This is long post about a major health crisis I experienced. I feel compelled to write about it for two reasons.
First, for those dealing with serious health issues my story offers a lot of hope and proves that the body’s ability to heal is miraculous.
The second reason I’m sharing my story is I wrote a book about chakras and I teach chakra balancing workshops and for years I’ve been telling people that the main trick to balancing their chakras and having a feel good life is to learn how to manage their energy. I tell them you can’t control what happens to you but you can choose how you react to it, and your attitude makes a huge difference!
This blog post is about how I got a chance to walk my talk and prove firsthand that being positive and having a good attitude during hard times works, even if it takes a while for you to get on board!
On March 10th 2016 my colon burst. The medical term for it is a perforated bowel. I was in incredible pain but had no idea something was seriously wrong so I opted to lay low for a couple of days. I assumed I’d get over it. Finally after four days my husband insisted I go to the ER to get checked out.
I passed out in the waiting room and the next thing I remember is a surgeon waking me up to sign a release form. He said he needed me to give him permission to do whatever was necessary to save my life.
He told me he’d do his best but there was a good chance I wouldn’t make it because I was so septic and had been for so long. Honestly I was so out of it that what he said didn’t even register. I simply wanted to be out of pain and as soon as I signed the paper I passed out again.
Six hours later I woke up and realized with no small bit of alarm that I had an awkward bag attached to my stomach!
The nurse told me it was an ostomy bag and it wasn’t permanent, that I only had to have it until my colon healed. In addition to the bag I had 2 annoying drains inserted into my abdominal region and more annoying tubes attached all over.
And I was in more pain than I knew was possible, so much that I was begging for powerful meds that would knock me out!
As my new reality settled in I decided to be optimistic about it!
I told myself my body was strong and healthy and I’d heal FAST! I thought the drains would be removed soon and I’d be out of the hospital SOON. I believed I’d back on my feet within a week. And I’d be healed enough to get rid of the bag in about a month.
But what actually happened is I ended up staying in ICU for three weeks because I had massive amounts of infection that created all sorts of issues and caused me to be on an insane amount of meds, and need to have dozens of tests and scans, and more painful drains inserted into my body.
Before I got sick I had no conception of what bowel perforations, ostomy bags, or sepsis were about. These were just terms I’d heard but I had no idea what they actually involved.
Now I know that sepsis is internal poisoning or toxicity, and it is very serious. Just to give you an idea of how serious my situation was I will say it the way my doctor explained it to me. He said a sepsis level of 15-16 is concerning. 20 is alarming. And 50 is lethal. People with a sepsis level over 50 rarely live. When they tested my blood in the emergency room my sepsis level was almost 70. One week after surgery it was still 38.
Let me just say that when you’re that septic for that long (topped with being on massive drugs) it messes with your brain and cognitive function etc. For months my brain jumped around and I stuttered and couldn’t pull up words in my mind, or track words in a sentence on a page, or control my hands well enough to hold onto things, or write.
In the hospital I dealt with fluid in my lungs (mild phenomena), massive PAIN and edema (50 lbs. water weight), severe weakness, raging yeast infections from all the antibiotics I was on, an inability to eat that resulted in having to have a nasty feeding tube down my nose, and an inability to move my legs or adjust my body in bed, etc. etc.
It hurt like crazy every time I had to move and nurses were constantly coming in my room and making me get out of bed, and propping me up in wheelchairs and wheeling me down halls (every jolt hurt like crazy!!), and making me lay on uncomfortable tables so they could do more scans and tests and reinsert painful drains into me, and poke me with needles and such.
Physically I hurt like hell. And emotionally it was all super frustrating and upsetting as well! Almost everything I was experiencing felt incredibly uncomfortable and painful and hard!
At one point I felt like screaming because they were making me lay on my stomach in the MRI tube so I could have another drain inserted into my butt cheek (INCREDIBLY PAINFUL experience!!) and I was literally having a panic attach, and I clearly heard a voice inside my head I recognize as God’s Spirit say, You can either fight this experience, or you can surrender to it.
In that moment of being pushed to my limits, I remember making a clear choice to surrender. I turned myself over to God and I somehow got through it.
Another time, when I was feeling super frustrated because I needed to have two painful tests in one day I heard the Spirit again telling me to, Be patient, and trust the process.
Once again I chose to relax and go with it. Haha I use the term loosely because there was no relaxing, but I did my best to let go and not resist it.
