Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Waking up from the dream

"The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend"  ---Aldous Huxley

I'm new to spirituality. Spirituality is not religion but it incorporates teachings from most of the world's great religions. Spirituality can lead to the process of becoming enlightened, to wake up from the dream state where we see ourselves divided, to the awakening or awake state (rarely fully awake) where we see unity. I've found that developing a spiritual side has helped me not only to understand and empathize with Chris, but also is the beginning of my own healing process.

Spirituality as a vehicle of enlightenment is not the end of pain, however. It leads to confusion and self-doubt. I see that in Chris. I'm beginning to see that in myself. I don't claim to be enlightened, but I am learning some surprising things along the way. As I became more spiritually attuned, I believed that as Chris began to heal, I would experience a decline in my own health that would force me to undergo the same revolutionary process that he has undertaken.

I'm reading the kind of books that I never would have glanced at in my pre-spiritual days. The more I learn, the more I practice. I see how simple life is (LOVE yourself first) but there are complexities, too.

In early November, I got some troubling blood test results that in previous years would have really freaked me out and put me in a constant state of worry. (The doctor was not as concerned.) I'd been experiencing symptoms sporadically over the previous two years. By chance I went to our bookshelf and picked out a book that Ian had purchased that I didn't know we owned. "Holy Spirit for Healing: Merging Ancient Wisdom with Modern Medicine,"  by former Catholic priest Ron Roth and Peter Occhiogrosso. Using Jesus'/Buddha's/Mohammed's messages, the book explains some very simple visualizations that we can use to heal ourselves.

While I was doing the spiritual healing work I asked God/the energy field/ to tell me where the problem lay. The answer that immediately popped into my head in the quiet moment of reflection was: "It's hepatitis." The answer coming from me/God was very clear. "It's hepatitis." I tucked that away as a possible cause.

After my energy work, I "knew" that any subsequent blood test results would be back to normal, but the doctor at the clinic wanted me to wait a bit longer before being retested. When I saw the clinic doctor to go over the results of the second blood test, which as I predicted, were normal, he casually mentioned that I tested positive for Hepatitis A, but he dismissed it as something that I probably picked up more than thirty years ago.

By then I had forgotten about my hepatitis prediction and didn't make the connection with the Hepatitis A news. I decided to see a specialist later in the month to be on the safe side. The specialist could hardly believe such dramatic test results were possible in such a short period of time. He told me that, of course, he always encouraged his patients to practice spiritual healing, but it was clear to me that he felt the real answers were always medical. He thought that I might have experienced an allergic reaction to a drug, but was not able to pin it down to any medication I was taking. And, no, he also thought it was unrelated to drinking red wine.

Before Christmas I went for a third round of blood tests as part of my bi-annual company physical. Results still normal. The nurse checked to see if I was up-to-date with my vaccinations and discovered that I never got the second dose of my Hepatitis A shot. She decided that since I already had the antibodies, I didn't need the second shot. It was only then that I recalled that my meditation had told me about the hepatitis.

Since, so far, I was no clearer as to the cause of the sky-high blood test results and I am still experiencing the same symptoms from time to time, over the Christmas holidays I sat down to meditate and changed the question to: Given all of this, what part of me needs to heal?

According to the mechanics of meditation, the answer may come immediately, or it may come over the next few hours or few days, if you pay attention.

In the wee hours of the following morning, I woke up suddenly. A voice/a thought said to me, very clearly, and this is where it gets very strange . . . "Get Chris a blood test."

Get Chris a blood test? That's not the answer in any way, shape or form that I thought I was expecting. How is this related to me?

I am learning, that becoming enlightened is troubling.

This strange imperative leads to new complexities. If I believe, then I must act on my belief. I'm going to have to come up with a plausible reason to say to Dr. Stern that Chris needs a thorough blood test, not like the one-off specific testing that is done for clozapine, for example. I'm going to have to figure out with Chris, what our course of action will be based on the test results. I can't imagine that the results are going to be normal for anyone on a neuroleptic (and that's why these tests are ordered by doctors only for a known life threatening side-effect).


  1. Ms. Forbes,

    Chris should have a full, comprehensive battery of blood tests done every year.

    Please don't assume that his results will be abnormal, though. I have been taking an antipsychotic/neuroleptic for several years now and my results are always normal.

    (Some are even better than normal: my doctor positively crows about my "beautiful" cholesterol level. The "bad" cholesterol is low and the "good" cholesterol is high.

    Chris should have his cholesterol levels and blood sugar tested, among other things.)

    Chris is probably fine. Chances are the tests will rule out any problems and reassure both of you, freeing you to focus on happier, more interesting things.

    But on the off chance that something is amiss, Chris and his doctor can work together to correct the problem.

    Just ask Chris to have his doctor fill out a test sheet for him to take to the lab so you can both find out for sure.

