BODY

“It’s just Brain Surgery,”…said no one ever…why I chose to WAIT the 3 Phases you need for “right for you” decision making.

My intention of sharing with you today is to communicate my {How To Deal with your “Bad News” phone call}, or as us growing in consciousness folk like to call it, aka the {How To DEAL with your “Wake UP” call} tools. You must receive it, absorb it and move to the place of  healthy decision-making.  Here is how:

My Personal Life Changing Wake up Calls:                                                                                 I will give you the quick back story of my experiences so that you are aware of where this wisdom comes from, the most significant being; the heartbreak of two miscarriages (2003 and 2004), the day I received a four page letter from my husband’s girlfriend (2009), and most recently, the Wake up Call of my LIFE, facing the news of a brain tumor diagnosis (2015).

Weather the cause of the call is family, love or health, on the other side of your pain journey will be the life lesson of it.

It has been my experience that the tools and mindset you use are similar no matter what the reason… what really matters is your ability to surrender and accept the pain and learn what it is here to teach you.

When I received this last “Bad News/Wake Up” phone call I was 41 years old.  A solo parent of 2 kids, divorced for 5 years.  I was happily making my living as a healthy and super fit personal trainer and life coach. I was 6 weeks out from racing a 70.3 Ironman triathlon, an achievement to me that symbolizes that I was making time in my life for what I loved and what was life-giving to me.  I felt great. I felt like I was on my soul’s path of who I chose to be in the world.  I felt like I had been tested, had my deep night of the soul and had come out the other side, better for it.  But unbeknownst to me, my soul’s journey wasn’t done. My confidence and health security all changed the morning I woke up feeling so terrible that I couldn’t walk or drive and before I knew it, a day later, I ended up in a hospital emergency room.

How did I, someone who had studied Health & Fitness my entire life?  end up in the emergency room?  Don’t we all ask ourselves this when we find ourselves in the deep dark scary painful places that we “never thought” we’d be?  The Why Me spin out phase as I affectionately like to call it.  Well, I didn’t know why me, all I knew was that I was there.  And I had to figure out a way to DEAL.

So you got your bad news. .  .  Forget the Why Me…, Now What?

  • You are in shock…Breathe.  Your only job now is to Absorb the news.
  • Sit with yourself and let the emotions come.  Emote, it’s okay to cry, let the tears come, heavy loud sobbing or even ugly cry, completely unleash here. (Hot soaking bath’s are best for this process)
  • Write in a journal.  Brain Dump. Emotion Dump.  In vulnerability.  In Anger. Allow your confusion and emotions to come up and out. Go deep. Go full spectrum. Don’t hold back. Allow the questions of why this, why me? to come up and out as well.
  • Receive and ask for help. Call your friends and family  (the supportive ones). Especially the ones who will bring you healthy and nourishing food to eat, take care of your kids and make you relax and take time to sleep.

Talk about receiving from the ones you love!  The day after I received my “bad news” brain tumor diagnosis phone call, my twin sister was in her car heading toward me.  She dropped her kids off at school and just… kept… driving!!! She drove 2.5 hrs to see me, hug me, cry with me and bring me my favorite foods even though I didn’t “feel” like eating.

I did all these things during the first Phase of my diagnosis.  Absorb, Emote, Write and Receive.

In the receiving and asking for help I called on my power of 5 (the 5 people in my life that I identify each month who are life-giving and supportive to me and my energy).  I did the Facebook post of sharing the news and received all kinds of love, nurturing support and helpful health resources and contacts.  I dove into this research full throttle. In between rests and naps of course.

Phase 1:  I gave myself 30 days at a slow pace.  I focused on the absorbing, allowing of my emotions, writing and receiving.  I cleared everything off my calendar.  Except doctor and pain relief treatment visits and cuddling with my kids.  I prioritized slowing down and seeking rest and comfort. I somehow managed to endure living with a full-blown Migraine for 30 days.   I would wake up in the morning and before I would even open my eyes I felt a jack hammer in my head wreaking havoc.  For four weeks, I went to several acupuncture treatments, Osteopath treatments and Doctor visits.  Finally my Neurologist prescribed me three days of steroids to kick the migraine out of my system so that my poor body would get a break and some much needed relief from all the pain.  Something finally took, and the 30 day migraine finally cleared.  Short relief! Unfortunately, the migraines kept coming back but that is another part of my story for a different day.

