Reflecting on my cancer surgery

Over the past week, I have been reflecting that it was 11 years ago at this time that I was in the hospital having and beginning to recover from a lobectomy. Half of my right lung was removed due to a carcinoid cancerous tumor.

I had never had a major surgery like this and obviously I was scared. I had a new will notarized on the way to the hospital. I was never worried about dying from cancer. I was concerned that somebody might make an error during the surgery, despite everyone’s assurance that my surgeon was the best and they wouldn’t want anybody else doing it.

Going under anesthesia is an interesting experience and fortunately happens quickly. I don’t know how long my surgery lasted, but I think I remember my daughter coming in my room first and it was dark by then. Just out, I felt pretty good. I imagine that the affects of whatever was in the anesthesia and the epidural they put in before my surgery kept me oblivious to the pain I would begin to feel later.

I don’t think there has ever been a time when I have had more things sticking in me. I had an epidural in my spine, an iv in my arm or hand, a catheter, and a tube stuck in my side for fluid to drain. If the surgery wasn’t a trauma enough for my body, I was now traumatized.

I suppose the surgery started the trauma. When I woke up, it was like there was a tennis ball under my arm. I kept feeling like they didn’t sew my skin up right. Later I realized it was swelling. For months after the surgery skin under my breast would be kind of slimy and peeling and there was an odor about me that I simply could not stand. After effects from the anesthesia, I was told.

There was one good thing about my hospital stay. My bed faced the Walnut Street Bridge in Harrisburg which has pretty lights on it. It was getting dark early, so I could enjoy how beautiful it looked reflecting in the river. Being a Pisces, the water also gave me some comfort. There was one other thing, one nurse who could inject the morphine without causing the sensation that my hand was on fire. I asked her why her shots were different and began to instruct the other nurses hoping to at least improve that experience. And then there were visitors.

I was only supposed to be in the hospital for four days. I was in for eight, There was air leaking out of my lungs which meant a staple had popped. How is that for a visual? They cut off your lung and staple it shut? While the epidural lasted, the pain wasn’t too bad. After 6 days, I began to feel more pain and wasn’t sure why. They determined the epidural was no longer working and removed it. I began to feel the tube stuck in my side poking between my ribs under my breast. They weren’t giving me more pain relievers to make up for the removal of the epideral. They said I was past the worst part of the pain. The good thing about the removal of the epidural was my allergic reaction might calm down. I had a rash all over my body that also went down my thighs. They gave me benedryl for relief but this rash was so bad you could see where the rash had been for about three months following my surgery. There were other effects from the surgery that lasted five years.

I was surprised by that since before the surgery I was told, “You will be able to do everything you ever could after six months.” I was NOT! For two years following the surgery I couldn’t ride my bike or do aerobic activity without getting nauseous and/or dizzy.

After five years, I was able to go up a long set of steps and not stop to huff and puff when I got to the top. That was exciting! Recently, when I was checked out at the hospital and the doctor was listening to my lungs, he said he couldn’t tell that I was missing any. I suggested maybe it grew back and he agreed. I was sort of surprised since the general mindset is that doesn’t happen. I had stopped all scans and haven’t had an x-ray since I began studying energy healing in 2008. That is another story that I have shared elsewhere and I’ll share here another time. For now, I am happy to be a survivor and plan to live to be at least 120. That is my intention. Some call me crazy and I say after two divorces, cancer and five children, I deserve to be:)

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Homeopathy

I actually began studying homeopathy long before my cancer experience and I still love it! When my children were young, I attended a study group put together by a homeopathic veterinarian. I learned enough to stop having to take my kids to the doctor each month for antibiotics because of all the things that kids pass around. Having my kids get well faster and stay healthier over the winter was well worth the time I spent in the study.

Along the way, I found a homeopath nearby and when one of my son’s behavior was more than we could handle, I took him to the homeopath. I was grasping for straws and avoiding the ordinary drugs that children are put on to comply. My son had refused to take them, so I didn’t really have that option. I was pretty shocked when my son became compliant and calm with a homeopathic remedy.

When I feel like my energy is really low or I have some issue that hasn’t been resolved by a visit to my chiropractor or doctor, I call the homeopath. This week was one of those weeks. After being troubled for over  a month with varying symptoms and two weeks of swollen ankles, the homeopath made a recommendation with a focus on my being extremely tired when it rains.

The doctors had not found any good reason for the swelling and I wasn’t settling for wait and see what happens. I shouldn’t be surprised by the overnight results and it doesn’t always happen that way for everybody, but my ankles are much improved and despite the rain today, I didn’t have to take a nap.

As much as I love the chakras and meridians and the qiclock, I have found homeopathy to be a great way to clear up those things that you can’t seem to get out of your system. The remedies are not only based on physical symptoms, your outlook, things going on in your life and other considerations play into the choice. That adds to my fascination for it and my belief in its support of my holistic health.

