Seeing the best in life's challenges

About my Blood Pressure….

I’m writing this with the sole purpose of sharing my story. I strongly believe that each one of us is unique, and you can’t assume that what works for me, works for you. I am not a doctor. I am a thoughtful person, I am open-minded, and I am someone who is always looking at out-of-the-box possibilities. You might find this interesting, or you might think I am crazy. Which is totally fine with me.

When it comes to your health, you have to figure it out for yourself. Work with your doctor. Listen to the signals you get from your body. Think about your family history. Investigate your genetics. Read as much as you can.

Don’t take my word for it.

So why am I even sharing? Because we each have unique experiences, and we can learn from the experiences of another. Because I am a curious person, and I find it fascinating when others share their experiences.

And because this experience I am having is interesting to me, and what’s going on right now is hard for me to believe, when I know that I am the one having it.

It’s about my blood pressure.

I have a family history of high blood pressure and heart disease. My grandfather died in his mid-50s of a heart attack at work in 1971. He just fell over. My grandmother died after having a couple of heart attacks in her 60s. At the time, doctors couldn’t do much for someone who had had a heart attack. Medicine has come a long way.

My other grandmother had high blood pressure also, but she lived an amazingly healthy life of 89 years. She happens to be the one that I seem to physically take after. So I guess that’s a good thing.

My dad was on blood pressure medication from the time I can remember. Dinnertime conversations about blood pressure were common. So I know that in the 1970s, your blood pressure (upper number) was supposed to be 100 plus your age.

I remember going to the doctor when I was in high school, and he listened to my heart. He said I had “an athlete’s ticker.” I remember being glad to hear that.

So I’ve always been aware. And since the time I was an adult, my blood pressure seemed to always be “borderline high.” I also definitely have white coat syndrome – it’s always higher at the doctor’s office. But I tend to be healthy overall, and I haven’t been to the doctor’s much, so it never became an issue.

About a year and a half ago, however, I was 190 over something at my gynecologist’s office. Yeah, I was stressed that day, and yes, I know it can’t be that high. She gave me a prescription for Lisinopril and told me to get to my doctor.

The day had come. It caught up to me and I couldn’t avoid the issue any longer.   I was 52 years old.

The other interesting observation at this point of the story, is the automatic fear that is triggered as soon as you say that your blood pressure is that high. Yikes. People lose their ability to remain calm, and they start panicking about strokes and such.  People chastise you.


Well, I was already past getting triggered by almost anything, so I just calmly knew I had to go see a doctor.

I didn’t have a primary care doctor that was working for me (hadn’t needed to go in over a dozen years – uh oh, there’s another trigger there….) so I got a recommendation, and went to try out this new guy.

He didn’t want to up the Lisinopril from the 10 mg dose I was taking, so he put me on Valsartan/HCTZ160/12.5 instead. This was late May. On it, I started to get light nosebleeds. I don’t think I have ever had a nosebleed previously in my life. I ignored the nosebleeds, telling myself maybe it was a coincidence, and they weren’t that bad. But when we upped the dose to 320/25 a month later, the nosebleeds got worse. I went back two weeks later.

When I told him I was having nosebleeds, he said “high blood pressure causes nose bleeds.” Well, apparently I had a problem with high blood pressure before coming to him, and I had NEVER had a nosebleed. I start taking a medication, nothing else changes, and I get nosebleeds.   Huh? All I could think was “It’s got what plants crave.” I’m not feeling real confident here.

In the meantime, we also did an EKG and an ultrasound of my heart. All good.

Next, we tried Procardia (Nifedical XL 60). My blood pressure was good on it (in the 130s I think) but it was miserable. The swelling in my legs was not tolerable. At my next appointment, I told him about the side effects. He told me to keep taking it. I said no way.

This poor doctor is obviously frustrated with me now. But then he had a thought, said wait a minute, and came back with a sample of Azor 5-40 and said to try that.

I tolerated that well, but the problem was, my insurance didn’t cover this drug, and it was really expensive. To be honest, I was frustrated as well at this point. It seemed that, regardless of the drug (except the Procardia) my blood pressure was always about 160 at the doctor’s office. I was taking my pressure at home also, and it was lower than that, but not under 140 consistently. I didn’t feel that there was any logic to what we were trying. There might have been, but the doctor didn’t share that with me. I felt like I was just being told what to do.

The other thing that is assumed, from what I gathered at this point, is that generally it is believed that side effects are inevitable, and you just have to live with them and not complain. That didn’t feel right in my gut.

Through other circumstances, about this time I happened to meet a cardiologist. He’s a really nice guy, and the timing seemed synchronistic, so I decided I would go see him, a specialist, who should be really up on all this stuff. Besides, with my family history, I figured having a relationship with a cardiologist would be a good idea.

