME support from the government and people of USA (I am Fully-favored Disability Status), I used to participate in 12-step programs (coda-alanaon-oa-naranon), etc, etc.

The most important thing I had to learn was that I mattered and that I was in charge of me and all aspects of my life. I had to learn to control the stress of my life. If I get stressed out to death and am not eating good and exercising, keeping up with my yoga and meditation, I relapse – I have proved that so many times in the course of my life. You can look at my medical history and the timeline of my life, and it shows how each time I relapsed, I was pulled WAY OFF CENTER by circumstances on the outside of me. I lost the sense of my own sacredness and there was a price to pay.

I am a teacher; that has healed me immensely and given me reason to ‘keep up’ and keep taking care of this challenging body of mine – I call it ‘purposeful fulfillment’. I work with chronic and critically ill people all over the world, now, and teach Chair Yoga to seniors and the handicapped.

I TEACH WHAT I KNOW and what I learned at death’s door by way of the autoimmune condition of RPC presenting itself to me over and over and over again since I was 18 – I’m almost 62, now. 

PS:   I forgot to add that I had a lot of personal work to do with self-forgiveness and also about how important it is for me to maintain my ideal weight and keep my body vehicle flexible and stretched out so my glandular and nervous systems can work right. And,  I am in the water at aerobics class or doing laps 3 times/wk NO MATTER WHAT!!! since 1998 when the County Hospital Physical Therapy Program started me in the pool for rehab. And about how I had to learn to stop judging everything and everybody in the creator’s play around me – that, for every sequence I initiate in me, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.

How I see it now is that the RPC was my equal and opposite reaction for self-neglect and rigidity. My body revolted and attacked me and gave me no choice but to pay attention, learn (I had to learn!) to take care of number 1, find balance and relax, surrender control, allow and enjoy life. These are my lesson on this journey of self realization.

You made me think a lot about how to answer your question – thanks.

PSPS:  Forgot to mention this –  I sure know by FEELING IT, that sugar and gluten are major triggers for inflammation and every time I eliminate them from my diet, I can feel the difference.  At least for me, they do not support remission of autoimmune activity.

PSPSPS:  One more thing – The kind of yoga I practice is called the ‘the yoga of the householder’ because we have so many 3-minute powerful tools and applications for immediate centering. And then there’s always this moment when we can choose to relax, even if we’re really tired and stressed.


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January 23, 2014
by Guruatma Khalsa
1 Comment

Cochlear Implant in relation to Relapsing Polychondritis & how my RPC support group ROCKS!

I just posted this today (1-23-13), 15 days post-Coclear Implant surgery in my right ear, to my FB Relapsing Polychondritis Awareness Support Group/family:

There were so many RPC considerations in the space of my Cochlear Implant surgery experience :

#1 – like, was it possible that the stress of the surgery would ignite a relapse??? (It sure could!)  My rheumatologist, eye dr (who won’t operate on the cataracts in my eyes for fear of bringing on Iritis/Episcleritis/Uveitis) and PCP all felt it was safe to proceed, that my body has proven itself to be eligible for surgery after 6 years of remission and no RPC activity. The ENT dr that did the surgery was confident enough to go ahead with the CI.

#2 – no one bothered to tell me that I’d have a tube inserted in my throat for the surgery which was done under general anesthesia. Sooo, the first nite (I was at home; it was out-patient surgery) I was in terror thinking that my trachea was inflamed because of RPC and my lungs were burning because of RPC (It sure could be RPC on both counts!).  Next day I found out WHY I felt the way I did – pshwew.

