I am coming from a place of wellness today, although I am on a never ending journey of wellness. And, you can choose to follow my self created wellness program, S.P.E.A.R. AND S.W.I.M INTO WELLNESS, if it resonates. This is my “Integrative Approach to Recovery.” Recovery from anything.
Yesterday, the Universe said to me, “I need you to walk the talk today.” I do not believe that this was a test of my trust, or my devotion to God or to myself, as this is part of my daily wellness regimen, but as a reminder of my own inner strength, and that of my unbreakable bond with God, and my implicit trust in my own knowledge and choices. And to remind myself of the wide variety of holistic tools that I have in my possession, at a moment’s notice, even as I found myself in a sudden traumatic experience.
In two weeks, I will begin my 10th year of “wellness recovery” from substance use disorder and mental illness. I could not be more proud of how I took over the trajectory of a sudden traumatic experience and turned it into a spiritual lesson.
What a day yesterday turned out to be, March 16, 2022…
It had become increasingly more difficult and painful to walk, to move my wrists, and extremities in these past few months, and most especially the past couple of weeks. I decided to hire a new group of specialists as I was guided by Spirit. The signs kept showing me, specifically, where to seek help, and it was shown to be of imminent importance. I always say that when we are open, and have a spiritual relationship with the Universe, we see and hear beyond our physical limitations.
I saw the first orthopedic specialist early in the morning. She took the time to actually show me and to explain my MRI results. Heartbreaking. I am diagnosed, in addition to Lupus and Osteoporosis, severe degenerative disc disease. And stenosis. At the base of my spine, there is a disc bulging backwards onto the spine and compressing the nerve. This is the reason for the complete numbness, pain, and weakness, widespread. My face, neck, arms, back, legs, feet. Debilitating.
She injected me in my backside, (yup), with a very high dose of steroids as she explained that the “nerve was very angry” and this would “calm it down.” She sent me home to rest until I would see the second specialist, a pain management specialist, late in the afternoon. The burning from the injection was unbearable, on top of the excruciating pain, and I rested until I had to leave for pain management.
This is where I stand in my power. As debilitating as the pain was, barely able to drive, sit, stand, or walk, the first thing that I shared with these new doctor’s was my history with substance use disorder. “I do not take any narcotics” I explained. And gave some important information to help them to understand my decision. Believe me, I don’t think anyone would have worried about me yesterday if I had asked for pain meds. That was the level of “off the chart” pain I was experiencing, and had been for weeks affecting my entire quality of life. However, the doctor’s were so supportive, and assured me that there were many options, one being an epidural. And, of course continuing my walking and PT as I can, with an emphasis on my mindful breathing and visualization for calming, healthy eating, hydration, and my regular daily wellness routine.
The epidural will be at a later date, as yesterday I was given a total of 11 more injections at the pain management doctor’s office, right into my back, and yes, again, into my backside. These injections were filled with a very strong additional anti-inflammatory, and other drugs to numb the nerve that was “so angry.” It was so traumatic. The painful injections, one after another, were relentless. Immediately, I reminded myself of my visualization and breathing strategy that is my first “go-to” for calming and focus. I did not want to tense up knowing this would only exacerbate the pain. I went within, into my mind to visualize a color that I assign to hope, and then “breathed in hope.” And then breathed out a color that I had assigned to pain. “Breathe out the pain.” Slowly, and purposefully, breathe, focus on my vision, listen to my breath, and guide my thoughts to healing.
Although this is not something I will “heal” from, they tell me they can absolutely manage the pain, numbness, and mobility. I cried afterwards. Sobbed. Hysterically. Partially from the fear that I had felt, and mostly for the gratitude of pain relief and almost immediate movement of my wrists. My greatest worry was that I would lose the ability to walk, or be in a wheelchair. I said to the doctor, “Just tell me the truth. As long as I have my brain, I can make peace with anything. I just want to continue to serve and to do the work that I love.” As he smiled at me with great empathy, His answer was, Aww, not a chance that this will happen.”
He did prescribe a medication, long term, for skeletal, muscle and joint pain (non narcotic) that has proved effective, and when I wasn’t sure, he said, “You have no quality of life, its all hands on deck now.” Yes, I had just said that to a close friend the other day. “I have no quality of life.”
I will be honest and say that my greatest inspiration for the healthy choices that I made yesterday, including how I “reframed” the sudden traumatic experience was to be a shining example for my children in the face of acute adversity. Throughout the entire day yesterday, my children were texting and calling, along with my closest friends. I wanted to lead by example so that my children, would witness my strength and my decision to stay in control of my mind, and in the face of great adversity, to choose wellness through healthy practices and self care. I made an immediate decision to practice all that I teach in my book and in my trainings. S.PE.A.R. first. Then S.W.I.M. (Chapter 6 of Write Pray Recover) I listened to God’s request to “walk the talk.” I had prayed in the morning, and countless mornings prior, to be led to the doctors who could provide empathy, relief and healing, and God ALWAYS has the last word.
Thy will be done.
And so it is.
My son was extremely worried and was being challenged to remain calm by what he was observing. I knew that this experience was a spiritual opportunity to be the “spiritual first responder” that I am in showing him (and my daughters) that I took the time to self regulate, and to S.P.E.A.R. AND S.W.IM. To stop, pause, allow myself to emote as I needed to release, and that my reframe was all about allowing myself to feel how I felt in those hours, then practicing acceptance during the time of the injections and in accepting my new “normal” for my health, and choosing to stay in control, and then re-aligning with myself and God, and reframing this experience as an opportunity to enhance my wellness, and my spiritual connection, and most importantly, to provide for my children a perspective of responding to adversity and challenge through a wider lens. A lens of mindful wellness, self regulation, and self care. And, being proactive in my health and wellness decisions and goals.
It is a choice.
Although I did not sleep much last night, the numbness is 90% gone, and my mobility has increased about 50%. I am moving slowly, and the doctor tells me that by Sunday, I should be feeling much better.
As my son said to me early in my recovery, and that I talk about in my new book, Write Pray Recover:A Journey To Wellness Through Spiritual Solutions and Self Care, “slow and steady wins the race.” Great advice in every situation.
This is my newest testimony of prayer, a spiritual relationship, and taking control of my mind in every situation using my S.P.E.A.R. AND S.W.I.M. INTO WELLNESS program where I use an integrative approach to wellness.
It ALL begins with the awareness of what I want for myself, how I want to feel, how I want to serve others through my experiences, and enhancing that of my own wellness.
I hope you will find the time to read my book, and adapt the practices that resonate with you.
We really do make the choice in what part of our mind that we “feed.” Illness, or wellness.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more, and work with me in reaching your own health and wellness goals through an integrative approach.
Love and blessings,