Thursday, October 30

Staying In The Moment

I was going to title my post "Waiting is Hard to Do," but since I have chosen to stay focused and positive, I feel that "Staying in the Moment" is much more appropriate.
I have been waiting to hear back about my heart biopsy results (which should be ready today or tomorrow), and I have to say that it hasn't been all that easy. On top of that, my body is still in the process of recovering from the procedure, so that has left me with a lot of time by myself to think and project about what they may have found, and what that might mean for my future. I am sure you can only imagine just how creative my imagination can be!
Anyway, I went to my primary care doctor this morning, and he didn't give me very much to be hopeful about. The one thing that helped to ease my stress a bit, was the fact that he said it takes much longer to recover from the heart biopsy than it does to get past the cardiac catherization. That was good news to hear, because I have been thinking that I should have bounced back from this already instead of feeling weak and in pain for the last few days.
He went on to say that I should not get my hopes up that they will find anything from my biopsy- even if something is detected, most of the time they can only treat the symptoms and not the cause. So my question was this (once again): why did I just go through all of that?!!! He replied that it was absolutely necessary to run the tests for my condition, and that it helps the doctors to rule out possible causes. It also will help us figure out what direction to go into, regardless of what the outcome is.
Well, once again I left the visit feeling rather deflated, and after coming home and resting a bit, I have realized that I have been looking for answers outside of myself once more. I know that the solution is in my Higher Powers hands. I know that He wants the best for me. I am also trying to get over blaming myself for having caused all of this- which I feel is essential to my wellness- and will do what I can to set my thinking back onto a better train of thought. Honestly, I haven't been reading or listening to any of the inspirational material that I normally add to my daily routine (except for my twelve step work), and I can feel an absolute downturn in my outlook. I am going to commit to all of you that I will (at the very least), lie down and listen to one of my Law of Attraction Cd's on my iPod. It never fails to make me feel better, and in fact, it just might get me back into right thinking again. I am so glad that I decided to post on my blog today- it has helped me to see that I do have a choice in how I feel, think, and act. Best of all, if I end up backsliding on my progress (which I feel I have) I can always get right back into it by listening to something inspirational. Which is exactly what I plan on doing!

Sunday, October 26

Whew- That's Behind Me!

I am happy to report that I got through my Cardiac Catherization and the heart biopsy just fine. It funny, I kept telling myself that it would be a breeze- drop into the hospital and then leave in a few hours. It was far from that, to be honest. I have had other out patient procedures before (a few endoscopies) and I was in and out after some light sedatives and was able to rest for the remainder of the day and that was it. This was different for some reason, in fact it felt more like I was having surgery than just running some tests. I suppose the fact that they were rather invasive makes it feel that much different.
I had the typical IV put in my arm, and serveral drugs administered before, during, and after the procedure, but it was the actual tests themselves that were a bit hard for me. Well, to get more specific, I didn't like the heart biopsy. Before Friday came, I kept having visions of being able to feel the doctor taking pieces of my heart and it made me uncomfortable to even imagine it. When it actually came time to do the biopsy, it's not that I could feel them snipping away, but I could feel a lot of discomfort and my heart felt irritated every time they went in for another section. I was able to watch all of this on the monitors, and after a few minutes I decided to look away and give myself a break. Yuck!
It was also a bit uncomfortable to have them go into my arteries through my neck and my groin, and I have to say that these areas have caused me the most discomfort as they are going through the process of healing and repairing themselves.
I won't get into how sick I became on the way home from the hospital (I was really surprised by how violently my liver reacted to all of the meds), but let me just say that I unfortunately had to leave a few messes on the side of Sepulveda Blvd.
Now that I have spent the last few paragraphs on my "orderal" I am going to focus on the good that is coming out of this: first of all, it's behind me. Yea! Secondly, they found no blockages in my arteries, and there is no fluid surrounding my heart. This is great news to say the least. The biopsy results should come next week, and I am making the decision to be okay with whatever they may or may not find. I have spent months desparately wanting to know what has caused my cardiomyopathy, but I must get to the point where I am okay with not knowing. Who knows, maybe they will find something- stranger things have happened!
One final note: today is my birthday, and I am determined to enjoy it. I have been resting and taking care of myself, but I have also been looking forward to my annual birthday dinner with close friends and family. I believe that having this to be excited about has helped me to stay more positive, and to heal just a liitle bit faster. There really is something to be said for having things in life to look forward to- I think it makes all the difference in the world. Especially for people who are dealing with chronic illness.