With the cardiologist, we started back with the Lisinopril, but at 20. That didn’t drop my pressure enough, so we upped it to 40, then added Amlodipine 2.5. I tolerated these fine. But we soon upped the Amlodipine to 5, because my pressure was not low enough.

Three months later, my pressure in the office was 138/something, so we kept the dose at 5.

In hindsight, I was having side effects from the Amlodipine, but they weren’t too bad, at least I could ignore them. But at my next appointment, the pressure was up again (150s maybe?) so he suggested adding a water pill. I resisted, because I was convinced the diuretic part of the Valsartan had caused the nosebleeds. (A friend of mine had just told me out of the blue that she got nosebleeds after her doctor prescribed a water pill. Coincidence? I wasn’t even talking to people about this stuff, and this comes up? I’m trying to listen to what the Universe is telling me, here, I’m not going to ignore that…) I asked if we could up the Amlodipine, thinking that I had tolerated it well. He said ok. He did ask if I had been snoring, and I do think he was concerned with a dose that high and side effects.

The one thing that didn’t sit right with me was that this cardiologist kept saying he wanted me to be under 130.  And I know that’s what the standard had been, but the official, current number is 140.  A study recently showed no benefit to lowering it further than 140.   I don’t want to take any more drugs than absolutely necessary, as a general principle.

I eased into the higher dose, since I had some 5s and 2.5s already. And somehow the pharmacy didn’t get the call-in for Amlodipine right away. But at Amlodipine 10, I could no longer ignore the side effects. Yikes. Yes, I had gotten increasing complaints about snoring, but now it got really bad. I couldn’t feel my legs – they felt numb and swollen, even though they didn’t look swollen. I didn’t want to walk too far. I had been powering through the leg thing, I realize, but this was just too much. It startled me.

So I weaned myself off of the Amlodipone altogether, and that is when I realized how bad I had been feeling. It did kind of turn me into a zombie. Like I said, I powered through it….but without it, I felt great and like myself again!

But now, this is where the blood pressure fear kicks in again.   It’s the silent killer, don‘t you know?? You might FEEL great, but it is quietly killing you!!

So, yes, yes, yes, I needed to do something, but what? This conventional medicine, do what the doctor says, take your pills things wasn’t going so well. It didn’t feel right and we weren’t getting anywhere.

Around this timeframe, I’m off the Amlodipine but not sure what I should do next, and my daughter calls me to her room.  She asks me, do you want to do this with me?  She shows me the website, and I say sure, and we order a two day juice fast/cleanse to do together.  Basically, for two days you only drink the 6 juices a day, and give your system a rest.

Well, I definitely felt a little “off” and tired during those two days, but I was amazed at how I felt after.  It felt like my body did a “reset”.  I no longer had cravings that I had before, and I didn’t feel at all like overeating.  This felt like a continuation of changing habits that were already occurring, but there was definitely a noticable difference in how I felt.  About six weeks later, I did it again.

So here’s where I diverge, and I will give you some more background .

If you read anything else on this blog, you will know I have been exploring deeper insights into the meaning of life, the meaning of strife, and things of that sort. I am very interested in understanding what it means to be here, on Earth, in a human body, and how that relates to our roles as Souls who are eternal. That’s an entirely different world, and the ideas you find there are not anything close to mainstream. And to the conventional medical establishment, it’s all wacky stuff. I know that.

For a very long time, I suffered from headaches. They didn’t fit into the typical categories that you’d read about in magazine articles. Not a migraine. Not really a tension headache, although that seemed closest. They would last 3 days, and I could deal with them with Advil, and could power through when I was focused on a task, but I was a total grump and miserable.

Long story short, I tried a chiropractor after my third child was born and I was having some lower back pain. Xray images showed how my neck did not have the proper arc that it should have, and how this improved over time. There was one time, during the process, where I turned my head, felt something shift, and had an instant headache. I can tell you the spot in my kitchen where I was standing. There were several times that I went to an appointment with a headache, and the adjustment instantly took it away. My headaches have totally disappeared.

The other thing about regular chiropractic care (I went 3 times a week for the first year) is that you become really in-tune with your body. You learn how it feels when something is “off.” It basically gives you a lot of practice in feeling things that most of us have learned to ignore.

I must also say that I agree with the idea that it is our body that knows how to heal. Chiropractic attempts to take away any misalignments that make if harder for the body to function at it’s fullest capacity.  Whatever we can do to maximize our body’s ability to function, the better able it will be to heal itself. So, if we eat healthy, if we exercise, if we avoid toxins, etc. we will be healthier.

My experience with chiropractic opened me up to more possibilities. It made me question why something so non-invasive and gentle could have cured me of headaches, yet conventional doctors scoffed at it. People who had no experience at all with a chiropractor, automatically wrote it off. What was that about?

