The disease of bias in the Canadian Health Care System

The disease of bias in the Canadian Health Care System

I had a bad week with the Canadian Health Care System. Even though it’s nice to know that we have it, I’d like to share some of the sad reality of this system and that there are a lot of times when I have needed it and it failed.

A massive stomach cramp came out of nowhere last week and struck me down. Was it the shitty Chinese takeout I ate last night?

Man Sitting On Bed And Feeling Unwell
Stomach cramp from hell

Favourite go-to scapegoat for tummy problems: blame whatever I didn’t cook myself. It was all vegetarian so I couldn’t blame uncooked meat for this pain.  Damn!

I took some digestive over the counter aids like Tums and Gravol. I played the waiting game until the pain subsided. It didn’t.  

I waited a few days to make sure it wasn’t just in my head. Took stronger antacids and doubled up dosages. No effect.

My symptoms included a persistent stomach pain in the upper abdomen, fatigue, chest tightness, shortness of breath, lack of appetite, inability to sleep due to the pain and what felt like acid reflux. The first day it hit me, I slept for 18 hours and ate hardly 300 calories worth in 2 days.

I caved and called Health Link 811. This is a phone number provided by Alberta Health Services which connects patients to a real nurse. He or she will listen to your symptoms and tell you whether to just continue treating with some OTC medicine or go see a doctor.

My nurse told me I had to go to my closest Urgent Care and get myself looked at ASAP.

I left work reluctantly because I felt she was a bit alarmed for nothing. I thought, “here we go, time to sit around the waiting room for 2-3 hours before I even get in to see a doctor.” But I figured since the nurse was quite insistent I head over there, that it was serious enough that I’d be seen quickly.

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A typical hospital waiting room

I’m a healthy 30-something but in recent months I’ve begun to notice my health is starting to decline slightly. It’s not like in my 20’s where I could fix any health issue by taking a nap! Ok, I exaggerate but it literally didn’t take long for anything to pass in a day or so.

These days if I spend one night on a crappy mattress, I end up with back pain that lasts for days. I can’t just walk it off anymore. Ugh!

After two hours in the waiting room, I was called in to wait around some more to see the actual doctor. Two nurses talked to me about my symptoms and checked my vitals. All good.

Then the doctor came in, felt my abdomen and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. She gave me a strong antacid with lidocaine in it (the stuff that numbs the crap out of you). The doctor assured me that if I felt better that all I needed was a stronger antacid.

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Expectation: the doctor will listen to my concerns and address them

After a good half hour she checked on me and noticed that I looked “normal”. My face colouring was fine. I wasn’t wailing in pain like some other drama queens in the waiting room. There were at least 4 that I counted that day that were crying out from time to time and cursing periodically when their name wasn’t called.

This was my health care provider’s initial sarcastic comment: “You look pretty comfy!”

I was dumbstruck, “Excuse me?”

Doctor: “Well it seems like that antacid did the trick.”

Me: “Actually, it didn’t do anything except numb my tongue.”

Doctor: “So did it reduce your pain?”

Me: “No, it just covered it up. The pain is still there.”

Doctor: “I’m going to write you a prescription for a stronger antacid.”

Me: “I don’t think the antacid you gave me even worked.”

Doctor: “No, it’s fine, it REDUCED the pain.”

Me: “It NUMBED me, but the pain is still there.”

Doctor: “I think what you have is acid reflux and if that’s not it, you might want to talk to your family doctor about ordering a test to check for an ulcer.”

The doctor hands me the prescription and wishes me well. She assures me that I can come back anytime if the pain worsens in the next few days.

doctor-guessing
Reality: The doctor needs the bed for a “real” patient…so GTFO!

 

Well, I’m completely un-reassured at this point that seeing a doctor in Urgent Care is even worth the hassle! The doctor didn’t even listen to anything I was saying. But she did offer another culprit: an ulcer.