Thursday, October 23

Time To Take A Look At My Heart

Well, its finally here. Tomorrow are my two tests at UCLA- the cardiac catheterization and heart biopsy. To be honest, I don't know what makes me more nervous: having my life disrupted or hoping to God that I didn't go through one more test for no reason. As my personal way of dealing with this stress, I have made myself run around all day long trying to prepare for the "event," and for the days following. From what I have read and have been told, the recovery time is about 24 hours, but I know from past experience that the stress alone can set me back for a few days, so I can just imagine what all of this will do to me. Having just said all of that, my job is to push these fears and projections aside and focus on the fact that it is going to turn out beautifully. I will show up at the hospital; they will do the tests; I will stay in recovery for a few hours; then I will go home and rest. End of story. It doesn't have to be dramatic or scary- I can actually choose to go with the flow and have faith that everything will be okay. I really believe that deep down I don't like the idea of my heart being messed with, and I know that having a biopsy taken of it just isn't sitting well with me. If I were my heart I wouldn't like being invaded with a bunch of scopes and surgical tools! My hope is that my body will be accepting of all of this, and that the results will more than make up for any stress or discomfort that these procedures may have caused me. Please keep me in your prayers and send good thoughts- I can use as many as I can get!

Saturday, October 18

Transitioning Into Fall

I wanted to pass on this great post about our current change of season- I have struggled with the move from summer to fall for years and I really enjoyed what Steven had to say on the topic.

Enjoy the Energy of Fall
By Steven Sonmore L. Ac. | October 12, 2008

“In ancient times those people who understood Tao (the way of self cultivation) patterned themselves upon the Yin and the Yang (the two principles in nature) and they lived in harmony…” The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine
There is a slight nip in the air. The days are starting to get shorter. And just as the squirrels have gotten down to the business of storing nuts for the winter, we find ourselves a little more serious and less carefree than in summer. Whether you’re preparing for school or preparing for a new business venture, you know that Fall has arrived.
Fall is the beginning of the yin cycle when the daylight lasts less than twelve hours. It’s a time of harvest when we gather the colorful fruits and vegetables for winter storage. Pumpkins and squashes are our symbols of bounty. We also store wood for the fire and get out our warm clothes for the colder, darker days of winter.
According to Oriental medicine, the season of autumn is associated with the element of Metal, which governs organization, order, communication, the mind, setting limits, and protecting boundaries. It’s a good time to finish projects that you began in spring and summer – harvesting the bounty of your hard work. Of course, it’s also the perfect time to begin more introspective, indoor projects.
During the summer, which is ruled by the Fire element, we deal more with the external – traveling and playing outdoors. Fall, on the other hand, is a time of organizing your life for the winter season ahead and coming more inside your body and mind to reflect on your life.
The lung and large intestine are the internal organs related to Fall and the Metal element. Lung is associated with the emotion of “letting go.” This process is difficult for those who love the summer. They find it hard to give up the long days of sunlight, warm temperatures, and open windows. Others feel differently and love autumn, from the crisper air to the vivid red, orange, and yellow leaves on the trees. If letting go of summer is hard for you, extra support from your licensed acupuncturist may be in order to help you make the transition. That’s right…acupuncture works on releasing emotional issues as well as physical ones.
Various systems of self-mastery teach that by controlling your breath, you can achieve and maintain physical vigor, mental clarity and emotional tranquility. The ancient Taoists developed a practical discipline of breathing called Qi Gong to increase vitality, extend lifespan, and prevent disease. This is a wonderful skill to learn as the Summer gives way to Fall.
Sleep is another important aspect of staying healthy in the Fall. The ancients advised that people should retire early at night and rise with the crowing of the rooster during the autumn. “Soul and spirit should be tranquil and to keep their lung pure they should not give vent to their desires.”
Lung is considered by Oriental medicine to be the “tender organ.” This is because the lung is the uppermost organ in the body and especially susceptible to wind and cold. During the change in temperature, be sure to dress for the weather! I see too many people still dressed for summer at the beginning of autumn, which is an open invitation for coughs, sore throats, and the common cold.
The lungs control the circulation of the Wei-Qi, which is the defensive Qi that protects you from the invasion of flu and colds. The Wei-Qi circulates on the surface between the skin and muscles and works to warm the body. If the Wei-Qi is weak, the skin and muscles will not be warmed properly. This is why people tend to feel cold when they’re sick. A weakness in the lungs can lead to a weakness in the Wei-Qi, making a person prone to frequent colds.
The nose is the opening to the lungs, and you can prevent colds by keeping your nose and sinuses clean and clear. Using a netti pot with some sea salt and water helps rid the nose of excess mucus. If you suffer from a runny nose or sinus infections, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are wonderful for alleviating that problem.
What you eat also greatly affects the health of your lungs. Eating excess cold and raw foods creates dampness or phlegm which is produced by the spleen and stored by the lungs. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, cream, and butter also create phlegm, while moderate amounts of pungent foods like garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and mustard are beneficial to the lungs.
The transition from Summer to Fall is a time when the Qi is instable. The Qi from healthy lungs should descend. If the Lung Qi goes upward, it is “rebellious,” and the person experiences a cough. The Lungs inhale the Heavenly Qi (air) and exhale the “dirty “Qi (carbon dioxide). Now is the time to strengthen your Qi to prepare for winter and get a “tune-up” from your licensed acupuncturist to strengthen your immune system.
“There was temperance in eating and drinking. Their hours of rising and retiring were regular and not disorderly and wild. By these means the ancients kept their bodies united with their souls, so as to fulfill their allotted span completely, measuring unto a hundred years before they passed away.” Huang Ti Nei Jing Su Wen
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For more than 20 years Steven Sonmore helped people transform their health problems into solutions for attaining better health. Steven is a licensed acupuncturist, Oriental bodywork therapist and herbalist. He offers complete health care with acupuncture, Chinese herbs, nutritional counseling, Oriental massage, and facial rejuvenation. He is licensed by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice and certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineFor more information call 612-866-4000, visit