During those days I leaned heavily on my Heavenly Father. I prayed often and asked Him for healing and strength to help me get through it! I thanked Him for everyone who was helping me. I knew that there were many friends and family members, and even people who didn’t know me but had heard about me who were praying for me.
I felt the power of everyone’s collective prayers!
I recieved a strong assurance that my body would heal and be normal and strong again. I chose to believe the Spirit’s promise of restored health. When it seemed impossible that my body would ever be strong and healthy again, I chose to focus on the reassuring promises I’d received.
My choice to surrender to a difficult experience and trust a slow and laborious process of healing, and believe in healing miracles, carried me.
I experienced an abundance of blessings, including being able to have home-made food, calming music, essential oils and a diffuser, and many flowers, gifts, kind notes, and visits from kind and caring people. It was all of this that helped me get through a long uncomfortable hospital stay.
Finally I got to go home. But I was far from well. On top of the ostomy bag I still had a picc line in my chest, two drains (one just above the front of my hip bone, and a super PAINFUL one inserted into the upper part of my butt cheek) and an oxygen tube up my nose.
I was so weak that I needed help with EVERYTHING and still could hardly get food down. I had a home care nurse that came 1-2 times a week, and 1-2 times a week I also had to go back to the hospital for blood tests and doctor for check ups.
For three months I could only wear nightgowns and loose dresses on account of the drains and bag, and with the exception of going to the doctor I was too weak and sore to do much of anything but lay on a bed or couch.
Every time I stood up my entire core section ACHED unbearably. Every time I took a step it was laborious, slow and painful. I couldn’t even get myself a glass of water or make myself a piece of toast without collapsing.
And even though I was still in a lot of PAIN my doctor stopped prescribing pain pills (opiots). He said I’d been on them too long and I was starting to get addicted. He was right, I was becoming addicted. So I went off them and it was HARD, especially since I was still in PAIN. I literally felt like I was living in body hell. This was a most challenging and depressing time for me.
Another really upsetting thing that happened is my hair literally fell out in handfuls. All in all I lost about 85 percent of my hair.
Not to mention the extremely painful drain port in my rear end that hurt every time I moved and made it impossible to get in a comfortable position for almost 4 months! That needed to be drained twice a day and oozed so much puss that I had to make bandages by cutting maxi pads in half and having them taped to my butt.
To be honest even though I had chosen to surrender and trust the process of healing …. I wasn’t exactly digging any of it.
I wasn’t a ray of sunshine in the beginning and as the unpleasant experience DRUG ON I became less of one. Truth is as the days drug on I became more and more depressed, and just plain miserable and witchy.
One day a vision flashed through my mind. I saw me standing in front of a group of people teaching a chakra balancing workshop like I used to do, and I was telling the group that sometimes life knocks you down and there’s nothing you can do about it, but you’ve got to do whatever it takes to get yourself back up and going strong. And the goal is to learn to do it as fast as possible.
Before I got sick I’d said that exact thing so many times!!!
I finally remembered it and I knew it was time for me to stop feeling sorry for myself, and start walking my talk.
I KNEW WHAT TO DO and in that moment, I made a choice to start doing it.
I started to mentally count my blessings. I thought about everything that was right and good in my life and I felt GRATEFUL for it. I worked on being pleasant and thankful for what I had, instead of whining and complaining about what was wrong.
As I focused on being positive and grateful I started feeling better. And even though my situation was still hard, my heart felt happier and lighter.
About three and a half months after the surgery (towards the end of June) I finally felt good enough to get out of the house a bit. I was all bent over and I walked super slow and had to carry a big bag of pillows to sit on (because of the drain) but I was OUT of the house.
The first time I went to Costco I started crying. I might have been draped over the handle of the cart but I was up and I was walking through the store and it felt SO GOOD to be doing something normal again!
In July I had a scan to see if I’d healed enough to have a reversal surgery (aka ostomy take down) but the scan showed I was still leaking, so my surgeon doctor referred me to “Abby”, a colon rectal specialist. Abby did more tests which showed I’d formed a fistula. She said I needed another surgery to fix it.
Which was the last thing I wanted to hear!
I shared the news on Facebook and several well meaning people messaged me to tell me about someone they knew who’d had complications and wasn’t able to get a reversal after all. They wanted to prepare me in case it happened to me.
I started freaking out. Really worrying that it might be the case. Then one day I clearly heard the Spirit’s voice in my head again saying, You can either be fearful or you can be faithful, but what you feed will grow.
