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Mind/Body Healing of a Long-Standing Asthma Condition with the Force of Habit "Buddy System": A Case History and Example-PART ONE


Asthma Case History

Force of Habit Buddy System and Self-Healing

For my book Force of Habit: Get Well and Stay Well by Clearing up Your Bad Habits of Mind, Body and Spirit I developed a "buddy system" wherein people can train a friend to facilitate their self-healing. Solo self-healing has its limitations. The Force of Habit Buddy System requires one subject-whose job is to have an issue or "bad habit" to be cleared up-and one listener, or buddy, whose job is to facilitate the subject in staying focused and on topic. In Force of Habit (FOH) terms a "bad habit" is any undesirable mental, emotional, physical, health or spiritual tendency or condition.

I have used this buddy system numerous times with friends and family members, but I do it most often with colleagues during long lunch meetings. On one occasion-August 22, 2009-I shared with my lunch partner that I am tired of being asthmatic, that I am certain this long-standing health condition is connected with my emotional and psychological issues and energies, and that it is presently holding me back from the next stage of both my professional development and my personal evolution. It feels like the right time to be free of it so I can fully engage with the forces I was putting into play. She agreed to take the time for me.

Asthma and Chronic Bronchitis

I am sixty years old. Apparently I have had an asthmatic condition for the majority of my life. In grade school I was very short-winded; during long runs I was soon gasping for breath and I always finished in the last group. My parents constantly smoked cigarettes around me and my siblings, both indoors and during long Sunday drives. It was noxious and annoying. So were my parents, who were both subject to personality disorders. During my youth I was afflicted with frequent chest colds and infections, and in time I was diagnosed with "chronic bronchitis." I have been told by more than one doctor that I have "scar tissue" on both lungs from all the infections.

I was thirteen when my family moved from Texas to Virginia. In that verdant environment I developed allergies. I was given prescription medication which I took until I went off to college in 1967. During my graduate school years (1976-79) I road my bicycle to and from my job-a journey of several miles-and I began to have asthmatic wheezing spells, especially while riding in cold weather. Once I spent the night couch surfing at a friend's house. He had a shedding dog and a very dusty floor. In the morning I suffered a severe asthmatic attack. It was my first and I had no idea what was happening. In extreme panic, I was virtually unable to breathe. I would have gone to an emergency room had I not known a nurse practitioner and teacher at the medical school whom I called. I rushed to her office where she diagnosed the problem as an asthma attack and administered medication that opened my bronchi and restored my breathing. I continued taking the medication in tablet form for a year or so. During the 1980's I continued to be short of breath when exercising vigorously, but I adapted as I always had. Based on a chest x-ray for a job-related physical, one doctor told me I might have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Chronic Bronchial Asthma and Pulmonary Specialist

During the 1990's my homeopathic physician diagnosed me with bronchial asthma. He prescribed Albuterol, which I used on an as needed (PRN) basis to relieve periodic wheezing. In January of 2004, after perhaps my tenth yearly bronchial infection-and my tenth annual course of heavy duty antibiotics-my physician became concerned that I might have pneumonia. A chest x-ray showed an "infiltrate" or dense area of tissue deep in one lung; he prescribed antibiotics. When the infiltrate didn't clear up he sent me for a CT-scan; when the CT-scan was inconclusive he sent me for a PET-scan. Concerned that the stubborn "infiltrate" might be cancer, he referred me to a respected St. Louis pulmonary specialist for diagnosis and treatment. The pulmonary specialist diagnosed me with chronic bronchial asthma; he told me I had probably had it all my life. He put me on two inhaler medications to keep my bronchi open and prevent asthma attacks. He warned me that having asthma attacks damages the bronchi and worsens the condition. He said I had lost about 20% of my lung capacity and that it could never be restored. He said I would need medication for the rest of my life because asthma can't be cured. He ordered periodic chest x-rays.

That was his entire intervention, negative suggestions and all. But it was not the end of it.

I continued on the medications, but I didn't like being dependent on medication. I believe that asthma is a psychosomatic condition caused by psychological problems (habits of mind), and I had some ideas about what the psychological causes were. In You Can Heal Your Life Louise Hay wrote that the probable "mental cause" of asthma is "Smother love. Inability to breathe for oneself. Feeling stifled." The probable cause of breathing problems is "Fear or refusal to take in life fully. Not feeling the right to take up space or even to exist" (1). Mind/Body healers and psychoanalysts alike would agree that the psychological root of asthma is unresolved dependency issues. But knowing the source of a problem is seldom if ever enough to cure it. I wanted to cure it because I believed it could be cured. And not being able to breathe is a nuisance.

