“It was the summer of 2002. I was teaching at UCLA and my husband was a molecular biologist. Disillusioned with “big city” life and job politics, my husband decided we should move back to a small town to build our eco-friendly passive solar dream home. Being an idealist and dreamer, I had no idea how much energy was required to build a home nor the financial stress involved in funding the project alone.
We moved from a modest three-bedroom house in Los Angeles to a one-bedroom apartment in our neighbor’s basement. Our computer and office equipment were crammed into the bedroom and we slept on the floor on a futon. I’ve never been a morning person so my wake-up partner was a “sunrise” clock, an expensive device whose light mimicked a rising sun. Its large transformer resting on the floor was just inches from my head.
I accepted the first job I was offered in order to fund the “dream” project. It required a two-hour daily commute through slick mountainous roads and carried an enormous responsibility of being the only medical doctor in town. Eventually, I started my own part- time acupuncture practice as well, so I could be closer to home. On weekends, I’d try to help out with the house-building-not my forte, but my idealism fueled the effort. Pride prevented me from admitting that the stress of moving across country, being the main breadwinner, working two jobs, and house-building was taking a toll on my body.
My parents were dead-set against our plans because they knew building this “dream home” was too much for me. Their protective criticism only served to fortify my stubbornness to make this dream come true. In my mind, I was a responsible loving wife who would do whatever it took to make her husband happy. Bad idea!
As I juggled the demands of my new life, I wasn’t aware my body was falling apart from the inside out. One morning, I woke up and couldn’t turn my head. The intense pain in my neck was unyielding and multiple visits to the chiropractor didn’t help. Within two months, my condition rapidly deteriorated and I experienced pain in almost every joint. I required twelve to fourteen hours of sleep per night and never felt rested. I dragged myself to work, put on a smiling face for people who “needed me”, and then collapsed on the couch as soon as I got home.
My husband, already stressed from building all day and worrying about finances, had to pick up the pieces at home. I couldn’t cook, clean or do laundry without intense pain or exhaustion. One day at the Laundromat, while folding a bed sheet, I burst into tears from pain and exhaustion. I wondered, “Where have I gone wrong? I’m trying so hard. I’m a good person. I don’t deserve this!”
One of my medical colleagues was kind enough to treat me free of charge. Dorit Gaedtke, M.D. diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, an “incurable” and debilitating pain disorder. Most of my patients with this diagnosis never recovered despite the slew of anti-depressants and pain drugs I prescribed in conventional medicine. Not only did they suffer pain and fatigue, they suffered the side effects of the drugs and remained disabled. Few had the education or financial resources to seek alternative care. Deep down inside, I was terrified I would become another statistic……
Years have passed since that dreaded diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Thanks to my illness, I no longer take my life and health for granted. No longer do I live my life unconsciously, on autopilot, on a diet of stress and to-do lists, in order to achieve success and security in the pursuit of the ultimate goal for all of us-Happiness.”
The above is an extract from a Guide to Healing Chronic Pain: A Holistic Approach
by Karen Kan M.D. And believe me Karen ‘can’.
Hers is quite a story. Dr. K was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and electrical sensitivity. Despite this she dealt with her health issues holistically and went on to become a national and international adult figure skating (multi) gold medalist.
For a while now I’ve had a theory that the people we can learn most from in dealing with our own health issues are people that have had to deal with their own challenging health issues.
Dr. K is one of these people. She also happens to be a family doctor.
She was disabled with fibromyalgia in her early thirties while juggling a flourishing career and a failing marriage. She’d wake up at night crying because every bone in her body ached with pain. She was exhausted, depressed and at times even suicidal.
Through it all she clung to her dream, that one day she would heal. And she did.
Despite being trained as a family doctor she knew that taking drugs wasn’t the answer. So she went on a search to find the best natural therapies for pain.
Guide to Healing Chronic Pain
Dr. K says of her book:
“The book is a weaving of my personal story as someone who has been there and done that, as well as my perspective as a holistic physician – so it really takes in all perspectives of pain into consideration: the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual. So I think readers can really resonate with the personal experiences that I share and the medical explanation of why pain surfaces in our lives and what exact steps we can choose to heal. “
Her views on health really resonated with me. The first sections of her book are devoted to understanding your pain and harnessing your internal healer. The mind.
Many of us when we get sick think of pain as our archenemy. Tou go to the doctor he puts a label on your symptoms which situates the pain as something bad and reinforces the victim mentality. But pain is very much our friend.
It can be a shock to the system when you hear this for the first time. Dr. K says “chronic pain has a way of forcing us to stay more present in our bodies, rather than up in our heads”.
I realized a long time ago that thoughts and emotions were having a big impact on my health. Dr. K explains how many of the beliefs we hold are non-supportive to the healing process. She explains how to discover more supportive thoughts, how to use emotions to your advantage and how “to eliminate negative or trapped emotions that might be contributing to your chronic pain”.
Nutrition, Lifestyle And Energy
The third section of her book deals with nutrition, lifestyle changes and energy therapy. Balancing the right and left hemispheres of the brain lies at the heart of Dr. Ks approach to health. She says without brain balance life will feel like a struggle, many therapies don’t work well which means you can’t begin to self heal. She cites EMF exposures as an important cause of brain imbalance.
I’ve been practicing brain balancing since a kinesiologist I used to visit in my early days of electrosensitivity identified this as one of the issues I needed to deal with. I practice mind-body movements to achieve brain balance. Dr. K has developed her own protocol for achieving brain balance using (needle free) acupuncture patches – which you can apply yourself.
Your Higher Self
The other sections of Dr. Ks book deals with, self acceptance, forgiveness, healing through your higher self and getting support. She asks and answers questions like, ‘why reconnect with spirit’? ‘Does pain serve a purpose’? Some of this might seem a long way from your immediate problem in hand of dealing with EMF sensitivity but I realized it was only when I began facing up to these questions that I began to make solid progress.
You can buy Dr. Ks book here.
Next Thursday, 19th March at 1:00 p.m. EST (10 AM PST or 5 PM GMT) I’m interviewing Dr. Karen Kan. The interview will last approximately one hour.
Dr. K is a first generation Chinese immigrant from Hong Kong who emigrated to Canada with her parents as a baby. Her parents fleeing the communist demonstrations in Hong Kong at the time immigrated with no jobs and no money.
She says, “the importance of a good education and a hard-work ethic were instilled early in all three children”. But this then led to burn-out in her thirties.
I can relate to that. My parents struggled to put food on the table when I was a child which motivated me to do well at school, get a good job and have a tendency to push myself too hard.
Dr. K completed her medical studies at the University of Ottawa after first taking a degree in Biochemistry at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Dr. K vowed that she would never become one of those “cold-hearted” doctors we’ve all encountered. She made it her mission to study how to help people heal: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I’ve chosen the teleseminar format so that you can follow via your computer or using your telephone.
During the interview I will be covering the following subjects:
– Dr. Ks story
– her experience with electrical sensitivity
– how to apply a holistic approach to electrical sensitivity
– what healing protocols she recommends
The idea is that you get to ask your questions. You can do this in 2 ways:
– before the day, by clicking here and sending me your question (if you’re not sure what time the teleseminar starts, the page has a countdown timer.)
– on the day, by putting your question directly to my guest
Sign up is now closed for this interview.
The replay is free but it’s only available for 24 hours after the event for those that signed up BEFORE the event.