Monday, October 13


The last few weeks I have been in waiting mode- trying to live my life and not think too much about my upcoming tests on my heart. I have to say that it has been an interesting time; I have felt much more hopeful, but at the same time I feel like everything is on hold until I get the results of the cardiac catheterization and the heart biopsy. I have this constant feeling that I should do more, be more, grow more; but in reality I have to take things one day at a time and do the best I can.
I am finding that being my own worst critic is not helping my health or my emotions one bit. It certainly isn't allowing me to grow spiritually either. If I am feeling critical of myself, then I am blocking God's love and God's will from really coming into my life and making it fantastic. Heck, I would be happy with an improvement, we don't have to get to great just yet. I really can't complain because I have been taken care of completely since all of this began in February by having the best doctors, money to live, and emotional support from my friends and family. What more could a gal ask for?
Another thing that is becoming clear to me is the importance of self-love. The more I beat myself up, the more I make myself sick and unhappy. I know that many people have problems loving themselves, and I find it hard to understand why we feel this way. Is it caused by our home environment growing up? Does it stem from school or the media? How about from society as a whole? My guess is that it's a combination of all of these and it's our job to let go of this old programming and remember the truth: we are all amazing people- whatever we have accomplished today is enough. More than enough. I am doing what I can to remind myself that I am here for a reason, and that God doesn't make crap. I read in a wonderful book that I should look in the mirror everyday and say to myself "I love you, I really love you." I must admit that when I first started doing this it felt very uncomfortable and silly, but the more I do it, the more I am starting to realize that I am worth loving. Period.
So, I thought I would share this with others who may be struggling with self-love and self- acceptance in the hopes that they too can begin to cherish the most important and wonderful person in their lives: themselves.

Saturday, October 4

Cardiac Catheterization

Last week I went to see another Cardiologist and it was a great visit, but it turns out that she does not specialize in heart failure like my current doctor does, so needless to say I felt a little bummed out. She did, however, give me a lot of great information:
- She believes that I am currently seeing one of the best doctors there is for Cardiomyopathy
- She agreed with the cardiac catheterization and the biopsy as the right direction for us to go
- I am indeed a unique case, and a visit to a new Rheumatologist is probably a great idea
- That if it comes time for a defibrillator to be implanted, I should compare doctors and hospitals (hers being one of them)
- The chances of my needing a heart transplant are very slim- I am at stage 2-3, and I would have to be at a stage 4 (Whew!)
-If nothing improves in the next couple of years, stem cell therapy is a great option

Even though I felt like it was almost a waste of time to see her (just because she couldn't be my new doc), I did leave the visit feeling much more confident and certain about my current cardiologist and the upcoming tests I have chosen to undergo on the 24th. As scary as the tests seem to me (once I really think about it), I am hopeful that they will shed some light on what is really going on with my heart and my body. Wouldn't it be great if the mystery was finally solved? I have learned, though, that I can't just put all of my eggs in one basket and when it doesn't pan out I feel deflated and depressed once again. I can only do the next indicated action, which is to take care of myself physically and emotionally, show up for the tests at the end of the month, and then go on from there. I also have to remember to keep working on the emotional issues that most likely caused these problems, and I am committed to doing whatever work I can to improve my health- on all levels.