Katina’s News & Events
Holiday Season is a Time to Cherish
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 26, 2012
As always, I value the kinship and closeness my family and friends mean to me at the season of gift-giving. These days of sharing our time, gifts and meals is an ingrained ritual in our Judeo-Christian cultures. I like it, as a chance to draw near and be attentive to each other, and for many to show reverence to their faith.
These past few days I have been observing how much healthier and balanced I am from 7 years ago, when Lyme disease had me bedridden and bereft. I was forced to sell my treasured, wonderful home in the woodlands to pay my treacherously steep medical bills. I had lost my vital career years prior, along with my marriage and well-being. My mind was shot, my heart vulnerable and my hope for recovery slim. Yet, so desperately I did not want to be an invalid forever. With the help of a savvy Clinical Nutritionist and Integrative Medical Doc I was starting my healing journey. It took 5 years, and I am well and thriving again! I am deeply grateful and also proud of my tenacity and perseverance.
With this in mind, I wanted to share a passage from my memoir, OUT OF THE WOODS, which helps to remind me and show others that personal inner healing tools are invaluable when moving through chronic illness. Please enjoy this portion of a chapter titled “Moving”.
Near Christmastime, Eli, Hunter, and I venture out to buy a tree. This is a first for us, as I’ve always cut a Charlie Brown hemlock from our woods in years past, adorning the tender finger-like limbs with the Delancey Street market, Hungarian ornaments of my childhood. Now, we mount a generously stout fir, its needles feeling brush-like and full, the wintergreen aroma filling our dollhouse in minutes. Hunter strings up colored lights, weaving the mass through the fragrant branches as Bing Crosby croons carols on the stereo. As woozy as I still feel, my energy dipping and rising with no rhyme or reason throughout the days, I feel a warmth of gratitude within.
After a very long struggle I sense that I’m marking progress in my healing. Three months on cat’s claw and I’m climbing up from the worst of its clutches. Small signs of improvement bolster my hope: a clearer mind, less stomach upset and a faint glow of strength in my limbs. The tune from “The Wizard of Oz” has been tumbling through my mind for weeks now: I’m out of the woods, I’m out of the woods, I’m out of the woods….
Santa arrives, leaving a slew of boxes. Eli’s eyes are star filled as he rips off the vibrant paper, new board games and ice hockey sticks cluttering the room. The quarters are so close we have the Christmas tree placed on top of the coffee table and pushed up against the wall. Teaspoon size snowflakes drift down outside the windows. Lucky is festively attired, coyly wearing a brown velvet antler headband.
“Mommy, Mommy, get the camera!” Eli chants. “Take a picture of Lucky and me.”
It is a moment of perfection.
We close the day with a banquet of food, family, and chatter at Hunter’s sister’s home up the hill. Children, grandparents, and adults with cocktails in hand gather around the burgeoning oak dining table, our number swelling to over twenty. There are smiles and warmth, the feeling of generous embrace from a clan other than my own. There is love.
Today, I take my first steps into tomorrow. I reach way deep down inside into the core of my being. From the pit of my belly I draw forth my formerly sagging will. Making a personal pact of intention, I close my eyes and see myself standing upright and strong like a broad-reaching copper beech tree. I’m smiling and radiant. I look and feel healthy and strong, confident and happy, successful and powerful.
I will heal completely, I tell myself. I will beat the Lyme disease. I will regain my health, strength, and stamina and be be whole, happy, and successful. Starting now I leave the past behind and step into a new and better future. I will be guarded and protected.
From today forward I begin to recite my pact of intention each day in my morning meditation, at first prone on the sofa, then sitting, and eventually standing. I refuse to slip back into the downward spiral of all the cataclysmic tailspins over the past five grueling years. I’m determined to heal. No one will stop me. It will be.
May your healing journeys bring you to the close concert of inner resources I discovered. Willpower, intention, faith, self belief, love and openness can create room for change and healing. I send you strength and grace.
At the peak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1990’s the annual cases contracted were 104,000. The CDC acknowledged in August 2013, that over 300,000 Lyme disease cases are contracted annually just in the USA (Australia, Norway, Germany, Canada are stricken perhaps even more densely). That is 3 times higher than the AIDS peak and climbing. Practitioners and researchers in the Lyme trenches estimate the reality is that over 1,000,000 Americans are infected annually with less than 5% being properly diagnosed and fully treated due to poor diagnostic tests and lack of physician education and public awareness. Everyone is at risk; children in tall grass, a hiker in a national park, gardening in your own yard or your pet carrying a tick indoors. Every USA state has Lyme disease and certain regions show over 50% of the ticks carry the dangerous bacteria and other pathogenic infections. Individuals must become proactive in their treatments.