I left the Urgent Care after 4 hours altogether. I spoke to a co-worker after I got back to the office about what happened and how pissed off I was about my experience. Jaded, she attests, “Unless you are a senior or a child, everyone in between gets the most mediocre health care because you are likely to survive anything.”

Unfortunately, it turns out doctors are human, and therefore, biased to some level.

Bias in the health care system can be based on age, gender, race, weight, or a myriad of other stereotypes. Just because one is a doctor doesn’t make them immune from being prejudiced.

In fact, it’s alarming how many people are sent away from the hospital due to mistakes made in the diagnosis due to bias.

Is it just assumed that “healthy adults” must be faking our symptoms, or exaggerating the severity of them, because we are “healthy”?

Due to my family’s medical history with cardiovascular illnesses, I’m a good candidate to get heart disease. The same disease that killed Carrie Fisher recently. Being a woman, I know it won’t be easily caught and is typically under-diagnosed for my gender.

I’m 35 and I’m already on high blood pressure medication even after I was a vegetarian for 8 years to prevent getting it.

Speaking of age bias, a doctor on a separate occasion chuckled when he saw that I was on Ramipril. “But you’re so YOUNG and HEALTHY!” Uhm…being on a medication for a precursor to heart disease does not imply health, doc!

Getting back to my story, after taking this stronger antacid for a couple days and still feeling little to no effect from it, I went to a walk-in clinic for more answers.

Normally, I’ll call the clinic in advance to find out the wait time and then I’ll go. This time there was no one in line so I bolted from work and was able to see a doctor within half an hour. Score!

The doctor I saw there was much more sympathetic and ordered me a panel of blood tests. The panel also included an H. pylori breath test, which apparently is the bacteria that causes peptic ulcers and stomach cancer.

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H. pylori bacterium

The “C” word is always scary when mentioned. This doctor is at least taking this a bit more seriously. Unfortunately, she warns me the test takes a month to book. Sure enough, when I went to book the H. pylori test, the first opening was a month away with Calgary Lab Services.

So here I am, stuck taking an antacid that hasn’t cured me for at least another month until I get answers on that one test. At least my appetite is back and I can sleep somewhat better.

You have to be your own health care advocate.

The system is stacked against you if you are considered “healthy” compared to people who are bleeding out, suffering from chronic illnesses, or literally on the verge of death.

In my 20’s I tried a lot of diets and could never keep the weight off. I thought something was wrong with me. I went to see a doctor about a decade ago that he didn’t want to order me “unnecessary” blood tests because he didn’t want his clinic audited. But he was more than happy to prescribe me a weight loss drug that caused involuntary diarrhea and dehydration as potential side effects. Naturally, I declined.

For a second opinion, I met another doctor who barely knew me for 5 minutes and told me I was probably pre-diabetic because I had trouble losing weight. I cried in the car on the way home because I couldn’t get it out of my head that I might have diabetes! It turned out I didn’t have diabetes.

I suspect now the doctor either had a weight or age bias, or was just an asshole with no bedside manner.

Universal health care has a lot of hoops you have to jump through. My American friends think of the Canadian health care system as something to be admired. The reality is that it’s not as perfect as you think.

Sure, the health care system is great if you like waiting around weeks or several months for answers on the government’s dime. On the other hand, private health care is available in Alberta. Trust me, after my experience, it’s very tempting to consider forking over $4000 a year just to get access to doctors on a moment’s notice.

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Money, money, money, MONEYYYYYY!

But don’t worry guys, that hefty price tag is reduced to about $3000 if you renew with the clinic for the next year! These clinics bank on the fact that a lot of services are covered by your private health insurance through work so you’ll be reimbursed for many services, if not all of them.

But if you are a business owner or contractor, well…cough it up! You must be rich, right?

Your health is the most valuable asset you own.

It’s not your house, your car, or anything material. What I’ve learned is that I have to fight to receive the care I want.

For my younger adult readers, make sure that you never take any answer at face value from a doctor especially if your gut tells you something is off. Always ask more questions and never accept a mediocre answer. Be persistent.

