November 28, 2015 - December 31, 2015
Rachel drove me the two hours down to Frederick on Saturday, November 28, 2015 to look at a place to stay. A friend of an acquaintance at Unity had a room to rent out. The place was clean, had everything I needed in the kitchen, and was just a few miles from Unity. Sold. The following day we returned with a friend from up home who followed us down in my car and I moved in.
I had taken the remainder of my vacation days from work the previous week to hopefully recuperate enough to continue working while in Frederick. By the end of the week, I knew I needed more time. I loved my job and I loved the company I work for and the people I work with but I didn’t have it in me to continue on. I had zero concentration and focus and pushing myself to work through it was contributing to the hell. The slightest bit of stress started a fresh attack and put me off food for several days.
I wrote an email to the bosses that Sunday night, my first night in Frederick. I no longer cared about the possibility of losing my job. This was truly life or death. The response I received from the bosses was encouraging. They told me to take the time I needed. I filed for short term disability not expecting to get it because I had pretty much left western medicine over a year prior and didn’t have the documentation from a credible doctor to support a claim. I’d be taking the month of December off without pay. I was thankful for my savings account.
I settled in and started on my Frederick healing journey the next day. I’d been making the 4-hour round trip trek to Unity events for 4 or 5 years prior to getting sick. But it was mostly for book study groups and the occasional Sunday service. I’d never attended anything else. First up was Debra’s spiritual yoga at Unity on Monday evening. I was hesitant. First, because my experience with yoga in the past was not pleasant. Every beginner class I’d attended over the years in an attempt to learn to like it turned into a strength training session and I got nothing spiritual out of it. And second, because I just didn’t physically feel like I could do even the easy stuff without having to push through it and I was just done pushing through anything. But I was desperate for change and several people spoke highly of the class.
I drove myself the 3 miles to the church in tears. I felt like hell and just didn’t have the focus to be behind the wheel. I arrived and took a spot on the floor with my mat. How was I going to do this? Class started and it turned out to be like nothing I’d ever experienced. It was a combination of a very gentle yoga and a meditation, surrounded by positive energy. It was a little over an hour long. I had to take breaks and sit some parts out and modify pieces of it but it just felt really good to be there in that space and listen to the things I’d been struggling to allow myself believe for months and years.
I went back to the house knowing that I was in the right place. I didn’t need to put up barriers here in fear of being told my beliefs were wrong. I was in the presence of like minded people that would strengthen what I believed while I gained the experience that would turn my beliefs into a knowing.
Toni hooked me up with a therapist, Lynn Dutrow. I had been pushed in the past to find a good therapist but it never worked out. Either they didn’t want to even deal with you if they didn’t take your brand of insurance or their hours didn’t work with my work schedule or whatever. There was always something and I never had the capacity to pursue it. With Lynn, everything just seemed to work out. She could start seeing me right away and do twice per week sessions to get as many in during the month I was to be in town, and was tech savvy enough to offer Skype sessions once I left. She also took my insurance. And the biggest thing was that I trusted Toni’s judgement about Lynn. My biggest fear about seeing a therapist was having to defend my deeply held beliefs that I knew in my heart were true. I simply didn’t have the energy for that. Lynn was a Unity person so that wouldn’t be an issue.
My first session with Lynn was that Thursday. I knew by the middle of the session that this was going to work. She was exactly the style I needed - direct, no sugar coating, call it like it is. I didn’t want to be handled with baby gloves. Just show me the things I’m not seeing and then give me the room and time to process and adjust. I knew this go around was not a physical issue. I’d resolved that. The infection no longer existed and while many of the symptoms were similar, they felt very different. These symptoms affected the same organs - my digestive system - but they were coming from my nervous system. (Some day if I ever figure out the words to describe why and how I knew that, it will be a blog post of its own.) This was mental and spiritual and needed to be addressed on those levels. So I was willing to dig into and look at whatever it was that I needed to address that was causing my body to cry uncle. No matter how much pain. No matter what the cost. I wanted to heal. I was confident that Lynn would be able to help me do that.
Friday brought another yoga class and then a Book and Bag group where a group of women get together to read and discuss a chosen book while eating their bagged lunches. They were from all different backgrounds, not just Unity, so there was a wide range of perspectives and everyone was very respectful of each other. They read a chapter of the book and in the discussion about it, people shared their experiences and perspectives and in the process taught, learned from, and connected with each other. I sat in the background (and sometimes laid across chairs) listening attentively while trying not to hurl. It was during the time of the day that I felt my worst and I normally wouldn’t have even tried to attend but I was determined to take advantage of everything Unity had to offer during the limited time I had in Frederick.
