Meditation & Health #13-Osteoarthritis, But Pain Free
Osteoarthritis,But Pain Free
By Katherine Black, Vancouver
What’s Wrong With Me?
Before I came to the Bodhi Meditation Center. I had lost all hope. I had been working as a nurse, but I had to quit work after a series of debilitating physical injuries. I did heal from a broken toe, a torn rotator cuff (that took three months to diagnosis) and a broken wrist, but I was left with muscle spasms that ran from my butt to my foot. My instep was raised two inches and ached. I had chronic nerve pain. My body ached and I was tired. I couldn’t think straight. I felt useless. I wanted to disappear. The doctors sent me for an MRI and to a neurologist. They did panels of blood work. Wos it Multiple Sclerosis? ALS? They found nothing.
The chronic pain and discomfort was so bad that I could only sit for five minutes. Then I’d have to stand up or lie down. If I lay down, then I couldn’t turn over. I’d lie half on my kle, half on my stomach, known as the recovery position in medical terms. That’s how I’d sleep. I had to sell my manually operated car and buy an automatic because I couldn’t push my leg down on the clutch to change gears. Walking was also a concern. Speed bumps felt like they were mountains, curbs were a navigational phenomenon and stairs, well, they were the biggest challenge. I thought perhaps I was having trouble walking because I’d just had the cast removed from my left leg (for the broken toe) and was unbalanced from the torn right rotator cuff.
On International Women’s Day in March 2013, I went with my acupuncturist (who had helped with my rotator cuff) to the Bodhi Meditation Center where he was going to share his gift. I was to help him set up and fetch what he needed, but I didn’t help him. Instead, the Goan’ healers helped me. I sat beside a woman who was patting her body all over. I found that fascinating. When I looked at the clock, I realized that I’d been sitting for more than my usual time. I hadn’t fidgeted or changed positions. And I had no discomfort.
After attending my first 8.5-Day Health & Happiness Retreat and a Chanting Retreat, I was walking well enough to return to work. I was so determined to return to life. But I was still depleted of energy and running on empty by not continuing the gift of Bodhi Meditation. I was tired and so weak that eight months after returning to work I fell down the stairs and broke my wrist. Again, I couldn’t walk. The nerve pain in both legs and the muscle spasms were cruel.
After three years of declining health, I asked my doctor, “Why can’t I walk?” The doctor said, “Go around the block and have on X-ray done right now.” I did. But it took me a long time to just walk around the corner. I came back in tears and stood waiting for the results because I couldn’t sit down. “How are you?’ he asked. “Tragically hip,” I joked (Tragically Hip Is a Canadian rock band). It turns out I was right. “You have severe osteoarthritis,” he said. “You need a double hip replacement.” I had no cartilage covering the ends of the bones that form the joint. When the cartilage erodes, bone rubs on bone and range of motion is limited.
I returned to Bodhi Meditation and completed Level 2 in April 2014. My hips are back in alignment, my instep has dropped, the spasms are minimal and the nerve pain is gone. I can sit down and, although not as graceful as o ballerina, I can walk without pain. I tell my doctors that I practice meditation and the walking meditation Energy Bagua. They can’t believe it.
I received a blessing from Grandmaster JinBodhi during his visit to Vancouver in the summer of 2014. I had been asked to tell my story to the gathering of meditation practitioners. After I spoke, Grandmaster JinBodhi hugged me. When we broke apart from the hug, my fingers didn’t want to let go of his back. I felt the energy field so profoundly. Then he blessed me and slipped a bracelet on my right wrist. As I floated back to my cushion, people waved and reached out to touch me. I was in a daze. Blissful. I will always remember the loveliness of passive floating. Later, people asked, “Did you hear everyone cheering?” No. I didn’t hear a sound after Master’s hug. I had disappeared into a cocoon of sacred peace. When I got home, my husband Erland said, “Look at your eyes.” I was glowing.
During one of the dharma lessons, we were given homework: Thank someone. I was going to thank my husband Erland, but when I entered our house, he handed me a cup of tea and said he was going to pick up dinner. The kitchen was clean, the dishes were done. It may have been my homework, but it was Erland who practiced gratitude by doing something kind for me. Both of us have changed, even though he has never been to the center.
My mother-in-law lives in England. She has kidney and heart failure and thought she would lose her leg because a wound wouldn’t stop bleeding. I lit a candle for her at the center. She called three days later. I could hear in her voice that her pain was diminished. She said her wound stopped oozing. I asked her when. “Three days ago,” she said.
That’s what happens at Bodhi. I don’t know where I’d be mentally and physically if it weren’t for Bodhi Meditation. I now feel like I have a chance to live life to its fullest and to help others. If it can happen to me, it can happen to others. It breaks my heart that someone may not receive this gift that Grandmaster JinBodhi offers freely. It’s not something that can be bought. That’s why it’s important to share our stories.