Oh my. I am not sure I can eloquently tell this story when it is so fresh- and still unveiling inside me- but I feel if I don't get some of it down, I will not remember smaller details in the future.
As you know, I've been on a plant-based diet for 5 months with many restrictions. Essentially, a diet that promotes constant detox. You also know I had a thermography reading a week ago that revealed heat on the lower part of my right breast. This heat was determined by the radiologist to be mysterious in nature, and was not a tumor. And you ALSO know that I started a 28 cleanse on the day I learned of this inflammation showing in my breast. A diet of only raw fruits and vegetables and very minimal plant fat (a bit of avocados and nuts) - though I had been adding in some hot veggie/herbal broth for some warmth.
So--- to tell this story...first we must go way back. We must got back to when I was 13. When I was 13, soon after I got my period, I hit a huge wall of fear about my body. I was convinced that it wasn't normal and healthy. My first year of periods were not regular- which of course is normal- but in my mind I felt that something was wrong with me. The fear of this was overwhelming. And ...that fear has essentially been with me every since. Not about my periods, necessarily, but all sorts of things. As I was got older, it spread outward into my relationships and my own self-worth. A fear, like I said, that there was something very wrong with me. I felt constantly exposed, vulnerable, open for attack and open for loss. This fear that I am talking about is one side of my story.
The other side of my story is the physical side. A culmination of "weird" things that have happened to me physically in my life that were often medically unexplainable. Some things in my twenties- like Shingles and Costochondritis- while medically recognized as extensions of the Herpes Virus, are still not "cureable." In my early thirties I had unexplainable hip pain which lasted on and off into the present. And after the birth of my second child, I had a complete neurological unwiring (as I call it) on my left side. I went to the Emergency several times for this, one time in the dead of night on Christmas Eve. This weird condition included severe and immobilizing back pain and nerve "shocks" from neck to torso which lasted on and off for several YEARS. I couldn't pick up my children much of the time and didn't know if I would ever be able to again. MRI's and all that other extensive testing found nothing wrong. No pinched disks, no structural misalignment. Chiropractor appointments which cost thousands of dollars did little. In my 40's I began to get migraines.
The migraines were linked up with my menstrual period, at the beginning and the end of it, but could last on and off for two weeks. Western Medicine gave me drugs that gave me hangovers so I did over-the-counter headache meds- which I HATED. My long-time acupuncturist, who knew me well, tried (again) to get me to clean up my diet more, taking out caffeine, dairy, wheat and alcohol for starters. He said these headaches I was describing were very hard to treat. I tried Chiropractic again, which helped a little. But not really.
Then I stumbled on the the work of Anthony William (his books are in my sidebar) and, as you know, I was somehow able to change my diet for good. Taking out alcohol, caffeine, most meat (except for small portions of fish and, occasionally, chicken), wheat (and most other grains), dairy, eggs, artificial and natural flavors, soy, corn, canola oil (and most other oils). I studied Anthony's books and became sure that the answer to my ills was within his work. I effectively in the next months cured my migraines and my PMS. I was feeling pretty awesome.
And then about a month ago, I started to feel like I had a rib out on the right side. Because I've had SO much structural-feeling crap happen in my body, I didn't give it much thought, but I did notice the discomfort moved around a lot. It would go from the left side of my right breast to the right side of it. Then into my back. Then into my shoulder. Then it disappeared for about a month....until I went to get my thermography scan.
This is all true guys- what I'm about to tell you. There I was getting my annual breast scan and suddenly the person doing the scan informs me I had heat showing on part of my right breast. My heart jumped into my throat (fear) and that rib-out sensation I had experienced a month before resurfaced in my breast, chest and back. It came back right in that instant, and strongly. I had to wait for two days for the radiologist's report to come back. I was a mess. Sucked in by fear. I instinctively went stronger into my diet, moving from plant based into a 28 day cleanse as my gut told me I needed to detox more deeply.
Yes. My gut, my INSTINCT told me that this was inflammation from detox- but my mind was freaking out. My mind said: See! THIS IS IT! It's cancer! The report came back saying it wasn't cancer, but it was activity that should be watched, closely. Why? It was, in essence, mysterious what was causing the heat. Likely fibroids, they said- but they didn't know. I studied and studied the remarks from the radiologist and researched. I found that inflammation from a great many things can be picked up on thermography scans. Even inflammation from viruses. I thought about things and did deep focus on what I thought it was. I firstly, assumed it was fibroids- like they told me. But that didn't seem right. Stagnant lymph? Maybe- but even that didn't seem like a full explanation. I came back to feeling it was toxins purging.
In the next few days, the sensation grew worse. It moved all around my left side, front and back. Side to side from sternum to outer rib. I went up and down- feeling strong and sure this was all part of a detox and then....I would flip-flop suddenly go into DEEP fear, including one intense panic attack. The mind not really knowing what was causing this moving inflammation sent me to tears and the words "frozen in fear" actualized in my body a number of times. Each time, I was able to eventually talk myself out of it.
Yesterday morning I woke up feeling pretty good. But, the cleanse setting in was definitely making me more emotional and I felt like it was making the sensations much more intense. I cancelled a few yoga classes, but taught most of them- hanging tight.
So- yesterday morning, after I taught, I checked my email and there was an email from the Thermography Center reminding me to make a follow up appointment with them in three months. As soon as I read this email- I flipped. I felt scared and angry all over agin. The strong part of me that trusted my path was totally overshadowed by fear again. I shook and cried- angry that I had to go down the Western Medical road again- that I was back in the land of "let's try and figure out what this is."
