Reflexology & Solar Plexus

Here are some images I took from a foot session I did with Markus over the weekend. As always, his work load as a letter carrier is extremely heavy throughout the pandemic and his feet could definitely use some loving. After the treatment, I did a chakra sweep with the pendulum and found his solar plexus chakra to be active. The solar plexus is an area of the body that is tied to our sympathetic nervous system and we accentuate the reflex to reduce stress and induce relaxation. I placed a citrine crystal on his solar plexus for a short time. I don’t have personal experience with crystals for healing but I feel they make a nice ritual inciting meditation and calmness while allowing focus on an area of our healing. Some people believe that citrine releases negative traits, depression, fears and phobias; perhaps it’s what we make of it.

Markus commented how much better he felt after his treatment and that his feet felt amazing. Prior to his session he was commenting on how unbalanced he felt from a long stressful work week. Reflexology is a wonderful way to reverse fatigued feet and overall stress.

We always pull cards to accompany the session and for this we used the Hierophant (symbolic of learning from a teacher) from the Mushroom Tarot and the Love & Thanks Water Crystal Card. One of the benefits of the sessions in our new place is the never ending hummingbird views. They are always dancing in the windows. Luckily for the client, they get a front row seat of lots of bird activity.

Skin Cancer Timeline of Events

This is a chronological timeframe of my husband, Markus’s skin cancer journey. I have been blogging about it and have been treating my husband for stress using reflexology and diet for calming inflammation. Now that we have surpassed the surgery, we still have unfinished business to deal with and I wanted to voice our concern with how things are playing out.

Summer 2019

July 7, 2019 – Markus sees a walk in clinic to get checked for a suspicious spot has emerged on left cheek and not subsided. It has become a small open wound that has started to bleed. Dr suspects skin cancer and refers Markus to a specialist. Markus waits for specialist appointment.

July 2019 (mid month) – Markus sees dermatologist who suspects Basal carcinoma. Biopsy taken, stitched up, and told to wait 2 months for results. This is much too long for a diagnosis. Markus’s uncle removes stitching while we are in Italy.

September 2019 – Markus sees dermatologist (different from first) for follow up. Biopsy results confirming Basal carcinoma, and is recommended for Mohs surgery as it’s the most effective in removing the cancer as other removal processes have required additional surgeries as it is not as successful in removing all cancer at site. Warning of long wait times. Placed on cancellation list. Told to go to walk in clinic for referral if need to see dermatologist again. Once a patient is in the system with a clinic especially when dealing with cancer, why should they have to get a referral? This is yet another unnecessary step within our healthcare system.

Winter 2020

November 2019 – Markus gets surgery date for Oct 26, 2020, and is put on cancellation list as this is very far away. We are very concerned. This will be a 1.5 years wait in total.

Winter of 2019-2020 – Cancer site goes dormant, virtually disappearing. We feel some relief and relax knowing that nothing serious is happening.

March 2020 – Cancer site begins to wake up. See the walk in clinic Dr as referral is required to see dermatologist again. Clinics are closed due to Covid. We wait.

April 2020 – Cancer site appears to grows larger, bleed and fester. Markus experiences burning sensation at site. Another suspicious area on opposite (right) side of cheek emerges. Markus as a frontline worker endures high stress levels possibly worsening the cancer. He covers cancer with bandaids and orders specialized face gaiters and strong UV protective clothing from Australia but is delayed due to Covid. We order additional back ups from Amazon.

Spring 2020

May 2020 – Early May, send updated photos to dermatologist with festering cancer and new spot on other (right) side of cheek but no response. Contact walk in clinic Dr for urgent phone consultation and referral to dermatologist as clinics are now consulting via phone only, not in person. Dr forwards urgent referral. Receive phone message for a phone consultation for June 10, 2020. This is a months wait, not soon enough. Markus contacts walk in clinic Dr again by phone, Dr agrees it’s urgent and sees it as very serious but there is nothing he can do. Markus continues to send more photos to dermatologist office of cancer changes. Apt gets bumped to June 1, 2020. Still too long of a wait. This causes panic, talk to people in Ontario about how to proceed out of province.

