My Memory of Health

My memory of health returned to me in the summer of 2015. It was a slow build that began when I listened to my heart and ended my marriage. It wasn’t about my marriage though, it’s just that at that time, it marked a huge turning point for me, because instead of ignoring my intuition, I began following it about everything in my life.

My work with an amazing Homeopath that began in January of 2015, put me on a collision course with my well-being, body, mind, and spirit. I had initially not believed that my Homeopath could in fact get me off of many of my medications as she claimed she could, several of which were antibiotics that I had been taking for Lyme Disease and co-infections since July 2012. I believed (and my doctors had told me) with everything in me that I needed the antibiotics to rid me of the Lyme bacteria that had invaded my heart and brain. After all, every time I had stopped taking the antibiotics, I would have recurrences of chest pain reminiscent of my initial bout of pericarditis in the Fall of 2009. By the end of July 2015, after over 3 years on oral antibiotics, the yeast was gaining strong footing in my body, and I had to temporarily stop the antibiotics so I could start a stronger anti-fungal medication that was incompatible with the other medications. I knew that I didn’t have a choice, but I was very nervous about stopping the antibiotics. I had become so conditioned to need medication to prevent chest pain.

I had begun meditating in July of 2015 as a coping mechanism during a difficult time in my life. I used it to deal with overwhelming sadness and anxiety. Every time my mind began to spiral into stressful thoughts, I’d set a timer on my phone for varying lengths of time depending on what I had going on, 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, and meditate. I’d clear my mind and focus on my breathing. What I noticed after doing this for a week or two was that I began to see the bigger picture of my life situation. I began to be very aware that my soul was working on bigger things than I could be aware of at that time. I gained an amazing sense of peace that all was right in the world and in my life, and that even as the stressful situation continued, it did not shake me out of that bigger sense of knowing. I was blanketed in a peace unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I sometimes forget about that week of peace. Essentially, it gave me the knowing that that level of peace was all I needed to be seeking in life. I became committed to not stopping until I attained it again. I began to live with a conviction to not put up with situations or people in my life that disrupted my inner peace.

As I was off the antibiotics for days, then a week, then 2 weeks, I kept thinking that I would restart them, but I kept NOT starting them. At that point, I was over taking handfuls of pills every day, multiple times a day. There were pills I had to take when I woke up, before breakfast. There were pills, I needed to take with breakfast. There were probiotics I had to take 2 hours after the pills with breakfast. There were pills I then had to take again at lunch, and yet again with dinner. There were pills I had to take before bed. From the beginning, I was taking medications to ward off the side effects of other medications. My medication regimen felt like a full-time job in and of itself. The yeast issues were the last straw. I was done. My body confirmed this and began making me gag every time I took a pill.

More importantly, my symptoms weren’t returning!! I didn’t have any chest pain! I was shocked, and happily surprised! So I then began to pose some questions to myself. What exactly made me “sick”? Was I sick because I had been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and a host of other tick-born infections, or was it based on how I felt? In that moment, I decided that from then on, it was going to be based on how I felt, and I felt great!

I continued my daily homeopathy remedy, but I stopped every other medication and supplement I had been taking. I realize that it was extreme to stop the supplements and my antidepressant, but after starting the pill routine almost 6 years earlier in the winter of 2009 following my emergent heart surgery (pericardial window), I began to gag at the mere thought of taking pills. My body was rejecting that lifestyle, and I finally started to listen to my body.

I started thinking of myself as healthy, and cured. It was a way of thinking that went against what my doctor and specialist were telling me, because they say that Lyme Disease can never be cured. But here I was feeling fine, after years of a dis-ease that had been severely constricting my ability to live my life with freedom to do the things I so loved to do like hike, working full-time 12+ hours as a Registered Nurse, and taking care of my son on my days off. It felt like a miracle. I had never thought that I’d ever be free from my symptoms, let alone my medications. As I changed my thoughts about my dis-ease, the shift in my health was AMAZING!!

