Tuesday, September 2, 2014
I heard a remarkable story about healing this morning. I should say I heard another remarkable story about healing. I hear these stories more often than you might imagine.
Today's story involves a young woman I saw a few times a couple of years ago. Poor thing. She was suffering from multiple phobias, eating disorders, and what seemed to me like PTSD, though it is out of my scope of practice to diagnose that. I was just guessing. She had been in therapy for years without making a lot of progress. She tried psychiatric drugs that made her suicidal. She received acupuncture, saw an herbalist, nutritionist, and so on and so on. She came to DC to spend some time with her grandmother after a horrible breakup with a boyfriend. The grandmother, unclear exactly how to help, sent her to me. After a few weeks, though she was no better, she went home to her parents' house. I hadn't heard anything further about her until this morning when I ran into her grandmother. She had a horrible accident - fell off a roof - smashed her face, knocked out all her teeth and broke a leg and an arm. How awful!
But something happened in that fall that turned things around for her.
After she got out of the hospital, she was somehow able to pull herself together, got a job while still on crutches, found a place to live away from her parents, met a nice man she's now dating. What a miraculous story. And mysterious, oh my.
It reminds me of a client whose knees always hurt her. There was nothing structurally wrong. She lost weight, did physical therapy, saw an osteopath, came to me for bodywork and still her knees always hurt. One day she tripped on the treacherous Capitol Hill brick sidewalks, came down hard right on her kneecaps. After that, her knees stopped hurting. No on can explain how that worked, no one. No one ever will.
I had a friend in San Francisco who suffered from a very rare blood cancer. He did well with the serious chemotherapy they used at the time to treat it, though the chemo never put him into remission. When he was at his worst, he would go to India and take photos, his favorite thing. Even though travel to and from India is arduous, not to mention uncomfortable, it was well worth it to him. When he returned from these trips, the doctors couldn't find a trace of the blood cancer. After a few weeks or few months, the cancer always returned. Incredible that traveling to India put him into remission. Go figure!
He travelled there once or twice a year for ten years. I have no doubt that his pilgrimages were what kept him alive. His pictures were wonderful. When he at last succumbed to the disease, his wife went to India alone. When she came back, she drank herself to death. It's a true story. May their spirits fly high.
The point being: the essence of healing is mysterious even to the most brilliant medical minds of all time. There is no one system of healing that always works for anyone. People swear by this system or that system. I personally swear by Chinese medicine, but it doesn't always work and does not work for everything. The type of medicine we swear by is a clear indication of personal philosophy, but not much more than that as far as I can tell.
We have to try to understand healing. When we suffer, we have to try to alleviate that suffering by whatever means makes sense to us. But we don't get it, even though human beings have engaged in the healing arts since forever ago. I believe medicine is the oldest art, no matter how the joke goes.
Good health is mostly good luck. It's important to work at it, to think about it, to try. If you're healthy, maybe stop right now and say thank you to the Universe for your good fortune. If you aren't healthy, please remember, it's not your fault. Also please do not fall off a roof because it probably will not work for you. OK?
To your health! L'chaim.