04 August 2012

Title:   Two new knees for my long-time friend

The other day I received a fabulous e-mail.  It was from Juzee, a dear friend I have known since 4th grade who later became my best friend throughout Linden, NJ, High School.  It read:  "A great thing happened yesterday - I took a long walk on the beach! I have been reluctant to walk on sand, but yesterday was so beachy that it compelled me to try. I remembered what it was like to have normal knees and to take a normal walk.  I could actually have gone farther but I tried to keep my elation down so as not to overdo it.  I am blessed to be feeling well again, making good progress.  And a lot of that progress is owed to reflexology and you. It is in your hands, literally and figuratively, that my healing progressed at the rate that it did. I better understand the healing process; it's not just taking the medicine and doing the physical therapy. My entire body was reeling from the intrusive surgery, and reflexology got me past the worst of it. I also see why the pre-surgical sessions we had were so important. It prepared the way for this rapid healing. I can't thank you enough for your commitment to my getting well."
It was a happy day when Juzee began coming in for reflexology treatments.  At the same time, it made me sad to see her in so much pain.  The reality was that Juzee's knees were killing her and she had scheduled surgery to replace the entire knee joints of both knees.  To support the surgery she asked if I could give her several Reflexology sessions a week both before and after the operation.  
As I worked on her feet, I witnessed Juzee's capacity to be with her pain in an open and non-judgemental way.  In her own words after a session, " I have been crying a bit and I feel a little dam has opened up to allow me my tears and fears prior to this surgery. I am mourning the loss of my knees but I am welcoming the new ones with open arms".  Thus, the reflexology was the window which allowed her body and mind to relax before the surgery.  Then on Easter Sunday, a day after the surgery, I worked gently on her feet for a few minutes.  Although a bit groggy from the anaesthesia, Juzee, in her own inimitable way, was already bringing delight to the nurses and other patients.  
I continued to work on Juzee at home.  Her knees were soon straight and in her own words,"beautiful",  after being bowed inwardly for so long.  The staples were soon removed and the scarring diminished rapidly from visit to visit.  Little by little the trauma of the surgery was lifted as Juzee realized she was definitely getting better quickly.  
What a miraculous day it was when Juzee came to see me at the Salon for the first time since before her surgery.  Climbing down the steps, walking straight and tall, her face was radiant.  I could not help but feel the preciousness of our experience - how miraculous it was to be allowed to participate in Juzee's healing.  As Juzee discovered - this spontaneous healing energy was at work empowering her in her pain to open to growth and change.  And by putting her feet first, I could see that Juzee was inspired to continue finding other quiet islands for taking care of herself and her loved ones.

01 August 2012

Natalie's baby Maggie

In my last blog I wrote about my client Natalie who decided to have weekly reflexology to carry her through her first pregnancy.  Nearly every week during the pregnancy I was able to pay special attention to Natalie's changing feet and body.  I felt privileged to be allowed to be part of this very special time and to get to know baby Maggie in a unique way.
As a bit of background, more and more Reflexology Doulas are appearing in hospitals, birth centers and at home births around the world.  In England this special training is given in using Reflexology for pain management, to encourage a stalled labor and to facilitate a smooth release of the placenta.  In a 1992-1993 research project conducted by Doctors Gowri Motha, Jane McGrath and Ms. Zia Rowji, 64 pregnant women were offered Reflexology sessions from 20 weeks gestation to term. Thirty-seven of the women completed the set course of 10 treatments and had outstanding results in labor and birth:  the first time mothers and the 20-25 year olds averaged 5-6 hours in labor (textbook is 16-24 hrs); second stage labor (pushing and birth), lasted an average of 16 minutes (textbook is 1-2 hours) and some had labor times of only 2 or 3 hours.  It was also observed, that during the first few hours and days of the new babies arrival there was a calm, an understanding, a wonderful bond between mother and baby. 
Now, what happened in the case of Natalie?  Well in a message she sent to me shortly after Maggie's birth:  ".........We think of you often, especially when massaging Maggie.  ......She is already three weeks old!  As you know, I had the baby the day after I cancelled our last appointment.  I had felt achy and slightly weird all day on Tuesday and I woke up Wednesday to intense contractions around 7:30 am.  The birth couldn't have gone better, but it was shockingly short. All my research and planning was for a long labor, and that got thrown out the window. Thank goodness my husband was so aware; I kept on insisting that we should stay home longer, but when he realized how quickly the contractions were coming he got us to the hospital right away. Good thing since Maggie was born at noon and we arrived at the hospital at 10:15!  We had a natural birth and a good recovery. I don't like being in hospitals, so we were happy we could take steps to leave as soon as possible; we were home with Maggie on Thursday afternoon.  
And since then it has been a whirlwind of amazing. She is growing every day; she is awake for longer, noticing things, holding on to objects (sort of), and holding our fingers with her precious hands. She is eating well, already is over 8 pounds, and I don't think my husband and I could be more in love...with her or with each other.   Of course, everything is exhausting as well, but even that is different than I expected.  I haven't had more than three hours of consecutive sleep (and that is rare), but I am still able to give my best attention to Maggie. It's quite powerful.  We are trying to enjoy and share all this time we have together and take care of our baby girl.  I will send more pictures soon. I hope you had a wonderful start to 2012! "

I got to meet Ms. Maggie in the spring and it was a wonderful reunion.  She is a captivating and exquisite little person............with perfect little feet!!!