Lyme disease can be a complicated and even deadly tick borne infectious illness. It affects every person in a unique way beyond the initial feverish, flu-like pains and malaise of the acute phase. Lyme morphs and lingers, disseminates and moves its way into the tissues, joints, organs and the central nervous system. Fibromyalgia, MS, Bells Palsy, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, bipolar, migraines are all too ugly misdiagnoses when Lyme is not ‘caught’ quickly enough. This illness can NO longer be brushed off as a mild short term infection that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Infectious Disease Society (IDSA) initially labelled it as back in the late 1970’s. What we are facing is an exploding public health care crisis akin to AIDS in the ‘80s and polio in the 50’s. Billions of dollars are needed to crack the code. Lyme receives a mere fraction of NIH funding or attention, however.
Prevention is essential, as well as more accurate earlier diagnostics, and Integrative Medicine treatments for chronic cases. Some excellent studies are being done to figure out the persistent nature of the illness in certain people, and the reasons why it triggers ‘auto-immune’ style states in so many. Dr. John Aucott of the Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center at John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center is pinpointing some of the genetic predisposing factors.
Also, private sector research is honing in on more rapid, accurate diagnostic tests being developed instead of the only 30% accurate, 40 year old outdated ELISA test or CDC standard surveillance Western Blot test that the average doctor and commercial lab use. Coming from Ceres Labs research is now a cutting edge antigen (not antibody) Nanotrap test. This could identify cases in days versus weeks, and help direct immediate effective early antibiotic usage. There is an indicative marker test to ‘follow’ a patient’s progress when under treatment by Neuroscience Labs, called the iSpot. IgeneX Labs in California is considered the premier Lyme diagnostic test, with their four-in-one ‘initial Lyme panel’. Insist your doctor order the testing with them. Many insurance companies do cover IgeneX.
Most all health care professionals agree that a new acute Lyme disease infection needs to be immediately treated with aggressive antibiotic and anti-malarial medications (tetracycline family), when the organism is still located in the bloodstream. But, borrelia burgdorferi bacteria are corkscrew shaped and whirl their way into tissues, joints, organs and glands, setting off painful inflammation, deep fatigue and eventual ‘autoimmune’ style triggers. The bacteria feed off the fatty layers of our organs, glands, brain, causing fibromyalgia, migraine, or RA or MS symptoms (as the muscle and nerve sheaths are eroded- seen on MRIs often) . The condition can be confusing for patient and physician alike without full training. See ILADS.com for physician training programs.
Clinical findings reveal that the best rates of recovery from chronic forms of Lyme disease are best achieved when Integrative Medicine protocols are woven together. Killing off the infection is one part of the equation, while addressing the major nutritional depletions, mitochondria disregulation, endocrine gland damage (adrenals, thyroid, pituitary, etc) and helping detoxify the body from the ammonia endotoxins the microbes release are all critical. Naturopathic doctors (ND), Clinical Nutritionists (CCN), Functional Medicine doctors, Homeopaths (CCH), Acupuncturists (LaAC) are trained in detox procedures and specialty lab testings to ascertain the rampant systemic depletions such a amino acids, essential fatty acids, neurotransmitters, cortizol malfunction, gut flora imbalances, mineral loss, or heavy metal toxins or mold damages many also suffer as ingredients related to chronic Lyme cases. Dietary and lifestyle changes come into play, too, as gluten from wheat and sugars accelerate the growth of the microbial infections.
Besides antibiotic use, antimicrobial herbals are considered to be quite helpful and even curative when the disease has progressed to systemic tissue status. Dr. Stephen Buhner’s “Healing Lyme Disease Naturally” or Dr. Richard Horowitz’s “Why Can’t I Get Better: Solving The Mystery Of Lyme and Chronic Disease” outline herbals and Integrative Medicine use. The suffering for so many with long term Lyme cases has been frowned upon as ‘imaginary’ or hypochondriacal, or shuffled off as stress problems or even learning disabilities in kids and teens. We have learned the hard way that the climate changes, high EMF overloads in our environment, antibiotic resistant borrelia strains and unusual over population of ticks has festered a public health care crisis. The epidemic’s swath is enormous with migrating birds dropping ticks off all over the world.
Please do not sit on the sidelines regarding Lyme disease. If you are suspicious of infection contact a local Lyme disease support group for practitioner recommendation. If you are a health care practitioner, start learning about Integrative Medicine. If you are curious, go to LymeGlobalAlliance.org, ILADS.org or LymeDisease.org. Seek out Lyme Literate practitioners using the newer testing labs. Global Lyme Diagnostics, out of research triangle park in NC, brings us the best sign of hope in 20 years of research; an annual screening test kit for all of us, to see if we have been exposed and can receive early antibiotics before the infections does damage. Practice prevention!
