How Listening to My Body Changed My Summer Plans
Seeing & Listening to the Details in Daily Living Can Often Be Life Changing
As I was preparing for my usual summer of showing my horses – there are not many things that excite me more – much to my dismay, my body decided to direct my summer plans in an entirely new direction. While I thought I could convince it to get me through just a few weeks of horse shows, especially the ones in Lexington, KY since I had never been before and was so excited about going, my body very clearly told me NO. (Have you ever realized that if your body is not on board with your mind, there is not much you can do about it? Our body is pretty amazing and allows us to pursue our dreams.) My job THIS summer is not to bond with my horses while perfecting the details of the impeccable hunter round, but instead to bond with my horses so they can help me completely heal once and for all; to learn that they have so much more to give to me than a score of 88 (my personal best).
Let’s talk about health. Although I was able to heal my body holistically from recurrent breast cancer, I have had random bouts of extreme fatigue over the past few years. When I have these episodes, I take every anti-fatigue supplement that I can find in my pantry, get a vitamin C IV, or go on a cleanse; sometimes I do all 3. I have always been able to rebound, keeping up my regular pace, which is intense! I am not one to sit down. I have a hard time “resting.” When I do sit down, I tend to fall fast asleep within less than 30 minutes (just ask my husband…it’s kind of a running joke in our house). This is not something I am proud of and, in fact, is important for me to work on changing as rest is so CRITICALLY important for overall health and vitality (we are all a work in progress, right?).
The only medical tests that I do that consistently demonstrate my body being outside of the “normal range” are tests related to my thyroid. Shortly after I started chemotherapy in 2009, I was sent to an endocrinologist because of extreme fatigue. She diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism – a fancy term for a slow thryoid. She prescribed high levels of vitamin D, 50,000 IUs a week, which did help. She said we would just monitor my thyroid blood levels and would not start medication until they reached a specific number. That number did not show itself until 2017, at which point I declined medication as I had healed my body holistically from stage 4 cancer, so in my mind, I was not about to rely on a mediation to heal my thyroid. Ever since 2017, I have been trying all different kinds of holistic methods to heal my thyroid. Nothing has worked. Yes, it is true that although I did heal my body from stage 4 cancer – surrounded by an amazing team of helpers – I am not in perfect health. I have been continually perplexed as to how it is I have been able to heal my body from cancer, but not from hypothyroidism? As much as I have grappled, I have never been able to grab onto the answer to this question. But, because I am persistent, I never stop looking!! Remember, I have a very hard time sitting still…I am always on a quest.
A few months ago, I was watching a Facebook live video presentation from a doctor who I follow. He was offering a retreat, at his beautiful house in Arizona, for people who wanted to dive deep into healing their thyroids. This sounded pretty cool. I had never heard of a doctor who helped people heal in his house via a retreat setting! Before I could even realize what I was doing, I had signed up! As the massive deposit came thorugh on my credit card, fear began to engulp my body, and my mind went into overdrive, coming up with ways I could cancel! Because I work bi-monthly with a coach on changing my mindset, right down to the neuropathways themselves, I took a big deep breath, put my fear into the backseat, and decided my intuition knew best. I TRUSTED it and put the retreat on my calendar.
Shortly before I packed my bags to travel to Arizona for a few days, I was listening to a podcast that I started following in order to better learn how to help my dad, who has dementia. The podcast is called Broken Brain. It is wonderful! On this particular day, they were interviewing a woman who had something called Breast Implant Illness (BII). I had never heard of this term before. Hmmm…
In 2009, when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I elected to have a bilateral mastectomy followed by immediate reconstruction, with silicone implants. To make a long story very short, I intuitively knew I did not want implants, but as we so often do, I let fear lead the way, making decisions for me. The one and only plastic surgeon I consulted with promised me there was NO EVIDENCE that implants were unsafe (well of course there isn’t….who is going to pay to have the studies conducted to see if implants are safe? Surely not the manufacturers of them!). Back then, my mind was focused on one thing only – getting rid of the cancer. I decided to stop researching and just to trust my plastic surgeon. I got silicone implants.
Back to my podcast from a few months ago, knowing that I had implants, and not letting fear dictate my decision – in the past, fear would have had me quickly skip that podcast convincing myself that I didn’t need to hear it as clearly my implants are safe – I decided to listen. And listen I did. Wow! The information I heard was mind blowing! Implants have caused, among a host of other symptoms, extreme fatigue and autoimmune disorders for thousands of women. (Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease.) Yikes! I decided to take a deep breath and let this settle in.
Fast forward a few weeks. I entered a beautiful home to attend a thyroid retreat; hoping this would be the ticket to heal my thyroid once and for all. I decided to embrace my inner student, who I had not met in years, and take a seat at the front of the class. The decision was intentional and deliberate! A few minutes later, a sweet lady sat down next to me. The next thing I knew, we were talking about cancer and breast implants, among other things of course. Then, I pretty quickly found out she also had implants placed after having had a mastectomy and was already scheduled to have explant surgery. What!?! Was this happening? I started to over think it, letting fear lead my thoughts (yes, again), telling myself all of the reasons why I was safe. Why I was different. Why my implants could not be possibly making me sick! (Remember, I was a lawyer so I can be very covinicing when I need to be. That was trained into me for YEARS!) But that night, alone in my hotel room, after reading more and more stories that were so much like mine, I let the truth grab me deeply. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed…it was an exhausting, terrifying, beautiful, cleansing release. I then realized it was finally time to step up and do something about my implants.
