Confessions of a Massage Therapist…
I’m not anti-medical establishment. Not quite. I do believe there is a time and place for western medicine.
It’s just that – I trust my body more.
That wasn’t always the case.
I found myself continuously discouraged in my encounters with doctors, starting with the birth of my first child. My questions never felt answered. Or perhaps the answers seemed biased and scripted. My impression was that though doctors have a vast understanding about how the body functions, about disease, and about pharmaceuticals (the suppression of symptoms); there seemed to be a lack of faith in the body’s ability to heal.
The diagnostics and the surgical advancements, are beyond incredible! But too often, the treatment plans are incomplete. They so rarely look at the whole picture; in order to explore it more in it’s fullness.
One day, years ago – I had this defining moment, where I allowed these hunches of mine to have a voice. I decided to take my health into my own hands, and began trusting what my body was messaging me.
I was only 23, and couldn’t understand why I was so tired all the time. I had taken up juicing, was eating natural organic foods, receiving weekly massages (the perks of being a massage therapy student), and working out. I thought, surely I was way too young to be feeling like such a lump.
Despite all the healthful things I had implemented into my lifestyle, my energy was steadily declining. Some days, I swear, I could take 3 naps and it wouldn’t do a thing for my fatigue. I was baffled about why my back and calves ached, all the time.
But it wasn’t just the tiredness and pain that was wearing on me. It was the strange new food allergies I was developing (to healthy foods). Leaving my belly constantly bloated. It had gotten to the point where the simplest foods were folding me over. Not to mention the acne outbreaks and white spots blemishing my skin. I was exhausted, concerned, and embarrassed .
The breaking point was when my annual pap smear came back abnormal. That was the last straw. I knew something was wrong.
While I waited for the biopsy results, I started to do my own research. I read up on the conventional medical practices for my condition, and then read anything I could get my hands on about healing. Being a massage student and working at a natural food store, gave me easy access to numerous resources – rummaging through books ranging from:
» diets and natural remedies that help cleanse and repair our bodies
» how maintaining proper pH in our internal terrain is key to warding off disease
» how cancer cannot grow in oxygen rich environments
» why health/death begins in the gut
» how unresolved emotions and repetitive negative thoughts contribute to disease
» the real causes of cancer and degenerative conditions
I decided that regardless of how my results came back, I was committed to healing holistically. I came to understand how the Standard American Diet (SAD) I was raised on, the exposure to environmental toxins, as well as emotionally traumatic events, led to my cells turning rogue.
My biopsy results determined that I had medium to severe cervical dysplasia – pre-cancer soon to be cancer. HPV had not been detected.
Upon receiving my diagnosis, my doctor called to tell me what my options were. She was recommendingLEEP procedure, to laser out the abnormal cells. She was absolutely certain that this was my best (only) option.
When I hesitated to schedule this procedure, she made it very clear that my case was a serious near emergency situation. She was insistent that I make my appointment before hanging up the phone.
Her response to my questions, and the mentioning of my interest in trying other methods first, only made her reiterate the statistics of an over 80% success rate and how fearful I needed to be about this prognosis. I explained to her I was listening to my body and what I felt I needed. I began telling her my plans and what I was already doing.
She interrupted me, to say “Shalene, I have been in practice for over 25 years and have never seen someone cure themselves of cancer with herbs.” She had no interest, in the fact that I was speaking about far more than herbs. However, I asked her “who in her office has tried?” Her response was “Oh! Those girls from Boulder…NO ONE has ever done it!”
It became obvious to me by her answer; that her experience was limited and biased. For me, her method seemed counter-intuitive and addressed only one of the symptoms.
In was in that very moment, that I realized that I must stand up for myself, and become my own advocate. I chose to listen to what I felt was right for me, by trusting my gut. Which meant going against her advice. Knowing that I would have to explain this all to my parents, my friends, and do what was socially counter-culture (granted, this was before eating healthy was hip and before the documentary/social media era).
My doctor was so worked up about my desire to try something outside her recommendation, that she refused to get off the phone, until I scheduled an appointment. So I did. And then called back the next morning and cancelled.
Instead, I confirmed a week long retreat, where I underwent an intense cleanse with a naturopathic doctor. Followed by a year of healing through various methods, from the damages of parasite and bacterial infection, leaky gut, anemia, and systemic inflammation. A condition, my GYN never even considered.
Intuitively, I knew that if I just cut out the cells, they would grow back, despite the statistics. I knew that, what was necessary was to address the root cause, if I really wanted to heal. I understood, that it was going to be more work on my part than simply showing up for the surgery and hoping for the best. It required a serious lifestyle makeover. But I was willing.
I did eventually go back to her office for another exam. This time, my results came back normal. The sad part is, that my doctor didn’t even remember me. I never did tell her, that in her 25+ years in practice, someone DID heal their cancer with herbs. Perhaps, I will.
From that day forward, I have unwaveringly trusted my body. I began to trust it above all else, and honor it as my most loyal companion.
The kicker though is that when I decided to become allies with my own body; I realized that I would become an advocate for them all. It has become my intention, to help people be more in tune with their own bodies. And so, I speak on their behalf.
My mission is to assist others in taking a holistic approach in their health and well-being, beyond healthy touch . It is not an easy, perfectly defined path, nor is it one that the over-culture supports. However, I believe there is always room for improvement.
May we all embody health and healing!