I first wrote this in July 2008. It refers back to the path I took to get my body to stop aching and what I did to help my body heal and get stronger. I had been to my doctor in 2004 or 2005 so I knew I had a basic foundation of health (blood work, blood pressure, etc.) and my body still ached so I figured it was time to begin my quest (safely!) for health. I am NOT a doctor. PLEASE NOTE: CONSULT A DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING ANY HEALTH PROGRAM TO MAKE SURE IT FITS YOUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS. This is my journey.
Ode To An Aching Body
To soak in pain/relentless/it exhausts me/I cannot breathe/I am not in the mirror/that is not me/I want to unzip my body and let my soul free/and escape this cocoon of pain.
I wrote that in 2004 when my body constantly ached. I slept and ate poorly, was constantly stressed, and stopped exercising. It didn’t matter, right? I was a SPIRITUAL person. Well, when you hurt, all you can focus on is your physical body and I needed this physical vehicle to be the spiritual person I wanted to be. I was never officially diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia or anything of that sort and I didn’t pursue an official diagnosis because years ago someone had told me that those people were crazy. I wasn’t crazy, but I did hurt so I told people that I wasn’t feeling well, didn’t sleep well the night before, or was tired. I believe in utilizing both Western and Eastern medicine and now was the time for me to walk my talk. I decided I had to do something or else I was going to get worse; so I dedicated the 2006-2007 school year to getting my body strong. My son would be in third grade and my daughter would be in preschool for a few hours a week. I figured my body did not get this way overnight, so I would approach it like weight gain in pregnancy, nine months on/nine months off; although, I wasn’t quite sure how long this was going to take.
1. Start a journal. I made sure I wrote down every day what I was eating, what supplements I took (multi-vitamin, calcium/magnesium with vitamin D, B-vitamins, SAMe, sometimes Floradix (a B-vitamin/iron liquid), etc.), how I slept, what time I went to bed and what time I awoke in the morning, how I felt (my own subjective rating and details), if I had exercised and what I did and for how long, etc.
2. I had a Chinese nutritional consultation. She confirmed what I thought–too many carbohydrates and suggested making bone stock for my body to absorb nutrients. I did but I quickly moved on to canned organic chicken or minestrone soup. I decided to eat soup every day for lunch because I could be consistent with what I ate at that time. I bought mostly organic groceries.
3. I put myself on a sleep schedule. I had done this for my children using a book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child by Dr. Marc Weisbluth. A very nice woman who was sitting next to me while I was flying with my son who was probably about three-months-old at the time wrote this book title on the back of her business card for me, so thank you Linda where ever you are! So, I tried to go to bed consistently at 10 p.m. and get up around 6 a.m. Sometimes I took an over-the-counter sleep aid. I added a cushion to the top of my bed.
4. I listened and relistened to and read and reread the spiritual teachers I resonated with, including Louise Hay and Hay House Radio, Denise Linn, Bernie Siegel, Caroline Myss (she asks how much of your energy is focused in present time and what the payoff for you is, for example are you getting out of things, are you getting sympathy, etc. and are you willing to give that up and take responsibility for your life), Dr. Eric Pearl, Sylvia Browne (she says eat more protein), Sonia Choquette, Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz, and many others. These helped inspire me and gave me the momentum to move forward emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. The two books that helped me decide which supplements to take were: The New Feminine Brain by Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz and From Fatigued to Fantastic by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum.
5. Exercise. I started off walking and gradually increased the time and interspersed walking and running. Sonia Choquette says, “Don’t talk on it, walk on it” in order to “get out of your head and into your body.”
6. Get out into nature. I am sure everyone knows this but to remember to do it is another thing.
7. Have regular massage (or acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, etc.) Before every appointment I set my intention that I was going for healing and supporting my body. These are things you should be doing BEFORE you get sick. I think they can oftentimes prevent illness, you know preventative medicine and you go to your appointments when you are feeling okay or starting to feel the very beginnings of stress rather than waiting to be scraped up off the bathroom floor you’re so sick. I also believe that you need to find a practitioner who you look forward to seeing and enjoy the experience of being there and are happy and content after the appointment. It should be with someone who truly appreciates you and who you truly appreciate; I feel this allows the magic of healing to happen. It is in that deep, deep quiet place where you almost feel like you are floating. Don’t be afraid to keep looking for that person you resonate with. And sometimes, you have found that person but one of you changes and you have done what needed to be done and it becomes clear that you must move on, even though they are skilled in their craft.
