January Newsletter 2023
Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you have had a wonderful holiday, a happy New Year and as I write this if you celebrate the Chinese New Year, Happy New Year to you too! My holidays were nice and relaxed, well mostly.
On December 27th I had surgery…It has been a remarkable story for homeopathy so I thought I would share, this is longer than my normal newsletters so grab a warm drink and settle in. Several years ago, I developed an inguinal hernia, it was located right above my pubic bone off a little to the left. It was fairly large and if you ever saw me wearing yoga pants you would have for sure noticed this “lump”. The idea of having it fixed was daunting and I was not so excited about it. I had read cases in the literature of homeopathy helping hernias…that was not my case I tried for years. I read in the literature you could wear a support that would allow the tissue to heal…that was not my case I tried for years, I had hoped that if I ignored it, worked out enough, made my abdominal muscles stronger it would go away…that too did not work. I began to read about surgical options for repair. I did not want a mesh, a “screen door” type of material put in to hold it in place, so I had to look for other options. There were several options using your own tissue for a repair, some with better reviews than others. So, I consulted an expert surgeon to see what he would offer. I was very impressed with our conversation, he talked about how he would rebuild part of the inguinal wall using 4 layers of tissue and that if I allowed myself to heal the rate of reoccurrence was less than 1%. He also said that hernias’ happen because of our susceptibility and if I had one on one side I had an 80% chance I would have one on the other side so we took a look using an ultrasound. Sure enough I had a much smaller hernia in the left inguinal canal. Blah was my exact thought. He said we should fix them at the same time, as much as I did not like the idea, I felt it was best. So, for the first time in my life, I had surgery. I have never even had antibiotics, let alone surgery so truly I was a bit terrified. Therefore, it took me many years to seek out surgical repair, the injury was so bad that the fix had to be a mechanical intervention.
I will say that thanks to homeopathy, the surgery and recovery was quite easy. I was sedated for the surgery, meaning they used 3 different drugs to put me to sleep. The anesthesiologist was great, she made sure I knew it sedation and NOT general anesthesia and how it was much better because there were far fewer side effects. They would then use a lot of local anesthesia that would wear off gradually over the next 2-3 days. So what did I do? I did what I tell my own patients who have surgery to do:
On the way to the hospital, I took a dose of Arnica 10M. Placed one pellet in a 12-ounce water bottle, shook it up vigorously to medicate the remedy water and then placed ¼ tsp of remedy water between my lip and gums. I did this because we are not supposed to have anything before surgery. While I was not concerned about a little pellet, I followed directions and most importantly followed what I tell my patients to do. My husband was to keep that remedy water with him and ensure that I had some as soon as possible after surgery. How do you do that if someone is not really awake? I instructed him to place a little on his fingers and then dab it behind my ear every 5 minutes until I was allowed ice chips. Once I was allowed ice chips to get the ice, put some of the remedy water in the ice chips, stir it around and give me ice chips as often as I wanted or at least every 5 minutes. Then once I was able to take sips of water to take a sip of the remedy water every 15 minutes. In the hospital I use the remedy placed in water. It is much easier to do and should the nursing staff not know about Arnica, something that is usually the case, it keeps confusion down. Lucky for me I woke right up, was extremely alert and within 30 minutes of being awake I was on my way out the door. Greg did not have to do any of the instructions I mentioned above because I could take a sip of the remedy water right away. I was sent out the door with two prescription medications, Oxocydone XXX and Meloxicam XXXX and told if there were problems to call or go to an emergency room.
My goal was to try to not use any of the prescription medications, hundreds of times I have managed my patients post-surgery without narcotics, why would I be different. I took the prescription medications with me and had at home Tylenol should I “need” it. I had absolutely intention of takin Oxycodone, there are so many negative side effects of opioids and I know for a fact that the right homeopathic medicine will manage pain. The Meloxicam, I actually thought about, but not because of pain but because I had a headache. If you know me, you know that headaches are “my thing” like some of you get stomach aches or sinus infections… I get headaches. I did have a headache and I knew it would help BUT…. Meloxicam has a black box warning – increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which can be fatal. In my blood work, my platelets tend to run high. This has always been the case for me, no one knows why, and I work hard to pay attention to this. When platelets are high, you are at a risk for blood clots. If you have an injury, you are at risk of blood clots. If you are sedentary (I was not moving around too much – 200 steps on the first two days…) you have an increased risk of blood clots. So, it did not make much sense to me that if I have this predisposition to high platelets to then take a medication that also increases a risk of a clot. I decided if I needed a pharmaceutical medication I would take Tylenol, but I would see what I could do with the right homeopathic remedy.
