This Thanksgiving, I’m Grateful to be Alive and Healthy

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful to be alive and healthy.

Although I keep a daily gratitude journal where I notate these two gifts, they have taken on a deeper and more profound meaning in the wake of an unexpected event that took place this past September. There’s nothing like being in danger of losing your life to make you appreciate how much you treasure it.

Without delving into the details of why or how it happened, let’s just say I thought was doing something good for my body, based on information presented by a credible source. Little did I know, over a period of six months, with every pill I swallowed I caused incremental harm to my heart, liver, metabolism and other vital bodily organs and functions. Yet, not once did I experience any warning signs — shortness of breath, dizziness, low-energy — that would indicate a storm was brewing.

Then the thyroid storm hit me out of nowhere, like a Category 5 hurricane.

On a spiritual level, I now understand the significance of this life-threatening medical condition’s name. Thyroid storm is highly appropriate, considering that this year has been characterized by upheaval — including the end of a 17-year friendship and the discovery of complex PTSD in someone I love — rather than my intended outcome of “expansion” (though it’s possible expansion will result from these personal challenges).

Were they truly blessings in disguise? I’m keeping an open heart and mind.

If you’ve never endured a thyroid storm, it is a terrifying experience. I’m eternally grateful I wasn’t alone when it happened. Of course, I didn’t know what was wrong the morning I woke up in a dear friend’s guest room after a fitful night’s sleep, barely able to muster the strength to sit up in bed. I’d tossed and turned for eight hours, sweating profusely through my pajamas while shivering with the chills. Could it be the flu? I wondered.

Delirious with fever, my brain and mind contributed to my discomfort by playing an endless loop of the miniseries Rome, which I’d discovered and watched on Amazon Prime over Labor Day weekend. Combined with the thyroid storm’s mental and emotional impact and the authenticity of the miniseries’ portrayal of Roman barbarism in the ancient world, I had endless nightmares about being trapped in that time period, fearing crucifixion or some other excruciating punishment for the crime of being a lowly plebeian or slave.

At first, I didn’t make the connection but about a week before this occurred, I’d completely lost my appetite — an unusual phenomenon for someone who loves to eat (mostly) healthy, satisfying food. For whatever reason (avoidance? fear?), I chalked it up to stress resulting from a difficult, ongoing personal situation, even though my intuition told me otherwise.

The loss of appetite preceded my heart rate’s acceleration to 170 beats per minute.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I convinced myself that these ominous symptoms were the result of the flu or some other weird virus. Once I managed to get out of bed of bed that morning, for some inexplicable reason I decided to take a shower — which I regretted from the second the hot water rained down on me. Still in denial that something was seriously wrong, I raised my arms above my head to wash my hair and almost fainted from the effort.

I got out of the steamy bathroom and collapsed on the bed, where I closed my eyes to find peace and relieve my relentless, pounding headache. Instead, all I saw were bright, pulsating geometric patterns, leading me to believe I must be starting with migraines.

I’d like to say that was enough to ask my friend to take me to the hospital immediately. However, thanks to my irrational desire to avoid inconveniencing her and being a “hypochondriac,” I actually waited another 24 hours ~ a decision that could have killed me, if not for the fact that my body was healthy and strong enough to withstand the punishment.

Did we go directly to the emergency room?

I’d like to answer “yes,” because that’s what any clear-thinking person would have done. Instead, I asked my friend to drive me to the closest walk-in clinic, where I almost fainted twice. I remember trying to sign the signature line on the iPad during registration and begging the receptionist to just let me see the doctor before I collapsed on the floor. That’s when my friend spotted a wheelchair in the waiting room, moved it behind me in the nick of time, and used it to transport me to an examining room.

Initially, we left without a diagnosis and advice to eat well and rest. As I paid for the visit at the reception desk, I came close to fainting again, so they brought me back to see the concerned doctor. He urged us to go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital ASAP because they had limited resources at the clinic. By then I was experiencing tightness in my chest, causing fear of a heart attack. When I arrived at JFK Medical Center, they wasted no time hooking me up to monitors, checking my vitals, and assigning a doctor.

Over the course of eight days, I went from a room in an observation ward, to a regular room, to a private room in the step-down ward (after I spiked a fever of 102.9). Thankfully, there was a sink in my room in the step-down ward, if not a shower (eight days without one was torture). I was also blessed to be cared for by a competent, intelligent, sharp and dedicated young doctor (who could have been a model had she not chosen medicine) with an excellent bedside manner. When my blood results revealed that my TSH was “undetectable,” I asked her what that meant.

“Your body is on a treadmill,” she replied. Then she announced I would no longer be taking the stuff that led to the storm and my uninsured hospital stay.

