Women in Fitness

“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.