#3 – when the swelling of my head went down and the pressure in my ear (which now has a coil of electrodes threaded through the cochlea) let up, I was having the sensation of intermittent knife-stabbing pains in my ear. I suspected RPC because, although I can’t actually remember the pain, that’s what I kinda think it feels like to have RPC activity in the inner ear after having it happen so many, many times in my life. (It sure could be that!)  My doctor explained that that was a symptom of TMJ from cutting through the temporalis muscle – pshwew.
#4 – I experienced a new and different level of self-promotion at the doctor’s office because he would say to me, “Relax” (about RPC considerations) and I would say, “I feel relaxed; thank you for understanding that this is my job and I am doing what I need to do, asking the questions I need to ask in light of having lost body parts and my hearing for not having asked in the past.”  I needed to educate him where I was coming from. He understood and he was very supportive – pshwew.  I love this doctor – he is a gem!
#5 – the surgery was a great success. My body did MARVELOUS (that’s what my dr said!) but it was very impactual to have this type of surgery where they cut and scrape muscles out of the way and drill through the skull, threading a coil through the cochlea. I am getting back on my feet and activation of the CI is Feb 10th and 11th -4 hr sessions each day. And then I go back about every month for new programming/mapping – for up to a year, I hear, depending on how quickly the brain adapts to the CI. During all this time, I have to manage with one deaf ear aided by a digital hearing aid.  It’s stressful but I am grateful for what I do have, which is the ability to function in the hearing world at all and the possibility that this new CI will work well for me, as they expect it to do.
#6 – I feel SO GRATEFUL to the people of the USA who pay taxes which cover this very expensive and progressive technology and gift that I was blessed to received by way of my Medicaid insurance.
#7 – it felt good to have you all rooting and praying for me, and checking on me.

#8 – I especially loved that (one of the ladies in the group) had approached me and we were privatley messaging each other because of some questions she had had, and then she ended up walking me through my surgery process.  Life is mutual.
#8 – I love this group and how we help each other; it has impacted my life in so many ways to have a family of people who even know what RPC is, much less that we actually live with this rare disease which can so easily turn into a life-threatening & critical illness with so much damage and loss.
#9 – thanks so much for listening and for being there for me!


Guruatma serves as a mentor for those who suffer from chronic or critical illness, as well as their family members. To inquire about or schedule a one-on-one session, click here:

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December 21, 2013
by Guruatma Khalsa
1 Comment

“How am I going to convince my doctor that I’m suffering?” -from one who is dealing with a rheumatological condition yet to be diagnosed

My response:

First of all, you’re doing a great job of fending for yourself in a really REALLY challenging arena full of so many unknowns – BESIDES that you’re probably exhausted, feeling desperate and living in an unacceptable amount of pain with everything else that’s on your plate while you’re trying to move through this block. So, start out by honoring your warrior spirit and giving yourself credit for ‘keeping up’ in the face of this test.

Keep promoting yourself by speaking up and telling the truth. There is no better way to get your SOS message across than by continuing to call your doctor when you know you feel you’re suffering unnecessarily.

It’s not unusual to run up against a doctor’s reservations – they could be acting according to the oath they took to not harm their patients, and remember, they probably decided to be a doctor in the first place to help people.  

Another thing to consider – they don’t want to be sued, so they proceed with caution sparked by justifiable fear.

If you have energy to do so, go deeper into the investigation by calling all over your area and asking other rheumatology clinics if they can help you.  If you don’t have the energy, is there a family member or friend who could help you google possibilities and call around?

Maybe your present doctor has a referral for another rheumatologist you can seek out for a second opinion – doctors belong to networks.

What about your insurance company?

I know with Medicaid, I had a Care Coordinator assigned to my case. They might not announce that right up front and you have to dig that person up, but they ARE there for promoting your case and solving problems, like finding the right doctor for you.  

Even at the County Hospital System, I eventually found out that they have Patient Advocates.

If you have private insurance,  call and tell them what’s going on – everything you know about it, and what you don’t know, and what you need to find out ASAP. Most likely they will want to hear what you have to say because they won’t want to pay for whatever may be damaged should you go untreated – this is how they work.  At least it will be on record that you banged on their door. At most, you will find an opening and further your investigation.

I’m only sharing with you what I had to learn to do for myself – I was where you’re at for 24 years worth of undiagnosed relapses that were treated with the wrong medications.  That was only my initiation and once I was diagnosed with Relapsing Polychondritis, I had to learn how to work with and successfully promote myself through the medical system.  

You have every right to knock on any and every door you can find.

Be professional, and firm, too. It’s like a job that you have now and you want excellent records (proof!) – take notes, write the time and date, and get the name of every single person you talk to.  There is a chain of command and people have to answer for themselves all the way up through that organizational hierarchy.

And every time you run into a wall, ask that person who’s helping you to please direct you to someone who CAN help you, or someone who can find you someone who can help you – OR THEIR BOSS. Insurance companies are all set up for this – they HAVE TO BE PREPARED to handle cases just like yours.

