Recently I had my own personal health scare. As a Wellness Coach, it was quite challenging dealing with a diagnosis of a damaged heart when I had been doing all the “right things” according to traditional, complementary and energy medicine practices.
As I settled into the situation, the first thing I did was ditch the doctor who discovered the left bundle block. His diagnosis was an inevitable decline to a pacemaker and then, if lucky, I would live only another 10 or 15 years. As a 70-year-old, that would probably not seem too awful to anyone younger – as I have already lived a pretty full life – but a diagnosis of that sort is just what a “nocebo” is all about. A nocebo, for the inquiring minds among you, is a diagnosis of decline or death from a doctor who is supposed to know about these things – and the patient believes it enough to decline or die on cue. Thank goodness for the stubborn nature I inherited from both my mom and dad – whew!
I found a cardiologist with a traditional education who was also dipping his toe into alternative waters. He speculated that my heart had probably been attacked by a virus and developed scar tissue. That would account for the low “ejection fraction” (blood pumping from my heart). He prescribed some meds and also some supplements and wanted to do more serious testing.
He wanted to do an MRI but because of the circumstances I encountered while trying to get one (I will save that story for another day), I declined to do it. He fussed and prodded but I refused this test for a lot of reasons not which the least being the dye used in it has lawyers filing suits right now. Instead, we both took the wait and see approach until my next visit to see if the meds and supplements were improving my situation.
Little did he know, I decided not to take the meds as I had read a number of pieces regarding their side effects. Instead I did the supplements suggested including some he hadn’t mentioned. Now that I had a specific target, I also began to do serious energy work on my heart meridian and heart chakra several times a day. In addition, I began meditating and visualizing my heart pumping more vigorously and even imagining my heart being totally healed. I might add here, that the doc told me that scar tissue damage would not heal – another nocebo diagnosis which I have yet to accept.
Well, my next visit was a surprise to my doctor based upon his reaction. The ejection fraction had improved by about 20 points – very close to normal – and when under stress my heart acted like a heart should when working hard. While he didn’t say a lot, the look on his face when he got the results was priceless. He really hadn’t expected this result. I think his plan was to suggest now was time for the MRI so he could really evaluate the situation.
Instead, we talked, laughed a lot about my stubborn streak and made an appointment 6 months out to see what was happening then. Maybe I will finally tell him at that appointment I never took the meds he prescribed.
This story is certainly a personal one. I am not suggesting that the path I have taken is for everyone. I do think, however, that taking some time to digest, research and calm down after a diagnosis might help you decide which path is right for you. Here’s to your health – may it be as fabulous as you.
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Linda was raised in the Midwest, graduated from Saint Louis University and hired into a corporate position with Reynolds Aluminum. She met, married and traveled with her husband for a number of years before moving back to his home place – The Shoals in Alabama. There Linda was introduced to life coaching and took to it like “duck to water”. Her empathetic nature coupled with a desire to help people help themselves; led her to and through a number of certifications, in different modalities. Linda currently practices as a Wellness Coach plying her trade in Florence, Alabama