June 1, 2020 – Phone consultation with (a different) dermatologist is very short – a couple of minutes. Dermatologist says that cancer is about the same, is not urgent from what he can see and this doesn’t result in any pressure of moving a surgery date closer as we were hoping. Dermatologist makes off record comment that he’s waited this long, he can wait longer. Markus is told to make an appointment to come in person in a few weeks time if he wants to have the other side examined. Gets hung up on before talking to receptionist to make appointment. Markus calls back to make appointment for a few days later – not a few weeks later.

June 5, 2020 – An opening for surgery is offered (called from the surgeons office) and accepted for June 9 in Vancouver.

June 8, 2020 – Markus picks up ferry pass at dermatologist office the morning of and informs of his surgery and to cancel apt later in the week. Office has no recollection or documentation of the original surgery date for end of Oct, makes phone call to surgeon’s office in Vancouver, about it. That morning the dermatologist sees Markus briefly and sprays a solution on the new spot to bring it to surface as seen most likely as precancerous.

Spring 2020

June 9, 2020 – On surgery day in Vancouver, surgeon is surprised to see how large and serious the cancer is. Says that had he waited for original surgery date that the cancer would have further disfigured his face. Surgeon also wished the dermatologist had not sprayed the other side as now the surgeon is unable to diagnose and treat on surgical day. Approximately 2.2 cm by 1.8 cm of cheek is removed and is pitted deep. Flap approach is used to minimize disfigurement based on the large impact zone. Procedure lasts from 11am – 4:30pm. Markus is left with a very large scar from the corner of eye in a Z shape down to the mouth. Healing will take up to 18 months and scar cannot be exposed to UV rays.

Markus is off work for 3 weeks and is very uncomfortable. Most bothersome is the impacted eye; red itchy and burns as face heals. We are now waiting for his short term disability to kick in. Fingers crossed.

June 15, 2020 This coming week – We will contact dermatologist (and send photos of surgical site) about other side of face and be aggressive about a strategy so that it doesn’t result in what happened to the left side of face. Update: apt is made for 3 months away in September to review new spot.

Spring 2020

July 1, 2020 – We begin facial massage therapy in 2 weeks time and continue this for 3 months or longer. Markus can resume more of a typical life at that point if all goes well. I am enrolled in facial reflexology to help with the facial therapy process. I am also consulting Dien Chan experts about approaching the scar with a specific reflexology technique from a non invasive method.

In conclusion, there were too many problems with this process and we cannot afford to have this happen again. Had Markus waited for his original surgery of Oct 26, 2020 and there not been a cancellation, the situation would have become much more dire, further disfiguring his face and possibly his nose. The local dermatologist failed to identify this, putting Markus’s health in greater danger. We don’t trust our healthcare system now as Markus is at risk for more cancer in the future (other side of face not resolved). We have decided to move to the mainland hopefully in the fall where he can be closer to the expert who performed his surgery and who is requesting to have him follow up with him routinely by email until we can see him in person.

Where do we go from here?

This process has taken far too long and has been unreliable. There should be shorter biopsy wait times, a stronger examination process to determine severity of cancer, removal of referrals and a more timely approach for urgent matters. The cancer grew aggressive during the Covid pandemic when clinics were closed. I undertook a short course at Pacific Rim College to help with diet to calm any inflammation within Markus’s body. This seemed to help at bit as the new spot retreated and the larger cancer site stopped burning.

We have endured a great level of stress and now there’s the ongoing mental toll this is having on my husband. His face will never look the same again and tragically this could have been minimized had it been dealt with in a more timely manner, not a year and a half later. When explained to relatives in Europe, they expressed how unacceptable this is and this would have been taken care of in weeks where they live. This is very hard to swallow and yet Canada is rated as one of the best places to live? The toll this has taken on our lives is another level all together. I plan to take this information to VIHA to see what can be done so this doesn’t happen again to Markus or anyone else.

