in Truth, my pen can not write words that can express how i actually feel about the distinction, the honor, the triumph and the deep satisfaction of BEING AWARE in the moments my precious breaths deliver to me. what i really-really crave, my true thirst and hunger is all wrapped around standing under and grasping, ‘getting it’, what a blessing it is to be awake, satisfied and conscious in that purposeful relationship. “Remove me not from Thee afar.” sggs
My journey to the Optimum Health Institute, www.optimumhealth.org began 3 years ago. I was a borderline workaholic along with being physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. Then along came a car accident, which I thought was minor at the time. I soon discovered that I had 3 herniated discs, a pinched nerve, and nerve injuries to both feet from slamming on the brakes! I was to become a sufferer of chronic pain. I had never had any medical issues in the past and had never been on medications of any sort. I now found myself taking medication, using ice packs, balms, tonics, and anything that could relieve the pain even for a short time. Walking was excruciating, sleeping impossible due to muscle cramps/spasms and nerve pain. The stress of my demanding job and the fact that my daughter also had an injury from the accident, debilitating chronic headaches, took us on a descending spiral. I finally left my job last spring and I thought I was going to be able to attend to my injuries in a more focused way. Three months later, I found myself in the hospital for 7 days, 3 of which I have no recollection of, with meningitis. I learned after my release from the hospital that I had contracted West Nile Virus, which has had long lasting effects. At that time I was also diagnosed with Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. I had just tried to begin walking the neighborhood track and, I had apparently been bitten by a mosquito. The smallest events can have huge consequences. Since that time I have not been able to get a handle on improved health. My blood sugar readings were affected negatively by the medication they gave me in the hospital and even drinking green smoothies wasn’t helping. Nothing I tried was helping and I was getting weaker and more decrepit with every passing day. I’m a grandmother of 3 and I looked the part of a wobbly frail old lady. Now I have no problem getting older, I consider it a badge of honor to have persevered for 54 years, but to have lost my hardy stamina and to rely on a cane to walk was so depressing.
As the despair and pain of the past 3 years left me feeling hopeless, a friend of mine took me to a practitioner that she saw regularly. The practitioner took a fairly quick look at me and told my friend I must choose to live or to die at that moment. She said that I must go to the Optimum Health Institute in Austin ASAP, and within 48 hours I was on the road to Austin. The practitioner had visited OHI herself some years back to recover from a stroke.
OHI is a magical place, with all the means to make miracles happen. Wheatgrass, raw foods, probiotic drinks, purified water, exercises to support the lymphatic system, colonics, classes, etc. all create an atmosphere of healing and rejuvenation. Some guests come yearly for a detoxifying stay, some come back as cancer survivors, the stories are amazing.
Within 24 hours of arriving at OHI my blood sugar readings dropped below normal, I had to eat a piece of fruit to stabilize and I have not taken my medication since. My levels have risen again some since returning home, it is a challenge to reinvent OHI at home but I am working hard on that goal. Having fresh wheatgrass grown on site and your meals places in front of you are so helpful during the detoxification process. As I said earlier, pain has been a constant issue for me and I do use a cane to walk, while at OHI I had a day free of pain and I was able to walk without my cane, it was amazing!
I always believed it was possible but now, I have something tangible to recreate. I would be happy to speak with anyone who is interested in discussing the possibility of planning a stay at OHI. Taking a few moments to read the online testimonials of other OHI guests and their experiences healing from cancer and other chronic conditions is particularly helpful as I was able to hear firsthand about the experiences of those who shared my stay in Austin. There is also a location in San Diego but people travel from California and all over to the Austin locale. I encourage you to visit the OHI website, www.optimumhealth.org as every aspect of the program is readily available to explore.
I heard that the minute we start thinking of our ‘comfort food’ (we all have one, doancha know) and make the decision to go after it, our body immediately starts to flood with relief. That ‘relaxation response’ is as fast and direct as any medicine we could put through our body by vein, except for some medicines that are used by an anesthesiologist. And then, it’s pretty much a tiebreaker, because the ‘relaxation response’ is partially done with the very same medicines that are used for the induction of anesthesia – all of this is happening in the center of the brain
i found these obesity stats the other day and so, i have been thinking about human eating patterns/habits/behavior, wondering how our tendency to be obese relates to chronic/critical illness and autoimmune disease:
The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention released a new report in which they indicated that an estimated 42% of Americans will be obese by the year 2030. That’s roughly an additional 32 million Americans who will become obese in the next 18 years.
Six million American adults have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 40+ and are classed as morbidly obese, almost twice as high as in 1980, while another 9.6 million have a BMI of 35-40.
The economic cost of obesity is immense. In the USA, the direct medical costs of obesity is calculated at more than $93 billion a year.
In 2008 Americans spent more than $40 billion on diets and weight loss products and, diet and weight loss supplements reached sales of $16.1 billion.
one of my chronic/critical illness clients fell off a roof and hurt himself BAD. he has been battling it out with his recuperative process for way over a year and, god only knows all what he has been through with his life getting thrown up in the air like that. he just sent THIS to me:
One thing I’ve done, too, is I’ve made a list of “The Things That Make Me Feel Better” because when I feel bad I can’t remember what they are. One thing that isn’t on the list is more medication.
how smart is THAT for a pain-management, coping technique!
i remember totally losing touch with my creative, self-promotional mind when i got to a certain point of hanging out in terrible pain. the last person who could help me was me; it was like i got swallowed by a whale. i would ‘lose it’ and get totally overcome with dissatisfaction and complaining – eaten alive by this down-ward spiraling, super-poweful, all-consuming, negative force
at one point, one of my caregivers helped me create a stack of colored index cards that were held together on the side by a key ring
she typed out labels for me and we attached them to the different cards, so that when i felt i was falling down into the well, i would go find my cards and flip through them, finding SOMETHING that i COULD DO, to catch me, distract me – re-route the energy
-do a breathing exercise
-have i eaten?