So I became interested in Alternative Medicine, and open to reading what came along.

One thing that came along, was a post by Lissa Rankin, M.D. It was a summary of a study that showed that fears can be passed to offspring of rats. I will find that post, but it’s going to take some digging. When I find it, I’ll elaborate. But it got me thinking, how much of this “high blood pressure expectation” is embedded in me? How much of it is not even “mine”??

It’s been even more interesting, as I have been doing some research on my ancestry, to see how many in my family died of heart problems. Genetic or otherwise, there’s a lot of history there. What kind of a role does that play??

I follow Lee Carroll’s channelings of Kryon, and I have also found the discussions of “mining the Akash” to be interesting. The basic idea is that we each have access to all of the information or lessons or abilities that we have experienced over all of our lifetimes, and that we can “replace” current attributes of our DNA with better ones from our storehouse.  If you want to know what I’m talking about, see the link below:

So I’ve read this, and I absorbed it as best I could, but I didn’t really know with my brain how this would work. But I also have enough experience with these theings to know that we are learning, it’s a process, and that we will figure our way through it.

So all through my blood pressure journey, I have had these things in the back of my mind. I trust my body to communicate with me if I am paying attention. When I pay attention, I honor my body and it knows that I intend to work with it. Now, at each step, I  always make it a priority to pay attention to how I feel, not only how I feel physically, but what my intuition is telling me.

I tried not to think about my blood pressure for a long time. As long as there wasn’t a crisis, I could ignore it and pretend there wasn’t an issue. In order to have this journey, I had to have my crisis moment and have a really high reading, and be forced to figure out what to do to deal with it.

I went the conventional route, and tried the drugs. But I was aware and awake and paying attention, and the process didn’t feel right. There was not good communication. We were treating a symptom, not trying to understand or fix a cause. I am approaching life in a very different way now, very different from these doctors. I had to figure out how to work through this.

I have been trying to follow Kryon’s suggestions. We are to “talk” to our bodies. Huh? I had to figure out, that for me this meant I could get quiet and set an intention to work with my body, to listen to its signs. That meant that when my body was having an unpleasant side effect, I stood up and said “no” and changed course. In this way, my body knew I was listening.

Yeah, I know, this sounds weird. But the story gets better….

My Miracle

So, a friend of mind had told me about going to a Chinese Herbalist. She called him an intuitive doctor. Hey, I’m open to anything, remember. She had taken her daughter for some symptoms. He pegged it, the kid was fine.

After the leg numbness when I took myself off the Amlodipine, I knew I had to decide what to do next. I looked at the website of the Herbalist, and it felt right. It talked about how it is important to know the person, because what works for certain kinds of people is different than for other kinds.

When I read through everything written on the website, it all resonated perfectly with my perspective. I made an appointment.

When I told my husband about the appointment, he couldn’t believe it — turns out he had this guy’s name on a post-it on his computer screen for the last year.  His nurse practitioner had told him to talk to the guy about nutrition.

In the meantime, I had a scheduled appointment with the cardiologist.

I cancelled it.

You’re not supposed to do that, you know.  But I figured, it didn’t mean I couldn’t go back if the herbalist didn’t pan out.

But I was committing to giving this alternative a try.

I had an hour-long consult with the alternative doctor. He kept printing out research papers for me to read, on the natural substances he was suggesting for me. He was obviously a smart, curious individual, who was excited about the information he was sharing.  And he wanted to know all about ME and how my body was functioning.

It has only been one week since I started on the regimen he gave me. You should know that I am still taking my Lisinopril 40 as well. He has me taking my blood pressure consistently (which I was doing before I saw him, as well).  In what I have written, I have only been talking about the top number of my blood pressure reading. The bottom number was consistently between 100 and 110.  So the differences here are even more dramatic.

The numbers speak for themselves:

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If I did not experience this myself, I would have a hard time believing it. I am glad I have my husband as a witness. This is crazy.

But something happened here. Is it just the effects of the herbs he gave me?

Is this how “mining the Akash” works for me?

I am purposely leaving out the information on what I am taking now. Because I am not convinced that if I had skipped the steps I went through, the process of it, that I would have the same result. I think that this process of honoring my body allowed me to achieve the results, the healing, that I am experiencing. And I think it is necessary that I continue to honor the process.

This is a new way of being.   It is a new approach to caring for our bodies. It involves an openness and a trust in working with what appears in front of us, while at the same time, using our minds to help us figure it out.

But you can’t shortcut it. You can’t just ask me what herbs to take and be done. Because maybe the herbs are incidental. I don’t know that yet. I am still in the middle of the process. I have more to learn, and more experience to gain.

If you want the miracle, you have to follow your own crazy, winding path to find it. No one else can tell you how it will go, or what it is, you have to discover it on your own.

