My belief in the power of self healing began after a routine elective surgery. I awoke slowly to the cool, sterile air of the recovery room. I hear beeping monitors, ringing phones, overhead pagers and nurses murmuring in hushed voices. As I attempt to shift in bed, a strange sensation transcends my lower body; my right leg is numb! I’m hoping the anesthesia from my tubal ligation surgery hasn’t worn off but I am fearful that something is terribly wrong. My post-op course is atypical; days go by and I can barely move my right leg. The baffled doctors, including my physician husband, assume I had a reaction to anesthesia. Eventually, I recover.
As time goes by I find myself easily fatigued. I’m exhausted with my part-time job and caring for my two children. I have difficulty strolling in New York with my family. My right leg becomes weak and painful with horrific spasms. I try to ignore it and hope that it will pass. Eventually, I find myself in the ER after a severe migraine episode. After having an MRI of the brain, which showed non-specific white matter lesions my nightmare began. This is alarming news. My husband and I plunge full force into a journey that continues today.
After seeing numerous neurologists and undergoing a myriad of tests the doctor informs me I may have multiple sclerosis although my clinical history doesn’t meet the criteria for a definitive diagnosis. Possibly, the lesions are a migraine variant, vasculitis, a transient ischemic attack or cerebral vascular attack. He compassionately describes the treatment options and warns us of the serious side effects. Regretfully, there is no cure but studies show that drugs such as Avonex, Betaseron and Copaxone may prevent progression of the disease.
Frustrated, frightened and sad I decided to embark on a path of self healing. Summoning my inner strength, I reviewed my options, resolute in my conviction to gain control of my life and attain optimal recovery. I firmly believe a strong connection between the mind and body promotes self healing. Armed with a nursing education, a strong support system and a steadfast belief that I was able to achieve any goal, I devised a plan. I utilized a combination of traditional and alternative healing methods. I altered my diet, limited work hours, exercise regularly and take afternoon naps. I’ve had formal training in biofeedback and meditation techniques which I continue to practice daily. Massage therapy also provides symptomatic relief. Yes, I still have pain and numbness in my leg and take antispasmodics, vitamins and occasional pain medication. Following this regimen, I am rewarded with the emotional satisfaction of exercising control over my body and have not had progression of my brain lesions. I live life fully and maintain a positive outlook. Listen to your body and promote awareness of its needs to seize control of you health and well being.