I want to point out that I am grateful to the Dr. who rallied behind Markus and the surgeon who somehow fell out of the sky when we lost all hope. We don’t know exactly how it happened but we suspect a cancelation due to Covid played in our favour. But it should not have come to this. We are traumatized by the outcome and want to seek compensation for laser scar removal. Our healthcare system desperately needs to be reevaluated and overhauled. I’ll have more to say later…

My case studies are on hold until July while I focus on my husbands health.

Reflexology & Diet

This past Saturday was our reflexology day where Markus is put into a state of homeostasis (parasympathetic mode) aka rest and relaxation. I focused on a full foot reflexology routine, followed by accentuating nervous system and endocrine system key reflexes (solar plexus, pituitary, pineal) with the tuning fork. Markus says he can feel the vibration through the foot and into his body. During our session, Markus didn’t experience any discomfort with his feet since changing up his shoes a month ago; this has corrected issues with tenderness on the feet and knee strain. I always finish with gentle face reflexology and am excited to begin working with some new Dien Chan tools in the near future. Markus choose the dramatic Dolomite mountain range as ambience. After the session Markus felt very relaxed and later became more energized. He always comments on how amazing his feet and lower legs feel over the following two days. This is coming from someone who walks approximately 30k a day on the job, so he really feels the benefits from reflexology therapies.

For this session I choose to work with two cards reflecting on respect and turmeric. The card of respect from the Water Crystal oracle deck was chosen to acknowledge the work he does and highlight respect for frontline workers who are over burdened during the pandemic. The turmeric card coincides with my learning about the herbal formulas for healing digestive inflammation. It seems pretty clear to me now after completing the course on inflammation, that this played a role in his skin cancer. We have since done major diet and lifestyle changes that are making positive impacts in a short period of time. For instance, as mentioned last week, due to the oil change in his body; his feet, hands and parts of his face are softening and more plush.

Markus went gluten free 1.5 weeks ago, and so we have started to bake our own gluten free bread at home. Gluten is a major cause of digestive inflammation and chronic inflammation leads to disease. The next stage will be to remove dairy as dairy proteins mimics gluten and gluten can mimic and bind to connective tissues causing harm aka inflammation. Markus noted that the burning and itching sensations (experienced on a daily basis) with the cancer have slowed down since his diet change 3 weeks ago and completely stopped since becoming gluten-free.

My next stage will be to source and combine up to 5 herbs at one time and make a daily quart; mint, chamomile, fennel, liquorice, plantain, marshmallow – a therapeutic mixture to assist during this diet change. For now we begin with teas with 2+ herbs (turmeric & ginger) as they are more effective combined than on their own. We also use green tea orally and topically to help fight the cancer. For now we work with the following teas on a daily basis. As usual, I continue to create powerful cancer fighting smoothies and meals that are safe for digestion as per recommended by skincancer.org. I am really new to all of this; it’s been a crash course for us both. It isn’t until you find yourself up against such a challenge that you realize you have no choice but to jump right in and do your best. To summarize, the month of May has felt like this.

Since implementing all the changes together (holistic and diet therapies), Markus says he has more energy on his job, experiences less bloating and gas and generally over all feels much better. So everything is working and that means our stress is starting to reduce. On June 1, Markus will be having a teleconference with the specialist in regards to a plan for earlier intervention for the right side of his face as it’s too far gone. My regret is not having woken up to this earlier. Over winter his cancer retreated, confusing us, but now we understand more about the role of UV rays over winter versus summer and diet caused inflammation and its role in disease thanks to the course I just completed. It has made a world of difference. These changes are for life and I am just one step behind him in making all these changes for myself.

Cards: Turmeric of Herbal Tarot and Respect of Water Crystal

Note: I am not a nutritional expert. I am coming at this from a learning perspective to help my husband through a critical time.

Disclaimer: Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Always seek proper medical attention should you suspect you have a medical problemReflexology is not a replacement for medical treatment.