As expected, my heart rate began to come down. However, the blood work had also indicated that my liver enzymes were in the 400’s (normal is in the 30’s and 40’s). And I continued to spike cyclical, high fevers. Ironically, I never got fevers as a kid, even when I was sick. Experiencing them as an adult was unsettling and scary. While I sweated through multiple hospital gowns, my “extra-thin spaghetti veins” endured countless needle pricks because my thorough medical team was determined to find the cause. (As a side-note, many thanks to all the wonderful lab technicians who treated me with kindness and compassion…even when I wasn’t thrilled to see them walk into my room).

My doctor ordered tests for every infectious disease you can imagine, from Lyme disease to AIDS, but everything kept coming back negative. There was no blood infection, no elevated counts, no presence of a bacterial infection. Yet the fevers kept raging.

In an effort to solve this medical mystery, my primary doctor called in an infectious disease specialist and a gastrointestinal specialist, refusing to send me home with dangerously high fevers without knowing their exact cause and how to eliminate them. Looking back, I’m convinced NOT having insurance was a good thing (even with the avalanche of medical bills coming at me from all directions) because it allowed my doctors to actually practice medicine and act in the best interest of their patient.

It enabled them to run multiple tests including an MRI and biopsy of my liver, an ultrasound of my abdomen, and an echocardiogram of my heart. While being there alone (until my mom and sister arrived by plane) was traumatic and scary, I deeply appreciate the professionalism, dedication and kindness of the men and women who took care of me, from nurses to technicians to transport guys to food service employees.

In the end, I walked away with an intact, healthy liver, as confirmed by the biopsy. There is no permanent damage from the virus that somehow activated in my system and attacked it during the thyroid storm. After a nurse administered just one IV of the anti-viral on a Friday evening, I woke up Saturday morning feeling noticeably better. From that point on, I received three IV’s per day, in one-hour increments.

By the time my mom and sister arrived I wanted out (I missed the feel of the sun and fresh air on my face), but the doctor didn’t release me until the following Monday because she wanted to be certain the fevers were gone for good and the liver enzyme numbers were in a normal range. I am more grateful to my family than I can ever express for dropping everything to jump on a plane to be with me. To think, for the first few days of my hospitalization, I pretended all was well when on the phone with my mom, as did my sister. Neither one of us wanted to worry her, though I kept begging God to let me live because if I died, I knew she would too. It wasn’t until the nurse announced they’d ordered a liver biopsy that I understood it was time to be completely honest.

There’s nothing quite like coming close to death to make you realize the extent to which you want to live. Particularly during those first few days, a mantra played over and over again in my mind: “I want to live,” “I want to live.”

That’s why this Thanksgiving, I am more grateful than ever for the gift of life and health. I thought I appreciated life and health before, but after this experience my gratitude is all-consuming. In fact, I recently bawled my eyes out one morning in profound thankfulness to God and Jesus for allowing me to stay on earth for a while longer. Now, I’m living with renewed purpose, determined to let the Divine Plan unfold.

When I share this story in real life, people often remark that they would love to lose their appetite to rid themselves of those stubborn extra pounds. I tell them no one wants to know what it feels like to look at food with dread, wondering how the heck you’re going to consume it. To clarify, loss of appetite for me did not involve nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains and bloating: it simply meant I could not eat. And it took several weeks to regain my normal appetite.

Am I happy I lost a significant amount of weight? Of course. However, I do not recommend the “thyroid storm diet.” Since it was something I was supposed to experience, I’ll take all the good that resulted from it, including a head start on reaching my fitness goals. I’m determined to go the distance the healthy way from here on out.

Due to the trauma to my body and mind, I took about 30 days off to recover. I’m grateful for my wonderful friend for creating a calm, nurturing environment in her home (complete with the cutest dog ever) to assist in my healing. I’m grateful for the lessons of 2018, no matter how difficult, and look forward to sunnier days in 2019.

What are you grateful for?

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Cover Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Storm Photo by Josep Castells on Unsplash

Stethoscope Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Heart Photo by Saif Memon on Unsplash

 

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Create Your Life with Tasha Chen: 5 Money Beliefs to Ditch Before 2018

Create Your Life with Tasha Chen: 5 Money Beliefs to Ditch Before 2018

I’m producing for the amazing Tasha Powell Chen on Tuesday, December 12 at 8:30 AM. Please tune in and call in to this interactive episode:

Are your negative beliefs about money blocking its abundant flow into your life?

Whether consciously or unconsciously, our embedded thoughts about wealth determine how much of it we experience in our life.

Consider these prevalent money attitudes in our culture:

  • Money doesn’t grow on trees
  • You must work hard and sacrifice for money
  • Money is the root of all evil
  • Rich people have money because they take from the poor
  • You cannot serve God and money

Sound familiar? If you’re like most people, you can probably add a few more to the list. But the truth is, these misguided money beliefs keep us stuck in a vicious cycle and prevent us from realizing our wealth potential.

