How WELLthy are you?

Never have I appreciated Ralph Waldo Emerson's sentiment more than after having battled my breathing issue over these past two years. Here I am, someone who took wellness SERIOUSLY, and all of the "right" kind of eating, all of the exercising, and all of the following up with some 25 medical practitioners, both of Western and Eastern philosophy, did not seem to help. The inhalers I toted around for my exercise-induced asthma had stopped working. I struggled for breath while teaching my thirteen cardio classes a week, the agitation magnified by being in front of masses during such struggle. Amid the loud music, I smiled to feign confidence when deep inside I was telling myself over and over not to panic because that would've only made the shortness of breath (SOB) worse. Because I was seeing so many doctors for my unexplained symptom, I began a 3-inch binder to hold all the medical records just so I could remember who said what. The binder was divided according to doctor's name and their particular specialty. It took no time at all to fill this binder and it quickly became a heavy burden, figuratively and literally, that I carried around with me EVERYWHERE as I sought one physician's help after another. It seemed everyone had a different opinion as to what was wrong with me. My allergist claimed that I was allergic to everything (practically) that grows in AZ so every week, I got two shots. I also started seeing a naturopathic who had a different approach to dealing with these allergies. My Ear Nose Throat doctor was convinced that I had vocal cord dysfunction and so I started speech therapy. I still do the therapeutic vocal exercises before class, and sometimes, at the onset of symptoms, even during class. So if you hear me muttering "Mi-Mi-Mi-Mi" and making strange gurgling noises, please don't be alarmed, I'm not trying to make my way into the Phoenix Opera ;-) When SOB ensued after a year of allergy treatments and vocal therapy, my ENT was now convinced that I had acid reflux and I was put on prescription for a year. When that didn't help and I became aware of the inherent dangers prolonged usage of said prescription could have, I took myself off of the medication. More taxing than the actual SOB was the fear of not knowing why it was happening and the constant stress of anticipating the next SOB episode. I had so many people telling me different things that my judgment started to cloud. Yet I realized that there was one resounding advice given by many of my practitioners and that was to practice mindful exercises, to find moments of peace and stillness. If you know me well enough, you would've easily guessed how difficult this is for me. I thrive on a busy schedule and pride myself in accomplishing the gazillions of things that I do every day. I LOVE to multi-task and consider doing one thing at a time BORING! But here's the kicker, SOB is forcing me to slow down. And since I had no choice, I decided to give serenity a try. I literally turned on a timer for five minutes when I would force myself to sit and not do a single thing. There were times during those first two weeks when I thought I would go berserk right before the five minutes were up, but I made myself do it. Then I remembered a friend of mine sending me a link to a hypnosis recording a while back. I dug up her e-mail and downloaded the recording. I started listening to it sporadically but after a month, I noticed that it did calm me down especially when my attack would happen and of course, nothing else helped. I began after two months of half-hearted listening to look forward to evenings because at the end of them would be the time to listen to the recording. It's been nearly five months and now I cannot think of going to bed without listening to the recording. Those precious twenty seven minutes give me respite and a feeling of control over something that undid me in the past. I have been feeling better these last few weeks. I am filled with gratitude, not just for the recovery, but for the lesson learned. It's fine to accomplish everything that we set out to do. After all, it's how we attain security. However, we cannot forget to allow time for tranquility, for looking within ourselves in order to re-establish our core values and to put ourselves back together. This is how to maintain our best wealth-- our health!

not to panic because that would've only made the shortness of breath worse.

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