Don’t forget, it’s our taxpayer dollars that are funding the big salaries of our doctors. YOU ARE THE BOSS! So if you think your doctor is giving you a pat on the head and rushing you out the door with a half-ass medical opinion, be aware you might need a second or third one to feel satisfied.

Be your own superhero and hold your health care providers accountable. Your life is worth saving even if you’re the only one doing it.

supermom
I am my own superhero!
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Secret to success: take a 15-minute break

Secret to success: take a 15-minute break

When I was in grade 11, I remember my high school biology teacher was this militaristic school marm-type woman who was intimidating as all hell.  I’m sure you have experienced at least one teacher in your life who basically struck the fear of God in your soul if you were even 2 minutes late to class.  Her death glare was legendary. For the sake of anonymity, I’m going to call this force of nature who shaped me permanently Mrs. Smith (also because I legit forgot her name!)

school-marm
The hallmarks of a typical school marm: Strict, scary, death glare…check!

Mrs. Smith was actually away for the first half of the school year in 1997 for a medical leave. Instead,  a substitute teacher taught my bio class who was super nice, and unfortunately, bullied hard by the students. I always loved Mrs. Burns (fake name).  She was jovial, smiled a lot, joked with the students, and laughed at her own clumsiness. Mrs. Burns was joined by a teaching aide who was just in university finishing up her teaching degree.  I felt bad for Mrs. Kay because she was very mild-mannered and bullied even more incessantly than Mrs. Burns.  Mrs. Kay seemed to always be on the verge of tears as she could never get the class to quiet down or cooperate.  She spoke so softly, we could hardly hear her over the din of raucous classmates who loved the sounds of their own voices. Due to her inability to rally the herd, the students shamelessly ignored Mrs. Kay’s instructions and Mrs. Burns would have to cast her own version of a disappointed stare, which was barely effective.  This toxic situation lasted about 5 months until Mrs. Smith returned to school and worked to shut that shit down.

Due to the easy-going nature of the class during the first half of the year, the students were barely ready for Mrs. Smith’s arrival.

She showed up after the Christmas break and we had no idea that she was actually our real teacher. Mrs. Smith introduced herself and was very open about having been on medical leave. She was very direct about her expectations. She didn’t tolerate students who spoke out of turn and would kick them out of class for disruption.  She wouldn’t let them back in until they apologized and behaved well. Otherwise, the disciplinary action was repeated. Mrs. Smith used shock value to shut us up by slamming a ruler against her desk to create an ear-piercing pop that would startle everyone into silence followed by an icy stare down.  She wasn’t afraid of anything, least of all a bunch of sniveling teenagers.

Every week there would be a quiz on all the stuff we learned in class. If we passed each quiz, we automatically earned 10% of our overall mark. If we failed to study our texts or do our assignments, we’d lose the 10%. It was the easiest 10% I ever earned!  Or so I thought…

That 10% though came at a cost. It meant I actually had to read and re-read all my notes in class. I also learned to re-write all my notes, as they looked like illegible scrawl coming out of class. She taught us study tactics like making up our own quiz questions as we read chapters to retain the information better. She taught us to highlight specific sentences and create flash cards out of glossary words. No one had taught me how to study before Mrs. Smith came along. I was grateful in later years for her advice.

However, there was a chink to her plan. Mrs. Smith realized quickly that students were getting burnt out because many were not passing those weekly tests. I was always very studious so I had no issue with it. One thing she mentioned to us later, that stuck with me all through University years and eventually now, she said take study breaks every hour for 15 minutes. Shut your brain off completely by watching tv, going for a walk, making a snack, or taking a power nap.

I thought to myself “what a waste of time!  I can’t afford to take 15 minute breaks every hour!”

I have a total of 4 hours of studying time after school is done and if I take 15 minute breaks it means I shorten my studying time to 3 hours!  That’s completely nuts!  The nerdy kids like myself all bitched and moaned that the old bat was off her rocker.

