lovingkindness

I was supposed to have this past week off from work, but I ended up working all of Monday and part of Tuesday.  It was not exactly a relaxing week off, but I did manage to see my naturopath and therapist on Thursday.  These appointments are becoming the highlights of my week.  I usually end up feeling really good afterwards, and this week was not an exception.

My overall health feels greatly improved with the addition of Chinese herbs into my bag of tricks.  All my lingering gall bladder (less) issues are pretty stable.  But I’ve been battling extreme fatigue, a sinus infection, and a lot of lingering stress.  I’ve had a lot of insomnia recently, but the acupuncture seemed to really help that this time around.

On Thursday, I had to leave super early for Boulder because my appointment was earlier than normal.  I scheduled it thinking I’d still be working on my last project, but we finished up early.  There had been tremendous fog the last time I went, and I’d heard about really bad traffic on the highway everyone else takes to Boulder–so I was prepared to have people trying my stress-free, albeit slower to get there route.  The drive up was mostly uneventful and much needed.  I just love driving in autumn.  I love the cool air and the breeze.  I love having my music up and just being out of the apartment.  It’s such a stress reliever for me.  Then, I got to suburban Hell–right where I switch off normal streets to my short little highway jaunt and found a traffic jam.  It was pretty heinous.  Basically, CDOT had put up amazingly bad signage detouring the other highway onto mine.  Which caused major confusion–which caused people to do insanely stupid, dangerous things.  All of the stupidity eased by the time I got to my connector highway and the last drag to Boulder.  There, I was just dealing with lots of people trying to go to the same places.  It was annoying, but alright.  I got to my appointment with 20 minutes to spare.  Not bad.

My naturopath thinks I’ve been experiencing remnants of a flight or fight kind of situation.  She continues to think I need to change jobs for this very reason!  I can’t really argue.  And yes–it’s in the works–but not for a while.  Probably.  Change takes time.  She did a lot of stress points for my acupuncture treatment, and that feeling has subsided immensely.  I actually felt really well-rested afterward–which is rare for me.

My therapy appointment was less therapy and more preparing for the real deal this time.  We basically did a little meditation.  The metta kind–focusing on lovingkindness.  I felt very relaxed after that, too.  I like the idea of wishing for peace for others as well as for ourselves.  I chose my mother.  Of course, I’m not sure if the person I was supposed to choose was supposed to be alive or not.  Ah, well…it was good.

We went through my history–questions she had about various things to help her set up a plan for me.  I played with her sweet cat.  And then we did another meditation to round it out.  Good stuff.  I’m looking forward to more.  I’m realizing, more and more, that I have a lot of trauma in my life that’s not even mine–more like inherited crap that various people handed down to me.  I think it is very much in my body, which is why my naturopath’s recommendation to do more things outside was especially helpful.  I had already been thinking of the exact things she recommended, so when she said I–in particular–really benefit from wind in my hair and really being in nature–it felt like she was reading my mind.  🙂  My therapist also said I need to spend more time being around people who love me–since I have such a tendency to isolate without even thinking about it.  So, I guess I need to start setting up some hiking dates with people or something.

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A weird thing happened on Thursday.  Well, it’s not really weird so much as it was a bit unusual for me.  I found myself, all day long, going out of my way to be kind to people.  I smiled at people when I was stuck in traffic.  I let people in when no one else would.  I stopped for pedestrians needing help.  I let people go in front of me.  I was just, genuinely, living that whole lovingkindness thing–even before my therapy session.  I had no idea that was coming.  It just sort of happened.  It was just automatic.

It felt good.  Mostly because I feel like that truly is me.  I’ve been noticing that it’s been easier to be myself lately–even if that means being angry or having to enforce boundaries.  Even when situations were frustrating.  I was able to remove myself from the negativity before it became destructive.

It’s made me rethink some things.  How I use social networks to express myself.  How I interact with people.  What’s appropriate?  Who needs to be in my life?  What’s important and what isn’t.

I expect this will be an ongoing dialogue for me.

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My last post on eating after gall bladder surgery seemed to be well-received.  So, I wanted to build on that and share more about how I’ve been taking care of myself since my surgery–in terms of what I’m doing every single day.  I recently picked up a great book–The Gall Bladder Survival Guide by J. Bernal–that I wish I had when I first started this journey.  For the most part, Bernal and I are on the same page.  There are a few things I haven’t done–which I will be trying and doing in the next few months.  I need to get some of the specific tests he’s mentioned.  I know I’ve had a lot of them, but mostly just to make sure I was healthy and to rule out more serious situations.  I’m currently looking for a new primary care physician, and I plan to be a lot less hands-off than I used to be.  Seeing a naturopath has really empowered me not to accept Western medicine’s band-aid approach to healthcare.  But I do think there are some important tools in the Western arsenal that I need to explore more.  I was pretty shocked about Bernal’s comments about the link between celiac disease and gall bladder problems.  I’m still not sure where I stand with various allergies.  I just have hunches based on how I feel after eating certain things–so it’ll be nice to know, once and for all.

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Since about July, I’ve been seeing a naturopath every other week.  My naturopath specializes in homeopathy, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and intuitive healing.  When I first started going to my naturopath, I was kind of skeptical, but had heard good things about acupuncture/Chinese medicine and wanted to try it.  What did I have to lose, really?

