It is easy to get carried away by our everyday responsibilities, created by society or by ourselves.
We are, more or less, becoming ignorant when considering our health. I see it in clinic all the time and the more we do, the more we can feel disconnected from our bodies – and the signs and signals that your body maybe giving us.- Believe me I have been there in the past and have spent years tuning in and healing many aspects of my life. – All this to say that through my daily practices including slowing down and living a more mindful life saved my life.
On December 19th 2019 I could have died if I had not listened to my body and my intuition. A few days leading up to this day – things were not seeming “normal” and I was feeling “off”
I started to feel like I was shaking internally. (I had had this happen earlier in the year, it was short lived and I was told that everything was fine- and I felt fine so I went on my way.)
The shaking was continuous – you could not see it physically but I could feel it internally – so much so that to do anything I had to tense my whole body to steady my hands – my muscles began to ache.
On December 18th I had tea with a few girlfriends – not far from my home, a short 10 min walk. By the time I got there I felt tired. I noted it.
As the tea date went on – I found myself not being able to sit still – it was becoming uncomfortable. The shaking was overwhelming.
Now typically if I can walk to a place, I do – I would have normally walked home – I said I would initially but my gut told me to take the ride and I quickly changed my mind.
Walking from the car to my door – I was exhausted – I had no appetite or any desire to work, all I wanted to do was sleep.
I slept for 6 hours (my husband was picking up our son – thank goodness!!)- Still no appetite – this was strange for me – so was all the sleeping and feeling tired. – The shanking continued – now even walking around my house was exhausting. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest – I could not catch my breath. I hadn’t done anything. Again all I wanted to do was sleep. I went to sleep for another 11 hours.
The next morning – December 19th – I still felt exhausted, my chest still felt like it was pounding. I tried to make my childs breakfast. I tried to make his lunch. I could not lift a utensil. I could not catch my breath, I wanted to sleep. I have never in my life felt so tired. Then within moments I started to feel sick – was the breakfast making me nauseous? I took a sip of water and had to run to the bathroom. Had some more water – out it came.
I had made a doctor’s appointment for that morning a few days earlier when the shaking began – but something deep down told me that a simple doctors visit for a routine blood test was not going to be what was going to help me.
My husband took my son to school. I said good bye and went to lay down again. This time however call it gut feeling, intuition or in this particular moment a voice of knowing chimed in – “if you go to sleep you will not be waking up” WTF!
Now I know we all have moments of “downloads” a “knowing” everyday – but how often do we ignore them? This was a pretty strong message that I could not ignore. The last 24 hours had not been pleasant. Looking back at it – knowing what I know now- I felt like I was dying.
I called my sister and we got to the emergency room.
After HOURS of tests I was told that I had a pulmonary embolism and my body had gone into shock resulting in my thyroid to go into something they call a thyroid crisis or storm. I was told that if I had not come in – I could have been gone or fallen into a coma.
Now typically a pulmonary embolism comes with some causes that I will list down below – however I did not have these. How long had a/or many clots been accumulating in my lung is unsure. What saved me was the array of symptoms and warnings my body started to send out because it was beginning to get stressed and go into shock. Without these signs- I could have just fallen to my death at any moment.
I have spent the last three weeks resting, recovering and processing all of these events.
I am so blessed to be alive. I am so thankful I listened to my body and higher knowing instead of just putting it aside thinking it may pass.
I am still attending appointments as my PE “non-symptoms” baffled the doctors. We are investigating what or where a clot came from. She does not believe I have a thyroid condition that is autoimmune related but will need to be regulated and monitored. I am being tested for some conditions that maybe genetic. Still no concrete answers. What I do know however is healing the damage is going to take time and my sudden event has stumped the doctors- The body is an amazing vessel – I have spent over a decade honouring it, taking care of it and getting to know it and listen to it.