Boy, was I proven wrong.

The 15 minute breaks helped me retain more information when it came to memory recall during quiz time. I performed better on tests. In fact, I became more efficient at studying because I had a shorter time to absorb the same amount of information. I used the break trick throughout University. When my friends were exhausted from their studies, I had 2 part-time jobs, a sorority officer position which was like having third part-time job, and full-time studies with my Bachelor’s degree!  Yet I was never as exhausted and burnt out. Sure, I was stressed by deadlines and exams like everyone else and I maintained a respectable GPA of 3.34/4.0.

I wasn’t a straight-A student, and didn’t need to be. Perfectionism is not really my strong suit and even though I try I have always failed at it.

But striving for excellence means I’m hella above average so I’ll take that anyway!

Fast-forward ahead to 20 years later. I build in a 15 minute coffee break every 4 hours during my workday. Every hour or two I’ll get up and walk to the kitchen and do a round through my office which gives me a 5 minute repose. The breaks help me recharge and quiet my brain slightly so that I can focus on the task at hand. It make me more efficient as a worker but also friendlier to my colleagues as I am less wound up.

work-breaks
Gotta de-stress at least once a day by the water cooler to discuss the weather, the road conditions, or the latest Trump tweet!

There are still times I find myself having to disengage from people. I tell friends I’m busy so I can sit on the couch and Netflix all night. I’m ok with that. But last year in an effort to save money, I didn’t go on a proper vacation for almost 12 months. That lead to me feeling drained and empty, even though I was still filling my life with activities that I enjoyed. I lost focus. Those activities felt like work and because less fun over time.

My greatest passion in life is to travel abroad. If I take a 3-4 day mini-break, it’s simply not enough time for my brain to shut off. I’m bombarded by thoughts of everything I need to do when I get back. In fact, there are times I can’t even sleep because my brain will not shut off.  Rather than feeling recharged, I come back irritated and exhausted from my mini-break.

The truth is I feel ripped off when I don’t take a proper vacation.

The end of 2016, I went away to Vancouver for 6 days. I got to meet up with a good friend who moved out there, did some sightseeing, ate too much food, and slept in every day. In addition to this, I still had an extra 3 days off because of the New Year’s holiday. This extra long break helped me feel more refreshed than if I had just taken a couple days off for the statutory holiday.

The moral of this story is that if you are the type of over-achiever who isn’t taking proper breaks in your life, you will wear yourself thin. People will notice your irritability and anxiety and will not want to spend time with you for very long. You need to do yourself and the world a favour by disconnecting solidly every once in a while. Does that mean being cooped up inside your room for 24 hours, or going on a hike where you don’t have a cell signal, or does that mean a 2 week vacation?

After years of studying myself, I’ve learned the magic number of days off is 10 days for me.

Any longer than that and I start to get irritated that I’m not back to my life because I’m ready to take on the world! Any shorter than that and it’s like I wasn’t even on a break.

What’s constitutes a brain break for you?  I’d love to know!  Please comment below and tell me.

Journaling as a stepping stone to manifestation

Journaling as a stepping stone to manifestation

As a little girl, I remember I used to sit in my closet and journal in my Disney Pocahontas diary.  The pages were lined and purple.  The diary even came with a lock and key!  Without fail I would lock away my thoughts, literally, and hide my diary in a far corner of the closet so none of my family members would ever discover it.  In the mind of an 11-year-old me, I had a dramatic existence.  My trusted journal contained the sordid details of my friends, my crushes, how much I disliked homework, and also how I coped with being bullied.  I have a funny sounding name that most people hadn’t heard before.  The hideous variations that kids would spew at me through the hallways at school and on the playground still invoke a sadness in my heart.

The point is that my diary contained everything I never wanted to share with anyone else.  As a child I didn’t have a lot of close friends because my family had moved frequently through my formative years.  That diary was the only constant in my life.