Back to what I did using Homeopathy. I took Arnica 10M every 15 minutes unless I was asleep. I did this to manage any pain, prevent or limit bruising or swelling and to promote healing. If I got incision pain I would skip one of the 15 minute Arnica’s and take the remedy Staphasagria 200c. Staphasagria is a remedy for pain from surgical wounds so I knew if the wound itself began to hurt that would be the remedy needed. Day one I never really had any pain. I was SLOW to move but I was free of pain. I slept well all night long. The second day I continued the Arnica and at some point I had the incision pain. I took Staphasagria and within 2 minutes that pain was gone. I went back to the Arnica, only to take the Staphasagria if the sharp incision pain returned. I still mostly had no pain, I was aware of my lower abdomen but I have had headaches far far far worse than this pain. I have had period cramps worse than this pain and I am not one for bad period cramps. I continued the Arnica 10M every 15 minutes while awake for three whole days. Starting the 4th day I slowed down the Arnica, if I felt achy I took the remedy, if I had no pain I took no remedy. Each night I slept well, each day I moved better. By New Years Eve, 5 days later I could stand fully straight and could enjoy some friends over…laughing hurt, so back to the remedy every 15 minutes.
Never once did I bruise, I had minimal swelling and mostly no pain. Honestly the worst pain was New Years Eve when my friends made me laugh. Never once did I use a single prescription of over-the-counter pain medicine. At the two-week post op mark, the surgeon was thrilled saying I healed so quickly and that as far as he was concerned I could resume normal activities. My first thought was awesome! I want to go back to normal life…my second thought was “wait a second”. If I treat someone who is sick or injured and they make what appears to be a full recovery and it was a significant illness or injury I make them rest for several more days so they do not relapse or injure themselves more…so feeling 98% I waited the full 4 weeks to slowly resume activity and will not go 100% until the 6-week mark.
I am often asked about the potency and repetition selection of a remedy. I used a high potency, a 10M of Arnica. This is because the more severe the injury the higher the potency I use. Also, the more severe the injury the more frequent I suggest taking the remedy, especially in the first three days. You can take a remedy “dry” meaning you can place the pellet under your tongue and let it dissolve or you can place it in water. For most people it does not matter what you do so choose what is the easiest for you. I know this is a long story but many people wanted to know how I did, many don’t know that homeopathy can be so amazing post surgery and maybe some people don’t know about Arnica at all. Thanks for reading!
January Blog Feature
Lotus Pose: Grounding and Expansion for Mind-Body-Spirit
One of the oldest of the ancient yoga poses, Lotus Pose (Padmasana) is a cross-legged sitting meditation pose. To understand the significance of the Lotus Pose for mind-body-spirit, it helps to learn about the namesake for this pose: the beautiful Lotus flower plant.
Rooted in mud, the majestic Lotus flower begins as a seed then a bulb (or pod) that sprouts shallow roots as the flower grows into bloom. A living fossil in existence for over 140 million years, the Lotus flower can withstand the extremes of hot and cold temperatures (it survived the Ice Age!), so long as it’s roots remain in mud. Lotus flowers are known to be resistant to pollution and able to purify the water in which they grow, completely embracing even the most unfavorable environmental conditions. Each night the Lotus submerges into murky water. Each morning it reblooms (like a rebirth) without residue from previous environmental exposure.
Sitting in Lotus Pose, we are reminded that the “mud and murky water” of life is necessary to our human experience. From the mud, we can grow and blossom with our petals open to experience, open to receive and to give, as we grow towards Enlightenment.
Practicing Stillness and Presence in Lotus Pose
Before you move into Lotus Pose, it is a good idea to warm-up the muscles and joints. A few minutes of walking, easy knee bends, holding a plank pose, or a few standing balance poses can help still the mind and warm the body. This is important because your knees will be bent and the hips flexed while in Lotus Pose; you don’t want to enter the pose with stiff legs and hips.
Scroll through this page to see how to modify Lotus Pose for your needs.
In Lotus Pose, each leg folds at the knee and criss-crosses one foot to the opposite thigh. The hands may rest on either knee, palms down or palms up and open. Alternatively, the hands may rest at the heart center or cupped together (palms up and open) in the space between the thighs. The spine is held long and tall from the tailbone to the top of the skull. Shoulders are relaxed. The belly is held in gently. A cushion can be placed beneath your sitz bones for support.
When you begin practicing Lotus Pose for meditation/relaxation, you may feel uncertain and your thoughts may race. In essence, you are in the murky, muddy water and trying to find your way. As you practice, things become more natural, your mind starts to quiet, and your experience begins to shift.
Lotus Pose is considered both a grounding and expansive pose. Your legs are the roots, grounded (or perhaps tangled) beneath you and weighed down in the mud (as your thoughts may be). As you focus on the movement of your breath, your body lifts and lightens. With practice, you blossom not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.
Through this interplay of grounding and expansion, Lotus Pose can help improve circulation in the lumbar spine, stretch the ankles and legs, and increase flexibility in the hips. In Lotus Pose, you disengage the body from the stress response and nourish the systems that support relaxation (lowering blood pressure and encouraging deeper, more nourishing respiration). Lotus Pose fosters self-awareness and non-judgemental self-acceptance.
As with any new exercise, if you experience pain or discomfort, please bring that to the attention of your healthcare provider.
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