Thursday, August 12, 2010

Carpe diem and finding vitality

Tuesday night I went to a friend's birthday party and met a 48 year old woman. It was clear she is a kind, gentle and thoughtful woman. I could see from looking into her eyes that she wasn't feeling all that hot about life in general. I would even say that perhaps she is suffering from depression.

We spoke for a few minutes and given that I help people with their health, we started talking about her current struggles with her body. Usually these types of conversations happen in most environments I enter. People want to share with people who want to listen and subconsciously are looking for positive affirmation or encouragement whether they know it or not.

Turns out she had entered perimenopause and was feeling like her body wasn't her own anymore, that changes were happening totally outside her control. In addition, she had major sleep issues and after spending time at a sleep disorder centre had been prescribed a CPAP device to help her with sleep apnea.

A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine was initially used mainly by patients for the treatment of sleep apnea at home, but now is in widespread use across intensive care units as a form of ventilation. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway becomes narrow as the muscles relax naturally during sleep. This reduces oxygen in the blood and causes arousal from sleep. The CPAP machine stops this phenomenon by delivering a stream of compressed air via a hose to a nasal pillow, nose mask or full-face mask, splinting the airway (keeping it open under air pressure) so that unobstructed breathing becomes possible, reducing and/or preventing apneas and hypopneas.

One of the first things I talk to new clients about is sleep. If people have major sleep issues chances are we will make little progress towards improved health and increased strength until these sleep issues get under control. Here's the tricky part though. Sometimes exercise and types of releasing/relaxation work can improve sleep issues. As well, sleep issues can be helped by seeing alternative health practitioners who focus on health optimization and bringing our bodies back into balance. These folks can also help women struggling through perimenopause as well. Traditional medicine focuses on treating disease, not improving vitality. Anyone who isn't exercising regularly is likely out of physical balance moving further and further away from optimal health.

What broke my heart was when she said, "I feel like I have one foot in the grave having to use this thing." I wanted to take her with me and just start working with her right then and there. I gave her my heart felt speech that anyone, regardless of their restrictions, medical issues or limitations can feel vital and deserves to feel vital. That life is too short to feel so crappy. It was clear she felt embarrassed having shared so much with me and quickly changed the subject.

But the truth is life is too short. Yesterday morning my 8am client didn't show up for her session. Today I received an email explaining what had happened.

"I'm sorry I did not make my appt yesterday. As I was walking out to the car my neighbour came out to tell me that his wife (and my friend) had died suddenly on Monday. She was 40. We just stood and talked and had a little cry together but it was almost 9 by the time I came back into the house.
Life changes so quickly, it takes my breath away."

We have to fight for our right to feel powerful, fit and vital. Don't let yourself sit in crap for too long. We have no guarantees how long we're going to be here. Might as well make the most of it.

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