By the summer of 2016, I was testing my body and getting back into hiking! I remember my first long, solo hike to Corbett Lake like it was yesterday. It was a 6.3 mile hike that began at 7,400 feet elevation and went mostly uphill to 9,070 feet. I’ve read online that the hike involves a total of 19 switchbacks up on the way in, and down on the way out. I was feeling great and had done smaller hikes leading up to this one, but when I hit that trail, I didn’t really know for sure that I’d be able to do it. It was such a gorgeous hike! Hiking solo meant that I could stop to catch my breath on the switchbacks without feeling bad about it. I stopped to eat when I felt hungry. I hiked my own way, in my own time and it felt so empowering! At one point, I got to a vista that overlooked the a lake below and the surrounding mountains. I stood there beaming, laughing, and then crying with joy at what my body was able to do, and at the beauty of nature all around me. I was back! My health was back! I was completely overwhelmed by the bliss of it all. I stood there with such gratitude for the experience, the strength of my body, and of my resilience. I wondered if others ever cry when they are out hiking and are met with such a beautiful view.

I continued my way up to the lake. I was amazed to have such a amazing spot all to myself. I think I hung out there for 3 or 4 hours that day. I had a dance party on a downed tree and later again on a giant boulder. I swam and snorkeled across the lake. I read a book. I meditated. I took a lakeside nap. I laid in the sun and in the shade. I listened to the wind blow across the water as it caused the clear, alpine lake water to lap at the shore. I marveled at the beauty that was that moment, in its entirety: the lake, my body, my returned/renewed/realized state of wellness.

The last paragraph of Deepak Chopra’s book, “Quantum Healing” could be written about me. “I have no fear for her now, even if she had to begin her battle again. Eleanor is beyond battles — she radiates the peacefulness that she writes about, and spending time with her makes me feel happy and secure, all the more because I understand how rare her peace is. From the despair of disease, she has discovered joy. At the moment when the memory of health returned, it brought her enough peace to last a lifetime.”

From the despair of dis-ease, I discovered my joy, and as my memory of health returned it gave me a power that has been with me ever since and will last my entire lifetime. Before I knew anything about Quantum healing and Ayurveda, I was utilizing some of the techniques without realizing it. I continue to use the power of my mind to change my life, and to help the clients I work with to use the same techniques to heal themselves and change their own lives. It is my passion, my joy, and my soul’s purpose to use my past experiences to empower and inspire others on their own journeys. The time has come for us all to realize the power of our own minds, and the potential that we all hold to live our best, most healthy lives!

If you are currently in a place where you find yourself challenged by dis-ease, then I highly encourage you to sign up for my email newsletter and gain access to a video I made that outlines 5 simple, yet POWERFUL techniques I’ve used on my own healing journey HERE.

Please follow me on FB and IG for more inspirational content and impromptu FB Live videos in which I share the perspective that I’ve gained on my own journey. I also have a Peaceful Jellyfish YouTube channel that can be found HERE.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it! As always, if my words resonate with you and you feel so inclined, reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com. I would love to connect with you! Sending you so much love!

Here’s a link to one of my favorite songs to dance to these days, Matisyahu “Thunder” HERE. Enjoy!

Navigating Through New Lands: Part 3 of my Health Journey

Photo: A glimpse of my planner for September 2012

It has been a while since I shared parts of my healing journey, so if you need a recap, you can read Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.  I had a pretty nasty herx during that visit to Colorado, and wasn’t expecting that severity of chest pain again, along with vomiting and diarrhea.  So I got scared, and went to the local clinic and asked for a prednisone prescription, because it was the only thing that I knew would take the chest pain away. The chest pain was severe, and medications would not touch it.  At the time, I didn’t really put two and two together that I was having a reaction because of the injection of antibiotics I had gotten from the doctor in LA. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that antibiotics would cause my symptoms to worsen before they got better. So I wasn’t prepared to handle the 10/10 chest pain that I was experiencing. I was far from home which meant I was far away from my primary doctor or my cardiologist who could prescribe pain medication for me.

So, I did what I could to get through that time.  I took the supplements that the specialist had given me, and followed the guidelines of things I could do to lessen the herx reaction.  I was forced to lay low, and missed a lot of the fun activities with family during that trip.

I had been instructed by the specialist to have my prescriptions for antibiotics filled when I got home from Colorado and to start taking them at that point.  I started treatment on July 12, 2012, and my world was again turned upside down.  The chest pain, high fevers (up to 103 I believe), and general malaise were unbearable at times, and I really felt like I would die.  I was doing so terribly that my husband at the time arranged it so that he could work from home, afraid that something might happen to me while he was gone.  Aside from the initial instance of illness where I passed out repeatedly from near heart failure, this time in July and August 2012 was the scariest time of my life to date.  I did little more than lie on the couch in pain, sleep, and get up to use the bathroom.  Walking to the mailbox that was about 30 feet (10 meters) from our house was unbearable, because of the severity of my chest pain.  All physical activity aggravated my pain.  I was essentially on body-enforced bed rest with a 3 year old who needed me and didn’t understand why I wasn’t the one mostly taking care of him anymore.  That was really difficult for me.

