My body is a beautiful thing

My body is a beautiful machine.

This is a mantra that I’ve been repeating for several months.  I’m not a fanatic about it, but when I find myself staring at the mirror and bemoaning my thighs or the circles under my eyes, I remind myself that my body is a beautiful machine.

When I don’t feel well, this mantra gets stepped up.  As a spiritual person, a hand analyst and a career mentor who uses intuition to help others I am immersed in the reality that nothing in our lives exists in a vacuum.  What’s happening in my body is a reflection of what’s happening in my inner and outer life.

Ulcerative colitis is a reminder that trusting our gut isn’t just a cliche.  When I’m suppressing a feeling or trying to avoid a reaction or a decision – my gut let’s me know.

They say that stress is a contributing factor to all diseases.  But what, exactly, is stress?  While I know I have a high pain tolerance (which freaks out my doctors) I am beginning to realize that my stress tolerance is average.

Years of stress accumulate like plaque in our system.  I used to hold up my ability to multi-task and power through stressful situations like a badge of honor. I can remember being at corporate events all our National VPs and we each had a collection of aspirin bottles, Rolaids and the Pink Stuff proudly displayed by our spot at the table.  He or She who powered through the most difficult encounter won!

The problem, for me, has been my desire for a quick fix – to cover up the discomfort in my gut/body in order to move ever forward.  Years of antibiotics, pain killers, and more have taken their toll.

The thing is, all the originating issues are still there. The childhood memories that I didn’t want to examine, the series of failed relationships, the financial downturns, the worries (real and imagined) about those I love.  Those are the things that sit in the gut and no amount of over the counter or prescription drugs can change that.

Healing, for me, comes through addressing the “stuff” that’s been hanging out in my gut.  And I’m grateful


Overnight Ulcerative Colitis

I continue to revisit my old beliefs about being “sick.”  Growing up I, and the majority of my friends and family, were an amazingly hearty and healthy bunch.  Sure, we had our share of chicken pox and colds and fevers, but for the most part, we took some time out in bed, received extra pampering and then went back to our normal routine.

While I personally had a history of sore throats, swollen adnoids and strep, I abhorred the idea of being sick.  I hated missing out on what my friends and family were doing. Contrary to what many kids feel, I LOVED school and hated missing out on classes and the ever mysterious social happenings.

Plus, I’m a pretty miserable patient.  Thank goodness my mother is a Registered Nurse and has the patience of a saint. Truly.

After I had my hands read, and then underwent my own certification training, I made the connection between my throat illnesses (that continued well into my 30s) and my throat (5th) Chakra. In my training I identified the markers in my hands representing the throat chakra and I connected that with my life lesson translated from my fingerprints.

This was the first time I clearly saw the connection between our bodily challenges and our deeper, spiritual lessons.

Since 2005/6 I haven’t suffered with Strep throat, bronchitis, pneumonia or hoarseness.  I’ve had occasional sniffles and a coughing fit or two but never to the extent that I once suffered.  I attribute this to my deliberate attention to learning to speak my truth, even in hard situations and to trust that what I have to say is valuable, particularly in intimate relationships. The practice has taught me about appropriate release of information (not everyone has to know all my intimate details in order for me to be authentic, nor should I withhold all my feelings from my nearest and dearest in order to keep from bothering them).

I have also become much better at noticing the early signs of illness and addressing them both emotionally and physically.  For the body to heal it does require rest, good food and a quiet mind.  Or at least those are the top three for MY body.

When my body is out of whack, it’s because I’ve been ignoring subtle, whispered signs and nudges. Over time the whispers become louder and eventually, they are shouting and pounding on the door – refusing to be ignored.

That’s where I was before having my hands read in terms of my throat and lungs.

The whispers related to my Ulcerative Colitis began many years ago. Before conscious recognition of the symptoms.  Because this disease lives in the gut, I, and many sufferers, tend to write off mild belly discomfort or distress as, “just stress” or “something I ate.”  And while that is true for some, I’ve come to believe that consistently writing it off as “nothing” can allow the bad stuff to mobilize a little army in your gut.

Hindsight is 20-20 of course, and as I began to deconstruct this disease that the doctors say has no “cause” but genetics, I believe that some of the following were early warning signs that something was wrong within the “2nd brain” – my gut:

  • At first, random skin eruptions, that eventually began appearing on my thighs and arms annually.  I assumed it was simply a season allergy and for the most part ignored it.  I am pretty vain, so about 15 years ago, when the dry patches and rash started spreading on my face and my belly, I found a dermatologist who told me that it was unspecified dermatitis and prescribed a heavy cortisone cream and sent me on my way.  My earliest memory of a skin rash was when I was in 4th grade.
  • Years of what I self-diagnosed as “Lactose-intolerance.”  Apparently my mother remembers that I was unable to drink any formula made with cow’s milk as an infant, but was fine with soy milk.  Throughout my life I’ve never much cared for milk.
  • High level of colic as an infant and toddler.
  • Increasing levels of fatigue, allergy symptoms and mysterious joint pain.
  • Years of increasing challenges with digestion, acid reflux and more bathroom challenges.

Look, this disease isn’t pretty, and most of the symptoms are not those you want to talk about with your doctor, much less your friends and loved ones.  That’s why many people suffer through what they think is food poisoning or a stomach “bug” for years before seeking help.  I wouldn’t have talked to my doctor about my symptoms  at all, but for my Dad calling to tell me he’d been diagnosed with colon cancer.

Even though I’m adopted and know that we’re not biologically related, I did take his call as a final kick in the ass (hah!) from the Universe that I needed to get some clarity around what was happening to my body.  I still haven’t unraveled the full meaning of the strong resistance I had about going to the doctor. I can’t tell you that the journey from doctor to specialist, to testing room, to colonoscopies to ERs has been pleasant.  However, I do know that had I not started the journey, I might still be suffering and possibly allowing cancer to create a home within my body.

At some point my fight or flight instinct took over and I’ve been working to get clear on the disease and my new “normal” ever since.


The Auto-Immune Entrepreneur

Before I was diagnosed with an Auto-Immune disease I was one of those hard-charging Americans who thought that AI diseases were BS excuses made up in some whiny, over-privileged minds who wanted to get out of the hard-work necessary to be a success in the world.

Sadly, even after I was diagnosed I still held that belief.

With that belief and my diagnosis I decided to work harder so I could heal myself faster and get back to the business of running a business.  I really thought it was a case of mind over matter, and that if I could simply dig in and clear out whatever was wrong in my mind then the matter of my health would take care of itself.

So, how’d that work for me?

Not well.  At all.

Simply powering through and meditating and immersing myself in oils and supplements and books about diet changes and envisioning good health weren’t enough.

More than 5 years spanned the time from from first overt symptoms (I’m sure there were sporadic symptoms in the decades prior) to my first, somewhat erroneous diagnosis.

Three more  years passed before I arrived here, today.

I’d like to take you through the journey with me and share some of what I’ve learned – about healing and about running a business while living with a new “normal.”  It’s not all good, and not all bad.  And I don’t purport to have answers for anyone else, but I have some ideas and suggestions that may help you along the way.

Let me know what you most want to read/talk about when it comes to navigating your new normal.  Whether you’re newly diagnosed or a veteran – you have something to share and I can’t wait to learn and share with you!