Reena was in her early 40s when she started having menstruation issues especially heavy bleeding. She took hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for 2-3 years, but the problem continued. Fed up, she decided to take things in her own hands. She used affirmations, positive thinking, and breathing to connect with her body. Eventually, her bleeding stopped on its own, without medicines. Today Reena knows that body can heal best when you give it a lot of gratitude & compassion so that it feels relaxed. Here is her story.
57 years, Non-violent communications trainer
I am from Ahmedabad, but living in Pune from last twenty years. I have 3 daughters; they are 33, 27 and 26 years old. Being a single parent for twenty years, I was handling multiple responsibilities and also managing lots of flux all the time. I think mentioning this is important because all these realities have an impact on our mind & body. All the emotions are like a nutrient that the roots of a tree (i.e. our body) absorb and then manifest into how the tree looks (i.e. our health).
I am a go-getter
My basic composition in life was that of an explorer and go-getter. I knew if something is wrong I can cry my heart out and I can always bounce back from that low period. I give a lot of credit for this to my father. We are 4 sisters and he always gave us a lot of positive affirmations. I used to have many conversations with my father openly, he taught me to keep my self-esteem high. And that is what had shaped me as a go-getter & an empowered woman.
Boils on my face
I had boils on my face at the age of 35-37 years. It looked very awkward because that is not an age to have boils, especially because I didn’t have any when I was a teenager. Hence, it was shocking for me. I was already going through a very low period in my life as I had stepped out of my marriage. I had moved from Ahmedabad to Pune, a new city for me where I didn’t know anybody. I moved with three kids and a dog. I was completely scared, vulnerable and lost.
When I look back, I can relate that it was to do with stress I was going through. The frenzy in my life had manifested into boils on my face & it was a very natural phenomenon. But at that point of time, I couldn’t understand this. I was so angry & upset to have another issue to deal with, as if there wasn’t enough on my plate already. I was a trained Shahnaz Husain herbal beautician. But that didn’t help because when it’s about you, the patience level & embarrassment level takes over. So then I started putting anything and everything that could help to hide & heal the boils. I ended up taking so many medicines. But nothing worked.
Other than the boils, I had no health complaints. I was overall physically healthy. But now I was putting on weight because I would end up binge eating when I was depressed or sad.
I started practicing Buddhism and got into chanting. Things had been very tough for me in various ways. Also, I was not able to handle the stress of raising teenage kids as a single parent. Chanting made me feel really secure.
I started thinking more & more about my situation in life & started to believe in Karma balance. And the thought that my sufferings were probably a way to repay the debt, I might have due to my past and deeds. I wanted to be debt free as I believed this will lead to end of my miseries. I started taking more charge of choices I made. In case of a situation of conflict in my life, I decided to be simple & straight in dealing with it. I decided to stay away from manipulative behaviour so that there is no addition in my debt!! I was now beginning to learn how to stay at ease & peace. All this had a positive impact and soon my boils started reducing.
Menstruation became a challenge
When I was 42 years old or so, suddenly my periods went haywire. My bleeding just wouldn’t stop & there was so much blood that I thought I had some serious illness like leukaemia. I thought I was going to bleed to death!!
When I consulted a doctor, they said its hormonal imbalance. I was given medicines and the bleeding stopped. I was happy that I could now go about life as usual. We women are generally all over the place handling multiple responsibilities. I couldn’t have afforded to bring my life to a standstill.
But it continued like this. I kept taking medicines to stop the bleeding, if I would not take medicines I would be back to square one. I faced some real embarrassing situations. I remember staining at some public places. Once I went to a formal meeting and I stained their posh cream coloured sofa! So I got into fire fighting mode and ended up taking hormone replacement therapy. I took it for two - three years & then I discontinued. I told my doctor that it was not working and I had also read about the risk of getting cancer due to hormone replacement therapy.
I connected with my uterus
While struggling with my menstruation issues, I continued practicing chanting & mindful breathing and meditation. I began connecting with my body, specifically with my uterus. I would breathe and imagine the breath reaching the uterus. I would keep my hand on my uterus & feel its presence. Soon a sense of gratitude came up. I felt thankful to the uterus as this part of my body had held my three babies. It had been with me and served me through the beautiful journey of my life as a woman. I felt that maybe I had never acknowledged this before. So I started giving attention to my uterus, it became my friend. It was a very silent and intimate process; it was like being with a family member who is ill. I never discussed this with anyone because I didn’t know if they would understand what I was doing, also everyone was busy in their own respective lives.
I told my uterus that you have done your work and I have not forgotten you. I remember, at one point, doctors had suggested that after this period cycle if bleeding doesn’t stop, it’s better to remove the uterus. But I told my uterus that I am so grateful for what you have done for me that I want you to rest, I don’t want to remove you.
By now I was consciously aware of the fact that the lining in my uterus was being shed through bleeding. It was a normal body function that took place every month. Maybe I needed to support my body better for the abnormal bleeding to stop. So I started focusing on proper rest, not just physically, but mentally too. I would watch my thoughts and ensure I avoided anxiety.
Food wise I was onto primarily eating simple home cooked food & was including raw, nuts & seeds in my diet. I had stopped binge eating. I loved indulging in comfort foods once a while and I knew it was ok to have these for my emotional well-being.
I remember going on a trek to the Valley of Flowers. That time my bleeding was on and I knew it was a difficult trek. But I didn’t want my illness to disrupt my will to live a full life. I believe our mental set-up has a huge role in healing us.
The bleeding stopped
After a while my periods stopped. The gratitude, positivity and breathing helped. So, all in all, I leveraged on my previous experience of dealing with my boils, which really got into control by focussing on mental wellbeing. Having experienced the positive impact of chanting & connecting to oneself, I followed the same for my periods and it helped me. I healed myself through a mindful approach.
Body heals through compassion & gratitude
Later on in life, I got gallbladder stones. I wasn’t aware of this until I got a very constricting attack. My body felt like a wet towel is being twisted with all the might to remove water. I felt choked, I couldn’t breathe. My friends rushed me to the emergency ward of a hospital. After sonography, doctors realized these stones are very small and can surface anytime. They advised me to get my gall bladder removed and I decided to go by their advice.
From my past experience I knew that real healing can happen only through compassion & gratitude. While there was a medical process involved in my gall bladder situation, I knew what I had to do. I was not fearful, I was thankful to my gall bladder for all it had done for me. And I feel this mental calm supported my healing after the operation.
I would like to end by saying that healing is a creative process, you have to find solutions that work for you. It is important for each one of us to hold our agency, i.e. our power in the healing process. This helps us to make more assured choices for ourselves. We should learn to connect with nature and our body in our day-to-day lives. If we don’t do so, things can become more difficult for us in times of a health emergency because we would not know which route to go.
(About Reena Ginwala: Based out of Pune, Reena is a corporate trainer. She is a proud single mother of three daughters. When she’s off from work, she loves travelling and trekking).
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