I ended up getting hooked on the show “The Walking Dead”.  I learned pretty quickly that laughing at comedies, and crying during dramas made me hurt worse.  At that time, zombies created very little emotional response from me, because I viewed it as completely fake and unrealistic.  The summer of 2012 was a bit of a blur.  My severe herx lasted for about a month.  Pain medications prescribed to me by my cardiologist began working, though I was having very strange arrhythmias that I could feel.  For my friends in healthcare, on July 20th, I found out that my CRP was 491 (normal is 0-3) and my sedrate was 103 (normal is about 0-29)!  I ended up having a 24 hour heart monitor placed at one point, but then it the weird heart beats stopped and nothing was revealed.  I remember going to my primary care NP during this time, and speaking to her about how awful I was feeling and how scared I was.  She encouraged me to keep track of the kinds of days I was having by drawing a smiley face, neutral face, or sad face on each calendar day of my planner.  I encourage you to try this method for yourself if you’re experiencing a lot of ups and downs with your health right now as you move towards healing.  It can be a good way to realize that you DO have good days.

I was nervous about heading into my last semester of nursing school with the way my summer had stacked up.  I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to complete the program.  I emailed my teachers to let them know that I wasn’t sure that I’d be finishing with the rest of my class.  I knew that if the chest pain and fevers persisted that there was no way that I could focus on school and physically be able to walk to all of my classes.  But luckily, as the days went on and I continued to take all of my medications and supplements to help with my herx reaction, I started having more smiley face days, than frowns.  On August 4th, I actually got to leave the house and went to a local baseball game with my family.  It felt so good to be outside again.  Aside from doctor’s appointments, I had not left my house in nearly a month!  By August 15th, I was back in my first lecture of my last semester of nursing school.  My planner from that semester is loaded with classes, assignments, clinical shifts, doctor appointments, and events and sports related to my son.  Remembering back to how i felt during that time, and seeing the fluctuation in smiley faces and frowns (that persisted into October), I am amazed that I pulled it all off!!  I completed the semester with my class and went to my Pinning Ceremony on 12/13/12.

By the end of that year, I was feeling a lot better.  In fact, I only kept track of my good and bad days into the beginning of November.  I was feeling more back to myself, and because I had been off of the prednisone since July, I was losing the extra weight gradually.  I don’t think I was prepared for my emotions that released following my Pinning.  The whole thing had been emotional, listening to students and our professors speak, one of which was undergoing treatment for brain cancer that eventually took her life.  She had been the one who fostered my love of working with the babies.  After the ceremony, some of us went outside.  It was just us students.  And I started bawling my eyes out.  I was excited, sure, after all I had worked so hard for this day and had overcome so many obstacles to get there.  But more than that, it was like this thing that I had been focusing on for so long was no longer my focus.  I realized in that moment how much school had been keeping me going.  It redirected my focus and allowed me to focus on something bigger than myself, bigger than all of my problems at the time.  It felt like all of my accumulated stress and sadness of the last 3 years began flowing out of me through my tears.

This portion of my story culminated with me taking and passing the NCLEX exam in January, flying home with my son to see our family, and then landing my first full-time Registered Nurse position in the local hopsital on the oncology unit that I started in March of 2013.  As this was happening, my marriage was coming to a close.  By May of 2013, I was living on my own, working full-time as a Registered Nurse, and taking care of my son on my days off.  I continued traveling to LA (and then to one in San Francisco) regularly to see my Lyme Disease specialist and was having my labs closely monitored.  I continued taking oral antibiotics daily, as well as other medications, and many handfuls of supplements.  I was tired after my 12 hour shifts in the hospital, but my heart felt full, because I was using my experiences to help other people.  I used what I had been through to draw in even more empathy and compassion for all of the patients who crossed my path.

I began to feel a lot better, because I was no longer hiding my truth behind the busyness of nursing school and I was following my intuition to a new life for me and my son.  It took moving through a lot of fear.  I had to let go of a lot of ideals I was holding in my mind’s eye.  I had, after all, really wanted to create an intact and happy family for my son that I did not feel I had as a child.  I had to let go of something I had comitted to, because I had to start fully putting my happiness and health first.  For so many years of my life, I had always put myself last, not feeling worthy of love, not loving myself.  My illness forced me to put myself first for a change, and it was a very uncomfortable process.  But I can tell you that from where I am now, it was a very necessary process.