Phase 2: Face the question of Now What.                                                                                  So you have your bad news, now what?  Well it’s time to do the research and survey all your options.  With some found relief I could finally face the burning question of, “Now what?”  Let’s get back to the basics we all know and write that PRO/CON list.

Why did I have to write a list?  My bad news phone call meant that I had a Mega decision to make.  Was I going to elect to have Brain Surgery? or was I going to have radiation? or was I just going to decide to manage my symptoms and become a “wait and see” patient.

In my case my brain tumor is benign and slow growth so I had time for treatment options.

The moment my option for brain surgery became a WAIT                                              There I was in a meeting with my Neurosurgeon, 2 friends had driven me there.  I had a migraine so bad I could hardly see straight.  It was an hour into the exam and meeting, I could hardly focus my eyes on her, as she said these words, “Well, your migraines have nothing to do with your tumor, they ARE NOT a symptom of your tumor”…. everything inside me sat up straight and forward in my chair, “Wait !, what?, excuse me?… what did you say? I thought I was scheduling immediate brain surgery so I could have my head back.”…my hopeful heart counting on immediate relief sunk.

“Your migraine is not a symptom of your tumor” she repeated.

I froze.  The room was spinning. There was no way I was going to have brain surgery if it wasn’t going to hold the promise of clearing the migraines. Everything in me knew I needed to get to the root cause of the migraines that were causing me so much pain and disability….FIRST.

So then I entered my Phase 3: which I am still in today!  NO rush people!  Quality of LIFE is my goal!  My goal is to completely heal my brain, body and central nervous system and live to tell about it.  Through my tried and true life decision making process it wasn’t going to be to choose brain surgery that day. Nor is it a yes now, a year and a half later.  But I do revisit this question often.

Phase 3:  Set up your Strategy Plan and allow yourself to revisit in 30, 60 and 90 day increments. Identify your Big Picture End Result and work your way back.

As I say above my Big Picture End Result Goal is to completely heal my brain, body and central nervous system and live to tell about it.  For this goal I have to be patient and in no hurry.  Putting health, solutions and managing symptoms as my priority. I decided and committed to myself that I will take the long way, my declared healing journey, for that is what I have concluded to be my life lesson as to what my health crisis is here to teach me.

The lessons I’ve learned:                           My bad news/wake up call in the form of my brain tumor diagnosis has taught me to slow down.  I have learned to meditate and and practice yoga so my mind, body, heart and spirit have room to Absorb information.  I have learned to allow and experience my Emotions in life.  I am learning to open up my voice, speak up and write.  Lastly, I’ve learned to set aside the ego pride of having to do everything myself.  I’ve learned to stop the push push and sit back, lean back and ask, allow and receive help from the people who show up for me and are in my life.

As a life long athlete I will lastly tell you that while I grieve often that I can not push my body at the duration and intensity that I love, I am still using all those years of endurance Ironman training, using that tenacious mindset…or stubbornness…you can choose what you want to call it, to go after my perfect Health Blueprint.

Yes, of course the thought of brain surgery scares every part of me but I am determined to find out my root cause first.  PAIN is always your body trying to tell you something.  My greatest lesson this past year has been truly to set aside that Ironman attitude of “sucking it up” and “pushing past the pain” and allowing my body to speak.

My current Strategy Plan for my {Health Blueprint} consists of  monitoring myself daily.  Continuing adding and subtracting supplements, foods, routines, that nourish and heal my body, brain and central nervous system

Extreme Self Care routine they call it

  • Food as Medicine and Food for healing
  • Prioritize sleep
  • Manage my stress
  • Checking my tumor for growth status every 6 months
  • Continue researching and praying for a new less invasive surgery for the removal of my tumor…

So in closing.  I hope my strategy tools of absorbing, allowing your emotions, writing and receiving encourage you no matter what your bad news phone call has been.