We started with a very long session where we went over my health goals.  We talked about my life and health history.  She put me through a short battery of tests to see what might be good for me.  Then, we did acupuncture.  I came home with a few therapies that were pretty easy to follow and had pretty significant impact.  Every follow-up appointment, we start by checking in.  We talk about how things have been and make adjustments depending on that.  Then, we do acupuncture and the intuitive healing along with some massage if that’s warranted.  It has been surprisingly powerful for me–mostly emotionally.  I highly recommend this kind of therapy whether you’re dealing with gall bladder stuff or practically anything else.

I recently started seeing a therapist who is very well-versed in art therapy and  a wide variety of techniques.  She also uses Buddhist philosophies–which I really connect with.  We talked a little bit last time about how surgery can be a powerful blow to someone’s emotional state and can bring up a lot of stuff for people.  While my surgery was relatively non-eventful, it was very traumatic and did hit a whole lot of stuff for me.  I think therapy is a good idea for most people–no matter what’s happened to them–but it’s been fairly helpful already for sorting through things that have come up.

As for medicines, I take a lot of things every single day.  Some of these are specifically for gall bladder stuff–some just for my own unique well-being.  I’m including all since people have been curious.  I’m not a doctor and am not endorsing any of these things for you.  Please consult a professional–Eastern, Western, whatever floats your boat–before taking any of these things.

  • birth control pills – Obviously, this isn’t appropriate for everyone.  I suffer from a hormonal imbalance, so I take birth control just to manage my hormones.  Without them–or if I take the wrong ones–I can feel really terrible both physically and emotionally.
  • Thorne Research’s Bio-Gest – 2 caps with every single meal.  Each capsule has Betaine Hydrochloride, L-Glutamic Acid Hydrochloride, Pancreatin, Ox bile concentrate (yum), and Pepsin.  This stuff has basically stopped me from feeling like I’m going to die after every single meal.  I still have to take the occasional Tums/Gas-X, but it’s maybe once a month now as opposed to multiple times a day.
  • a custom formulation of Jia We Ping Wei Fang – 2 scoops dissolved in 4 oz of warm water 2x a day.  This stuff is amazing, but tastes really bad.  You basically dissolve it and make a tea.  It’s very muddy tasting.  My naturopath suggested I add normal tea to it or juice to off-set the yuck–which makes it much better. I recommend a moderately spicy tea for this.  Do not take this stuff with food in your belly, or you will feel like barfing everywhere.  I also recommend designating a cup for this activity and also using a twisty straw.  It helps.  A lot.  Oh, and gum/mints immediately after.
  • Calc Carb – 1m concentration – 5 drops under the tongue every other day.  The hardest part is remembering to take them.  They are mostly tasteless–except for a slight alcohol taste.
  • Nervous Tension Tissue P – one capful of pellets added to 32 oz of water.  Totally tasteless.
  • 12 caps of Now Foods Psyllium Husk every day–sometimes more if my system is being funky
  • Caltrate D3 – not daily.  Usually just 1x a day if I’m having lots of digestive issues.
  • Biotin – Brand: Natrol – Dose: 1 1000 mcg tab a day–to help with the hair falling out thing.
  • Probiotics – the one I use most often is Nutrition Now PB8.  I take 2 caps a day.  I have a stronger one that I take on bad days.
  • Chamomile – Brand: Nature’s Way, 2 caps a day.  This, I use to keep my bile reflux symptoms in check.  It’s more preventative now than anything else since I haven’t had this lately.  Of the alternative medicine options, it’s the least offensive and high maintenance.  It can be used daily and also keeps inflammation at bay.  I could just drink it as a tea, but I’m not a huge fan of the tea.  If that doesn’t work, I have a whole arsenal of things (licorice, slippery elm, marshmallow) that really keep it at bay, but require a lot more thought since they can cause interactions you don’t want.
  • a good multivitamin – Brand: CBH Supplements Super Multi – 4 caps a day.  For gall bladder peeps, you want something with good levels of Vitamins A, E, C, and K.  I like this one because it also has green tea extract, milk thistle (helps support the liver), co-enzyme Q10, Quercetin, Resveratrol, and Astaxanthin in additional to all kinds of vitamins and minerals.  I’ve noticed huge gains in energy since taking this.
  • Iron – Brand: Country Life Easy Iron – Dose: 25 mg – I need a little extra iron.  My stomach doesn’t like most iron supplements, but this one is really easy on the tummy.
  • Magnesium – Brand: Vitamin Shoppe – Dose: 200 mg – so, so, so needed for me.  a life changer.
  • Bilberry – Brand: Spring Valley – Dose: 1000 mg – for my deteriorating eyesight
  • Lutein – Brand: Jarrow Formulas – Dose: 20 mg – again for deteriorating eyesight
  • Stress B-Complex – Brand: Nature Made – Dose: 1 tab – this has vitamin C & zinc as well as some of the other vitamins I have trouble absorbing now that fat’s an issue for me.
  • low or mid chain oils–I basically treat them like medicine.  Butter, coconut oil, etc.
  • aromatherapy/essential oils

I was also taking 1 cap of Thorne’s Liver Cleanse up until a few weeks ago.  My Chinese herbs do a lot of the same things, and my liver’s stronger, so we’re trying life without it for a little while.  We’re evaluating my thyroid issues to see if treatment might be needed there, too.

I’m trying the following items in the next few weeks–most of which are to help me nutrition-wise:

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • DHA/Super Omega EPA
  • Lipase – to help me break down fats
  • various Bach flower essences to manage emotions better

I’ll keep you posted on how these things work (or don’t work).

For the most part, I feel like this regimen is helpful.  🙂

Good luck to you on your journey to being your best self.

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