You see, I have now worked intimately with thousands of people as a Registered Nurse, and I also have people reach out to me now with serious, mystery health issues of their own.  We all seem to have a common thread, an underlying lack of self-love.  It can take years to recognize it.  Maybe you’re reading this and can relate, or maybe it will open your eyes to it for the first time ever.  Think about it:  do you take good care of yourself in all ways? Do you love and accept yourself (and show it) fully? Are you always putting other people’s needs or the seemingly endless needs of the world before your own?  Do you supress your emotions to make other people feel more comfortable?  Are you a people pleaser and/or a peace keeper?  We’ve all got to dig down deep to get to the cause of our dis-ease, or lack of enthusiasm about our lives.  I have found self-love to be paramount to my healing in all ways body, mind, and spirit.

If you’re struggling with chronic illness, I encourage you to really look at your relationship with yourself first and foremost.  Loving myself and taking good care of myself has been my biggest, foundation-building lesson from my dis-ease.  Even at Part 3, my healing journey did not stop here…to be continued.

Work With Me

If you’re on a healing journey of your own, and are feeling overwhelmed reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com.  I would love to work with you to create some healing and transformational magic in your life!

Thank you for reading!  If you liked this post, please like and share it.  Much love!

Time

assorted silver colored pocket watch lot selective focus photo

Photo by Giallo on Pexels.com

Time is a strange thing.  There are times in my life when time seemed to stand still, like the night I spent in the hospital on the verge of heart failure while I was waiting for a surgery to save me.  Then there are times when time seems to speed by so fast that it takes my breath away, like summer days spent traveling and snorkeling with my son.

Today has me emotional.  I know I am not the only parent feeling this way today.  Where I live, today is the first day of school.  I walked my new 4th grader to school today.  And now, after getting back home and reading a really touching post by one of my best friends from college on this, the day after her son turned 16, I sit in a puddle of tears.

I know that many people I know have had to take their kids to college and support them as they leave the nest.  From where I am standing, that remains a reality difficult for me to fathom.  Still others have new high school students today.  I know that some friends may wish that they had a 4th grader today.  But, as with everything, our experiences are all relative and what we have going on in our own lives is what really counts for us personally. Today, my mind is thrusting me back through the years.  It’s funny how with every milestone, I get transported back into time when my son was a baby, newly born.  It’s not in a way where I am wishing that he was a baby again, but more just wondering where the time since that day has gone.  As normal as this whole back to school after summer thing is for humans, it always reminds me of the version of him, or incarnation, as my friend Michele put it, that I will experience and say goodbye to this year.

It’s the part of parenting that people don’t often talk about.  The thing that you don’t even realize until you become a parent yourself.  The part where you welcome and then say goodbye to all of the various incarnations of your child that you are so blessed to witness.  As my friend Michele Rosa Gee wrote so beautifully today, “Birthdays bring a fascinating combination of emotions as a mother.  Not only am I celebrating the person I see before me in this moment (which is what we normally do on people’s birthdays), but I’m nostalgic for the many incarnations of this boy I have seen through the past 16 years.”  She goes onto say something else that really spoke to my Mom heart and that was “And I am amazed at the depth of sadness that I feel as I project into the future the growing separation that is natural between a mother and child.”  I think this goes for birthdays, and other milestones like crawling, then walking, dressing themselves, and all the first days of school, and every other monumental occasion that we, as parents, get to experience during our child’s life.

For some of us, me included, this time is also dotted with a lot of time spent away from my child.  My son’s Dad moved out of the house when my son was barely 4 years old.  Prior to that time, the only time I spent without my son involved hospital stays and time spent in class during nursing school.  I had never experienced a night away from my son, let alone several at a time.  You would think that over time, this would become “normal” for a mother, the back and forth, the time spent without your child.  But for me, it has never felt “normal”.  For me, it has been the most difficult part of my divorce.  As a Mom, I feel like I should be with my child all of the time.  Maybe that’s my mind and ego speaking, but it feels like it’s my heart.  After living this way for over 5 years, splitting the weeks and holidays with his Dad, it is not an easy thing for my Mom heart to get used to, especially when I hear someone say that they have rarely spent any time away from their child.

