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Mindfulness and Self-Care: Learning to Love Myself

I had a bone marrow biopsy done last week. The results came back earlier this week, negative, thank God. Next, on February 17th, I have surgery on the tumor which I had biopsied several months back that had two different and very confusing results, two of the three samples showed a pleomorphic adenoma (benign tumor) and the last one showed CD34 positive myeloblasts which indicates leukemia. The oncologist is having the tumor fully tested. If that comes back negative on the 17th, he said he would be happy to only see me once a year for all the fancy bloodwork, and he will just call it a fluke ( I will call it “God healed me.”) It’s looking very positive. This scare was a catalyst for needed change in my life. Without it, I would not have realized that slowing down for me, taking care of myself a little, and asking others for help was not me being a bad mom. It was actually making me a better one.

I went to see my chiropractor, Dr. Kelli when I newly found out about the scary results. The leukemia was not a sure thing, and we didn’t have answers about that, but the pleomorphic adenoma (benign tumor) below my right ear was definitely there and was what it was. She had me write about what was going on in my life before I found out about the tumor. I did this and came to some eye-opening conclusions that tied right into and confirmed other life revelations.

Prior to this tumor, I was extremely stressed out. I was trying to be everything for everyone at the expense of my own mental and physical health. Add my lingering Lyme issues and heat intolerance to the mix, and over the summer, this got so overwhelming that the inside of my head felt hot all over, all the time, and would not cool down. It’s like my body was actually overheating. I could feel that I couldn’t think straight. I knew I needed a break to cool it down and to take care of myself, but I didn’t know how to break the cycle I was in, ask for help, or express what I needed to be able to do this, and I kept pushing past what my body was clearly telling me and just doing what everyone wanted or expected of me. This persisted until the end of summer when my life finally slowed down a bit, and I could catch my breath and regroup. Life was determining the state of my mental wellbeing, and as it turned out, this was a problem that I desperately needed to address.

Regarding the tumor, the typical medical professionals I saw just wanted to treat the symptoms and get rid of the tumor, which is fine and necessary, but they weren’t interested in why I got this thing in the first place. Typically, people who get these tumors are people who smoke or drink a lot, and I don’t do either. Their answers of “It’s the most common salivary tumor.” and “Sometimes, these things just appear.” weren’t cutting it for me. I don’t mess around when it comes to my health. If I need to brush my teeth five to six times a day and water pic two times a day to prevent issues with braces, I will and did. If I need to cut gluten and sugar out of my diet, I will, and did. If a food or drink I don’t like is going to help me in some way, I will and did acquire a taste for it and eat it. I wanted to know why I got this thing in the first place and what I could do to prevent anything like this from happening again.

After talking with my amazing primary DO, the lovely Dr. Kelli, and a couple of other incredible natural healing women, I realize now, that my body needed somewhere to go with the stress and heat in my head that I was experiencing last summer, and likely, that is the reason why this tumor formed in the first place. If I was listening and responding to what my body was calling for, I feel pretty certain, I could have prevented this.

Brushing my teeth, radically changing my diet, and eating gross foods are one thing. It doesn’t interfere with any of my life roles. However, taking time and money to nourish my soul is another because it clashes with the ingrained idea that if we are spending time and money on ourselves, we are not putting our children and our family first, and thus we are failing as mothers, wives, daughters, granddaughters etc. I am lucky because my husband and parents are amazing and supportive. With Erik’s fairly new business, and me only working part time, we are not at all made of money at this point in our lives, and neither are my parents who I have needed to rely on to babysit for all of my appointments. They already significantly cut back on work hours and live very frugally to spend time with their grandkids. I knew I needed to do this work, but it required spending the time and money to get the out of the box care that I needed, and the guilt in doing that was real. Frankly, I probably wouldn’t have done it without the encouragement from Erik and my parents. In hindsight, I am so thankful that I did. Doing these things for myself has helped me grow and made me so much better for all these relationships.

Before all of this upheaval, I used to work and take care of Eli at the same time. I came to realize that this was too much for me. I changed my schedule to only work evenings and weekends when Erik could watch Eli. I now make the time to write and go to the gym. I am getting better at communicating when I need support or to tap out for a few minutes before the inside of my head gets hot, and I’m drowning in feeling overwhelmed.

One thing that one of the healing women, Zelda told me that really stuck with me was that I needed to be able to recognize when a fear, anxiety or whatever wasn’t mine and give it back to God. I recently went to see another healing woman, Annette, and she pointed out how I might see someone who is sad, anxious, afraid or whatever and take a piece of that to try to help them feel better, but then I am left holding those feelings that don’t belong to me. I want to be able to be there for people, but not at the expense of my own mental health, so I need to navigate through situations to a place of mindfulness where I can have peace. It’s another aspect of raising up to a higher level of thinking.

My primary DO and Annette both gave me similar ideas for working with this. My adaption of this idea is to imagine God shining a warm beam light beam of love, strength, grace, patience etc down right on me. I imagine this light flowing from the top of my head into every inch of my body until it reaches my feet, breathing deeply as I imagine this, receiving all that God has for me, and letting go of things that do not belong to me. By doing this, I am clearing my energy, so that I can be an effective, loving, gracious, patient, mom, daughter, wife, granddaughter, sister, aunt, friend, etc. It’s going to take some practice to actually remember to do this, but it’s worthwhile.

The Bible tells us to love others as we love ourselves. I think a lot of us forget the loving ourselves part. If we aren’t taking the time to show love, gentleness, compassion, and kindness to ourselves and are just shoving past what our bodies are telling us, how are we supposed to show true love to others? It starts within us. We have to do the work, befriend, and show up for ourselves, so that we can be effective in all of our other roles. What does being your own friend mean to you today?

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Adonai Shalom USA
Adonai Shalom USA
Feb 06, 2023

You've been through a lot! Praying for your healing - may the LORD continue to touch you and strengthen you, and heal you. So glad you are giving yourself some rest!

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