Updated: Dec 18, 2021
In 2014, I got dumped.
I was blindsided. I thought we were going to be together forever. He had told me he was unhappy over the phone (we were living in different parts of the country) and on the day we were going to actually meet and talk, my back spasmed.
When I tried to take a step, my whole body exploded with pain. I screamed and cried, terrified. I did not know it was possible to feel pain like that. I had to be lifted into a car and taken to a hospital.
So, weeks later, I lay on the couch in my crappy little beach shack staring at the ceiling crying, high on painkillers and said to myself, “Maybe I need to get some help?”
I’m going to stop right here and make it clear, just in case that person ever googles (we all do it) that he is absolutely forgiven. In fact, I thank him, because dumping me was actually a gift.
When you can’t move, you have a lot of time to think about your life and your happiness or lack of happiness. You have a lot of time to think about what you want and come to conclusions about what you need to do. My realization that I needed help launched my healing journey.
I know that sounds a little “woo woo,” but “woo woo” saved my life.
Let’s rewind a bit. In 2012, I moved into a mobile home on the Pacific Coast Highway. It was not a nice mobile home like some of the gorgeous prefab neighboring homes. I was still suffering financially from losing my job and having to short sell my home in 2008 (which I will write about at another time). I had been living in a lovely doublewide mobile home in the same park with a friend, but it was time to go, and I didn’t want to leave the beach, so I moved into a rickety 70’s era shithole with an ocean view (pictured).
As soon as I moved in, I started getting sick. I got urinary tract infection after urinary tract infection, a kidney infection that landed me in the hospital, and insurmountable Candida infections. I was thirsty all time, exhausted, and in a constant cycle of antibiotics.
I saw urologists, gynecologists, general practitioners, and a naturopath. No one knew how to help me and medical bills were adding to my already gigantic debt. They all said the same thing, “Your tests are fine.” Some dared to say, “Are you sure this isn’t in your head?”
So, when I was flat on the couch in 2014, I had been sick for two years, but I was trudging through it. I took the meds, did what the doctors said and lived with feeling horrible all the time.
That’s when I started to see a talk therapist who integrated somatic therapy in her work. As we unraveled childhood and adult traumas, she would ask, “Where do you feel that in your body?”
Many times, I lied. I’d tell her I felt it my gut or my hips or my lower right back where it had exploded. The truth was, I didn’t feel anything in my body.
By the time I was 42 years old, I’d done such a good job of suppressing my trauma and my emotions that my body didn’t feel anything. That is, until it was all too big to contain.
My somatic therapist called it “John Wayne-ing” through life. She would stand, hook her thumbs into her belt loops and mosey across the room to demonstrate that strong people didn’t feel things or ask for help, they just John Wayne-d through life.
That’s exactly what I had done until my back screamed the most powerful scream that it was done John Wayne-ing.
My somatic therapist explained that modern society had it all wrong. We were not supposed to be mavericks or lone cowboys. She explained that if we looked to tribal cultures, the secret to peace lived there, where people helped each other and cared for each other. Where it was normal to support each other through physical and emotional battles.
And over time, as we talked through my trauma, my back pain eased and I started to feel things in other parts of my body.
A few months later, when I was able to walk again (it took eight months to fully heal), I began seeing a Chinese Herbalist. As she muscle tested me she said, “You’re living in place that has mold in it. You need to move immediately.”
I laughed. I couldn’t afford to move and I was dealing with another trauma. My best friend was dying of breast cancer and my tribe and I were rotating shifts to care for her and her babies. I couldn’t even consider moving. And I wasn’t sure I believed in that Chinese Herbalist’s muscle testing. It sounded a little too woo woo to me.
Although I could walk again, I was still fighting infection after infection and feeling generally horrible. A few weeks later, I pulled a black shirt out of my dresser and noticed a white film on it. Then I went to the closet and found more clothes with white film on them. I hired a mold inspector (who in hindsight was not very good at his job). He confirmed that there was mold on the clothes but no mold in the air tests he did in the beach shack. I eventually learned that air tests are the least reliable mold tests out there, but at the time, with my friend dying and feeling sick myself, I let it go.
After my friend died, mold seemed to appear on everything, so right before my 44th birthday, I had to ask my father for money to move. Thankfully, he helped me and I moved into a new place. (Yes, I got rid of all my belongings and I had the new apartment inspected for mold before I moved in – twice.) There, I researched mold and found a connection to Lyme disease which I had been diagnosed with and treated for in 2003. Apparently, mold can retrigger Lyme disease and Lyme has many co-infections. It also attacks your weakest organs.
It all started to make sense. The moldy beach shack had reactivated chronic Lyme disease causing infection after infection.
That’s when I realized that, for me, true healing wasn’t going to come from western medicine. The only real answers I’d received were from my somatic therapist and the Chinese Herbalist. So, I dove headfirst into every woo woo thing I could find.
I tried acupuncture, reiki, cupping, breathwork meditation, EFT Tapping, and multiple energy healers. I read books about healing trauma and learned how The Body Keeps the Score. I did sound baths, iconic foot baths, colonics, saunas, and lymphatic drainage massage.
If someone said, “This is going to sound woo woo…” I said, “Tell me more.”
Some of those modalities worked a little. Some worked a lot. Some didn’t work at all.
As I experimented, I listened to my body. How did I feel with that reiki master? Was my body tight? Tense? Relaxed? Was I anxious? Comfortable?
My body and my emotions were getting to know each other again. Reconnecting and protecting me. I was learning to trust my intuition.
Finally, in early 2018 I was broke and in a mountain of medical debt. Due to a Western Lyme Specialist, I felt a bit better. Daily fevers were gone. I could get out of bed and function somewhat normally, but then I’d feel hungover for days.
I needed something else. I googled “best energy healer in LA” and found Garz Chan. My body felt calm in her presence. I told her I was sick, I had no money, and no clients and I asked for her help.
I’d been hearing a lot about ampcoil in the Lyme Community. It’s a frequency machine that tunes your body to its optimum frequencies and changes the bioterrain so disease cannot flourish. I did a demo and as I lay there with the coil on my belly, I saw bursts of light behind my closed eyes. When I opened them, I felt more alert than I had in years.
I called a friend and asked to borrow the money to buy an ampcoil. It was a ridiculously woo woo request. Thankfully, he said yes. I got my ampcoil in May of 2018. I continued to work with Garz. By June of 2019, I was totally healthy and I had lots of clients and work.
Now, when I tell my story, sometimes I start by saying, “This is going to sound a little woo woo…”
In Bonaire, when a friend told me her friend had been injured, I told her that if he didn’t feel like it’s too woo woo I would treat him with the ampcoil. He agreed and the next morning, his swelling was down.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about our society and what’s considered woo woo. Then I think about tribal cultures and wonder what they would think about John Wayne-ing though life.
I’ll take woo woo over John Wayne any day.