Ready to ditch them before 2018?

Tune in to Create Your Life with Tasha Chen on December 12 at 8:30 AM. In this interactive episode, she invites you to call in to share the limited beliefs about money you are releasing before the New Year. She’ll affirm your new money beliefs, so you can experience the fullness of life in 2018!

Dial (347) 945-7246 and press “1” to get on the air with Tasha. We look forward to serving you!

UPDATE: Missed the live episode? Click below to listen.

Join Tasha’s Monthly Intention Setting Call. Click here.

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7 Recommended Reads for Holiday Gift Giving

7 Recommended Reads for Holiday Gift Giving

Do you have avid readers on your shopping list with a variety of interests?

Here are seven suggestions for holiday gift giving:

  1. Magnetic Love by Jennie Lynn

Magnetic Love is a magical guide to creating the life of your dreams. Enhanced by the author’s conversational style and courage in sharing her own spiritual journey, it is anchored in real results and timeless truths. I’ve been a student of spiritual laws and an avid reader of personal development books for years. Yet Jennie Lynn’s Magnetic Love resonated with me in new and unexpected ways. I felt as if I developed a relationship with the author because I can relate to so much of her story, from her frustration with doing everything right (or so she thought), only to receive the opposite of what she wanted, to learning how to truly and deeply love herself and appreciate her body.

In easy-to-understand language, Jennie explains the importance of recognizing and shifting paradigms (stubborn belief systems embedded in our subconscious minds) and becoming the vibration of the things and people we want to attract. Throughout, she shares practical exercises and online resources she has developed to help her readers transform their lives. Each chapter ends with a place for handwritten notes, along with prompts to help you glean your most important lessons and insights from what you have just read. As suggested by the title, the book features plenty of practical wisdom, based on spiritual laws, to help you find your Soul Mate, while making a clear distinction between romantic love and other various forms of this multi-dimensional energy — the most powerful force in the world. If you’re seeking to understand and apply the Laws of the Universe to arrive at a true understanding of who you really are, I highly recommend Magnetic Love (and Jennie Lynn) as your partner in manifesting all that you desire!

Purchase Magnetic Love here.

Listen to my interview with author Jennie Lynn below:

2. The Mentor in Me by William Todd

William’s honesty in sharing his journey in such an engaging way makes you feel as if he’s a good friend. It also brings him down to earth: in spite of his amazing success as an entrepreneur, he still struggled with his own fears, negative thoughts, and embedded paradigms. Becoming Bob Proctor’s protege is a humbling experience, yet one he embraces fully — at least in the beginning. As suggested by the subtitle, What To Do & What Not To Do, William describes his resistance to taking his mentor’s advice, “the times when, to his detriment, he failed to make the most of opportunities presented.”

The book’s chapters are organized according to the Seven Levels of Awareness – the process we all undergo as life unfolds. William explains each level, supporting its premise with real life examples of how he demonstrated a particular behavior, for good or ill. Each chapter closes with his Mentor’s MessageWhat To Do / What Not To Do (questions to consider), and Words of Wisdom.

It’s organization and ease of reading, combined with the author’s genuine tone makes The Mentor In Me a practical guide for improving every aspect of your life and becoming the person you were meant to be. No wonder why Bob Proctor calls it “a book you form a relationship with.” It’s overall 5-star rating on Amazon is well-deserved.

Watch Bob Proctor discuss the book below.

Spanish speaking readers on your list? El Mentor En Mi is now available on Amazon.com.

3. Cadain’s Watch by Daniella Bova

In Cadáin’s Watch, her final installment in the Storms of Transformation Series, author Daniella Bova delivers a powerful rejoinder to the forces of control and oppression. Having read the first two books and followed her characters through their harrowing ordeals as little by little, their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are stripped away, I was thrilled to see them fight back against a soulless bureaucracy — with a little assistance from the warrior angel Cadáin, whose presence adds a welcome supernatural element to the story. Bova also introduces a new major character in the form of Michael Wallace, whose reunion and subsequent telepathic relationship with his son enhances the plot. Even the character of Michelle has grown up considerably in Cadáin’s Watch, at last demonstrating courage and resolve, rather than dissolving into tears over every outrage. As per the author’s style, I enjoyed reading the story from the perspectives of multiple characters and appreciated the fact that for some of the story’s evil-doers, actions do indeed have fatal consequences. Her descriptions of a godless, dystopian society that exists within the remnants of what was once the greatest country on earth — including horrific gulags, forced sterilizations of women over a certain age, and diabolical experiments on children, gave me chills. It also filled me with gratitude that real life seems to be imitating art as Americans, much like Jason, Michelle, Brad, Michael and others in Cadáin’s Watch, have finally said, “enough.” In the case of Bova’s book, that final stand takes place in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina, where her descriptions of the natural scenery offer a welcome contrast to the tension infused throughout the novel. And while the future remains uncertain, the author leaves us with hope that all individuals with the will and desire to live free, as deemed by their Creator, will find a way as long as they look to him for guidance. Congratulations to Daniella Bova on another outstanding accomplishment!