Woah. I chose to stop worrying and start exercising my faith. I prayed for an increased ability to trust God and believe in healing miracles and I asked for more faith than I had.
The surgery to fix the fistula was scheduled for August 27th. It was a MAJOR surgery that took seven hours and involved removing almost seven inches of my rectum, as well as one half of my belly button. When I found out I thought, Oh my gosh that’s A LOT!!
The news was not thrilling, and it was even less exciting when Abby informed me I could expect some unpleasant side effects.
I said, NO, I don’t think so. That’s not going to work for me. I’m NOT going to have that issue!
The good news is during the second surgery Abby removed an orange-size pocket of yucky pussy bacteria (her words were disgustingly foul and gross – worst she’d ever seen) and after that my hair stopped falling out. Oh YAY!!!
My colon also healed without further issues, which meant on October 29 I was able to have a third major abdominal surgery and finally get rid of the bag!
Then as my brother Mark put it, I got to start potty training all over again. And let’s just say that it was a long and uncomfortable process.
On December 5th I had a colonoscopy to see how things had healed. Abby said everything looked (surprisingly) great and she released me from her care with a clean bill of colon health.
That was a HUGE WooHoo!
After nine long months of steady appointments I felt so happy to be finally be free from doctors! I still ached when I stood for too long, and I was still readjusting to going to the bathroom… but finally I was free to live my life without NEEDING to go to a doctor to get something fixed!!
Four days later around noon on December 9th, I got a call saying that my oldest daughter was dead. She was forty one, and had eight children, and it was less than two and a half weeks before Christmas.
Talk about shock. One is NEVER prepared for this sort of a thing to happen. My heart felt broken.
We had a viewing, a funeral, and Christmas, and I somehow managed to get through it all.
Then im sure because of grief and an impaired immune system I collapsed and came down with the worst case of flu ever. And I coughed so hard that my incisions which weren’t completely healed, felt like they’d been ripped open on the inside.
On February 7th just as I was finally getting over the flu, my dad died. He’d been sick and his death was expected so it was much easier to process. But still….
The day after my dad passed I went back to my doctor to see what was going on with the big bulge in my stomach. He said I had a big deal hernia and would need another major surgery to fix it, but I needed more healing time first.
By April the hernia had become Big grapefruit sized and finally I’d healed enough that I could have another surgery.
But my pre-surgery MRI it showed I had significant masses in my lungs so my doctor said I needed to get cleared by a pulmonologist before he would do the surgery.
And all I could say is SERIOUSLY?!! You have got to be kidding!
So I went to a lung doctor who said I had a serious respiratory issue and needed to have a lung biopsy. And I thought Uggh. I didn’t want to have to go through another probing test again.
In May I had a three hour lung biopsy where they stuck a tube down my throat and then went through the tube to pinch a bunch of samples.
When I woke up I felt like a horse had kicked me in the chest, and then my throat and neck ached for days, but at least I didn’t have an incision or scar to deal with.
On my visit back to the lung doctor to find out what the biopsy results were, in all seriousness he told me I had such a severe case of sarcoidosis (aka calcified scarred lumps in my lungs) that I “should” need to be on oxygen 24/7 just to breathe, and I shouldn’t be able to talk without coughing and gasping and wheezing.
He said I needed to take steroids because it was the only known treatment for opening my airways.
I said thank you but no. I am absolutely not taking steroids!
I told him I’d keep on using essential oils. He said he didn’t recommend it because there’s no proof essential oils work.
I said HA. I’M PROOF… just look at me, I don’t have any of the symptoms you said I “should” have.
He said he had to agree with me.
He said when he looked at the screen, and then looked at me, there was a huge disconnect because I didn’t match up with what he was seeing there.
He said my lungs were so scarred I should look feeble and sick but instead I looked and acted about twenty years younger than my age. And I didn’t have any symptoms at all.
Then he admitted my attitude was refreshing. He said when most patients learn they have a disease they’re more than willing to throw in the towel.
He said he wished more people were like me. And he cleared me for surgery. WooHoo!
The hernia surgery was scheduled for June 25th and on June 21st my left leg started hurting and itching like crazy. Then it broke out in painful sores.
On the evening of the 24th I googled shingles and realized I had a full blown case. Most of my entire left leg was covered with sores.
It was so unbelievable it was ALMOST funny.
The next morning I went to the hospital and got checked in and didn’t say a word while they did all the pre op stuff.
When they wheeled me into surgery my doctor was walking beside me so I told him there was something going on with my leg and don’t freak out when he saw it.
