Listen, Really Listen to Your Body by Reiki Master Teacher, Donna McDine
Really Listen to Your Body”
By Donna McDine
Reiki Master Teacher and Award-winning Children’s Author
Welcome! Please know I am not writing this deeply personal article for sympathy; I am writing it today for awareness.
We’ve heard it, “Listen to your body for it knows what to tell you.” Do we take pause and actual listen? For me yes and no. From the simplest of knowing when to sleep. Yes, we listen. But what about those times when a physical sensation pops up that is unusual for you? Do we ignore it and push through because we feel the task at hand is more important than our physical wellbeing? I know I have done that on many occasions. Often ending up exhausted and mentally frustrated.
For those that are connected to me…
know I have dealt with migraines for most of my life. Once considered a chronic migraine sufferer I finally broke the cycle through Reiki, exercise, meditation, clean eating, and hydration. Thankfully I only experience 2-3 migraines a year, up until four months ago where the tingling was no longer on the left side of my body, rather all my extremities and face. At first, I accepted this as a different type of migraine for me. At the encouragement of my longtime dearest friend Mary, I made an appointment with my neurologist. After discussing my new symptoms and what I felt was an honest and open conversation (at least on my part), it was not on my neurologist’s part. I was immediately dismissed with the neurologist saying, “two-three times a month is not a big deal.” —- as the poster on the wall read “if you sufferer from 16 or more migraines a month you may be a Botox candidate.” Seriously 16 or more migraines month!! I don’t care what type of migraine you experience; how can one leave their house and function?
No Way, No How…
The neurologist went on to say, “You need to accept your migraines, once a migraine sufferer, always a migraine sufferer.” Years ago, I made a concerted effort not to believe this and now more than ever through my Energy of Serenity Reiki healing practice I remain steadfast that we can calm and change our energy and wellbeing.
I was disgusted and disappointed by this doctor’s blanket statement. I ended my appointment and left. As I sat in my car while parked, I grabbed my steering wheel and sobbed out of frustration and called my husband. He consoled me the best he could via the phone and said, “You know your body listen to it. We will go a different way to find you relief.” Like so many of us, I pulled up my big girl panties, brushed away my tears, and headed back to work. That evening my husband and I decided I would wait for my regular physical checkup in two weeks’ time and discuss my symptoms with my primary care physician. In the exam room I wanted to shout out with glee, finally a doctor who sat with me intently listening and asking their questions. As part of the routine physical I was sent for blood work and those results were discussed with me. Not being an alarmist, my primary doctor suggested we have the blood work redone without fasting, because my red blood cell counts, hemoglobin and hematocrit were all elevated to concerning levels. After the second round of blood results were received, I discussed the results via a tele-visit with my primary doctor. All three counts were elevated further and now my white blood cell counts were dropping. I was referred to a hematologist oncologist within days. Mind you never in my thought process did I ever expect to be someone walking into a hematologist office let alone an oncologist office. Honestly, I don’t think any of us expect that.
A Breath of Fresh Air…
From the onset of walking into the hematologist oncologist office, the staff were exemplary in their capacity to truly listen and instilled a true level of compassion. From the receptionist, scheduler, nurses, and doctor. What a breath of fresh air. The nurse and doctor individually sat intently listening to my symptoms and reading over the previous blood results. The doctor was adamant that my new symptoms were not migraines and were directly related to what he believed would be my eventual diagnosis of polycythemia vera. They then drew blood and had the results developed during the appointment. Unfortunately, yet again the results were higher in the red blood cell count, hemoglobin and hematocrit and the white blood cell count was lower again. The hematologist oncologist doctor original thought of polycythemia vera was confirmed. As the doctor shared this shocking news, he assured me that “they’ve got this,” and it was caught early on and this is NOT cancer. He went on to stress… “This is why it is so important that people go for their yearly physicals with blood work.” My treatment plan was discussed, and it was determined not to combat it with medicine, since I’m a relatively healthy 55-year-old that is only on a daily multi-vitamin and the occasional migraine medicine. Something I’ve always prided myself in. The treatment plan currently is phlebotomy and monthly blood test monitoring. As results are received, adjustments to my treatment plan will be made. The hematologist oncologist encouraged me to keep a daily journal of my symptoms, food intake, hydration, and exercise to share at each visit.
Pay Attention and Listen to the Signs from Your Body…
I know in my intellectual mind that doctor’s have a place in our lives, and we should have our yearly physicals and follow through. However, the importance of listening to our bodies and our gut instincts that something is not right within our bodies is imperative. If I dismissed my body’s warning signs and went with what my former neurologist said, I would be suffering through what was perceived as a new type of migraine. My hematologist oncologist has clearly stated, “he and his practice listen to their patients for they know their bodies best.” and “if you had waited another year, we would be having a very different conversation.” Please know I am NOT saying for you fellow migraine sufferers that you too have polycythemia vera. What I am saying is we MUST listen to our bodies and the signals it provides.
I’ve Got This…
My life’s journey has changed dramatically and not to a path I ever conceived it would be going. I am determined now educated with the correct diagnosis and the course of treatment I know “I too have GOT this along with my doctor and his team.”
My plan is to continue to share my polycythemia vera journey in the hopes of providing a safe- haven for those inflicted with this life changing diagnosis.
Thank you for listening, with deep gratitude, love, and joy.
Until then, stay well, and enjoy life!
Disclaimer: No opinion or service offered by Energy of Serenity, LLC or Donna McDine is intended, in any way – explicit, implicit, by implication, or in reference – to be a substitute or replacement for licensed medical care. In addition, the information, opinion, and techniques on this site do not constitute medical advice.
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