Sending you Love, Faith and right decision in your healing journey,

Meredith

mkm

If you are facing a health diagnosis and you need support be sure to email me at meredith.mills.lifecoach@gmail.com.  I will send you my resource list.

Brain Tumor Survivor Stats…1 year out

DEC. 3, 2016

So my 1 year update MRI is in….
12mm x 10mm x 6mm – Nov. ’15
12mm x 10mm x 6 mm – Nov. ‘16
This means…. {NO GROWTH}

Now, the question on the table, the question I have been sitting with all week…

DO YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT THE BRAIN TUMOR IS REMOVED? OR WOULD YOU BE SATISFIED KNOWING THE GROWTH IS ARRESTED?…

Well….no growth for a year does mean my tumor is arrested…is that enough?…

This was a tough one with me this week. The problem solver. The goal oriented achiever.
Yes, absolutely with out a doubt I am so so thankful there has been no growth!!
Yet, I did want to see progress!…I had to keep myself from spinning out…another year of this…ugh !!

Am I SATISFIED…well what do you think?
That was a clear… NO!
(I didn’t even have to muscle test that one.)

I spent time this week regrouping and realigning with the BIG Picture.
I traveled thru the lessons, learnings, healing and growth the last 12 months have been about and I get the bigger picture…Just because I “get it” though doesn’t mean it is not hard to face.

My goals now:
– Continue to seek and find answers and the right treatments for my tumor symptoms and pain management.
– Continuing to take good care of myself (adequate exercise and sleep) so I don’t get Physically depleted.
– Continue to increase my ability to FACE this HEAD on. Which means continuing to take action & not give up.
– Continue to nourish my brain and central nervous system with the best supplements and nutrition
– Continue to surround myself with the people who are loving me and supporting me thru this and that with me hold that hope and Vision of a clean MRI and the most optimal health I can achieve with the cards I have been dealt.

Please continue sending your prayers, love and light. Please continue to pray for more healthy painfree days and less migraine days, less hours and even less minutes.

Love and health to ALL of YOU!!
Meredith Mills

mkm

The Universe Leaves Clues…how fainting at a party was a health clue for me and what meditation questions you can ask your body

{The Universe Leaves Clues}…YES, fainting can be a CLUE

Mar 28, 2017

3 years ago, I was in LA for the weekend at a big coaching event. I was studying to become a Life Coach and the first of four Live training meetings was having it’s evening kick off party.  I’d flown into LA that morning, took a 10 mile run to the Santa Monica pier and back, (yes, my favorite way to do sight-seeing when I travel).  I’d gotten back to my room with plenty of time to meet my roommate, get dressed up and get ready for the glamorous party night.

Little did I know, that what happened about an hour later, was a clue for my own health journey.  

This party night was a blast! There were 200 women signed up for the year long coaching program and as many as possible had come into LA that night.  This party was a kick off for an amazing year of learning, transformation and personal growth.  I was in my element.  Meeting so many like-minded, high-vibrational women for first time; amazing, strong, beautiful, brilliantly smart women, all up to great things in the world, with big hearts and souls ready to serve coaching clients.

BUT what happened for me was about an 1hr into the party, I went from feeling excited, lit up and full of life to all of a sudden I feeling:

-uneasy
-warm
-disoriented

As soon as I felt this way, I quickly excused myself from the group of women I was talking to.

Was it the heels? Was it the champagne? Was it all the excitement of the event? Was it the 10 miles I ran on the beach that afternoon?… something was wrong. I did not feel right.

I started making my way to the door, fresh air, I need fresh air I thought. Panic was overtaking me and my body started getting fuzzy.  The walk across the banquet room felt like the longest slowest walk of my life. Each step was slow motion. I couldn’t get to the door fast enough.

Next thing I knew I grabbed a women’s arm, “I think I am going to faint” I said.  She looked at me bewildered, there were barely seconds for her to respond before I blacked out.  Next thing I knew I was coming to and people were standing and kneeling over me.  My Coach’s husband was asking if I needed water, if I’d eaten anything?  Eventually all the people who had gathered around me and the hotel staff took me outside for fresh air and to help me feel better.

