When the Doctor Needs a Doctor—Lessons From Getting Sick

When the Doctor Needs a Doctor—Lessons From Getting Sick

DOWNLOAD THE MP3 | LISTEN ON iTUNES

Hi, Everyone, This is Neha from Bali. I’m just getting ready to leave and having some thoughts about all that I’ve learned during this trip here…not to mention my curly hair, which I’m not used to seeing on camera, but it’s fun and it feels free and beautiful. I wanted to tell you that this trip to Bali has been different than some of my other ones. I have started to align on a much deeper level with my body and myself. I’ve challenged parts of myself because I’m going through a bit of a health challenge. You may not be able to see it [on camera], but there’s this reaction on my face, a rash that has progressively gotten worse. It’s more than a rash and it has me paying more attention to my physical health.

You know, I’ve always been vegetarian and gluten free and dairy free. I’ve tried all sorts of ways to build my strength and energy. But this time with something front and center on my face had me not posting blogs. And I thought, “I’m going to challenge myself. I’m going do a blog that is not just having other people get on and talk about their emotional vulnerability or their challenges.”

What does it mean when our physical health breaks down? I happen to be a doctor so there are a few things I’ve learned. You might think this is a great advantage. The problem is that sometimes as a physician, I sideline other physicians. I don’t act like a full patient. I would ask colleagues, “Hey, check this out. What do you think of this?” and sideline them instead of making an appointment. That approach means I don’t have to pay to go see a doctor or wait for an appointment. The bad news is that then I don’t get the attention and the workup that is thorough. So the first thing I learned is that it’s dangerous to think I could handle this myself only by sidelining others for their input. So this rash ended up going on for several months longer than when it showed up.

The second thing I realized is how self-conscious I can become about that which I show the world-my face. Sometimes I’m more self conscious about this skin condition. But if I meet people in a cafe or I when I’m traveling, they don’t even notice it.

The other learnings that I had were about finding the level upon which the problem is happening. You know how I deal with things-is it on a physical level, a mental level, emotional level, social level, or spiritual level. I think of things on all levels. The way this rash initially showed up was on my belly button, some sloughing of skin on my belly button. First I thought, “Oh, it’s dry skin.” There’s my physical realm. Then I thought about how different parts of the body represent different things so maybe it was about connection to others. Maybe I’m releasing something with my relationship with my mom because it’s near where the umbilical cord would be. I thought of a bunch of other things energetically but the truth is that sometimes it’s straight physical. I found out that something was wrong with the third part of my small intestine, called the ilium. That’s where 90 percent of the absorption of your food occurs and where 60 percent of your immune system sits. So my doctors started looking into all sorts of autoimmune issues, such as lupus. What happens when you get stressed or there’s a breakdown of the third part of your small intestine, you start not being able to absorb nutrients very well. So no matter how good the food is that I’m taking in, it’s not getting absorbed. I was feeling fatigued and tired. And I just kept soldiering through, pushing through. I was hoping that as long as I rested a lot at night and ate good food and supplements, it would get better. What I’ve learned is when I came to Bali is that being here gave me the physical support I needed to do things I didn’t think I could do. So my physical body and I got elevated to the highest level of relationship.

And what’s also great is when I come to Bali I usually tend to eat fresh fruit, so it’s easy to eat well and lose weight. And for the first time, I didn’t care about any of that stuff. The only thing I cared about was listening to my body and coming into rhythm with my body. I don’t put any restrictions on it. I’ll take whatever I need, even if it’s supplements two to three times a day. My highest priority is back on my physical body where it needs to be. Then all the other aspects, like the mental, emotional, social and spiritual are wonderful. You don’t have anything unless you have your physical body.

So curly headed and open hearted from Bali, I wanted to share some of my key learnings and take a risk for myself by doing a video blog. The biggest lessons this time are around my own physical health and what level of partnership I have with my body.

So I’d ask you, where is a place that feels supportive, nurturing and healing for you? And have you ever struggled with your physical health? If so, how did it transform your relationship to your body? One thing I’ve noticed is that when there’s a physical breakdown, it’s the fastest route to spiritual healing. I remember when I worked in the hospital, whenever someone came in with a heart attack or a stroke or pneumonia, they would always start praying or asking for guidance and hope and help. It’s one of the most sacred moments in the world.

Awareness Prescription
When You’re Sick

  1. When you need support, where do you go? Whom do you turn to?

  2. How have challenges with your physical health transformed your relationship with your body and your health?

  3. What’s one way you can tune in to your body’s signals sooner?

  4. What have these physical signals/challenges come to teach you?

  5. If you partnered with your body (rather than resisted it), what would be different?