So of course as son as we were in the operating room he looked at my leg and with EYES WIDE OPEN said he should wait and not do the surgery till this clears up.
To which I said it’s not a big deal and YES YOU SHOULD… PLEASE let’s just get this surgery over with… Please!
Just do it now I said. I’ll be fine.
And LUCKILY for me, he said “against my better judgement” and went ahead and did it (and there went the rest of my belly button).
The surgery was complicated enough that I needed to stay in the hospital for three days which meant every time anyone came in my room they had to put on a hazmat suit and it was a huge pain and all of the hospital staff were talking about me, and how I had the worst case (largest area covered) of shingles anyone had ever seen.
And I was just there in my bed spraying on oils and rolling doTERRA Breathe stick oll over my leg to relieve the you-wouldnt-believe-how-bad-it was pain because they worked and kept me from going gout of my mind (seriously don’t know how I’d have gotten through shingles without doTERRA!!). And I was thinking I might as well laugh.
Because when I looked back at the whole picture of my health crisis journey it was all so bizarre that it was actually laughable.
Before my colon burst I hadn’t been to a doctor or taken medicine for over two DECADES. And then, in the past sixteen months I’d been under the care of three different specialist doctors, had four major abdominal surgeries, and spent over five weeks in three different hospitals!
When I think about it it’s still mind boggling that it happened to me.
Especially because now that I’m perfectly healthy, strong and normal again. And I don’t have any of the serious side effects I’m supposed to have. Yay!
I am very grateful for the doctors and medical procedures that SAVED MY LIFE and put me back together so I can have an awesome quality of life again!
But honestly, while doctors and medicine fixed me up and kept me alive… they didn’t heal me.
I supported my body and MY BODY HEALED ITSELF!
Here’s what I did (STILL DO) that helped my body heal so amazingly:
I pray everyday and thank God and angels for healing me. I tell my body that I love it on a regular basis and I see all parts of myself as strong and functioning optimally. I practice deep breathing and I envision that my colon and digestive system are functioning perfectly. I visualize any cloudiness in my lungs dissipating and I imagine that the size of my lungs is expanding. I breathe out fear and pain, and I breathe in love and light. I feel and express gratitude for all the good in my life and I thank my body for healing so perfectly.
I drink water and don’t touch soda and sugary drinks. I mainly eat a clean plant based diet. I stay away from sugar or processed food and I use doTERRA essential oils on a regular basis. I take herbs and nutritional supplements, and almost every day, I exercise and push myself to my limit.
I don’t do everything perfectly all of the time, but these are my habits and I continue to do them on a regular basis. And I have an AWESOME ATTITUDE!
About six months after my lung biopsy my lung doctor called me. He said he wanted to check up on me and see how my lungs were doing. I told him my lungs were doing just great.
He asked if I wanted to come get a MRI and I said no, I was in Hawaii hiking mountains and I felt so good I didn’t see a need to waste time or money on a scan.
A couple of months later he called again and I told him my lungs were still doing great and I still didn’t think I needed a scan. He said it’s a miracle I don’t have any symptoms.
I said thanks to oils, healthy habits and positive attitude!
He said I really am a miracle and he’s very happy for me. We agreed it was time for him to close out my chart.
TO SUM IT UP Life is unpredictable and sometimes out of the blue unpleasant stuff is going to happen to you. You’re going to get lemons sometimes.
Even when you’re doing everything you can to prevent it, hard stuff is going to happen. And it might completely rock you off your orbit. And you will likely fall down.
But you don’t have to stay down!!
You don’t have to believe all the gloom and doom stuff that other people tell you! Just because they say something, it doesn’t make it so!
You might not be able to control what happens to you but you can always control your attitude! You always get to choose how you’re going to react to the challenging things of life!
You can make lemonade! I hope you do!
I hope when hard stuff happens to you, you will remember that YOU and your thoughts and your words and your attitude are powerful, and if you do your best to stay positive and grateful and faithful, and believe in miracles… something GOOD will come out of it.
When hard stuff happens you can either choose to turn to God and surrender, and trust Him to help you through the process. Or you can choose to turn against God and curse and blame Him for your problems.
You can choose to let the hard things in life make you bitter, or you can choose to let them make you better!
You can lay yourself down and think you are a victim… or you can rise up and become VICTORIOUS!
I hope you will choose to let hard things make you BETTER 🙂 I hope you will hold your head up and become victorious! Because it’s this, and not your circumstances, that will make your life turn out good!
Keep your chin up and keep making lemonade!