Buy the book here. Watch the book trailer below.

4. Remembering Eternity by Richard Maddox

In Remembering Eternity, gifted author Richard Maddox takes the reader on a sensory journey of self-discovery and enlightenment while evoking nostalgia for the innocence of youth. His enchanting prose and relatable characters draw you in as you follow main character Skylar through his various life transitions and search for deeper meaning. Juxtaposing time zones, the authors switches back and forth from the older, wiser Sklyar navigating his way from the pinnacle of success (as defined by western society) to his spartan new life as a divorced dad – to the young boy who delights in the simple pleasures of his Midwestern childhood until the layers of the illusion of a happy home peel away to reveal the underlying heartbreak and dysfunction. Yet Skylar remains a thoughtful observer and participant in life, savoring the “small things” like the beauty of a sunset over the Pacific Ocean and discovering truths from the spiritual Masters. Beautifully written, Remembering Eternity is a mesmerizing tale with a higher purpose: to impart metaphysical knowledge and an understanding of who we really are. I’m looking forward to reading Richard’s next book!

Listen to my interview with Richard below. Purchase the book here.

5. Amy Lynn: Into the Fire by Jack July

In the fourth installment of his Amy Lynn Series, Jack July continues his tradition of excellent storytelling. Into the Fire balances international intrigue, man’s inhumanity to man, and the relentless pursuit of justice with heart-pounding action, moral dilemmas, and palpable human emotion. As with his previous books, the pages of Amy Lynn: Into the Fire are infused with rich characterizations and love of God, family, community and country. The pacing, which juxtaposes multiple subplots and time-frames (expertly tied together in the end), along with cliff-hangers within the chapters, compels you to keep reading. I especially enjoyed the exploration of PTSD and the fine line between justice and revenge, as portrayed by Amy’s sessions with Dr. Earle in a country retreat in the mountains of West Virginia. My favorite character, Uncle Jack, takes a prominent role in Into the Fire, with the author drawing upon the character’s harrowing past, which is a formidable influence on his present actions in the aftermath of a chilling event that hits too close to home. Whether you’ve read the entire series or have just discovered the works of Jack July, you’ll love Amy Lynn: Into the Fire. If it’s your first exposure to Black Oak Alabama and its residents, you’ll be inspired to read the previous books. If, like me, you’ve been following the adventures of Amy Lynn and the Braxton family from the beginning, you’ll look forward to the next installment. Congratulations on another fine effort Jack!

Purchase the book here.

6. Gypsy Energy Secrets by Milana Perepyolkina

Healer, psychic, and spiritual guide, Milana Perepyolkina became a writer in order to share the ancient wisdom and magic of her Romani ancestry that she uses every day to make a difference in the lives of others. Having suffered throughout her life from countless physical and emotional ailments, Milana found that reconnecting with the energetic world allowed her to completely heal, transcend her troubles, and live a happy and more fulfilled life. In sharing that wisdom, Milana saw the powerful impact that the simplest techniques could make in transforming the lives of others. She wrote Gypsy Energy Secrets with the hope that her valuable knowledge could be spread to all those whom she could not personally reach. Milana continues to embrace a lifestyle of consciousness, spirituality, and happiness, and seizes any opportunity to share her wisdom with others through personal consultations and readings. She presents a comprehensive approach to heightened well-being, focusing on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual elements. It is the mindful attention to each element that turns any day, no matter how bad, into a good day.

Listen to my interview with Milana below. Purchase the book on Amazon.

7. Lost Found & Rewired: Mind Tools to Shift You from Stressed and Frazzled to Calm and Vital by Cynthia Dougherty, Ph.D

The mind is a terrible thing to waste. The world has changed at lightning speed over the last two decades. As a result, most of us are living our lives in a frantic blur of incessant emails, social media engagement, text messages as well as an over-abundance of multi-tasking – which leaves our minds in a state of low concentration, high stress and fragmented attention. Our minds are wasting away in this damaging environment which has become a normal way of life for the majority of people. Lost, Found & Rewired will give you the tools you need to shut off that distracting mind chatter, rewire your brains so you can get back to feeling calm, happy, purposeful, connected and joyful. When you understand how your brain has evolved, then you will be able to learn how to re-wire it and reap the endless benefits.

Written by a neuro-psychologist, but taught in language that everyone can understand.

Listen to my interview with Cynthia below. Purchase the  book on Amazon

Happy Shopping and Reading!

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