But I have come to trust mine and my son’s journeys.  I know that regardless of the apparent shortcomings of this arrangement, it is better for all of us.  I know that my son is being raised by two people who are much happier apart than they were together.  As someone who experienced the contrast of parents who didn’t get along, but stayed together “for the kids”, I know that I would rather spend time away from my son than to have him grow up surrounded by tension and negativity.  Because I believe that there are no coincidences in this life, I have to accept that reality not only in times that feel good and magical, but also in times that feel difficult and unnatural.  I have seen what illness has done for me and my life, and I trust that when things feel hard, there is growth and expansion happening for me, and for my son.  I hold onto that knowing that we are both always being taken care of and that we will get from this life exactly what we each need.

It has been really interesting to see how I feel during significant milestones now that I am more conscious that I have ever been before.  As I learn to be more present during all the moments of my life, I feel more acutely aware when a milestone will be a first and a last at the same time.  There is no little brother or sister to walk to the first day of 4th grade in a few years, so, I can’t even hold onto the illusion that there will be another day when I walk a 4th grader to class on the first day of school for the first and the last time.  Just as I practice mindfulness in other parts of my life and know that this moment is all I ever truly have, today is the only day I have for this milestone.

As I move towards deeper levels of self-awareness and acceptance, and into deeper levels of consciousness, I am reminded daily of how difficult it can be to stay fully present with our kids.  I think it’s one of the things that kids are meant to do, expand us in ways that don’t feel possible.  For instance, when my son is trying to get a rise out of me by singing loudly in my face, and I am feeling the need for a stimulation time out, it is hard to stay present.  My mind wonders and I wish for a future moment of peace.  I think that it is generally easy to stay present with ourselves, how we’re feeling, and what we’re experiencing when we are alone.  I meditate regardless, but when I am alone, I have the quiet and space to check in with my higher self frequently over the course of the day.  But I know that the real test comes when I can keep the same peace and hold the same space for myself regardless of what is happening around me.  I intuitively know it.  It feels like one of the big keys of life.  I witnessed this as a Registered Nurse in the hospital.  When I started out, I felt like I needed a quiet place with no distractions while I charted everything about my patients into a computer.  The more seasoned nurses laughed at that requirement, because they had already learned that kind of peace and quiet did not exist within that environment.  After over 5 years of working in the hospital, all I needed to get my charting done was a working computer.  I became so good at focusing on what I was doing at the computer even with distractions all around me, that at times I wouldn’t hear another nurse ask me a question.

It’s all about being able to tune out the distractions from our environment, the people around us, and our own minds so that we are able to stay present and at peace during anything that shows up in our lives.  When we realize how important our own internal peace is, and we learn how to achieve and maintain it through even the most trying of times, we unlock the key to happiness in our lives.  Of course, this doesn’t mean ignoring our feelings, but it does mean realizing that each moment has something worth experiencing.  Today, I was really present in the experience of walking my son to his first day of 4th grade, which is why I feel so emotional about it.  Everything that has happened in my life has cumulatively led me to exactly where I am right now, and to how I am feeling right now.

With each milestone, I am reminded of the imperative need for me to get out of my head, so that I can soak up the fleeting moments I have with my growing son.  I am reminded of all of the past moments that will never exist again and the years flash on a screen in my head, birth, 1-year-old, 2 years old, 3 years old, 4 years old, 5 years old, 6 years old, 7 years old, 8 years old, 9 years old.  I think part of it is that we equate parenting with so many tasks: the meals, the snacks, the trips to school and back again, the extracurricular activities, the homework, the play dates, the baths, and the bedtimes.  Sometimes we humans go on autopilot, and do more than be.  We quickly seek to accomplish all the tasks as efficiently as we can, zooming around left and right.  But, as we do this, and we turn life into a series of tasks and activities, we sometimes forget to slow down and soak in the moments that truly define our lives.

As I become more conscious and therefore more present in my life, I feel these milestones all the more strongly, because I am very aware of the preciousness of each moment with my son.  If being a Mom and experiencing this as reality through the powerful manifestation of a son that grows and changes with each passing day doesn’t wake me up to only living in the present moment, I don’t know what will.  It can be a somewhat painful process, being a Mom and watching your son grow and change, grow and change, but wow, what a wonderful ride.  Right?!  Isn’t it beautiful that etched within each of our children is the powerful lesson that NOW is the only moment we have with each other?

We can’t relive a moment that has passed, so we must soak in every moment we have, so that we live with no regret in our hearts, and more joy in our lives!

Thank you for reading!  If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it! Much love.

Do you need uplifted and reminded of how wonderful it is to be alive today?  If so, listen to Brett Dennen’s song “Blessed” HERE