Biopsy to Rule Out Cancer

Toward the end of the summer of 2004 the specialist frightened me very much when he said that my chest x-ray remained "suspicious," owing to the continued presence of the mass of dense tissue whose "architecture" matches a rare form of cancer. Even if it isn't cancer, he said, it isn't healthy lung tissue; it is weakened and it will cause a propensity for continued lung infections. When he failed to obtain a sample of the suspicious tissue by bronchoscopy he advised me to get a biopsy in order to rule out cancer. He said if it is cancer and it goes untreated I would probably not be alive by New Year's. Apart from being terrified I felt fine.

He referred me to a much respected surgeon. The surgeon said that a certain percentage of people who get lung biopsies die on the operator room table. He said that if the biopsy shows cancer is in the lung he will take out the entire lobe, to be on the safe side and because its weakened condition causes chest colds every winter. I left that meeting even more rattled than I had been 25 years earlier when a highly regarded orthopedic surgeon in Columbia, Missouri told me I would need a lumbar disc removed and two vertebrae fused together or else suffer from crippling back problems for the rest of my life. I didn't have the back surgery ("disc and fusion") and today my back is in excellent condition. But that's another story. What I thought both times was "I want to die with all my body parts." This time I also thought "I would like to have complete faith that I can be cured holistically."

I believe in holistic mind/body healing, but I was still scared stiff. The doctors had frightened me with their dire predictions. I didn't want lung surgery and I didn't want to die of cancer. Though I wanted to believe that I could heal myself I didn't have complete confidence in my ability to do it; I wasn't even convinced that I knew for sure what underlying problem was causing the bronchial asthma and the lung problem.

Intuition and Energy Healing

I have always trusted people who are reliably intuitive. "Intuition" is perceiving information through means other than the five senses-it is the "sixth sense." I believe that all humans are intuitive. I went to a respected "medical intuitive." She told me that she could see no cancer. I felt better, but I was still neither confident that I knew what the problem was nor what to do about it. A couple of years later I heard that she died of cancer. She was middle aged.

I began meeting once a month with an extremely well trained and highly intuitive holistic energy healing practitioner with whom I had studied Pranic Healing several years before. I trusted her intuition, her intentions and her holistic healing training. She believed, as I did, that the asthma was an energy condition and that it could be eliminated.

She reassured me that she could detect no cancer, but she did not discourage me from continuing treatment with the non-holistic pulmonary specialist, nor did she discourage me from proceeding with the (non-holistic) biopsy. I knew that only I could take responsibility for both the situation and its solution. I met with her once a month from August of 2004 until December of 2008, and though I continued using the medication I stopped seeing the pulmonary specialist. On the strength of our collective intuition I decided I did not need a lung biopsy. I stepped out on my belief that I did not have cancer, and I didn't need to risk a biopsy to prove it.

My confidence improved when on 1-27-07 I returned to the pulmonary specialist. He wouldn't renew the prescriptions without an office visit. He told me that I had been right in not having the biopsy; he said that if I had had cancer I would be dead long before this. I figured I must be on the right track.

The Asthma always Returned

After more than four years of energy healing I felt I had received the maximum benefit. Though beneficial, the treatment was going in circles-covering the same ground and returning to square one. I had gained valuable insights about my unhealed issues and my energy had been cleansed and energized repeatedly. Deep thought forms and energy syndromes caused by my early life experiences had been cleared. I also regularly used meditative and energetic self-healing techniques I knew about. The work had made a difference, but the asthma had never cleared up for very long. I would be asthma free-and medication free-for weeks at a time, but the asthma always returned. Apparently the negative thought forms were being reconstituted during the intervals. By the time I saw my healer each month I would be in bad shape again. I felt dependent on it.

I only saw the pulmonary specialist two more times and I continued using the medications PRN (I was self-medicating). I was usually taking a dose of medicine by inhaler twice a day-first thing in the morning and before going to bed. Even on days when I didn't take a morning dose I still took one before bed. I was afraid to go to sleep without it; by bedtime I was usually wheezing anyway. I would never feel comfortable taking a long walk or bike ride without taking the medicine first. When I tried it I had to come home early, barely able to breathe and on the verge of an attack.

My own prescription finally ran out again and the doctor wouldn't refill it without seeing and evaluating me. I did not want to see him and risk being subjected to negative suggestions about my progress. My daughter wasn't using her prescription, though-it was off season for track-so I started filling and using her prescription. I still believed the asthma could be cleared holistically, but in the meantime I needed relief.

Published by the International Hypnosis Research Institute 1-4-10

Next: Part Two: The Session

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