-remember, your doctor said, “tapering prednisone is HARD!”
-IT’S NOT ME, IT’S THE DRUGS
-“You have the strength to overcome this challenge.”
i just received this from one of my yoga students who is recuperating from major surgery and soon to have another (one month in-between):
Your concern means a lot to me. I am fine and have started my physical thereapy practice every day.
I wanted to ask you what do you suggest to increase energy. That is my need – to increase my level of energy.
here was my answer:
thank you for asking and, as usual, i will encourage you/direct you to your Self for that answer
you are a yogi and, you already know to deeply listen to your body’s messages and obey them because, that’s where our truth-FULL answers lie
i believe the most important thing you need to keep in mind is that your body is right now in a SUPREME HEALING-MODE and,especially because you have another surgery coming right up, to rest rest rest rest rest
try to do one very pranic thing a day – aim to get your breath, body and psyche stimulated. in some way ‘stir things up’ and have a refreshing mini-event every day – like soaking up some sun and fresh air for a moment or, peeking at the stars in the nite, call a friend, do art, ask someone to bring you a treat to eat
practicing ‘breath of fire’ will purify the toxins from the drugs- even one minute a day will be so beneficial! work up to 3 mins or, do 3 sets of 1 minute each
and, when you are awake, just keep moving about your home, tending to your needs and doing your Physical Therapy program – good for you to hold to that discipline!
how does that sound?
compare/compete/confuse – remember, never look back and tomorrow is a new day
this is a very fragile/vulnerable/tender/special/transitional/’guarded’ healing event/era in your life
focus on your gratitudes and congratulate your body for ‘keeping up’ with this challenge
ask for help when/where you need it and, allow others to serve you – it is their honor and blessing
eat pranic/’life-force’ foods and LAUGH with your friends : -)
meditate and be in peace with all what it is and what it is not
sending my love and thanks for including me in your process
ps – try to arrange for a foot rub. anyone can do that for you – they don’t need to be a professional massage person. you lay down in bed or on the couch and put your feet in their lap, or you sit in a chair and they sit on the floor. use lotion or almond oil (or olive oil)
if you were to ask me what i am most grateful for, i useta woulda said my eyes
someone asked Helen Keller if she would rather be deaf or blind (can ya ba-leeve they actually asked her THAT!) and she said, in a blink (no pun intended), she would choose to be blind. she said, “Blindness separates you from ‘things’ and deafness separates you from people.”
i so agree with that as i live in a constant state of battling it out with chemotherapy-induced, bi-lateral, profound hearing loss – deafness really does skip a whole lot of human-interaction information right over my head
i spend a great deal of my energy internally counseling myself that it’s ok if i missed this, that and everything else that i don’t pick up on in the hearing world, especially where human voices enter the picture
being late-deafened has certainly given me a priceless advantage, because i own a 45-yr -old memory bank of all the gross and subtle facets of communication within the english language but, there’s so many things that i just can’t catch (like all the jokes that are shot and dropped out there at such high speed – bummer)
i tell people it’s like playing 3-D SUDAKO all day long, trying to fill in the blanks and beat the clock, while holding back from guessing it wrong and catching up from blowing it – all at the same time
…ANYWAY, what prompted this blog was my realization, this morning, that i had changed my mind about what i am most grateful for
hands down (pun intended), today i declare my hands which happen to have my fingers attached on one end and my arms on the other, get my ‘two thumbs up’ vote
even when i take a nap, i have my vibrating timer tucked into one of my hands and when i’m up and zooming around, i can’t think of one thing that i do that does not require my hands to be serving me
let’s ‘have a hand’ for this lovely day full of the sounds of thunder thundering and fan motors whirring the ac about and, busy hands producing blogs
when i was weaning off long-term/high-dosage sleeping pills during my last relapse, my caregivers would prepare a thermos with 2 cup of boiling water and put 6-8 bags of Calming Tea in there. In the nights, when i would wake up (many times), i would sip on that concentrated tea and manage to get back to sleep
here we are, in the midst of watching the athletes in the world olympics battling it out, breaking records, getting up and going on with it after ‘blowing it’ – keeping up in the face of supreme challenge
while i’m watching these events, i can’t help but thinking of who, today, is fighting to survive some great human challenge that requires strength and perseverance no less admirable than what it takes these athletes to endure and succeed
i wonder who is pushing through a contraction to deliver their baby
i am thinking of my friend who had major surgery to replace her hip, yesterday
who is cooking a meal for their family and picking their kids up from school, counting down the hours until their dr apt where they will hear their test results, their “diagnosis”
who is in the midst of the throws of a drug up-take or weening cycle, holding on and maybe not having support to remind them that all the bad feelings and lack of control are not about them – “It’s not me, it’s the drugs
i am remembering how i often thought i should receive an academy award (no lie!) for ‘faking it to make it’ as my chronic/critical illness battle dragged out for yet another year
when i would manage to come up for air, i thought in my mind that i actually deserved to win the judge’s vote, be called up on a stage and given a medal or trophy (a bouquet of flowers would have sufficed) and, recognized for what it just took for me to get to that place, after living through what i figured to match the intensity, pain and insanity of fighting on the warfront in vietnam