by RB, massage therapist, mother, artist, business owner, Goonellabah, NSW
I recently had my first hospital experience and since then I have been on a roller coast ride that I created myself in my mind.
I had severe swelling around my spinal cord that was causing nerve damage to my left leg, digestive system and urinary system, so that I could not walk or pee properly. I left the hospital with a wheelie walker and was taught how to use intermittent catheters each time my bladder was full.
When the doctors first told me I had transverse myelitis I researched all about it, and I got so into it, the fear of it all and the “what ifs”. Then I went to see a Neurologist 3 hours drive away, the next step in the process, and she was certain that I have what is known as Neuromyelitis optica (NMO). I then research this, join Facebook pages and really investigate it. I get so into it, that I become it. I am no longer me. I have suddenly allowed myself to be NMO. I am planning what will happen with my 10 year old daughter when I am in a wheel chair and who will take care of her when I die.
I even start to wonder if I am making up the symptoms because I am reading about them!
That is just how tricky the mind can be, if you let it take over and take control. I was so sad and scared the other evening and then I had a moment of realization. I felt for a moment that I was a puppet being played and I was not actually in control. Ah, and I have always been a bit of a control freak. I guess that’s why I want to research and know everything about this disease – to be able to explain it and predict exactly what will happen next.
All this thinking was in fact a distraction from just feeling what my body was signalling to me. I feel it is asking me to slow down. It is showing me that the way I have been living, in constant push, always busy, always taking on more than necessary, is not okay.
My body has given me signals in the past, but living by the beliefs and ideals of being a “solo parent”, and a “good strong reliable worker” has made me override, and not listen to what my body is asking so clearly. Instead I have ignored my body and carried on working hard, sacrificing my health by just ‘doing’ more and more. The doing brought me recognition and money and I had made that more important than my health.
The extra stress, the energy wasted on the “what ifs”…. all of this was just a distraction from me being able to really rest and just allow myself to feel. I started to realise that all this thinking and doing was not actually helping me at all, and in fact it was harming. The level of exhaustion that over time I had just gotten used to, was what was causing my body to react in such a serious way and I could not continue to exhaust it in any way or entertain any form of crazy thinking.
Why is it that when we are not doing, we do not feel as though we are enough?
Why is it that we don’t feel that Being is enough?
Why do we listen to those voices that are telling us we are lazy, when we know so well that we are far from lazy, and that to stop and rest is just a natural loving thing to do for the body?
Why do we feel guilty to stop?
I have been considering all of these things lately.
And then comes the next learning.
I went back into hospital for some more tests and the doctor says I may not actually have NMO, it may be something completely different. This time, the risks from the proposed treatment are that if it goes wrong, I could end up as a paraplegic. My mind goes off on another roller coaster ride of “what ifs”. I want to run and research, but before I do that, I decide to just be still, to not keep doing what stresses me out and does not actually make me feel good.
So instead I sit down with one of my favourite books from Serge Benhayon, and I just read. I then sit quietly in the sunshine and have this “aha” moment.
Science as we know it does not have all the answers, and the answers we do have are forever changing. The doctors don’t have all the answers either. I can either accept this, embrace it and surrender or I can continue to want answers, to try to control, fix and go into my mind again.
This time I thought I would try something different. This time I decided not to go into fear, not to go into the story and drama of it all, but to just let my body be. To just let the doctors do their best, and for me to take responsibility for my part, which is to surrender, listen and allow. I may not have listened to my body in the past, I may have treated it with disrespect, but I can change that now. It’s up to me. I can either make this next part of my life one that is full of drama and fear, or I can enjoy each moment, and really focus my energy on the real things in life – the people around me and the love that is there.
Two weeks later I felt a lot stronger. In letting go of the need to control, and making a choice to be in my body instead of lost in my mind over this time was really healing. My leg got stronger and I was able to walk better each and every day. I did have moments where I would go back into my mind, but I was committed to not getting caught up in it. So I treated myself like a cute child that had to be reminded that there was no need to go there, telling myself, “ just stay here with your body.”
After two weeks I had not heard from the doctors, so I decided to play my own part and follow this up.
The doctor at the hospital near where I lived said he would follow up on it and later called me in to see him. He showed me all the MRI scans and informed me that I didn’t have an autoimmune disease or an issue that required me to have an operation that had the risk of causing paraplegia. He said that what I had was something that I had had since birth. There is a ‘cavernous malformation’, which is a collection of abnormal blood vessels and this had bled spontaneously. He said some people go through life like that without knowing they have it and also that there is a chance that it may happen again but he thought there was nothing that I could do to prevent it. He said there was no need for me to see the Neurologist again, or to see him, and that I should just go back to living life as I was before.
I walked out feeling a sense of “there is no way I can go back to living life as I was before.” For me, it was a blessing that my body took the use of my legs away. It was the only way my body could get me to fully stop and re-evaluate how I was living. The rushing, the pushing, the constant drive was not allowing me to feel a thing and in that, I was not aware of the damage I was causing to not only to myself, but to my daughter and everyone around me.
I can see now how I put myself on a number of roller coaster rides that were unnecessary had I just stayed with my body and the present moment – a great learning.
This experience has been the beginning of a great healing for me.