You are here

Putting Mind-Body Healing to the Test

+ enlarge

I’ve been reflecting lately on how incredibly grateful I am to have learned what I’ve learned about my body, my emotions, and my inner wisdom. Ten years ago, I was in agony, suffering through each day, unable to live normally and in constant pain. Vulvodynia and interstitial cystitis ruled my life. I was overweight and at war with my body. I didn’t know myself. I was depressed.
During this time, I went through an emergency surgery for kidney stones. The stones started to pass (agonizing!) but got lodged outside my bladder. This created a kidney infection and was heading toward sepsis. In a morphine haze, I was rolled into the operating room.
When I woke up from the surgery, I was in even more agony than usual. At that point and time, I didn’t know my body at all. I didn’t understand that I held constant tension in my pelvic floor muscles, causing them to be weak and somewhat out of my control. I really had to pee, but try as I might, I couldn’t relax my muscles enough to go. It was a strange and terrifying experience to have the absolute inability to relax those muscles. After several hours, I begged the nurses to give me a catheter. They looked askance at me, but finally heeded my request. (Of course everything took forever, as things do in hospitals.)
When they at last inserted the catheter, they gave me horrified looks and immediately called the doctor. My bladder had been so full that I was again in danger of severe kidney issues. Luckily, we had caught it just in time, and the antibiotics kept infection at bay. I did have to undergo two more surgeries, however, because of the complications. In the end, it took me six months to regain the ability to completely empty my bladder (with the help of self-inserted catheters—gack).
Meanwhile, I still had interstitial cystitis and vulvodynia.
Had somebody told me at the time that I couldn’t relax my pelvic floor because I continually stored emotion there and was basically walking around in full Kegel contraction all the time, I would have thought them crazy. Yet, that was exactly what was happening. Once I finally understood that the pain in my body was a result of not feeling emotions and not understanding my mind-body connection, I was able to learn how to relax my pelvic floor muscles. Over time, I was able to let go of the tension and return to health. No vulvodynia, no interstitial cystitis. I’d have the occasional symptom, but I knew it just meant I’d fallen back into old habits and needed a refresh. Every time, it only took a few days to find relief again.
This March, when I miscarried, I was able to take my mind-body techniques and knowledge and apply it yet again. The actual miscarriage was very painful, and, of course, involved the pelvic region. I had some moments of fear that it would make all the old pain rush back. So I kept using the mind-body skills I’ve learned. Three days passed and my body was still having strong, painful contractions. My body told me I needed help. When I finally got to the doctor’s office (because don’t all things like this happen in the night, over the weekend?), I learned that I’d need a D&C to help my body finish the process.
As I was rolled into the operating room, I flashed back to the last time I’d been in one—the good old kidney experience. I remembered the horror, the confusion, and the agony. I breathed, reviewed my mind-body skills, and went under.
When I awoke, all was well. My bladder functioned fine. My muscles, despite all those days of contractions, were fine and able to relax. The vulvodynia and interstitial cystitis didn’t come roaring back. I remained confident in my self-healing abilities, handling the doubts, fears, and flashbacks from the past.
Though the miscarriage and the operation were difficult emotionally, and I was grieving, I still felt supremely grateful for my mind-body healing tools. They got put to the test in a big way. They worked. It was all a huge confirmation that my pelvic floor (which was formerly diagnosed with pelvic floor dysfunction) is doing just fine now, and I’m no longer at war with my body.
I know how to handle my emotions now. I know how to listen to my body. I know how to follow my inner wisdom. I’m healthy. My body can go through something physically traumatic and recover quickly. And I know that the mind-body tools (which I use all the time) are always there for me. It’s a good feeling. My life, right now, is so incredibly good that words don’t do it justice. I love myself. I love my body. My body and I work together through experiences like miscarriage and surgery, and hopefully, someday, childbirth. I feel like we’re really intimate friends who can talk about anything to each other.
It took me a while to process through all the emotions from this experience to be able to write about it. I had a lot of grief to go through, first. All the while, though, I was planning to eventually tell you this story, because it really illustrates the power of mind-body healing. I hope that it gives you hope, whether you’re wanting pain relief, weight loss, or just a better relationship with your body. In the end, developing mind-body skills will serve you well on all fronts. And thus ends my ode to mind-body healing, at least for now.


Loading comments...