I just wanted to share this example. Hopefully someone will get some inspiration from it. I welcome your comments.


No More Mr. Nice Guy

There’s that old saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” It always seemed like a very good saying to me, but lately I’m not so sure.

We think of saying something that is “not nice” as being mean. And that might be the case. If a person is judging another, and they express that judgment, they would come up with some statement with the intent to put the other person down, criticize them, set them straight, prove them wrong, well, you get the idea. We are all familiar with these kinds of words.

But is the saying telling us that any kind of disagreement shouldn’t be expressed? Is it “not nice” to tell someone something they don’t want to hear?

Lately I’ve been observing people who only tell others what they want to hear (or what they think the other person wants to hear). And I’ve noticed people who get very upset when you give them honest feedback about something, that they don’t want to hear.

Many people would rather be “nice” than honest.

I think the saying needs some clarification:

If you can’t say something with kindness and without judgment, don’t say anything at all.

The presence or absence of judgment makes all the difference here. You have to work to minimize or eliminate judgment to have the kind of honest, safe, helpful communication that, to me, is the goal.

When your priority is to be “nice” and that includes avoiding disagreement and conflict, what you get is fake communication and pretend relationships.

It’s no big deal when you are interacting with people on a superficial basis – you see someone you don’t know doing something you don’t agree with, but it’s none of your business and it doesn’t affect you…..there is no need to put in your two cents. (Even though lots of people are into doing just that these days.)

But I’m thinking about relationships between people that interact on a regular basis — good friends, family members, or co-workers. If you can’t be honest, then there is no way, in the long term, that your relationships can deepen and develop trust. They will remain superficial. You can’t count on someone who isn’t telling you the truth.

When you are surrounded by others who are very similar to you, there is less conflict or disagreement, and it is very easy to just “get along” and be nice.

But our interactions with others these days are more and more likely to include contact with people who are not “like us” and as a result, more conflicts will occur. This can be seen as an opportunity to develop the communication skills that allow us to be honest and kind at the same time.

Those communication skills go both ways – we not only have to learn how to express honest feedback with kindness, we also have to learn to listen to and accept honest communication.

If you anticipate that an honest comment comes with an underlying judgment, you will get defensive. So you have to learn to pay attention so you can figure out whether the person is really being judgmental or not. Is this comment coming from someone who is judgmental, always telling other people what they should do, and criticizing people? Then it is more likely that the comment is judgmental.  Maybe the person is just being mean, and you should just ignore them.

However, what happens when you get feedback that you don’t like, maybe it stings, you definitely don’t want to hear it……but it comes from someone who you know loves you and wants what’s best for you, and is normally a kind person? At that point, you might try to figure out if something set that person off, or if maybe you should consider that their comment might be worth contemplating.

I live in a family unit of five very different personalities, but I can say that our family culture is very honest. This has been an adjustment for me, since I came from a very “nice” family. So I have spent a lot of time learning to be direct and honest, while still being kind. I’m not saying I have it all figured out and that I always do a good job…..but it’s a process I’ve been consciously working on. And because of that, I observe this issue all around me.

Other parents are amazed when they hear about the level of open communication we have with our kids. We definitely have lots of practice dealing with conflict, but we do it in an honest way, and our kids know that it is safe to speak their minds. There is no question in my mind that this is one of the life lessons I am here to work on. In a way, it feels like I live in a lab experiment! I have learned so much from the souls in my family.

I try hard to see these dynamics without judgment. Instead of thinking that people “should be” one way or another (and people tend to think others “should” be like they are), I see that we are all unique individuals with different personalities, and there is no reason why we can’t learn to interact with others while respecting their approaches.

Those who grew up in a culture of “nice” tend to be the pleasers, the peacemakers, the ones who have a problem saying “no.” If you want to develop an honest relationship with these people, you have to do what you can to convince them that it is safe to be honest. Try to communicate with kindness. But also realize that you can’t change them, they have to change themselves.

You can recognize the pleasers. They always say “yes” even if they are already over-committed and there is no way they can do what they just agreed to do. They anticipate the needs of others, and put those needs before their own.

The “opposite” type person is what I would call a self-advocate. They are clear what they think and what they want, and they don’t hesitate to express any of that. Just because they are direct, doesn’t mean they aren’t open to another view. You have to meet this person where they are, and communicate directly.

Most people aren’t all one or the other. Depending on the situation and who we are with, we might take on different roles. And both approaches are important.

As always, it’s about balance. There are times when we need to set our own needs aside and help and support others. There are also times when we need to set boundaries and say no. There are times when we need to love ourselves enough to advocate for our own needs and focus on ourselves above others.

Are you aware of when you have been dishonest, just to be nice and not disappoint someone? Are you aware of when you have been brutally honest, and didn’t deliver your feedback in a kind way?

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