Over the years I continued journaling on and off.  I never got into a steady habit until a few years ago when I started developing my mediumship practice. That’s when everything changed.

My strange experiences started showing up in patterns.  Things happened in a way that I could sometimes anticipate them.  The instincts I had naturally started being proven to me when I had a record to compare to.

Writing my goals, my affirmations, and drawing pictures within my journal helped me focus my thoughts so that I could one day start my mediumship business.  It helped me get through a period of time that I was laid off for four months as well and no income was coming in except my unemployment insurance cheques.  That was a devastating time, but my old friend – the journal – kept me sane and optimistic.  And when I finally got offers for jobs, I would create pros and cons lists to see which I should accept and why.

Have you got a regular journaling practice?  What kind of diary do you like to keep?  Is it a pretty, leather-bound one?  Or, do you prefer just a utilitarian exercise book?  Tell me about your journaling practice, I’m very curious to know if you have a practice.  If you don’t, why not?

Thanks for reading!

Dumb, angry birds 

Dumb, angry birds 

In the crisp morning air at 6:30am Monday to Friday, I walk to my office building from home.  I live in downtown Calgary and my stroll to work is a glorious time to be outside in the fresh air.  Traffic is light at that time, both pedestrian and vehicular.  The sunrises are spectacular, though I don’t always get a lot of sun with the tall buildings around me.  I enjoy my morning commute immensely, even if that sometimes means getting a whiff of early morning weed off the apartment buildings in my neighbourhood of the Beltline, or saying hello to a friendly bottle collector pushing his cart full of belongings along the alley.

Note to bottle collector: Dude, gravel alleys are totally wrecking your grocery cart tires.  I’m no expert or anything, but that’s why the one wheel is spinning, off balance, and giving you zero control.  You’re welcome.  You’ll probably never see this post.  Moving on…

As part of my journey to work, I have to take the 8th Street SW Underpass.  It is currently under construction.  Recently, the east side of it was completed, and now the west side is under repair.  The 8th Street Underpass is the most heavily used pedestrian corridor into downtown.  About $8.8 million was budgeted by the City of Calgary to enhance this particular stretch of walkway.

The urban lifestyle has its pros and cons.  Some of the good points include being able to walk to work, get groceries, have access tons of eateries, services, and not drive for the most part.  The cons include limited and expensive parking, smaller homes, higher property taxes, homeless people, drug addicts, drunks, and consequently a higher crime rate.

Typically, the 8th Street Underpass serves as a temporary shelter to transient folks looking for a place to panhandle or pass out.  That means having to avoid tripping over them where the underpass narrows.  Well, it narrows because someone is sleeping or sitting on the one side and people strolling South or North have a smaller area to pass.  The smells and sights are oft vomit inducing. In fact, a little dance is sometimes required to delicately hop over piles of garbage, urine puddles, and barf splatters!  The B.O. furthermore clogs the air and one must hold their breath whilst performing the 8th Street Underpass Tango.

To add to the mottled experience of using the pedestrian corridor, sometimes a flock of sparrows is attracted to the leftover, rotting food left by the nomads.  These aren’t just your run of the mill friendly, singing, delightful sparrows.  No, these are devil spawn that are probably near-sighted and tipsy from consuming the high sodium junk food content of the scattered food stuffs and leftover alcohol that the vagrants forgot to finish.  The little bastards flutter around the especially cramped sections of the underpass.  They don’t even try to wait until you’ve moved on before they turn into violent missiles of rabies or avian flu aiming directly for your legs or face.  Many a time I’ve almost been smacked in the head by these drunk birds!

As I pass by the section where these birds are known to dwell, I try to avoid eye contact to prevent any sort of provocation of a flighted attack.  IT NEVER SEEMS TO WORK!!!  What the hell do these assholes want anyway?  I don’t have bird seed and I’m not carrying beer.  So please fuck off!

Sometimes I mutter “Love and light, love and light” as I amble on and that doesn’t seem to have any effect either. Screaming all manner of profanities at the winged hooligans, I quicken my pace to get the hell out of there!