You do your job and let them do their job to serve you.

I learned to be grateful for and trust the message behind the pain that was true to me and kicking my butt, begging for my full attention.

Pain is a SMART and true message to follow up on.  If you wait and your inflammation is not arrested, you could incur irreversible damage. 

I would never tell anyone to ‘trust me’ because you are your own best doctor and your best answers lie within, but I can share my true story that parallels yours.

I learned the hard way and lost body parts, and my hearing!

“There is a way through every block.”   yb


Guruatma serves as a mentor for those who suffer from chronic or critical illness, as well as their family members. To inquire about or schedule a one-on-one session, click here:

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Featured Image by Susan Plum – Naturaleza Oculta series/drawing 2

December 12, 2013
by Guruatma Khalsa

Yoga & Meditation for Recuperation & Re-entry after Chronic & Critical Illness – putting ‘Humpty Dumpty’ back together again.

One of my testimonials was recently published in the book:


– simple practices for lasting transformation using yoga, meditation & journaling

by Kathe Forrest

with the KRI Seal of Approval

Guruatma’s experience: (pgs 21-23)

After an extended period of chemotherapy (5 yrs), high-dosage prednisone (11 yrs) and taking many (about 20) other prescription drugs for 11 years, my nervous system was shot – I WAS A WRECK and felt like a walking, open and festering wound still fighting on the warfront.

Even thought I thought I was insane to do it, because I knew I would definitely suffer to even try, I committed to doing a 40-days of  the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) yoga and meditation Kriya to Balance and Recharge the Nervous and Immune System

It cooled me down and definitely put me back together again – that’s why I named it the “Humpty Dumpty Kriya”.

It was super-challenging to hold my arms up, so I started with 3 minutes and worked my way up to 11.  The end of the exercise is where you reallyhave to work the hardest and over time, I could feel things adjusting in my systems and coming into balance.

This was no magic trick – I had to kick-butt and somehow the ‘oomph’ i needed to do the exercises was provided therein.

It promises to slowly and steadily build a very strong steel-like stamina in you and that is exactly what it delivered.

I extended the 40-day practice many times, till I felt I could afford to stop doing it.

It safely brought me back into life.  I really don’t what else on earth could have pulled off that miracle and I’m forever grateful for the gift of that particular yogic tool.

Another meditation that proved to be very powerful in my life was from ‘The Mind’ book written by Yogi Bhajan, PhD and Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, PhD; it’s called, Deep Memory of a Past Projection.

So here I was, brought back to life and I find myself PROFOUNDLY DEAF! and no longer able to listen to music, with numb feet (peripheral neuropathy) and all kinds of other unbelievable-to-me, life-altering conditions on my plate.

WHO WAS I??? if I could not be the singer and the runner and the everything-else-that-I used-to-be?  All my energy was totally sucked into that irresistible memory of my past identity.  Just like it says in the book, I was “tempted, hypnotized and distracted” by my attachment.

It was a terrible time in my life; I felt totally disoriented, desperate, depressed and REALLY MAD!  I was alive but jet-lagged from life as I knew it.

I seriously questioned why I was alive and I demanded God to SHOW ME! what could possibly be the justification for hanging out on earth any longer in this condition.

This meditation felt sooooo SOOTHING to me; it has a breath pattern that I just loved!

Thanks to repeating this meditation for many 40-day cycles, I was able to pick up and walk forward.  It did the trick and I was able to drop the past, much to my surprise.

And it’s effects linger even after all these years – it lives and breathes with me.

Because I’m late-deafened and have a memory bank of 43 years of normal hearing, when I wake up in the morning my consciousness automatically presents with the memory of being able to HEAR but, I soon find out that I am still deaf.

This meditation is my forever-anchor; it provided me with a tool that is always ‘under my belt’.  It helps me absorb that waking-up shock so that I am able to move right into coaching myself, “This is who you are, today, guruatma. You can do this and ‘keep up’    …and be happy!”

My soul’s purposeful fulfillment depended on finding this platform to perch on.  It keeps me in the reality and I get to practice not relating to anything that limits me.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this precious and powerful technology.

Guruatma K Khalsa at

Guruatma serves as a mentor for those who suffer from chronic or critical illness, as well as their family members. To inquire about or schedule a one-on-one session, click here:

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