The next day (Saturday) brought an energy healing session with Debra, a Healing Touch practitioner. About a year prior, I’d had my first experience with energy healing from my neighbor. At the time, I considered it woo-woo stuff but was desperate and willing to try almost anything. To my surprise, I discovered there was something to it. Not because a session made me feel better. Just the opposite. After every session I felt worse, but not a worsening of my normal symptoms. Instead, I felt like I got hit by a truck...achey and brain foggy and exhausted. The worse I felt going into a session, the worse I felt coming out of it. It would take me till the next day to recover. I didn’t understand how it worked and couldn’t find a satisfactory explanation on the internet. I was just trusting in my belief that we are basically compressed energy and that everything is energy so it made sense that energy work had validity. The fact that it made me feel worse just meant that it was doing whatever it needed to do. Unfortunately, the sessions only lasted a few months. My neighbor had started a new job the previous summer and no longer had time for the sessions. I had looked around briefly for another energy healer but it just felt too intimate for me to go to some stranger and I quickly gave up. So, when Toni suggested I go to Debra, I jumped at it. I knew Debra enough to be able to pick her out from a crowd but that was it. Again, I was trusting Toni’s judgement and the ways that we’re alike and figured if she could be comfortable with Debra, that I would be too.
I arrived at the appointment and we sat down and talked. She took detailed notes and I made a mental note to bring a notebook along with me the next time. Then I went on the table and immediately had the sense of “yes, this is right”, the same as I did with my neighbor. The experience was also very similar to my experience with my neighbor, but with spiritual and meditative components. I left the table feeling the same way as a session with my neighbor. We sat and talked a little more. I made appointments for each week for the rest of December. I left with a page full of notes of things to research, listen to, read, and think about.
When not attending Unity events, I spent the majority of my time reading, writing, and thinking. I’d decided that I was going to follow my heart in something else. I had discovered orthomolecular medicine recently, one branch of which is summed up by Hippocrates’ “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I had discovered it by running across the Gerson Therapy, a nutritional approach to healing the body of cancer and other degenerative diseases. I had researched a bit about the Gerson Therapy over the previous couple months, as much as I thought I could get away with without appearing obsessive about it. What I’d learned about it made so much sense to me. A whole heck of a lot more sense than stuffing chemicals down my throat to suppress symptoms. The principles of the therapy resonated so loudly with me that all I really wanted to do was dive into the science behind it and learn everything I could about Max Gerson’s thought processes and research and experiments and findings. I’d been wanting to dive deep. I’d been wanting to really and fully understand every aspect of the therapy and how and why it works. But I’d been tempering my interest because I didn’t want to appear obsessed with it.
Some people are very good at learning a little bit about a lot of things and sounding knowledgeable. My gift is to dive deep into one thing and thoroughly understand every aspect of it and become an expert on that one subject. To an outsider that doesn’t share this, it can appear very unbalanced. I basically immerse myself in something and then come up for air when I’ve had my fill. It’s how I’m fed. And this was my first Frederick lesson. I’d been purposely suppressing this out of fear of what Rachel would think or how she’d react because of some comments she’d made early on in our relationship. I discovered that it was something I needed and not having it was leaving me hungry and unsatisfied. I needed to figure out how to do that and be in a relationship once I went back home.
So I was now free to feed myself. I dove head first into the Gerson Therapy, reading everything I could get my hands on. Watched every video I could find. Ordered every single Gerson Therapy book from Amazon and the Gerson Institute and read them cover to cover. I found several of Max Gerson’s research papers online. I found and read papers he’d referenced. And then I made an earth shattering realization. I realized why I was so drawn to the Gerson Therapy. Not necessarily because I wanted to do it, but because it held a piece of the puzzle for me.
First, let me give a very high level overview of the Gerson Therapy:
The basic premise is that there are two physical components to 95-98% of all modern diseases (the exceptions being the small handful of true genetic diseases). Those components are deficiency and toxicity. By correcting those two issues, the Gerson Therapy restores the body’s own healing mechanisms and allows the body to heal itself. This last bit is important. The body has the ability to heal itself...when the things that prevent it from healing are removed and the things that are needed to promote healing are provided. That’s where the deficiency and toxicity come in. Remove the toxins that have been stored in the body and provide the body with the nourishment it needs to rebuild.
This made so much sense to me as opposed to the whole western medical and pharmaceutical industries. I had never been a fan of popping pills to suppress symptoms. That’s not healing. And I wanted to heal. If I couldn’t heal, I didn’t want to live.
There was a bit that I couldn’t wrap my head around though. I was understanding the physical side of things. But I knew that in my case, treating the physical was not the answer. It would just be treating the symptoms. I knew that because I had the answer to the physical part but couldn’t do it. My colon was still way too sensitive for the coffee enemas required to detox the body. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) And God wouldn’t tease me by dangling a carrot in front of my face just out of reach. The Gerson Therapy was not the answer for me. But it held a clue. The strong desire to learn about it was put there for a reason. And then it hit me.
Deficiency and toxicity were not just principles for physical health. They were also the same components for mental and spiritual health. My mind went into overdrive. If my physical issues are a result of my mental and spiritual states and my mental and spiritual states were a result of deficiency and toxicity, how do I nourish and detox my mind and spirit? That’s what I needed to figure out. That was the reason for coming down here. For wanting to be near Unity. That’s what my job needed to be while I was here.
