I woke up at 3am screaming in pain. My left shoulder was in agony. The pain radiated front to back and into my breast.
Of course it was the breast cancer side.
My mind raced at possibilities I didn’t want to think about.
I was struggling to breathe, and my ear felt like it was full of fluid. The pain was so intense that it made me cry and scream. It took over an hour to get it calmed down enough to lay back down.
It was the weekend. All day Saturday I waffled between wanting to go to the hospital to get some relief and wanting to wait until Monday and see my regular doctor.
Breathing was still difficult, but the pain was bearable, so I decided to wait and see my doctor.
One of the benefits of living in a small town is that my doctor is accessible. I called at 8:00am on Monday morning and was in her office by 10:00am.
She told me I looked like crap. Which I did. Not only was I unable to breathe and in pain but I had been spending too much time worrying about what might be causing my symptoms.
And the nurse had scared me. When I was telling her about my symptoms she quite calmly said, “Looks like you will be getting a tour of the local hospital.” I obviously looked quite terrified at her statement. She quickly calmed me by telling me that is where I would go for x-rays.
She was right. The doctor sent me off for chest x-rays. Our local hospital is very small, and I was in an out in 20 minutes.
By 2:00pm that afternoon the doctor had called with my diagnosis.
I had Pneumonia.
Seriously Universe? Now I have to have pneumonia? And on the same side as my breast cancer?
After allowing myself a small pity party I turned my attention to treatment. The doctor had prescribed antibiotics, which in this case were needed. But where there are antibiotics there must always be probiotics!
Plus I must attend to the energy that is causing this issue. The energy of the lungs is grief.
It is uncomfortable but I have to unpack the grief that has set up in my lungs.
What is pneumonia?
Medically, pneumonia is an infection that sets up in the air sacs of the lungs. The air sacs can fill with fluid and cause difficulty breathing. Other symptoms can be a cough, fever and chills.
It can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening. It is more concerning when it happens to infants and young children. People over 65 and those with health problems or weakened immune systems are also at higher risk of complications.
A variety of organisms can cause pneumonia, including bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Pneumonia can also be a result of other illnesses within the body. Long term Covid-19 can set up into pneumonia as well as a prolonged hospital stay for an unrelated illness.
How do you treat pneumonia?
In western medicine the treatment is antibiotics. Since the majority of pneumonia is bacterial, antibiotics are the first course of treatment. Anti-virals and anti-fungals are used when they have been identified as the culprit.
My doctor offered me a prescription for cough syrup, but I declined. Instead I told her I was using my own homemade remedy of onion honey. It works great and is much more natural.
Other natural remedies include:
- Staying Hydrated: extra fluids are needed to help recovery. Additional fluid intake can help thin your mucus. Thinner mucus will allow you to breath easier and make it easier to cough up any mucus settling in your lungs.
- Echinacea Tea: a medicinal plant known for its ability to strengthen the immune system. It is also effective in relieving body inflammation, muscle pain and general malaise.
- White Willow Tea: very strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. It helps to fight headaches and relieve fever.
- Thyme Tea: used for treating cough.
- Ginger Tea: strengthens the immune system and reduces pain. With the addition of a little honey and lemon it also reduces cough.
- Focus on Breathing: breathing in and out with focus can reduce breathing difficulties. It can also reduce the anxiety that comes with pneumonia.
What about the energy?
I’ve worked with so many women over the years that have struggled with lung issues. And with each one I always start with the same question, what are you grieving?
Lungs hold the energy of grief. That’s why when we are upset and crying hard, we struggle to breathe. It’s also why when the spouse in a long-term marriage dies the surviving spouse often struggles with pneumonia.
Louise Hay in her book “Heal Your Body”, identifies the emotions of pneumonia as depression and grief. Tired of life. Not feeling worthy of living life fully.
As soon as my doctor told me my diagnosis, I began thinking about what grief I am dealing with in my own life. And I found plenty.
I’m grieving the days before I became a cancer survivor.
I’m grieving my old life. It’s not that I’m unhappy here, but I still don’t know my place.
I’m grieving being away from my friends. Yes, it is easier than ever to communicate electronically these days, but nothing can replace an in-person hug.
I’m grieving for the division that has happened in our country. I wish we would be nicer to one another.
I’m grieving for people that are impacted by war.
I’m grieving for women’s rights that are being taken away.
If we look hard enough there is so much grief that it can be overwhelming. But that is part of the healing process, both inside and out. We have to look at our grief, work through it and release it.
The first step is admitting that we have it. So here goes…
My name is Melanie and I am grieving.