    One last word of advice: before Chris has the blood tests done, both of you should read and re-read the doctor's test sheet. If he or she has neglected to check off any test you or Chris thinks is important, one of you should go ahead and check it off before taking it to the lab.

    I hope the new year brings you both happiness, peace of mind and some exciting new adventures.

  2. Ms. Forbes,

    I just re-read your post and you said you needed to give Dr. Stern "a plausible reason" to do a thorough battery of blood tests.

    All medications can cause physical changes. Isn't that reason enough?

    That's the only reason why I have my tests done every year, but I realize that we live in different countries.

    If Dr. Stern needs to give someone else (an insurance company?) "a plausible reason," then he or she should be able to work with Chris and come up with one.

    (If Dr. Stern was smart enough to go to med school, this should not be a confounding problem!)

    Once again, good luck and have a happy new year.

  3. Anonymous - Thanks for your input. The issue about the plausible reason is more along the lines of my presuming to tell Dr. Stern what her job is. European doctors are kind of old school in that regard, although Dr. Stern is better than most. I don't know the situation in North America, but here no one has ever suggested yearly physicals and blood tests for Chris. The only blood tests Chris has done were because of the clozapine. The only reason his heart was monitored was because of the Serdolect.

    BTW, are you taking niacin/niacinimide in large doses? If so, your bad cholesterol will be very low. It's a great side benefit.

  4. Ms. Forbes,

    I am taking a multivitamin which contains 30 mg of Vitamin B-3 (niacinimide). My cholesterol was great before I began to take it, but of course I'm older now so it could be helping me to maintain it.

    I think everyone who takes any medication should have a full batttery of blood tests every year. I don't just mean psychiatric drugs, which I know from past experience is a VERY touchy subject with most of your readers!

    I'd say the same thing if Chris were on daily medication to treat asthma, arthritis, epilepsy, or psoriasis. Any and all drugs can cause problems, including herbal supplements and over-the-couter drugs.

    These blood tests can also reveal problems which have nothing to do with one's diagnosis or medication. For instance, I forgot to mention yesterday that my tests DID reveal one problem a few years ago: a severe Vitamin D deficiency.

    I had no idea before my level was tested. I've been super-healthy all of my life (physically, that is!) and I felt great. I had no idea that I needed to take vitamins. I thought eating the right foods was sufficient, but I was wrong.

    I am incredibly surprised that Dr. Stern has never ordered these tests herself. Chris should definitely bring it up and if it is okay with him, maybe the two of you could have a session with Dr. Stern together so that you may both voice your concerns.

    If you are worried about her taking a bad attitude, just tell Chris to ask her politely but firmly. I think the request should come from him but since he is still young, your being there and backing him up by voicing your own concerns might help.

    If you think she might balk at being told what to do, just mix your determined attitude with a sweet demeanor. Chris should do the same.

    Please don't take no for an answer. Dr. Stern should be helping Chris solve practical, day-to-day problems in addition to the usual talk about feelings, emotions, etc.

    If worse comes to worse and she really won't order the tests (which I believe would amount to malpractice), Chris should find an internist who will do it.

    (I don't know whether he already sees one or not).

    If it comes to that, I would also suggest that Chris find a better, more attentive psychiatrist. In his own time and on his own terms.

    But I'm getting WAY ahead of myself, thinking of worst-case scenerios. The first thing to do is for you and Chris to talk to Dr. Stern.

    She will probably listen.

    Once again, good luck to you both.

  5. Rossa and Anonymous,

    Actually, niacin helps with cholestorol, but not niacinamide.... Dr. Abram Hoffer explains -


    In terms of vitamins for mental health, the Orthomolecular Vitamin Information Centre provides some basic information -


    To find an Orthomolecular physician referral by email -


    My best,

    Duane Sherry, M.S.

  6. Hi, Duane,
    I see you have a blog - will check it out. Re the niacin/niacinimide/nicotinimide there is a lot of confusion. I got my information from Hoffer's book How to Live with Schizophrenia. Unfortunately, I no longer have a copy and can't check what I read. I remember reading that niacin or niacinimide lowers bad cholesterol, so if it doesn't, my very low readings are the result of the placebo factor. I remember, too, that he said that before the age of 60 niacinimide is an acceptable substitute for niacin - after 60 or the closer you are to dementia, you need straight niacin. Flushless niacin is not a substitute for either of those. People always get confused and buy the flushless niacin even though I tell them very specifically to get niacin or niacinimide. Actually, I'm taking nicotinimide because that's all I can buy at the pharmacy. I assume nicotinimide is just a different name for niacinimide.

  7. Rossa,

    Sounds like you're on top of everything.

    I hope you have a wonderful New Year.
    Happy 2011 !


  8. Many thanks, Duane. And Happy New Year one and all!


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