How in the world does one nourish his/her mind? That was my next hurdle. I knew the principle about being careful about what we put in our bodies, whether it’s through our mouth with food, through our eyes with what we see, our ears through what we hear, etc. I’d learned that lesson well from my dad. It’s one of the reasons why I refuse to have a TV in the house. Because I don’t want to even be tempted to allow some of that crap in me. I’d learned in college that the things I watch on TV, I often think about later. And some of the things I was watching weren’t things I really wanted to be reviewing in my mind. Not that they were bad. They just weren’t constructive. I prefer to be selective about the things I put in my mind. That much I knew and have followed most of my adult life. And that worked fine for maintenance if one is already healthy. Just as a healthy diet is enough for one who is already physically healthy. If the Gerson Therapy was for restoring health and it involved hyperalimentation through copious amounts of fresh fruit and vegetable juices and heavy detoxing for the physical, what was the equivalent for the mind and spirit?
I thought of trying the whole positive affirmation thing but that just didn’t feel right. For me, it was the equivalent of taking a pill for a symptom. Of trying to force things in from the outside. That wasn’t the answer. Being positive isn’t a series of affirmations to repeat. It’s a mindset that results from our thoughts. THOUGHTS!!! Then I remembered Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
My thoughts!!! I needed to think about good things. I needed to flood my mind with things that are true and right and nourishing to think about. Just like the Gerson Therapy floods the body with nutrients from the 10-13 cups of vegetable juices per day. How could I flood my mind? I started to compile a list of ways...a list of things that would be nourishing and meaty enough that I would end up chewing on them:
1. Books to read:
A New Way of Thinking
Gifts of Imperfection
Three books by Emily Cady
The Impersonal Life
The Quest for Wholeness
Unity Guide to Healing
2. Music to listen to:
Karen Drucker - Heart of Healing album which Debra mentioned in my first Healing Touch session
3. Videos to watch:
4. Surround myself with people that are a joy to be around. People that have that positive mindset. People who, after spending time around them, I feel good. This one I could check off the list. Those were the only type of people that I knew in Frederick.
I continued working with Lynn and talking with Toni and talking with Debra and uncovering and peeling away layer after layer to get down to the underlying and deep-seated issues. I spent my days reading and thinking and meditating and listening to Karen Drucker songs. While it was very easy to slip back in during the times I wasn’t feeling well, I started coming out of the darkness. And the weight loss gradually stopped. I was eating most days, though still relying heavily on high fat and high calorie foods like coconut milk smoothies and avocados and drowning everything that went into my mouth in butter and olive oil.
And I started being me again, giving myself permission to be completely in my head without feeling like I was neglecting Rachel by doing so and by following my desire and devouring books instead of forcing myself to do what I thought I should be doing. And Lynn started challenging me in this area and it was completely opposite of what I expected. Instead of agreeing with me about what I should want or how I thought I should be and working with me to figure out how to change myself into that, she encouraged me to be my unique self and live outside the box that society and culture define for us and that it was ok to do that. That doing otherwise was damaging. Then I received an email from Debra with the following lines.
“Living authentically is being comfortable in your own skin. Imagine how it would feel to live without being guarded, to say what you really think and feel, and to live without tension and anxiety.”
I imagined and it rattled me quite a bit. I hadn’t realized how guarded and censored I’d become and how much of me I hid from others, including Rachel. That was going to be a process. I needed to get a few successes under my belt in a safe environment to build my confidence. I started opening up to Rachel about some things.
The end of December was rapidly approaching and I still wasn’t ready to go back home. I was still regularly relying on Debra to help me “put the wheels back on”. And there were still things I hadn’t scratched the surface on. I didn’t know what they were yet but I knew they were there. And I knew that I wasn’t ready to go home and go back to work at the same time. The pressure of both at once would be too much.
I talked with Rachel. She had the responsibility of caring for our 3 dogs (I had one of our dogs staying with me), keeping up with the house, coming down to visit me once a week, and she was starting a dog grooming and training business. Plus my being down here poked at her insecurities - “She’s down there to get away from me. She doesn’t want to be with me. The longer she’s away, the less likely she’ll be coming home.” I wasn’t able to get her to see that it wasn’t about her at all. I wasn’t able to articulate yet why I needed to be down here because I didn’t fully understand it myself yet. “Just one more month. I promise. Then I’ll come home.” She agreed and I extended the rental of my room for another month.
I was starting to see improvement. My nervous system was calming down. Symptoms were less severe and some were starting to subside. Toni talked me into lighting a candle during the Christmas Eve service. I reluctantly agreed. A month ago, that amount of stress would have sent me into a full blown attack and I’d have been off food for a week. THAT’S how sensitive my system was. But I did it and my gut went into an uproar for about 15 minutes and then calmed down over the next hour. I was healing.