I came home and continued to fall apart. I was crying, my husband was telling me over and over I was FINE - that he really believed that. I cancelled my later yoga class that day and got into bed. By the evening my lungs started to feel tight. I told Brad that I was CLEAR that all of this had nothing to do with my breast. Sure, the tissue might be inflamed but the breast was clearly not the culprit He agreed. The physical sensations were stronger than they ever had been. They moved around and around, my throat got dry. My chest hurt. I did all I had been taught to do over these past 5 months, I nourished myself. I drank huge mason jars full of fresh ginger and turmeric to ease the inflammation, I did big doses of a pure form of Magnesium and kept up on all my other supplements. I told myself over and over- I was detoxing. I texted with a new friend who knows a lot about healing and detox and through a series of questions she asked me, she concluded it as a release of a virus, her guess was Shingles.
I remembered my battled with those Herpes-related illnesses in my youth, went to bed and read again the chapter on Shingles in Anthony's book. It rang more and more true. I read it slowly and methodically. He says, I paraphrase, that shingles (and many viruses) do not die in the body, unless we kill it by not feeding it (and viruses feed on all the things I listed a few paragraphs above.) I knew this- but I hadn't put the puzzle pieces together, could every "weird" mystery medical thing I had experienced over the last 25 years be from the shingles virus wreaking havoc on my body? Anthony says that the shingles virus does not have to present as a rash. It can present in lots of painful ways (some of which you would recognize, like frozen shoulder) and many, many others - including undiagnosed nerve pain, and hip pain that comes and goes, both of which I had.. This stuff is not yet understood by medical science. That is why they can't "fix" herpes and shingles. They can only (sometimes) get rid of symptoms. (you can read more about ALL of this in his book if you like.) Suffice to say that It started to make more sense to me. I questioned if I was literally detoxing the shingles virus.
That night (last night) was a wild ride. I would sleep for a few hours, then wake up in fear, a few times I got up to take some more Magnesium which relaxed the pressure feeling in my lungs. At one point, I spoke out loud to the fear and the virus and I said: I'm too strong for you now. You are dying off and I have no need for you anymore. I said over and over: I am healthy and I'm not afraid of you anymore.
I finally fell back asleep and woke early in the morning, this morning, to teach a class. I woke up with my right side on fire. The fire was mostly presenting in my midsection from belly button, wrapping around my waist to my spine- the exact place a shingles virus breaks out. Of course I was feeling it internally, I had no rash. But that is where I would have had a rash- had it been the rash variation of shingles. I questioned if I could even go to work, I could barely make it to the bathroom. I felt the fear set in again. And again I said aloud "NO. You can't have me" I stumbled into a hot bath and felt the pain start to decrease. I continued to talk to the virus and my fear. I saw CLEARLY that the virus fed on my fear and I told it that I was pulling it's last available food source. Anthony talks about this- that viruses also feed on the hormones we release (like cortisol) when we are in fear or under stress. I feel like we faced each other then, the virus and me, like a stand-off. I told it I was going to work, that it couldn't hold me down.
I went to work. The photo above is where I was holding a class, at a resort I work at. I waited for people to arrive and looked out at the ocean. I took a deep breath....I felt so much better. The discomfort was still there, but it was so much less. I was able to enjoy my classes and felt totally free of the fear. At one point, I even felt exuberant joy. I ran into my friend and student who has been on a very similar path with her health. I told her my story and she completely understood it. As did my mom, my husband, my kids and several of my very health-minded friends. Their support was essential for me.
So, I broke my cleanse today in the afternoon, after 1 week of being on a raw veggie and fruit diet. I went back to eating my normal plant-based diet because I felt intuitively that my lungs were weak and in need of warmth. I felt in order to get the inflammation down in my lungs, I needed heat. I was right, because after a plate of cooked veggies and quinoa and a huge bowl of veggie soup I felt my body relax. My lungs became much less inflamed within the next few hours. As I sit writing now, I have virtually no discomfort and no fatigue. My lungs feel normal.
I'm sure I will cleanse in my future. But when I am feeling strong- not when I am in such transition.
I know this release likely isn't totally over. I'm still vulnerable. But maybe the hardest part is over. I am very thankful for what I went through and all it taught me. Thankful for all I released, which was a lot, physically and emotionally. It was more powerful than natural childbirth in some ways. Harder in many ways too. I know I have a lifetime in front of me to continue to detox from my past, and also from all the toxins that I accumulate from simply being on the planet in the way it is today. I have a lot to learn and I will continue to share it here so that you can learn too. I don't know for sure I am detoxing the shingles virus, but it seems the most likely to me at this point. And as long as I continue to get more and more well and joyful and truly radiant on my path, then that is all that matters.
As for Western Medicine....I have chosen to not go further there for the moment. I will see my acupuncturist, and continue to work with the community of friends I have around me who are on a similar journey. In a few weeks perhaps, when I am feeling a little stronger, I will consult with my Nurse Practitioner and get her point of view. For today, I am my own doctor and I choose to trust this doctor.
I am happy to answer any questions and I give anyone who is interested in moving to a plant-based diet my support and love. Like I've said from the beginning of this blog... It's not easy to transition, to face the reality of how toxic we are, to go through the curves and the detox...but, what can I say? It's a journey to release the layers. And for me, it is the only path.
I will keep you posted on my journey as you know.