Ujjayi breathing in my back yard.

About a month ago, I woke up with a dry couching spasm and felt an inexplicable heaviness, as if there were a steel weight inside me, dragging me down. I subsequently had some difficulty breathing, in what felt like an asthma attack from days of yore, when I had severe and chronic respiratory health issues. Given the Coronavirus pandemic, the hysteria surrounding it, and the fact that I’d had a terrifying experience with pneumonia just last year, almost to the day of when this coughing spasm started, I was frightened.

Fortunately, given a lifetime of living with and healing from various chronic health issues – not the least of which has been cancer – I had an arsenal of self-care strategies at my fingertips, as well as a stash of immune-boosting supplements that could carry me through a few weeks, while I back ordered the ones that had flown off the shelves along with toilet paper. In addition, I had a cadre of trusted integrative and holistic medical practitioners in place, to call for guidance – one of whom told me it sounded as if I had a mild case of Coronavirus.

Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. Regardless, I’d not only churned through the healthcare system myself, over the course of two decades, but I’d also taken care of and advocated for my mother for 11 years, as she went in and out of hospitals and nursing homes, with a number of life-threatening medical emergencies. Given my intimate acquaintance with the underbelly of American medicine, which is the third leading cause of death nationwide; given the overload at doctor offices, emergency rooms, and hospitals, and therefore, the increased risk involved in entering the medical system during this time; and given the importance of social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic, I chose to simply stay at home, take the precautions I would take if it were in fact Coronavirus, and practice self-care.

Among other considerations, I’d gleaned this wisdom, through decades of experience with the medical establishment: 1) Freaky things can happen from routine medical procedures. 2) If the information gleaned from a test won’t change the course of action in treatment, there is no point in subjecting myself to the test.

The on-call doctor for my primary care physician – who is the one who accurately diagnosed me with pneumonia over the phone last year, and who this time thought I had Coronavirus – advised me to add a new supplement to my roundup, Quercitin, and additionally prescribed me the controversial hydroxychloroquine. In addition to having someone pick up that supplement and Rx, I emailed my integrative oncologist, asking for his input on taking hydroxychloroquine. He said that it should be fine in small doses, but advised me to hold off on taking it, unless and until the symptoms became severe.

Meanwhile, here’s what I did, to practice self-care, as per my own intuition and the guidance of my integrative oncologist. I offer this protocol to you, in case it is helpful in your own self-care.

I took a heap of vitamins and supplements.
I took a combination of mushroom supplements, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, elderberry, colloidal silver spray, and echinacea spray – some as part of my usual roundup of vitamins and supplements for healing from cancer, some as added boosters.

I used natural cough syrup and lozenges.
I had a stash of natural throat lozenges and cough suppressants, as well as natural cold and flu cough syrup. I used both, at the onset of a coughing spasm.

I got ample rest.
I began sleeping about 10-12 hours a day, allowing my body to wake up when it was good and ready, instead of waking up with a blaring alarm clock. I also got in heaps of extra cuddles from my boyfriend, who was a hero, refusing to leave me and go back to his place, Coronavirus or not.

I drank copious amounts of tea.
I drank Yogi Tea and Traditional Medicinals brands of teas, both the immune-boosting and cold/flu formulas, with local raw honey. I also drank what I referred to as my “witchy brew” of tea, prescribed by my primary care physician, for all upper respiratory conditions. Here are his ingredients and instructions: “Use fresh or dry Basil, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, along with 2 whole Cloves and fresh squeezed lemon and/or lemon zest – Boil, Steep, Strain and serve with local honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper if so inclined.”

I ate probiotic foods.
I ate kimchee and yogurt, to optimize my gut health.

I inhaled essential oils in boiling water.
I boiled water, then put a couple drops of various essential oils in it, then inhaled deeply – which led to coughing and clearing out my lungs. The essential oils included eucalyptus, thyme, basil, lemon, pepperment, and sage.

I made an essential oil salve.
I blended jojoba oil with the same essential oils listed above, plus tea tree oil, and slathered it on my chest. In addition, my boyfriend rubbed it on my back, which further opened my lungs.

I used a vapor mist with essential oils.
I put water and Himalayan sea salt into a vapor mist machine and added the essential oils listed above, which moistened and brought those healing scents into the air.

I continued my nutrient-dense diet.
As per the usual, I ate a whole-foods, plant-based, organic diet – among other things, drinking about one quart of fresh-pressed vegetable juice daily.

I received heaps of virtual love and prayers.
I am part of a private Facebook group for people healing naturally from cancer. The members are not only well-informed and knowledgeable about healing, but also deeply caring and supportive. I shared my symptoms and fears, and in response I received hundreds and hundreds of comments packed with guidance, love, and heartfelt prayers. Love and prayers are among the most powerful forms of medicine, and I immediately felt better, as the caring responses poured in from around the world.

I practiced ujjayi breathing.
I started practicing ujjayi breathing, which opened up my lungs, and on top of all the other measures, was the turning point in my healing. In my life experience, obstacles are opportunities, when approached with the right mindset. In this case, the experience of respiratory distress led to me reintegrating a daily yoga practice, which I hadn’t done for many years – in turn leading me back to an invigorated daily dance practice, after an extended period of feeling lackluster about it all.

Note to readers:

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In addition, over the past year, I have been reworking my life so that I can offer to everyone the benefit of my own journey of healing and transformation. If you would like to find out more about it, read My Grand Healing Adventure. If you would like inspiration and guidance on how to self-heal and implement mind-body-spirit practices for stepping into your greatest Being, contact me for any of the following:

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