Remember having to wait in line at P.E. class in middle school to be checked for scoliosis? Bending over to touch your toes while some strange doctor checked your back for any abnormal spinal curvatures? I went through that. I passed with flying colors. Little did I know that it was the calm before the storm.
I had a pretty cool life growing up. My parents never really fought (that I knew about) and I really had everything I wanted. Then, at around age fifteen, I started to have mild low back pain. This happened to be at a time when my parents revealed their separation and subsequent divorce. Still, I thought I had everything together. I was mature, ahead of my peers, one of those old souls.
One day I was looking in the mirror and noticed that one of my hips was higher than the other. I had my parents take a look, but they responded with, “Don't be ridiculous, I can't see a thing!” The back pain got worse. Finally, they took me to a spine specialist where an x-ray revealed I had extreme spinal deviations. Imagine a 45 degree angle – my spinal curvatures were over 50 degrees both ways – a total “S” curve. Every important thing in my life was getting twisted and turned – and my inner world was reflecting that outer collapse.
After seeing various spine specialists, I was told unanimously that my curvature was too severe for any back brace or other physical therapy and that if I didn't get the surgery it would become much worse.
I went through with the surgery and man, was I in for a rude awakening. This particular surgery involved putting two metal rods beside my spine and screwing them in place with various hardware and wires.
When I woke up in the ICU, I was not only in excruciating pain, but my legs had an itch that could not be scratched. Turns out it was nerve damage, which hurt so terribly that I couldn't even stand the touch of clothing or a bed sheet on my legs.
I remember they gave me a little hand-held button I could push to release morphine into my IV. The button beeped when I pushed it, but I couldn't feel one drop of relief. After hearing my button beep continually for about an hour straight, the head nurse shouted at me, “It only comes out every 10 minutes, would you stop pushing it so many times!” After weeks in the hospital with every painkiller known to man at maximum dosages, I still felt no relief.
One night at about 4 a.m. the pain was so bad I called my brother on the phone just to cry. At the time I was 16 and he was 18. Sobbing, I told him about the pain I was going through. My brother was a long time student of Buddhism and began to guide me through a meditation. A meditation that made me a believer about ancient wisdom traditions. A believer in visualization and meditation. A believer in natural healing.
Here's what he said, in short:
- Just start being aware of your breath going in and out. Breathe deeply and fully.
- Imagine the areas of your body where you feel pain as a hot red color – anywhere you feel pain is red.
- With your next breath, breathe in a cool blue color. A healing blue energy that you can direct with your breath.
- Breathe in that healing blue light energy and let it infiltrate the red painful areas.
- With every breath, you are filling up those areas with blue until they are completely filled with healing blue energy.
- Now imagine your entire body filling up with that color blue.
- You're whole body is filled with a blue, divine, healing light.
- You feel light and at peace.
I was able to sleep after that. But there was a long road ahead. My healing was a slow process. The back pain was debilitating, and the nerve damage was severe. I had numerous epidurals to try and numb the horrible feeling. It never helped. I had to transfer from my “School of the Arts” because I could no longer bear to sit on a hard piano stool (even with pillows). I graduated from a small “homeschool” style high school and shortly thereafter traveled cross-country to San Diego, where I enlisted in massage school.
That’s where the ultimate healing took place. Every day consisted of mantras and meditation, setting intentions, emotional trauma work, energy healing and massages, tai chi, qigong, and yoga. I tried every healing modality I could from acupuncture and ayurveda to diet changes and fasting.
I'm happy to say that my leg pain is completely gone and my back is stronger than before the surgery, thanks to yoga and those healing modalities. Now, whenever I feel any pain in body for any reason – complementary medicine and meditation is my painkiller and healer.
Chances are you’ve heard about Dr. Masaru Emoto’s research on water, where he observed beautiful crystals in the water after giving good words, playing good music, and showing, playing, or offering pure prayer to water. On the other hand, he observed disfigured crystals in the opposite situation (negative words pasted on the glass of water, etc). If you think about the fact that our bodies are made up of 75%-80% (or more) of water, think what these things can do to our physiology! Simple daily affirmations, listening to uplifting music, laughing often and feeling gratitude in your heart are a catalyst for healing and transformation in the body – and I believe can heal any illness.
My word of advice to anyone who is facing surgery – try every natural therapy you can find before going under the knife. Though my painful journey ultimately brought me to my path as a healer, I hope others can learn from my story and choose to look inward and to more holistic systems for healing body, mind, and spirit.