Had I known the 8th Street underpass was basically an aviary for dumb, angry birds I’d probably stop using it.  I can deal with the unsavouries and grossness.  But those shitty little birds are something else.

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED, PEOPLE!

 

The Aviary of Hell aka 8th Street Underpass

 

Goddesses walk among us

Goddesses walk among us

Once upon a time, I used to be a sorority girl.  Back in 2002, I decided to return to University to complete a bachelor’s degree in Commerce.  After one semester of hating my classes, I switched to Political Science.  In that first month, I came across a booth at the University of Calgary’s Club Week where a few cheery faced girls greeted me with big smiles and invited me to their recruitment sessions.  I was intrigued.  In fact, I wanted to see what kind of bimbos would show up to this thing so I could make fun of them later with my friends.

I was a very jaded 20-something who believed everything she saw on tv about US sororities.  The Canadian counterparts (especially in Calgary) are tame in comparison and a lot of stereotypes were shattered in my time at university.

Turns out the “bimbos” were all regular women in all sorts of degree programs that I would never have had a chance to meet if I wasn’t in the Panhellenic Room that week.  The Panhellenic organization is the umbrella group that oversees the good relations among sororities (female fraternities) and ensures that recruitment is done fairly so that new members have a chance to make a well-informed decision without being biased by bells and whistles, better party room selection, or flashier decorations.  The system is not perfect by any means, but they do their best.

I met with the ladies of Alpha Gamma Delta and Alpha Omicron Pi in the last week of September 2002, which is typically recruitment week.  The ladies in both groups were welcoming.  They were all so interested in learning about me and their networking strategies for meeting people within a large group are still skills I use today in the corporate world.

My first choice was Alpha Gamma Delta.  I fell in love with the girls in the room and I really wanted to be a part of that group.  When I got in my heart swelled with the knowledge they wanted me too.

Through Alpha Gam, I learned how to run a business.  We had meetings where we dressed up in business casual attire and discussed all the operations of the organization, including events we were planning, doing reports, holding offices, and doing presentations relevant to the women.  We had to deal with budgets, our international headquarters, and study halls.  Our collective GPA had to remain above a certain level and those who worked the hardest in school were rewarded with scholarships through AGD and other awards.  It was a good feeling to work hard and to also be acknowledged for your accomplishments.

Another thing that happens when you hang out with a bunch of women is that you become really close friends.  My sisters were there for me through thick and thin.  Every lunch hour, I had someone to sit with.  Studying at the library was more fun because my friends were with me.  We partied together, but we worked our butts off to keep those grades high.  We consoled each other through break ups.  We counselled each other when we had problems with our boyfriends, coworkers, friends or family.

In 2005, I convocated from my undergraduate program and became an alumna of AGD. I feel strongly that some of the friendships that are made in University end up becoming permanent.  I’m not sure if my sisters feel the same way, but even though many of us are out of touch, we still know each other intimately and could pick up the phone and call anyone to help us in a bind.  The bonds of sisterhood are unshakeable and I am grateful to have had such a strong female presence in my life over a decade ago.  I reminisce about that time with great fondness.  That’s not to say we didn’t have our catfights and gossip problems.  I also learned how to deal with conflict resolution through those experiences.  Haha!

Why am I bringing this experience up?  I work a lot with goddess energy.  I’m drawn to large groups of women all the time.  Not just any women, but women who are passionate about what they do and fearlessly tackle the biggest problems anyone has had to face.  They laugh, they cry, they disappear but then re-emerge stronger.  These goddesses inspire me to keep working towards my own goals.  Being a part of that powerful feminine energy is divinity on earth.

If you have not found that group that inspires you yet, I say keep looking.  Reconnect with old friends.  Make new friends.  Go out and seek people who are like-minded.  Stay away from people who are judgmental and don’t accept you.  Toxic people drain your energy.  Trust your gut and surround yourself with love.

