Once it becomes clear that something is testing our patience in regard to health or wellness, exploring the discomfort can happen in a number of ways. The phrase Testing 1,2,3 is most often used in testing audio equipment to ensure that the audience can clearly receive broadcast messages. In this second installment of “T” is for Testing, we’ll explore three areas to consider when seeking clarity through testing.
1. Medical Testing – An important thing to remember when exploring any health challenge is that it may take some time to discover the biological reasons for uncomfortable symptoms. One of the very best tools western medicine offers is the diagnostic process. For those experiencing dis-ease of any kind, medical testing can be the key to healing. A specific diagnosis can result in treatment protocols to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and in some cases cure illness or bring about remission.
Sometimes patients are reluctant to engage in testing for fear of a diagnosis that would lock in a negative pattern or stigmatizing label. This is totally understandable. Denial is sometimes useful until it results in declining quality of life, pain, or an increase in life-threatening symptoms. When this happens, the scientific process of testing is a useful one. The process begins with willingness to acknowledge and explore uncomfortable symptoms. Recording symptoms in a journal or calendar can help when it is time to talk with healthcare providers. It’s a good idea to bring a written list of troubling symptoms and an updated medication list to the appointment. Providers will use that information to determine tests that are most useful for diagnosis and treatment.
While medical tests can be so beneficial, there are problems with over-testing in our healthcare system. Unnecessary medical tests drive up the cost of healthcare and can be hazardous to our health. Most reasons for ordering diagnostic tests are relevant and valid, but some fall within a grey area. This article in Very Well Health describes ways to avoid unnecessary medical tests. One way to be proactive is to talk with your provider about the test, its possible side effects, what data it will yield, and how the data will inform future treatment protocols.
2. Metaphysics and Energy – Another way to explore health challenges is through testing different theories as to why a condition exists on a metaphysical level. Those who seek in this way can refer to books by author, and cancer survivor, Louise Hay. Her book, You Can Heal Your Life and Bodymind by Kenneth Dychtwald are handy resources to discover meanings related to physical symptoms. These offer various ways that life can test our patience, agency, or ability to process. Exploring metaphysical applications for illness should be undertaken with compassion and with the understanding that seeking in this way is meant to reach into the emotional or spiritual dimensions for healing. Conclusions are not intended to confer blame or shame for physical conditions. Here are some examples that give meaning to physical conditions per Ms. Haye:
- Vision issues – I’m not seeing something clearly (about a situation in my life).
- Digestive issues – I’m not able to digest (process) something that happened my life.
- Neck pain – That situation (or person) is a “pain in the neck!
Meanings discovered through this method can be used as journal or meditation prompts for personal exploration, or as a starting place during traditional talk therapy sessions. Some discoveries may lead to unresolved traumatic events and feelings of panic, anger, or grief. To safely reframe deep trauma, it is best to seek assistance from a psychologist, counselor, or other professional trained and certified in the preferred therapy. There are several effective therapies available to transform deep trauma including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE).
Energy Medicine may also be of use to discover and reframe trauma. Reiki, acupressure, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and flower essences such as the Bach Rescue Remedy® and others are examples of energy medicine. Resonance Repatterning®, Thought Field Therapy(TFT)™, Emotional Freedom Technique(EFT)™, and the Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT)® are some that can be self-directed.
Whether using medical testing, metaphysical theories, energetic explorations, or all the above, it is important to remember that cause does not always equal effect. Just because a test result indicates an incurable problem, there are times when “miracles happen” and there is a cure. Similarly, when a test result indicates a curable problem, the condition may not respond to the known remedy, or respond at all. This does not mean that efforts in testing (medically or in metaphysical pursuits) are a wasted effort. It is always useful to seek balance and wellness. If a cure or the healing desired is not the result, we can look again, test again, explore again. That is the way of the human spirit.
3. End of Life Tests – At the end of life’s journey patients in declining health may begin to question medical testing as it becomes more cumbersome to endure, or increasingly painful. It is within a patient’s right to decline medical testing and request hospice care. In the United States, hospice is a Medicare supported service with several eligibility guidelines. If the guidelines are met, hospice service is available to everyone regardless of age. Some testing may be necessary to determine if the patient’s life expectancy is less than six months.
When medical tests yield a poor prognosis, a provider may suspend further testing and recommend hospice care. Within our healthcare system physicians receive limited training about how to deliver this kind of news. The focus in medical school, after all, is on avoiding death and curing disease. The National Institute of Health has recognized a need for improvement in this area, and published The Physician’s Guide to Talking About End of Life Care. In addition to helping medical personnel with these important conversations, the material is also useful for patients, family members, and caregivers.
During the year that Wayne battled for his life while treating an aggressive brain tumor, he engaged in a wide variety of western medical tests, interventions, and metaphysical explorations. His goal was to “feel complete every day, just in case”. The medical tests and treatments provided him with a year of life he saw as a bonus. Metaphysical inquiries helped him to find inner peace. Energy medicine practices supported his quality of life. By the end of the journey, the tumor’s location severely limited his ability to speak, but he was still crystal clear in his thinking process.
When Wayne received the news from a compassionate physician that he could undergo more tests, but they would unlikely reveal favorable treatment options, he managed to say, “there comes a time.” Later, at home in hospice, he said the word “complete.” The time for medical tests and seeking metaphysical messages was over. He moved gracefully into the time of trusting the dying process, his caregivers, and the mystery of what lies beyond death’s door. We followed his lead, learning along the way how to hold space and let go. His journey, and the crash course in learning about the value of hospice care is what inspired me to dedicate my life to Further Shore’s mission.
To conclude this section, remember that medical diagnostics are useful to gain clarity about uncomfortable symptoms. Be aware of excessive testing and ask questions as to side effects and direct relation the test will have for healing and quality of life. Exploring the metaphysical emotional and/or spiritual messages linked to physical symptoms can spark insights for healing imbalances and trauma. In final days, there comes a time when the need for grace, peace, and comfort will override the need for tests and exploration. Part III of “T” is for Testing will post on Saturday, April 1st.