I am currently taking care of myself in various ways. I live a slow and intentional life – and that has not changed, if anything it has been the biggest healer. I am healing my gut to regulate my thyroid as well as the rest of my body. As for my lungs they will take time to heal. I am drinking daily herbal infusions and getting lots of sleep. Moving and stretching gently. I am at this time not able to teach yoga or give massage – but that is ok – the first rule in my book as a practitioner is to first take care of yourself. Having this time has also allowed me to plan out our gardens and seasonal boxes – this year is going to be epic.
Most of all I know that I will be cultivating more family, friends, community and adventure time.
I am still working – but in a modified way. I love my work and what this experience has taught me is that I am and have always been on the right[JB1] path – it’s just time now to embrace whatever newness is going to come and let go of things that I was pushing for that are just not that important.
This time has been really hard for me – I am an active person, who feels amazing more days than not so not getting to do what I love has been hard – but I know in time things will be ok. Being tired and still experiencing waves of exhaustion has been hard as well. Having lost almost ¾ of my hair in as little as a week and a half has been a shock – As a south Indian woman – long thick hair is part of my identity – going to have to work through this one.
I have been doing a lot of reflecting on what areas in my life are needing of more attention. For me – creating and creative work has been coming up more and more. I love my clinical work and one on one work –but I know teaching will be in my future, somehow these all will meld. More adventures are in my future for sure. LIVING FULLY – is the ultimate message.
“Death is only one way of dying; living partially, living fearfully, is our more common, daily collusion with death”-James Hollis
What is a pulmonary embolism?
Pulmonary embolism is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs. In most cases, pulmonary embolism is caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from deep veins in the legs or, rarely, from veins in other parts of the body (deep vein thrombosis)(I did not have this)
Thrombosis is derived from the Greek word thrombus, meaning clot. An embolus (Greek for plug) is an internal clot that has become dislodged from its place of origin and lodged elsewhere in the body – an embolism.
I did not have a lower leg injury, surgery of any sort, swelling of my legs or arms, I was not pregnant or on an estrogen based birth control pills. These are “typical” reasons PE can occur.
Is pulmonary embolism fatal?
“Pulmonary embolism is a disease which requires fast diagnosis and treatment. The outcome might be dramatically different if the treatment is initiated early. The death rate in untreated patients is around 25-30%. In patients who started early and proper treatment, the death rate can be dropped to 2-8%”
What is a thyroid storm/crisis?
The thyroid is a small gland at the front of the neck that produces thyroid hormones. Sometimes, the thyroid produces too much of these hormones – (in my case it did out of necessity –My body was going into shock)
Without treatment, this can become a dangerous condition called thyroid storm.
Thyroid storm is rare. Its incidence in the United States is between 5.7 and 7.6 per one million people.
However, thyroid storm can lead to acute heart failure and a buildup of fluid in the lungs. When it does occur, it can be life-threatening in around 10–25 percent of people with the condition.
Situations that place stress on the body typically bring on thyroid storm.
A thyroid storm can raise the risk of developing the following complications:
Atrial fibrillation: This condition causes the heart to develop an irregular rhythm, usually with a rapid ventricular rate.
Heart failure: The heart cannot successfully pump blood throughout the body.
Thyroid storm requires emergency treatment, usually in an intensive care unit setting.
In many cases, the right treatment regime produces improvement of thyroid storm within 24 hours. The time to resolution of symptoms will likely depend on individual factors that led to the person experiencing thyroid storm and may take up to one week.
Symptoms of thyroid storm may result in a number of complications. These symptoms include:
high fever, sometimes above 105.8º Fahrenheit (ºF)
rapid heart rate and sometimes irregular heart rhythm
nausea or vomiting
confusion and agitation
There are many resources out there – these are just some of the information. And in my case the connection between a PE and a thyroid storm is rare especially when the PE has no seeming cause or location or known physical reason.
Listen to your body. Listen to the messages you may get. Heal your gut and become a super conductor – develop your intuition – slow down – get in touch with your emotions and feelings. Seek help – it could have your life.