“ ‘Dhammapedia’ is the path of Dharma, the right path of life, of light and of love that leads to enlightenment. Turning the wheel of Dharma is a way of saying that as Buddha began to speak he gave the wheel of evolving consciousness a new turn, and so began an age in which Buddha turned humanity toward himself and religion became a deeply personal experience ungoverned by an outside priest.” – from Buddha by Manuel Dunn Mascetti.
Buddha was teaching his followers how to move within themselves, to find inner resource and comfort. His own evolvement and path towards enlightenment illuminated the awareness that people, things, practices outside oneself are not necessarily the way to find fulfillment.
I sit with this reading now, in my quiet moments after meditation. This was the page I randomly turned to. It rings true to me on so many levels. Most exquisitely, these words mirror my own personal path of discovery during my years of critical illness with Lyme disease.
The hours, months, years I spent alone, in stillness, on my sofa or bed, in contemplation, brought me to this very same awareness- “religion/spirituality became a deeply personal experience ungoverned by an outside priest.” I am a fuller,wiser, more aware and evolved being now, after my 10 year Lyme journey.
It is remarkable for me to actually say, that because of my Lyme disease experience, I have grown in spiritual depth and breadth. I have created my own internal sanctuary.
I learned how to successfully move within, toward my SELF. The inner riches and skills I developed, which in turn prompted a healing at a deeper, more energetic and cellular level, happened ONLY because of this path I took towards my soul’s center. It is with great reverence, I now personally care for this treasured space within, and the energy that is exemplifies.
It is a tricky juggling act, one I manage with alert consciousness daily, to avoid being drawn, pulled, stretched excessively by the busyness, demands, schedules, details of the exciting and sometimes overwhelming opportunities of the outer world, we so rampantly work and play in. I like it out there, I admit. As an extrovert, people lover and excitement “junkie” of yore, it is easy for me to be seduced by the amazing colors, feelings, events swirling around me constantly; the internet, media activities fueling it all exponentially. Plus, the PR phase of “Out of the Woods” has been so deliriously fulfilling for me, meeting and sharing with others. Sometimes I just have to say NO, to doing more.
And yet, I KNOW how essential it is I nurture and preserve my inner spiritual life. To be full (and healthy), I need to tend to the wellspring. Meditation, alone time, gratuities, creativity, beauty, personal blessings and intentions are my daily gestures for renewal, helping me follow Buddha’s message of life, light, and love. I am not a practicing Buddhist, per se, however, his messages that I read or glean, often resonate with a certain truth I just “get.”
I hope you can take this offering of mine today as a reminder to honor and nurture your own inner wellspring and sanctuary. You are too precious to neglect.
If you are a writer or a hidden creative; are healing from a season of illness or recovering from long-held trauma of any kind; if you have a deep desire to re-imagine your life, this workshop is for you.
Join world-renowned intuitive healer, homeopath, and bestselling author Katina Makris, an internationally-acclaimed author and founder of Gateless Writing, Suzanne Kingsbury, for an experience that will change your life. Katina and Suzanne will show you how to open the seven sacred energy systems of the body so that you can access an astonishing creative wellspring that has the power to heal the energetic body and move a crowd.
You will receive daily Reiki and Thai head massage; guided intuitive healing sessions; a deep dive into an energetic-based model aligned with the pioneering field of epigenetic and the mind-blowing experience of writing from a place of limitless creativity.
This workshop resets your inner coding and opens curative and creative portals in the mind, ceasing activity in the centers of the brain associated with self-criticism and accessing deeply stored memory and high imaginative potential. Feedback is supportive and encouraging and will illuminate your unique talent and the incredible patterning of your internal stories.
You will experience:
- Increased immune function
- Restored sleep
- A faster rate of healing from trauma and illness
- The firing of “feel good” neurotransmitters
- …and access the incredible power of the creative mind
Participants who have taken this workshop have reported spontaneous healings, became spirit channelers, started successful businesses based on their creative work and transformed their lives.
This workshop will is for anyone who wishes to become their own intuitive healer and is interested in the written word as a conduit to the higher self.
“Life is not for chickens” one of my friends said to me, shaking his head, as he listened to the litany of my recent 18 months: my husband walking out on me unexpectedly after ten years, a cancer scare and ensuing hellacious kidney surgery laying me up for 6 months, 3 burglaries involving a stalker, a serious car wreck, and 5 house moves all within 18 months time! On top of that I was also writing a health care book on a one year publishing house deadline, raising my teenage son and doing over 80 international speaking engagements simultaneously.
“You are the most resilient person I have ever known,” were his next words. I quietly nodded, for the first time paying attention to the fact that I was exhibiting enormous ‘bounce back’ from relentless crisis. These words gave me a moment to pause and reflect.