In the moment, it didn’t matter that I experienced that sinking heart disappointed feeling of the party going on without me.  All that mattered was that I was shaken up by the fainting and the overwhelming weakness that I felt in my body. What is wrong?… this is not normal I thought.

Lucky for me, we were staying at the Ritz Carlton and the kind staff wheel-chaired me to my room and brought me room service of chicken noodle soup, tea and seltzer water. They wanted to make sure I rested, was as comfortable as I could possibly be, and even more important, wanted to make sure that I didn’t need any additional medical attention.

Thankfully, my roommate for the weekend, was a fellow Mom, Health and Life Coach.  She wasn’t alarmed.  She was sweet, nurturing and helped take care of me and made sure I rested the rest of the night.

Now, 3 years later, and 15 months into my healing health journey, I look back, and recognize that this fainting episode…was a clue. My health dis-ease was already happening…my job was to slowly stop ignoring the clues, like fainting on this night and start paying attention.

I share this story today to inspire you for a body check in meditation, I know, I know, we are all pushing for great success, our life purpose, making a difference, … but I encourage you today to take some time out, go out into nature, sit on a bench in the sun, sit in a chair in your living room and meditate.

Meditate on what signs your body might be telling you.
– body, is anything wrong?
– body, is anything deficient?
– body, is there anything you need more of?
– body is there anything your body need less of?
– body, where are the places that I could eat better?
– body, where are the times that I could to eat more?
– body, where are the times that I could eat less?
– body, do you need more sleep? more time to relax? more rest?
– body, do you need that annual check up I’ve been too busy to have?

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Ask 1 more question, what one thing could I do in the next hour? What 3 things could I do the rest of the day or week.

I wanted to share this story today as I was reflecting this morning of how amazing it is in our life journeys that before BIG things happen…it has been my experience that I can often look back and see where the Universe has left me clues.  

I am thankful today and always for the Universe and it’s clues. And of course so thankful if we can slow down long enough to get the messages before bigger and harder things happen.

In encouragement, strength and healing.

Meredith

mkm

 

Divorce Recovery 5 years out: Showing up with more love and more forgiveness

Feb. 26, 2017

I had a “Facebook memory” this a.m. and was moved to recognize THIS woman I was 5 years ago!!!
There I was….facing Change, Loss and Transition. In 1 day my life as I knew it changed. Security, Love, Marriage, Trust, Faith, Safe Harbor, Comfort, etc etc was gone.
What did I do?…in that deep valley of pain?…, all I knew was to focus #1 on God and I asked him over and over and over,…in anger, in frustration, in Why Me?, in tears, in fear, on my knees, in weeping, in prayer, in sadness, in disappointment, in loneliness, in weakness…..and the answers kept coming.
The Best thing I did was find myself, find my strength.
I returned to my outer strength of being a Competitive Athlete.
What was life giving to me? I returned to running, biking, swimming. These adventures and workouts made me feel free, strong, and that my whole life was ahead of me and that I could handle “anything” that was coming my way, not that my life was “over”…..It also helped me move thru all the emotions I was experiencing.
So today I celebrate!! Wahoo! Cheers to this Woman I was 5 years ago, on the cliff’s just north of UCSB. Enjoying the beach, the trails, the salt water air, the breathtaking views of the ocean, the sounds of the waves. Soaking it all in. I was also the fittest I’d ever been (2 months out from qualifying for Triathlon World Championships, and 1 month out from PR half marathon 1:35!! beating the PR I set when I was 24!! That felt good to have my body at optimal health and performance.
And to the emotional part, the inner strength that has all continued to be work in progress. After I reclaimed and built up those outer muscles the inner strength has followed. I have continued to spend the last 5 years of realigning myself with God and his plans for my life, working thru relationships that have grown me and challenged me. And of course the health and healing journey!!
Now it is a continued cycle of renewing my faith in my future by being more present then I’ve ever been able to be. Taking time out to meditate, pray and show up FULLY every day, in ALL my relationships with
#forgiveness
#love
The 35 year old version of me was so set on what my life was suppose to be AND I didn’t have the tools to surrender and forgive when that life path, life expectation changed.
The 40+ version of me keeps saying….. build that muscle, build that muscle, build that muscle. AND keep going…..
Showing up with more love, more forgiveness, more love, more forgiveness.
Sending you all much HOPE this morning.
Hugs in the healing journey!!!

