Christine was recommended by her nephew. Most patients are recommended by a friend or family member. Christine came strolling in by way of a walker, severely hunched over with a hematoma the size of a large orange on her upper left shoulder blade. She was very frail and had jet black circles around both eyes, bruising all over both arms, blackening teeth, thinning grey hair but she had a “Spirit” that soared.
An abounding spirit seems to be a common theme with patients who come into the office that have very advanced stage illnesses or long standing chronic illnesses. Christine has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma 16 years ago. She receives bi-weekly chemo therapy treatments intravenously. She always comes into the office post chemo treatments. She usually is extremely exhausted and bruised from the treatments. Her leg swelling consistently changes due to her reactions from medication changes and regular chemo treatments. Her spirit continues to soar. Christine is a very well-educated retired English teacher with many interests, particularly anything that has to do with crafts such as weaving, crocheting, knitting, stitching, pottery and painting of any medium. In other words, Christine is interested in everything. Her zest for life is insurmountable. Her thirst for knowledge is never ending. Wow, I just want to cry every time she comes into the office because of her daily, weekly, yearly struggles. No, I think it is “tears of joy.” I don’t feel pain with my tears but I feel great joy in her tenacity, strength, courage and will to move forward in her life no matter what physical challenges she might have. I am crying now as I am writing about her. I’m not sure whose pain I am feeling right now. Am I feeling her pain or mine? What feeling is she bringing up for me right now? Is it sympathy, empathy, sadness, hopelessness, weakness or is it love?
Frequently I introduce patients to one another in the office. I have fellow patients come into treatment rooms to show support and love and camaraderie. My fellow patients often pray out loud or silently over the other person. It always seems to go in the direction of sincerity and true love. Recently, I asked my dear friend Jackie to come in and say hello to Christine. I could feel her tears gather as she was “loving her” with prayer and support. Jackie is a yoga instructor and spiritual counselor. She has had many years of experience both in group and individual healing settings. You would think that after many years of experience that Jackie would be able to compose herself differently internally, but the human heart has other plans. As a sensitive person, Jackie can feel the many years of pain that Christine has been going through. I stepped into the room and immediately left because I could feel both of their pain and did not want to start crying because I am the acupuncturist/healthcare practitioner who is supposed to be the stronghold and pave the way toward healing on all levels.
February is the season of Valentine love. I write this article with the spirit of human connectedness. True love, compassion, hope, kindness and forgiveness are virtues that I try to live with daily and would like to see others pursue as much as possible in their daily life’s journey. May the spirit of Cupid be with all of you this month and throughout the year. Happy Valentine’s Day!