Thanks for reading!

Knee scopes and spirit guides

Knee scopes and spirit guides

Last week, I underwent a minor surgical procedure to trim a torn medial meniscus in my left knee.  I had injured it skiing 2.5 years prior and it only started acting up in October 2015.  My surgeon did a knee arthroscopy to correct the problem and I’ve been in healing since.

However, in the week leading up to the surgery, I was filled with anxiety about it.  Literally anything and everything would set me off in a dangerous spiral of paranoia and debilitating fear.  I would hyperventilate and breath shallow.  There was tightness in my throat and chest.  I would start crying about the dumbest things.  This type of psychological drama is foreign to me.  I normally keep my wits about me and am typically fearless in all aspects of my life.  So what the hell happened to my confidence?  I know, it all went to shit!

In any case, I called on my spirit guide frequently leading up to the date of my scope.  Never having gone through an invasive procedure like this,  I was terrified of something going wrong.  What if there was a scar left behind?  What if I could never walk again if the surgeon messed up?  What if I died on the operating table from some freak blood clot?  What if the local anesthesia didn’t work and I felt everything?  Aaaaaahhhhhh!

I was so anxious that I, in fact, didn’t even tell my family the date of my surgery because my mom is usually a nervous wreck anyway and I didn’t want the burden of having to ease her mind when my own wasn’t even close to having it together.  She was mad at me for not telling her, but I had my reasons and I am still quite sure I made the right decision on that one.

While I awaited surgery, my spirit guide, Inanna, came into my little waiting “room” and kept me company.  I told her to show up in full adult form in front of me.  She did.  I asked her to show herself in her glory, in the Mesopotamian military regalia that I expected she wore (not the fairy queen outfit I gave her in my mind so she could be pretty).  I asked her to show herself as a warrior because that’s who I needed in that room.  She held my hand and told me everything would be fine.  She stood watch over me as I fitfully stared at the ceiling and awaited the nurse to call me in.  Inanna wore ornate, scaled bronze armour minus the weapons, and when I saw that, it shielded me too.  After all, she is the Goddess of War (among other things including love, sex and fertility.)

Inanna, accompanied me to the OR and stood by to ensure that I was ok.  This was the first time I felt her incredibly warm presence and reassurance for such a prolonged period of time.  Much to my relief everything went fine with the procedure. It only took 15 minutes from the time the incisions were made and the time the surgeon sealed the wounds.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

The recovery this week has been going well.  I am able to walk, have no blood clots and I await the steri tapes falling off at some point so I can inspect my scars underneath.  I’ve heard chicks dig scars!  Haha!  Steri tapes hold incisions closed so that stitches are not required to be removed later.

Have you called on your spirit guides/angels/guardians in times of need and healing?  If you haven’t yet, give it a shot! Allow them to bring their wealth of knowledge and unconditional love to the table.  I found I didn’t have to fight my fears alone.  My friends also listened to my incessant ramblings and I credit them with keeping me sane. But I had someone else with me the whole time which brought immense peace to me even when I thought I was spiraling out of control.

Inanna told me that this experience was to be my baptism into the next chapter of my life and I was to shed my old skin.  Sometimes we don’t always understand the messages that our guides give us, but we have to be open to the communication.

Universe, in the meantime, I say BRING IT!

 

Body Confidence: Part 3

Body Confidence: Part 3

A girlfriend of mine convinced me to attend a burlesque show back in June 2012.  At the time, I didn’t really have much of a concept of what burlesque was.  Like most people, I just assumed it was a more theatrical and lavish form of striptease.  While this is the case, the show I attended was presented by real women.  Wives, daughters, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and girlfriends.  Women of all shapes, sizes and ages.  They strutted around in their corsets, vintage hairdo’s, fishnets and heels.  My breath was swept away as I literally started salivating the moment I walked in the room to be surrounded by a throng of exquisite babes.  I was enchanted immediately by the dancers.  They were humourous but also technical (especially those level 4 and 5 dancers).  The women teased us with their hands, eyes, props, legs, and smiles.

