My story is long and begins during my pregnancy with my first child. Everything was going swimmingly, and then one day my doctor said, “Oh you have a heart murmur, probably because you’re pregnant, nothing to worry about, it’s very common for pregnant women to have a heart murmur.” I went along with my life and didn’t give it a second thought. In March of 1987, I gave birth to my beautiful son. I was 23 years old. Three and half years later I gave birth to our sweet, and oh so precious baby girl. The doctor had again said that I had a heart murmur but because I had one with the first pregnancy, he suggested it was probably nothing and didn’t investigate any further.
The bomb finally dropped when I was in my middle thirties. I was having dizzy episodes at work and thought it was stress so I ignored it as long as I could. One morning my boss called me into his office for an update, and as I stood by his desk, the whole room began to swirl, I thought I was having a panic attack. I was very scared as I fell into the front of his desk but I managed to regain my composure. That’s when I knew it was probably something more than stress.
The doctor listened to my heart, said I had a murmur, and ordered an echocardiogram for that same week. They got the results back and it turned out I had a congenital heart defect, a bicuspid aortic valve. I was put on a beta blocker to help with the palpitations and because of my age, we wouldn’t do surgery until it greatly affected my quality of life. So I waited and waited, until I couldn’t lift my arms above my head without getting winded. Six months before my next scheduled echocardiogram, I went to ask my doctor if he thought I should take fish oil, since I had heard it was good for my heart. He listened to my heart and said, “We need to schedule your surgery now.” I cried like a baby for a full 3 hours. I thought I was prepared. So many feelings rushing forward at once, I was more scared than I have ever been, I was angry because I thought if I lived in denial, maybe I’d be the lucky one who’d never need surgery. I was terrified that I would die and leave my husband to raise our two young children alone, the oldest on the autism spectrum. That night I prayed. I don’t pray. I don’t do religion, but with every ounce of my being, I wanted God to be up there listening. I begged him, “If you’re up there, I’m ok with dying when it’s my time, but please just let me live long enough for my kids to grow up and then you can take me.”
Happily, I can report that in 2006, I had open-heart surgery to replace my valve and repair an aortic aneurism that would have taken my life in the days before my next scheduled echo. Needless to say, every day I am still alive is a blessing, and I try to treat it with the reverence it deserves. Not saying, for one moment, that everything is perfect, but I’ll happily take what I’m given, and hope to, in some way, give back for the extra years I have been gifted.
After my surgery I went through a period of mourning and depression and I believe this is considered normal. The loss of a part of my body, that only a person who has been through this would understand, was quite devastating to me. The scar took me a long time to get over emotionally. Having someone literally cut me open and reach inside my body, felt like such an invasion. Again, you wouldn’t understand unless you’ve been through this. I knew I had to move forward and embrace my new normal.
I am a yoga teacher and have practiced for many years and decided to turn to meditation rather than drugs to get over my depression and recover from my surgery. The following steps helped me to heal more quickly than I could ever have imagined possible. I had to:
- Accept that this happened to me and it wasn’t my fault
- Let go of control
- Let others care for me, accept their help
- Look at my scar in the mirror until I could stop crying (It took me a long time to be comfortable wearing shirts that show my scar, I don’t care anymore, I’m actually proud of my battle scar)
- Get used to being on medication for the rest of my life (I’m still angry about that sometimes)
- Deal with my stress and anxiety and take better care of myself
By accepting my new normal I can live more fully and let myself enjoy things again. The fear remains about the uncertainty of it all, but I am strong and have faced the idea of my death. After all, I made a pact with God about letting me survive. My children are now 33 and 29, so he kept his end of the bargain. I will soldier on and know that every day is a blessing and should never be taken for granted. I will continue to give back and support others where I can, and practice gratitude every day.
Copyright©2020 – Susan Lancaster. All Rights Reserved.
You may have heard of an infrared sauna but are still a little confused about how and if it will benefit your health.
