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"Picture This..."

Picture This…
    Throughout my life I’ve been in search for the idea of picturing what I dream of happening and hoping it would show up. It’s not a bad idea to think as such. I would do all I could to make something happen and at times to make something not happen. I’ve been successful at both.
I’m not going to say, ‘what you think will just show up in your life.’ But what I will say is if you train it. You work in the direction of what you want.  You may be bewildered, yet the idea or goal is not thwarted.  You just might get what you dream of. I could write for weeks on end examples. However, I’ll give you four examples.

    In 1988 10K Cherry Blossom Race. I was upset because I missed making the 1988 cut-off for the Marathon Olympic Trials by three minutes, due to an injury I could not control. So here I was focused on the race that would have four New Jersey women who were considered stars and had qualified for the 1988 Olympic Trials Marathon. My goal was to beat one of the four. Because I knew I should’ve made the grade, so to speak. I began to visualize that if I had a pain, whether it was my leg or a side-stitch. No matter what. I would use visualization and not mis a step. In fact, I would accelerate and push through it. So, the day came in April of 1988 at the Cherry Blossom 10K Race.  I’d gotten back up to running one hundred miles a week, once more.  The gun went off and racing began. At about the second mile I caught up with one of the four women who’d qualified. I passed her, then she passed me. Then by mile three I began trying to pass her again and I got a severe side-stitch. I used the visualization technique of seeing a rope in a square-knot and untying it in my mind’s eye as I ran. I accelerated and passed her at mile four and received fourth place overall, running a Personal Best for 10K.  The pain abated to the point, that I forgot I even had to grapple with it. I went for a cool down and it came to my mind. I wrote it down into my logbook when I got home.
    From the time I was age four till just after my tenth birthday. I dreamed of having my own dog to take care of.  The answer was always ‘No’. Emphatically I should say, as it came only from my Dad.  My Mom would stay quiet on the issue, so it appeared. I would dream practically every day of what it would be like to have a little dog to take care of all my own. Two months after my tenth birthday, Christmas morning I received my own puppy dog. He was just my size.

    From the time I was about age seven for over a decade I had a special prayer I said at night. I prayed every night that my brother would not die before my mother had passed. I knew my parents had lost their first two sons, who I’d not ever met. My mother was fragile. She’d been through too much. So, every night that was my prayer for over a decade. One day my brother contacted me to tell me our Mother has passed. Soon within a year of that, my brother without his knowledge or really anyone else’s contracted a deadly disease. Just a year plus after our mother had passed, my brother came to see me. He didn’t feel good. I hugged him. I knew he was already dead.  I accepted his death long before he knew he or anyone knew he was dying. Within seven weeks he was in a coma. Most, including my husband were shocked that I’d accepted my brother’s predicament and the eventual loss of him. He did die after my mother’s passing soon after. I was grateful.

    Since I’m the eternal scientist. So, it seems in my life. I always thought there was a way around not being afraid of pain. I’ve had the good fortune to be able to be put into those circumstances, most may feel pain is not good fortune.  However, if it is a lesson or there is some fun involved in the actual experience and others can gain from it. Well then… It’s a positive in my book. Years and years ago, I had to have a few surgical procedures done. I greatly despise anesthesia . Why?  Because I have had enough of it to know that it messes with my entire being. It increases my illness afterwards, never mind immediately afterwards of how sick I have gotten. So, I had this theory.  That what if we didn’t have to be sedated for any surgeries? What would we do instead? I thought of the use of acupuncture to replace anesthesia.  Yet, hadn’t read any studies on it. However, many, many years ago I saw my acupuncturist before having dental work done.  I asked her to prep me for dental work; that I was seeing the dentist within a couple hours. Well, basically it worked. Although I had practiced controlling my breathing and calmness in other ways. I wanted to control not just my thoughts.  Yet my acute pain reaction as well.  Mind you, this was before I became a fighter.
    Then over the years I had to have a few procedures done that were about ten minutes a piece. Yet, the type of surgery, usually someone would have to drive you to and from and you would have to rest afterwards for forty-eight hours. They would moderately sedate you, Xanax, valium and a local anesthetic was be administered. Well, due to children, work, possible allergic reactions to such medications, and time constraints I decided to go with nothing.  Yes, nothing. Of the three procedures all ten days apart, the last one a slight local for the skin was applied.  Yet, I could drive myself back home or to work.  The first one knocked me out with exhaustion for seventeen hours. However, I was back at work and running in forty-eight hours after the procedure. The second and third procedures, I was back at work in three hours and running in twelve hours.
    A  few years later, I had a medical emergency. It was with the same surgeon. They wanted to put me fully under with general anesthesia.  It was to be an eighty minute surgery. Seeing that his staff of pre-op people didn’t believe I was allergic to things I wrote down three times; and then repeated to them in the pre-op position I was in. I realized my life and health were more at risk. I could trust only the surgeon I knew; perhaps not the staff of nine or ten getting me ready for surgery.  As well, during my surgery. So, last minute decision, I went with nothing. Yep. Nothing. He told me I could not move at all. I thanked him. I stepped up onto the operating table totally coherent. They draped me.  All of me, so I couldn’t see a thing. He warned me to remain still and quiet throughout till he would tell me he was done. I devised a strategy to monitor my own pulse and blood pressure from within. I felt pain.  Soon, it was over. It was exactly eighty minutes just like he said. Never mind that I shocked his staff, nurses and all. Now here were the bonuses:
                I was back at work in eight days, my job is physical and cerebral. Yet, I rested as instructed for five days in the exact position I had to remain in at home.
                I was back running in just over eleven day; they thought it would be three to four weeks.
                I was back in the fight gym in twenty-seven days with surgeon’s permission. They thought either never or at earliest six weeks.
                I healed sixty percent faster.
                I healed more than they had ever expected, by far.
                My autoimmune system remained intact and was not compromised.
                I realized that pain is not what we think it is, most of the time. What pain is, when it comes to certain situations or most situations. Fifty percent of our pain in the physical form is from our own fear(s).  Go look that up in the dictionary. Really research that. It’s worth your time.
    After having that experience and sharing it with my internist. He revealed that he saw bypass surgery done without anesthetics. He saw it done successfully with acupuncture. Wow! His added statement to me was, “You have an incredible amount of discipline. And that’s what it takes.” Interesting.  I think it also takes an enormous amount of wonder and curiosity too.---Jody-Lynn Reicher


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