Reflexology & Super Moon

This weekend Markus’s session consisted of foot and facial reflexology. As usual, I used the tuning fork to accentuate specific reflexes. Markus says he prefers the vibration on the solar plexus reflex, just under the ball of the foot. Anything we can do to reduce his stress will help contribute to his body in healing. But we must take it to a deeper level than this. Markus selected cards that were connected to cetacean energy so I pulled the whale card from the Animal Spirit oracle deck in combination with the dolphin card from the Water Crystal deck. Both cards speak of unconditional love and self care. After his session he became energized so we will be moving his next session to earlier in the day time.

Last weeks super (scorpio) full flower moon (phew) brought with it many intense changes for us, ones that I am still adjusting to. Out of the blue, I started to wake up crying, and feeling out of control in regards to how long it’s taking to resolve Markus’s skin cancer. I am personally terrified that he still has another 5.5 months to go before (Mohs) surgery! I felt propelled into action, and made phone calls in order to get a doctor to look at Markus ASAP. A teleconference was carried through and hour later while he was on the job. An urgent referral was put into the dermatologist to look at Markus’s cancer and is scheduled for June 1, still not soon enough in my opinion! Well into spring, he is being exposed to more UV rays than he did over the winter when he had little to no exposure due to the lack of sun, and as a result put the cancer into a hibernated state. But that is not where we are now as it’s been aggressively growing. Things are changing quickly and we need immediate attention. This is of course all happening in the middle of a pandemic!

In order to come at this from the inside (while doctors come at it from the outside), I began taking a course at Pacific Rim College called Systemic Inflammation, Food Intolerance, and Autoimmunity. This course was selected with the help of the College, to help educate me on behalf of my husbands health and how I can contribute on a nutritional level. Since we are unable to see a natural path in person at this time, I am left to pull any resources to do what I can as fast as I can. His surgery is scheduled for October in Vancouver but hope that the dermatologist can move it forward. At least by my learning about inflammation and being given the knowledge tools to help him on some level, I am finding some relief. I literally woke up panicking and haven’t been sleeping well since.

At the beginning of last week, we started Markus on a strict whole foods diet (enriched foods as suggested by the Cancer foundation) and removed all offending omega 6 oils and have upped the intake of rich omega 3 oils to assist with a bodily oil change. I just learned in the course that the root of inflammation and disease begins with an imbalance of oil in the body.We also need to make sure he is getting the required vitamin D3 as it is vital for his health and healing. We are working on getting his lab tests underway through his doctor. These shifts in the body take time though. Next stages will include an elimination diet to remove any inflammatory foods followed by putting trace minerals back into the body via a homemade tea with herbs grown from nutrient dense soil. I will need to locate or source these ingredients here on Vancouver Island. These shifts are permanent changes set in motion for preventing cancer in the future.

The course is helping to explain better my concerns that his diet may be producing an unbalance (very typical of others, eats healthy but not always) and in combination with the over abundance of UV ray exposure on his job as a ‘postie’, have resulted in his cancer. So this course is educating me on balancing the fats, the role of vitamin D, depletion of trace minerals, and bringing attention to the fact that much of the food we eat is deficient in nutrients. Essentially, food must be grown in remineralized soil in order to contain the nutrients we need. At any rate, we will use nutrition to help his body combat cancer as best we can. We have a lot of catching up to do and I have literally been ‘called to action’ to assist through this process. Once services open up again, he will get to a natural path to help further direct his nutritional needs.

Markus holding a customer appreciation rock by a healthcare worker. On the back it says “we’re in this together”

We are also looking at getting Markus moved indoors for work ASAP. He will speak with the doctor tomorrow to get that referral started. By sheltering him throughout the summer, he will remain protected from the UV rays that have been feeding his cancer causing it to accelerate as of recently. Of course the stress load of this job during the pandemic isn’t helping either. His face gaiters finally arrived in the mail and will be covering his entire face up until he is moved in doors. His work load has been unprecedented. The posties are not used to working with such heavy loads for such long periods of time. There are too many aspects to this job that are scaring me.