Meredith

mkm

Even Health Coaches get Sick…What 5 things I did when I got a brain tumor diagnosis

MiamiBeachrun

It’s January 2016.

I am running a new path today.  A path of healing.  After 2 month’s “off” of coaching and working out I am so grateful and happy to be moving my body again.  And when I say grateful I mean the deep down happy, soul level, happy to be back at life… grateful.

It all started in late October 2015, I woke up with flu symptoms that turned into days and days then weeks and weeks of life stopping migraines.  Worse yet, occipital migraines which means my eyes couldn’t focus long enough for me to drive, let alone work, run or bike.  Even reading or watching a movie was a stretch. I resolved myself to “listen” to movies.   From the minute I woke up to the minute I went to bed I had what felt like a jack hammer echoing in my head.  Overnight, this busy go-go-go Health and Life Coach, triathlete and solo parenting Mom of 2 was couch bound for weeks and life as I knew it was put on “hold”, complete standstill  for 2 months.

WHAT did I do?……Right away I did 5 things when I got my diagnosis.  First things first, I immediately went inward for healing.  I increased my long time morning practice of journaling time and added meditation time.  I came away from the ambulance ride, the ER visit, the pain killer medications and MRI results and turned to my holistic healers (acupuncture, osteopathic physician, essential oils, and energy chakra and sound therapy healers).  I was determined not to be medicated and use nutrition to heal me.  Please know that I didn’t find all the help I needed overnight it was a day by day, even hour by hour process.  If you are facing a life threatening illness you must be patient.

I had a SIMPLE GOAL.  Each day I just set out with a strong desire to live without massive pain radiating from my head to the rest of my body.  I had a strong manta in my heart of, “I will change and do anything and everything to heal.”  To heal, I started with baby steps. I wanted to reduce 24 hrs of migraine pain, to less 2 hours here and less 2 hours there…each day.  “I just want to be migraine free” I kept saying.   I also had family, friends, colleagues, clients and acquaintances pray for me when I got discouraged or overwhelmed with the questions of why me? and why now?  I also took my family and friend’s up on their offers to help with my kids, groceries and meals.  Both were hard.  Sitting still was a task I had no developed muscle all on its own.  And asking for help?!?! that was foraging new territory.

I have a good track record.  You know the one where I tell you I’ve been here before and I’ve squeezed the lemons into lemonade.  This season was different.  It took me. It knocked the wind out of me.  I had to be still.  I had to suffer pain and discomfort on the physical level, not just the emotional.  I couldn’t think.  I couldn’t use my head.  I couldn’t use my body.  I couldn’t “brain override” the challenge in front of me.  All the buzz about meditation and why we need to do it…is true!  I had to just empty my thoughts, all of them, as if my head was a 3 story house with overstuffed rooms and all the rooms had to be moved out.  My body was out of balance and demanding attention.  I had to sit still and do the work to empty out each room.  Item by item.  Discard. Purge. Clear.  And look again. 

I was determined to get my brain quieted, migraines to cease, back to working out, back to driving and back to real life.  I wanted to be off pain killers and off anxiety medicine.  I wanted to be “back to normal”.

I understand this is a great undertaking.  This is a journey.  My 2016 healing journey.  This brain tumor diagnosis, is here to teach me more than what I know right now.  For this  I am and will be grateful.

My question for you today is,  “How do you handle yourself when life stops you in your tracks? “ How do you move when you get stuck?

My key learning in all this, or reminder, was a coach who reminded me that I am the “Keeper of my own flame”.   By going inward I found my flame for life. From there I am daily led to find the help I need.  What have you done lately to keep your own flame alive?  The soul flame inside you?  This health challenge season will be rich in lessons for me, if I allow it….will you let what you are struggling with expand, open and teach you?

Sending you Love and Health in your healing journey,

Meredith 

mKm