I had only heard of far-infrared once before in my life when my daughter had a car accident and broke her collar bone. She was released from the ER with what can only be described as a “crappy sling” and some heavy duty pain killers. My daughter is a tiny person and for that reason, has to be very careful about how much pain medication she takes. She was in so much pain and all we could do was to give her tylonol, which did not relieve the pain, it really just took the edge off so she could sleep.
It was at that time when i contacted a friend of mine who is a chiropractor to see if he could help. I said, “I know you can’t do anything chiropractically for her, but do you have any tips for us?” He said, “bring her in right away, I have an idea”
We arrived at his office and he had her remove her sling and shirt. He brought in a small machine that had a handheld red light on the end. I was amazed and obviously very skeptical, coz that’s who I am. As a yoga teacher and massage therapist I have seen all kinds of whacky, wild treatments that claim to cure everything from the common cold to autism spectrum disorder (my son is autistic), and this definitely registered on my “bullshit detector.” I was skeptical at the very least. Credit where it’s due, he made no promises as he explained that he has just started using this and he didin’t know if it wwould help or not.
He treated her with the light, every day for 10 minutes for the next 2 weeks. After only her second treatment, we left the office and I drove her home, she didn’t feel safe enough to drive alone because she could only use one hand. As I dropped he off at home, she leaned forward and instictively picked up her purse with he right hand. I asked, “didn’t that hurt?” she answered with a smile, “Ohhhh, I forgot, it felt wierd becasue I can feel the bone move, but there’s no pain!” I was astounded!
It would be another 6 years before I actually started to use far-infrared treatments with my clients at my office. The results have been interesting to say the least.
What is an infrared sauna? Does it have health benefits?
“An infrared sauna is a type of sauna that uses light to create heat. This type of sauna is sometimes called a far-infrared sauna — “far” describes where the infrared waves fall on the light spectrum. A traditional sauna uses heat to warm the air, which in turn warms your body. An infrared sauna heats your body directly without warming the air around you.
The appeal of saunas in general is that they cause reactions similar to those elicited by moderate exercise, such as vigorous sweating and increased heart rate. An infrared sauna produces these results at lower temperatures than does a regular sauna, which makes it accessible to people who can’t tolerate the heat of a conventional sauna. But does that translate into tangible health benefits? Perhaps.
Several studies have looked at using infrared saunas in the treatment of chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, headache, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and found some evidence of benefit. However, larger and more-rigorous studies are needed to confirm these results. Some of these studies were also performed with patients using traditional sauna.
On the other hand, no adverse effects have been reported with infrared saunas. So if you’re considering trying a sauna for relaxation, an infrared sauna might be an option.” ~ Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
The American society is plagued by sinus problems. If you watch some television ads, it’s a wonder anyone can survive through the allergy season without medication. As a child I was never an allergy sufferer, and I really don’t think I am now, but I struggle with post nasal drip and sinus congestion practically all year long. I have tried the conventional way of dealing but I’m really not a fan of medication and really all it does is dry it up. It really doesn’t address the cause.
In 2003 I started to teach yoga and understand more about the human body, how it moves and how important a healthy diet is. In 2009 I began my journey as a Licensed massage therapist which only improved my knowledge of movement dysfunctions of the human body. I have always believed that my issue is less about allergies and more about the structure of my neck and head.
There are 29 bones in the human head. They consist of 8 cranial bones, 14 facial bones, the hyoid bone in the throat, and 6 auditory bones in the ears.
You may have heard the word “Fascia” if you’re accustomed to getting bodywork. The who body is connected by a beautiful web of sparkling connective tissue. Recent investigations confirm a rich presence of thin blood vessels. Deep fascia has a rich supply of sensory receptors. It lives around the muscle fibers, around each muscle, around each muscle group and finally around the whole body. It’s job is to hold the body together. I like to describe it as the body’s communication system.
The fascia can pull at 2,000 pounds per square inch from one part of the body (neck) to another (sinus)…hmmmmm…makes you think doesn’t it?! If you have the winter sniffles, maybe some investigation is in order before you jump into a lifetime of decongestants and anti inflammatory drugs.