Was John correct? Am I truly resilient? Do I just deal with life’s blows and power on, or am I a crumbling tearful wreck behind closed doors yet put a brave on face to the world? In that moment I sensed myself inside, tuning into the real ‘knowing’ me and yes John was correct, I bounce back! I deal with the crisis in phases; go into shock, cry, disregard it, get angry, then finally accept the rotten card I got dealt, think logically and creatively, set a goal and work my ways forwards with intention. I envision myself 100% strong, healthy, glowing and energized. Then, I put it all behind me and look ahead to a better, brighter, more exciting role or place I want to be enjoying. Soon, my ambition and enthusiasm replace the sorrow and overwhelming upset, and sometimes I even get inspired to leap ahead and do something grand, that helps others or changes my life grid all together.
Am I a fluke? No. Epigenetic Medicine says survivors all visualize themselves down the line — even when in wars or chemotherapy trials or after being decimated by natural disasters — in a better place. They typically see themselves happy and united with loved ones in their future. They do NOT crumble to the immediacy of their rightfully fearful or sorrowful feelings, but move through them and beyond to a better tomorrow. The moment of turmoil or terror is not grasped to tightly but more or less stepped over in the moment (to be returned to often when life returns to normal and they can process it). Survivors ignite the powerful mind-body-spirit pathway we all bear, which turns on brain endorphin production, elevates adrenalin release and stimulates the immune system.
According to Dawson Church, author of “The Genie In Your Genes” and leader of the EFT (emotional freedom technique) therapy, we all bear a gene ‘set’ that can be turned on and help us become resilient and actually thrive in spite of disastrous life calamities. “Some families exhibit a natural tendency to pull themselves through near death and catastrophic crisis” says Church. “In these instances, whether by example of pure DNA genetic predispositions, we see a small percentage of people overcome the most extreme adversities and not crumble or get locked into bereavement, illness, phobias from trauma, and conversely many will. The fact is we can all turn on this resiliency gene set.”
My immigrant Greek grandfather left home at age 11 with his 13-year-old brother. They slept on warehouse tabletops in Romania for 5 years as they packed potatoes and sent their money back home to their widowed mother and younger siblings. As street urchins they lived rugged lives, emigrated to NYC, worked 12 hour shifts shoveling coal into the big burbling furnaces of the St Regis Hotel. And then went on to become food market owners and live into their late 90s.
My father was left for dead in the WW2 jungles of the Philippines, survived a hellacious car wreck, and then 20 years later shot 18 pulmonary embolisms post-op to be declared dead and yet make the decision to ‘come back’ to life.
My ten-year battle with misdiagnosed chronic Lyme disease, left me bedridden for 3 years. I lost all the American emblems of success; career & income, marriage & home, health & well-being. Emotionally, physically and spiritually broken, death knocked on my door too many frightening times. With my then 80-year-old veteran father coaching me, I chose to live. I embraced a thorough process of self visualizations, prayer, positive thinking, and the WILL to live long enough to see my then 8-year-old son be a man of 18. Today he is 19 years old and I am 100% recovered, have been for 6 years.
My resiliency quotient is not unique. You too can bounce back and live the life you desire. And, this requires inner mental work and some dedication to yourself and patterns. Psychologists have found certain attitudes and actions to be effective in encouraging greater emotional resiliency.
Here are some absolutely salient factors to mind.
- Accept responsibility for your life and actions. Some events are out of your control, but you can influence the emotional outcome.
- Think positively. If you are struggling with this, just saying the words over and over, “everything will work out fine” is a good place to start.
- Teach yourself to accept change. Rearrange your furniture or buy some clothing of different colors than your usual wardrobe. In accepting change during a low stress time, you can better adjust when an unexpected change does occur.
- Develop your self-confidence. Learning a new skill is the simplest avenue. Take sketching classes, learn yoga, train for a 10k race.
- Be true to yourself by practicing authenticity. Facades end up limiting you severely in the end.
Many people experience anxiety during this sort of self-discovery process. You may want to see a therapist or counselor for emotional support and confirmation of your self identity during this blossoming journey.
- Connect with your inner faith. Prayer, meditation, walks in the woods, and community service are all ways to tune in with your personal power and inner beliefs. Teach these things to your children. It will serve them well in life.
I believe in the power of the mind, of the calling of your heart and the will to make your life your own. Outside help in the form of health care practitioners, therapists, medications or nutritional changes maybe useful supports to a struggling body. But, the greatest potentials lie within your own grasp. The tools are born to you and must be honed. Practicing gratitude and honoring both your ancestors and those near and dear who offer you solace or vision of hope are beautiful allies. Believe in your tomorrow.