How is it possible for these women to be so damn confident in a room full of strangers?  These ladies were not stripping at all.  That’s not what Burlesquercise is about.  Burlesquercise was created by renowned ballroom dance coach and judge, Di Lefebvre. It is a form of fitness that embraces the beauty of women and allows them to feel confident inside and out through dance.  Women come from all walks of life and all income, age, and size backgrounds.  All are welcome and appreciated!  Once you are part of the tribe, even if you leave, you still remain friends with some of the most beautiful women you’ve ever met.  And man do they have killer curves and moves!

Immediately after the show, I signed up for Burlesquercise 101.  I was so nervous to attend that first class in the summer.  It turns out everyone was just as nervous as me!  Were we supposed to strip?  I didn’t really know what to expect.

Miss Annick was my instructor and she was a petite, fiesty brunette.  Her piercing dark eyes and calm face revealed nothing…until she opened her mouth and we all started laughing.  She made us feel instantly comfortable in our bodies by forcing us to close our eyes and then feel ourselves up.  Annick cracked all sorts of dirty jokes and we giggled our way to abs! We oooooo’d and aaaaahhh’d our way through the vowels while “zoning”.  Each zone represents a different part of the body.  Zone 1 is the hair, head and face.  Zone 2 is the breasts.  Zone 3 is the stomach and torso.  Zone 4 is the hips.  Zone 5 is the butt and legs.  Sometimes I zone just to put an extra spring in my step!

The next lesson was to open our eyes, look around the room and watch everyone else doing what we all just did with our eyes closed.  When no one was looking, we were safe.  But now here we were, women touching our own bodies and actually sounding excited and positively orgasmic doing it!  I was so turned on in fact, I rushed home and mauled my dear husband in my sweaty gym clothes, which I never had the audacity to try before!

How had I gone through my life without this course?  Why are more women not doing this?  This could literally save marriages and relationships by making women more comfortable in their own skin!  I fell in love and never stopped signing up for classes again.  My burly resume now includes 3 galas and 1 Rocky Mountain Dancesport Grand Prix performance.  I never thought I’d ever perform like that!  I look in the mirror now and smile brightly at myself.  It takes several minutes for me to behold the beauty in front of me and check out my body a few times a day.  My curves are downright dangerous and I know how to use them!

Miss Leslie and Miss Kim round out the foursome of delightful teachers.  Both are energetic and powerful dancers.  If you’ve ever seen Leslie dance with a giant headdress of ostrich feathers and sequined outfit on a hot day at a street festival, you know what I’m talking about!  The ladies crack all sorts of jokes in class!  We sweat to death with ballroom drills and Zumba warmups.  These women are not only mentors but they really try to get to know all the students.  I feel cared for and appreciated.  They hug me and ask me how I am.  They know my name!  I don’t think I’ve ever gone through that in a spin or yoga class before.

I still can’t walk in heels for the life of me…until you bust out some music and all of a sudden I’m strutting and spinning like I actually know what I’m doing.  It doesn’t even matter because the confidence overtakes any flaws in the execution!

Nowadays I get turned on by feathers and high heels.  I even feel daring enough to wear fishnets to the office from time to time.  My heart beats a little faster when I slide into a body hugging dress.  I strut in the Plus 15’s and make eye contact with strangers.  We were encouraged to practice this by our Burlesquercise instructors to improve our performance skills.

I love the power I have now with a hip sway, a sideways glance, a scarlet pout, and a flip of my hair.  It’s mastery and it’s divinity.  I am a Goddess.  Thank you, Burlesquercise for giving me body confidence that I never had without you and your vixens!

Thanks for reading this series of posts on body confidence.  My next post will take us back into the spiritual realm where we explore confidence related to mediumship and psychic readings.  Everything we experience in our lives is connected to the overall plan.  Becoming confident in one part of your life means confidence comes easier for everything that you do.