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Body Connection

Body Connection

Is your body trying to communicate with you? Are you listening?

I grew up during a time when people did not question a family doctor’s diagnosis and treatment. The ability to research health conditions via the internet was still many years away. Alternative medicine was an unknown concept for those of us who grew up in the Midwest.

At the age of 31 I was diagnosed with Graves disease, an autoimmune, overactive thyroid condition. The endocrinologist recommended treatment with an anti-thyroid medication. The treatment was effective in about 1/3 of patients. Unfortunately, my body did not respond to this medication. The other devastating treatment options I was presented with were to swallow a radioactive iodine pill that would largely destroy the thyroid gland or to surgically remove the thyroid.

Both treatments would result in an under active thyroid condition and dependency on a daily dose of medication. I chose the less invasive treatment and dutifully swallowed the radioactive iodine pill. The journey of recovery and stabilization took over 2 years.

I needed to understand the cause of my thyroid’s dysfunction. From that need evolved a passionate interest in the subject of health and well being. Was it simply genetic? Were there other contributing factors that had been in my control? I became an avid student of the human body and interrelated topics. The concept of the mind/body/spirit connection fascinated me the most. Did my mindset affect the thyroid’s ability to function optimally?

I studied alternative, eastern, functional and energetic medicine techniques alongside nutrition, exercise, meditation, yoga, Emotional Freedom Technique, Tai Chi and Qigong. I discovered that many people who applied a combination of these techniques among others to their unique health challenges had experienced success. Even those diagnosed with Grave’s disease. I developed a deeper awareness of my body and cultivated a loving and respectful relationship as a result of my study and practices.

illustration of calm woman by lake
At the age of 48 I was faced with a decision related to another life changing medical procedure. I was diagnosed with a second carotid artery dissection on the right side. The first occurred on the left when I was 36. A carotid artery dissection is a life threatening condition. At any moment, the blood clot lodged in the dissection of the carotid artery could break free and move into the brain resulting in stroke or death.

The first dissection at the age of 36 had resolved with blood thinner medication much to my neurologist’s surprise and delight. However, my care for the second dissection 14 years later was referred to a respected and prestigious University Hospital. Most medical professionals were not experienced in this rare and atypical reoccurring condition.

The University Hospital staff recommended that a metal stent be inserted in the right carotid artery. I was strongly encouraged to schedule the surgery as soon as possible to prevent dire consequences. In the grip of intense fear, the default programming that had been running at the age of 31 subconsciously took over. I agreed to schedule the surgery 2 weeks later.

After a few days, a strong feeling that "something was off” permeated my body. To this day my body captures my attention via this method of communication. The details and related clarity come over a period of time in various ways with patience and keen awareness.

At the time of this health crisis I was practicing daily meditation. One morning I settled into my posture, focused on my breath and drifted into a deeper state of relaxation. In the distant recesses of my mind I began to hear music. I focused my attention and identified the song as “Let it Be” by the Beatles. However, only a specific two line stanza of the lyrics was on a continuous loop holding the promise that an answer would come.

I observed the experience with curiosity and enjoyed the musical interlude. Wisps of awareness began to float into my consciousness that my body was communicating with me through music lyrics. My analytical mind stepped in and demanded a logical explanation. Had I heard this song on the radio or a retail store sound system recently? Was “Let It Be” on my subconscious playlist?

I continued to observe as a conscious connection between the specific lyrics and the upcoming surgery began to take form. Was my body communicating to me that the surgery was not necessary? The source of the guidance was remarkable in my experience. I felt compelled to seriously consider the possibility. I opened my eyes, took a deep breath and made the decision to cautiously proceed with a "trust but verify” approach.

I contacted my neurologist and requested a referral to the Mayo Clinic. Much to my surprise, the referral was easily obtained and an appointment scheduled within a week. I was seen by a doctor who had extensive experience with carotid artery dissections. His stunning and summary conclusion follows:

The second carotid artery dissection most likely occurred at the same time as the first or perhaps within 6 months. The MRI technology 14 years ago would not have been capable of capturing the right dissection. Both dissections were considered chronic and of no current consequence. The doctor recommended I discontinue the blood thinner and move forward without any future concern about this health condition.

Verified! Surgery cancelled. Blood thinner discontinued. For more than a decade I have had no additional symptoms. I treat my neck with tender care and trust that absent any communication from my body that all is well.

illustration of woman gazing at a mountain and lake
I have continued to cultivate a loving and respectful relationship with my body and hone my ability to tune into its unique messaging system. My body connection offers deeper access into meaningful insights and the ability to make decisions based on more than an external source of information and input.

Is your body trying to communicate with you? Are you listening?

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