Quite simply, the thyroid retreat was all about me meeting a beautiful woman who demonstrated her bravery to me, therefore giving me the confidence to truly embark on my journey to dive deep into BII. While I was retreating, I dug deep into articles and read thousands, yes thousands, of posts about women who have experienced debilitating health after getting implants. The sheer number of women was astounding to me. If you want to learn more, please ask to join this amazing page (Breast Implant Illness & Healing by Nicole). If 82,933 approved members isn’t proof that BII exists, I don’t know what is?
Initially, the research made me physically ill…yep, sore throat, swollen glands, my friend fatigue, and nausea. It was super fun, let me just tell you! NOT! (Remember, it was just my old friend fear talking that was making me sick.) The thought of another surgery, after having already gone through a bilateral mastectomy and oophorectomy due to cancer, was overwhelming to say the least. So I decided to do what I had been taught to do – journal about it all. After I got it all out on paper, including my deep rooted fears, I was able to get a handle on the situation and move forward with enthusiasm to find the right surgeon for me. I chose enthusiasm because I knew I had finally found the root cause of my extreme fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, and hypothyroidism. The cool part is the answer was not what the doctor hosting the retreat was teaching. It was what God had been showing me through intuition, podcasts, and then a fellow mastectomy thriver. I signed up for divine intervention, not medical advice. THINK ABOUT THAT! Pretty freaking cool! What are your circumstances trying to tell you? Please give yourself some quiet time to really think about that…and please journal….it’s powerful!
Once I got home from Arizona, I decided to stop researching the disease, as I knew that it existed and that my body had been suffering from it for years now and began my search to find the right surgeon for me. TIP: It is important to not spend too much time online in the trenches of learning about illnesses as that itself can make you even more sick. Learn just enough to give you the power to make wise decisions that are best for YOU. Your mind is powerful, so when you are reading all that negative crap your mind takes a hold of it and your body can become it!
As a side note, I am so profoundly grateful for my body getting me through the toxic leaching of these implants for so many years. The sheer number of toxins it has saved me from since I was 2 years old and drank furniture polish to the rounds and rounds of toxic chemotherapy is truly astounding! My body is a precious gift to me. The gratitude I have for it is immeasurable. God is indeed in control and has bigger plans for me. What can you thank your body for today? What can you thank God for seeing you through?
I have been blessed to learn about surgeons (and surgery experiences) from so many amazing women on a few Facebook groups I am a part of. After I researched recommended surgeons and found ones that had impeccable resumes, I began to make phone calls to set up consultations. I met with a number of highly qualified doctors until I found the one whose energy aligned beautifully with my own.
When you are interviewing doctors, it is important to remember that although he/she may be highly qualified, namely has an impeccable resume, if the doctor’s energy does not fit with your own, then it is not the right doctor for you. What do I mean by energy? When the doctor comes into the room to meet you, how do you feel? Are you tight and anxious or do you feel relatively calm all things considered? As the doctor and you talk about how you would like to be helped, how are you feeling? Are you feeling your body relax more and more or are you feeling it get tighter and more tense? Do you feel like you need to defend yourself or like you are being heard and supported? When you feel like you can take a deep breath, when you feel an indescribable sense of peace (in spite of the circumstances that bring you two together), and when you experience the readiness to have surgery (or a medical procedure), then you know you have found the one that is right for you. If you do not experience these things then just keep on looking. Don’t be frustrated if it takes you many meetings to find your doctor. When your surgery day (medical procedure) arrives, you will want to be able to relax and trust the hands you are in as this will ensure the best surgical (medical) results possible. Energy heals. You need not only your doctor’s skill set, but his/her healing energy!!!
I took my time and went through the process of interviewing surgeons and then the day happened that I found my guy. All I can say is that “I knew that I knew that he was the one.” Everything just worked. Everything felt right. The best part is I was finally ready to schedule my surgery. I was excited to have found someone to help me get well!
Fast forward to present day, my research is done, my surgeon is picked, and my surgery is scheduled (June 27th…YIPPY!). I have never been so ready for a surgery! I have never not thought the anesthesia was going to kill me! I am at peace and I am ready!
I mentioned earlier that I knew, deep down, 10.5 years ago that breast implants were not right for me. But, I allowed fear to make a decision for me and that is okay. The important question to answer in life is: When the day comes to correct wrong decisions we have made in the past, are we going to step up and rewrite our paths in life? Or will we beat ourselves up for being wrong, bury our head in the sand, and pretend like that decision was never made? For me, the day has finally come where I can admit I was wrong and honor my body by correcting a decision that I made in the past that I knew was not right for me. I can’t wait to see the new path I am headed down because I have chosen to look fear in the face, deal with the emotions that resulted, and make an informed decision to correct my mistake. Although the process can be tough (I have cried many days during this journey), the decision to trudge through the darkness toward the light is one of the most liberating experiences I have ever had!
My takeaways from this experience are many, but the big one continues to be: God is always guiding and directing us, but the big question always remains – will we listen?
Sending you love…..