8. Bikram yoga. I love yoga in general, but there is something magical about Bikram yoga (hot yoga where you do postures in a very hot room and do a lot of sweating that is very healing) for a body that is hurting. I did as much Bikram yoga as I could for a month (about 2-3 times a week) and then went down to 1-2 times a week. Just try it for 30 days.
9. Sign up for fun classes with fun people. I realized when I was talking to my friends, I felt better and was distracted from the aching. Afterwards, though, I would feel drained and tired. I realized that it’s my life and noone was going to schedule fun things for me to do except for me. Write them in pen on the calendar. Sometimes part of it is all in your head, think about how you feel when you are going to meet your awesome friends for a lunch where you end up laughing the whole time. You look forward to the lunch and anticipate how much fun it will be and how tasty the food will be. I thought about the healing stories I had heard when someone had been diagnosed with an illness and he or she made a drastic change in his or her life (quit the job, took the spiritual voyage-if not now, when?-and stopped living from a place of fear and started making choices from a place of love).
10. I read my tarot cards for inspiration, did Reiki and Reconnective Healing on myself, chanted, meditated, did positive affirmations (there was always a piece of paper with an affirmation in my pocket usually accompanied by a rock or crystal), and reflexology (there’s something to those sore, tender points).
11. I drank kombucha tea and spirulina green juice.
So, after all of this, I felt pretty healthy but my body still hurt, I tried different candida yeast cleansing herb capsules from my local health food store. I had previously dismissed candida yeast and did not believe it could be a problem. After trying a few different brands, I found one unassuming bottle that contained pau d’arco, oregano oil, black walnut, and caprylic acid that said it supported a “healthy balance of intestinal flora,” a statement which, like most herbal remedies, had not been evaluated by the FDA. I tried the capsules for ten days, took a week off, and started another cycle and one day soon after, when I was writing my quick five minutes in my journal, I realized that my body didn’t hurt. I didn’t realize until I started writing in my journal about how I was feeling that I actually did not hurt or ache and that I felt “normal, but not great normal.” It was subtle, quiet. That day was at the end of January 2007. I did not ache for a couple hours that day. That was a turning point for me because I realized that it was possible for my body to stop hurting. And if I could stop it from hurting for a couple hours then I could extend that to days, weeks, months, and years. I do not know what exactly stopped my body from hurting–the organic food, the massages, Bikram yoga, the candida yeast capsules, everything I did, a move to a slightly drier climate, or coincidence maybe? All I know is that something clicked back into place and I could catch my breath, the breath I had been holding for two to three years while my body ached. I still have days when I feel that aching start in my shoulders and that’s my cue to begin to eat better, sleep more, take my vitamins, get a massage or acupuncture, do something fun, go to Bikram yoga, and pay attention to my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual sides. I realize that not all pain is the same and pain can be related to different diseases. But for some, there can be learning in pain and oftentimes, there is a time to move on as well and not let it define who you are. Good health to you, many blessings and namaste!
I ‘d like to add that last year (2009) I did a cleanse and took wheat, dairy, soy, and corn briefly out of my diet. I came to realize that I had a sensitivity to wheat that would make my tongue, lips, and the inside of my mouth slightly swollen. Because the inside of my mouth, lips and tongue were slightly swollen, I would accidentally bite them which would turn into a mouth sore/canker sore. By being aware of how much wheat and sugary things I am consuming, I am better able to monitor the mouth sore/canker sore situation and off-set it by eating soup, more vegetables, and/or by taking candida yeast cleansing capsules. It might even work for fever blisters. It makes for a much happier, healthier me. Many blessings!*!*!