As a healthcare professional, I can offer assistance to my suffering clients through various techniques that release tension in the fsacia around the head and neck and relieve pain and pressure and a healthy drainage of the sinuses.
If you’d like more informtion, you can contact me to discuss a path away from pain and into a life of better breathing.
The caterpillar has no idea how to become a butterfly, nor does he know that that is his fate, he just knows he’s not happy where he is. It’s easy to get stuck second guessing yourself, and “better the devil you know” as the saying goes, sets you up for much procrastination and stagnation.
If all you needed was information to make a change in your life, you would have done it already, there’s no shortage of it out there, heck that’s why Google was created. The real problem is transformation. Why don’t you transform? You know you don’t like where you are, and the information is out there to help you change that, so whats the real problem?
Your thoughts lead to feelings, feelings drive you to action, so if you’re thought processes are off you will NEVER have what you really want because you won’t act or you’ll begin to act and then think yourself out of it. This is the part most people miss and that’s why they never achieve their goals, or they achieve them only to lose it and end up right back where they started.
The answer then is to take one step forward, do something different, agitate, expand and see what happens. You don’t need to know where you’re going, just do something different. You may have heard this before but…
What small change can you make as an experiment? Just see what happens. Exploration is really the way forward, there is no such thing as failure, there’s only lessons, and if you never try anything new but you expect things to change then truely…you might just be a little crazy.
If you’d like my help to figure out where to start, click through below and make an appointment for a free discovery call. On this call we figure out your biggest challenge and then decide what to do about it. I really hope you’ll take a chance, you have literally nothing to lose.
Why Can’t I Lose Weight?
Have you ever asked, why can’t I lose weight and keep it off for good?
When you see weight as the enemy, it keeps hanging around. Whether you want to lose 10 lbs or 110 lbs, the core of the issue is the same: your body is sending you a message much deeper than, “Hey fatty, get to the gym!”
Most diseases and chronic ailments we experience are messages to us about how we have lived our life up until
this point. We can try to cover them up, treating just thesymptom, or we can ask ourselves a new question:
What is this here to teach me about myself?
Weight is no different – it’s a condition your body has presented to you so that you can grow. The body is always communicating with us, each and every day it is tellingus what it needs. If only we were listening. A New Perspective on Weight Gain. Consider that weight gain is actually a message yourbody is sending you. And if you try to control it by depriving yourself, using willpower or restricting yourself, you are only tightening the situation. What is needed is expansion – a new look, an open perspective, a new door to open for learning and growth.
If your weight is a message to you, then what is the message?
It’s different for every person. Some examples of messages that come in the form of extra pounds are:
• I need to slow down
• I need to love myself
• I need more balance
• I need nourishment
• I need to change my old belief system that isn’t serving me any more
• I need to honor myself
• I want to feel good
• I want to have more energy
• I want to be happy
“Can’t I just lose the weight first before I have to look at all of these other sticky issues?”, you’re wondering.
Most people go about it this way. And they often lose weight, but most times it returns. In fact, most diets fail. Ninety-five percent
of people on a diet gain back all the weight they lost within 1-2 years, or sometimes they gain back even more. The reason is, they didn’t learn the lesson of why the extra weight was there to begin with. If you are looking for long term health and balance, you will
have to take a deeper look. Anyone can figure out how to burn calories with a google search or a pass by the diet book section in Amazon. Losing weight is not just about calories in, calories out. Shedding extra pounds is not just about counting points and calculating fat grams, if it were, we’d all be supermodels. Keep in mind that weight gain in not strictly a physical event, it’s also an opportunity for personal growth and empowerment. The real secret is the message your body wants you to know so you can begin to live your very best life. And uncovering that secret is an amazing journey that will create not only long term weight loss, but lasting balance and a renewed sense of self.
©International Association of Wellness Professionals, 2017