If anybody is interested in the name of my homeopath, I am happy to share.

Mission Bike! Mission Healing!

Today I was on a mission. 

My bicycle shock broke a few years back rendering it unrideable.  Because the company that originally manufactured the bike had been bought by another company I couldn’t just replace the part easily.  And since I have been a student for the past couple years, buying a new bicycle or replacing expensive parts was not in my budget.  I was finally gifted a bicycle that my son was able to make some fairly minor adjustments to make it ride smoothy for me.  And before sunset, I was able to go for a ride.

I love riding my bicycle.  I enjoy exercising, but being on a bike and riding along the river or on a trail through nature is really something that I enjoy.  When my children were younger, we used to go on bike rides a lot.  Some of my kids even raced bicycles for a couple summers.  It isn’t just because of my fond memories that I like to bike, it is now because I still can.

For those of you who don’t know my health story, I lost half my right lung to cancer just about seven years ago.  I cannot believe it has been that long ago already.  When I was presented with the surgery option I was told that my body would adjust and in six months I would be able to do everything that I had done before.  For me, this wasn’t true.  I have been doing interval training and weights the past few years because doing aerobics for extended periods of time was not as easy as it used to be.

For over two years following my surgery I would get nauseous and dizzy when trying to go for a good ride.  It was very frustrating.  Even more frustrating was when I went to the doctor for help, he suggested that I lose weight and put me on diet pills.  Finally a nurse that I spoke to suggested that maybe due to the pain, I hadn’t been breathing as deeply.  I hadn’t thought of it even though I was in pain for over nine months following my surgery.  I am happy to report that is finally changing!

I am not only on a mission for my own healing, I hope that through my self-healing guide, others will heal, too!

 

Reflect

Another thing you can do while you are sitting still is reflect. Use a journal, you can order one here http://sharibrandtdesign.com/Journals.html

What is reflection?  Think about things.  Sometimes this can be overwhelming.  If you are thinking about someone in your life or situations you are not happy with, you can shut down, turn on the boob tube, have a drink or two or more, or open the fridge and overeat.  STOP!  Think about yourself and imagine that you are a computer, better yet, imagine that you are the internet.  If you ask questions, your mind (not just your brain) will search for answers or bring people into your life who have the answers or increase your awareness and lead you to an answer. 

So, this is where your journal is helpful.  Write down your question.  If you are thinking about a person you are not happy with, don’t just ask why, but ask what can you learn from being involved with that person.  Ask, does your relationship with this person make you feel good or bad.  I have known people that I have had fun with, but they were often late and I couldn’t trust that what they told me was the truth.  It didn’t feel good.  I tried changing my attitude for a while, but you also have to consider your values.  Are the people you are spending time with sharing your values?  When you are congruent in your life, better things happen.  Here’s an example.  If you do not drink heavily, but the people you are spending time with do drink heavily and much more frequently than you do, you may drink more heavily when you are with them.  Personally, I do not like hangovers.  There are a lot of people who have them regularly.  Pay attention to what you are doing. 

Another example from my own life is that I was not happy with where I was living.  The town I was living in was increasing taxes and electric rates and as a result my mortgage doubled and my electric bill became as high as my mortgage was before the tax increase.  I could live in nicer places for the money that I was spending to live here.  I had children in school, I could not sell my house for what I needed to move and so I had to change my attitude.  I had to change my mindset and while I felt like a victim for a time, I had to declare that I was making a decision to stay in my home and increase my income to accommodate the increased expenses.  At the same time, I was going to make it even more beautiful and a reflection of my artistic abilities.  It is now my intention that my home will become a landmark in my town.

When you write down your intentions, you begin to create an action.  When you ask questions, the answers will come to you.  A journal will help you to see your progress rather than beat yourself up and say, “I can’t believe I am still doing this!”  If you are reading this, chances are you are looking for change, so create it!

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Start Sitting Still

People ask me, “How do I use this guide.”  I tell them to start by sitting still.  Some say, “I cannot quiet my mind.”  I can say that I have had difficulty with this myself.  Making time to sit still and quieting the mind are both things that I may have said, “I can’t, ” to in the past.  I don’t feel like you have to free your mind of any thought but bring your focus to the present moment.  Start saying, “I will try,” and see if things begin to change.  Stop thinking about yesterday and what you have to do tomorrow.  Take a deep breath and focus on your breathing.  Is there anything in your body that doesn’t feel right or good?  Take a look at the chart and see if you can determine the color that may contain a balancing technique that can help.  Try the balancing techniques one by one until something helps.  My booklet also contains a prayer that I encourage trying.   This guide is one piece that I have used in my self-healing, there are many more techniques that I have studied and learned over the past five years.  I also provide private consultations in person or on the phone.  You can contact me by email at sharibrandt@live.com to set something up.  Feel free to email questions and I will post answers here.  If you have thought of it, someone else may have wondered the same thing.