This has been an incredibly stressful time and I too could use some reflexology right about now. Either way, much has been accomplished in one week and there are several shifts now in motion. This should help me sleep better at night. In addition to this, I still need to complete my case studies (once permitted) and become certified so that I can begin working with reflexology as my job. Although this is a reflexology blog entry, it’s also become an outlet for me to talk about Markus’s journey through the process of dealing with his skin cancer. Hopefully it will help someone else out there, too.

Here’s a resource I found helpful for designing his diet.

Cards: Water Crystal by Masaru Emoto and Whale from Wild Unknown by Kim Krans

Note: I am not a nutritional expert. I am coming at this from a learning perspective to help my husband through a critical time.

Disclaimer: Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Always seek proper medical attention should you suspect you have a medical problem. Reflexology is not a replacement for medical treatment.

Reflexology & Synchronicity

This weekend we focused on the fine details of my subject, Markus, who is very observant with both his eyes and his ears. And so I found it interesting that while I was picking out an animal focus card to use for the reflexology session, at almost the same time he asked for the hawk card, just as I was holding it. And so hawk energy it is!

This past week, his depot participated in a health worker appreciation and a 45 truck convoy made it’s way to the Victoria General Hospital to show their appreciation. You can find some videos of that on Canada Post’s Facebook page. It was very touching to see the cross appreciation of the frontline workers during this difficult time.

Markus’s job continues to be heavily loaded. As a postie, they are seeing record high parcel volumes similar to Christmas time. Except this has been never ending and the weight of the job has definitely been taking some toll on his stress and knees. He has since upgraded to a new style of shoe to see if that helps take some of the impact. Also, people have been more aggressive than usual about receiving their parcels as there are delays due to Covid-19. And so my husband has had to deal with his fair share of difficult incidences on his route.

This coupled with growing and spreading skin cancer (another suspicious spot has emerged on the other side of his face) has been stressful, for us both. We are currently waiting for a variety of face gaiters and strong UV protective clothing that is also stuck in transit. We need to make contact with the dermatologist as soon as they open to alert them to this and see if there is any way to expedite his surgery. He has been waiting over a year and we have another half a year to go. We are discussing phasing out his job as a postie and moving him indoors in the near future.

On a personal level, I have been having more trouble sleeping lately due to the worry and will start to administer stronger more consistent self-reflexology routines for stress and sleep.

For this session, I performed a full foot reflexology routine, some facial massage, used the tuning fork to emphasize the stress-reducing reflex points and applied Reiki to the cranial, face, knees and legs. He felt amazing after the session as well the following day. It gives me some relief to know that I can do something to reduce his stress. When we reduce our stress, we can put our body into parasympathetic mode and that is when we heal ourselves.

Cards used: Masaru Emoto – Cranial from Water Crystal & Hawk from Wild Unknown by Kim Krans

Disclaimer: Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Always seek proper medical attention should you suspect you have a medical problemReflexology is not a replacement for medical treatment.

Reflexology for Stress

Are you feeling anxious or stressed? Is COVID19 getting you down? I find do-it-youself hand reflexology especially helpful when I am feeling nervous at a dentist, on a flight etc. You will find that rubbing your hand feels really good and it also takes your mind off of whatever it is that is worrying you. I specifically love the solar plexus reflex (star). Go ahead, download and try this at home!

Can you name the reflexes? Hint: the brain, the eyes, solar plexus, pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, adrenals and heart.

Advice: Press the star in the centre of the thumb pad and the bolt on the inner side of the thumb (couldn’t get it in the photo).

Disclaimer: Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Always seek proper medical attention should you suspect you have a medical problem. Reflexology is not a replacement for medical treatment.

Reflexology & Responsibility

While my case studies are on hold, I am still doing reflexology sessions with my husband. I am combining all I can (reflexology, reiki, sound) into these sessions to see if we can reduce any of the stress and inflammation that comes with his job. As Markus is an essential service working as a letter carrier for Canada Post, he continues to endure heavy burdens from his job.

Probably the most concerning of all is the skin cancer on his face and is still waiting another six months for surgery (will have been waiting 1.5 years if you can believe that). Now, with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are unsure if his surgery will be on time or delayed. This isn’t good news as the cancer is growing larger and we find ourselves taking measures into our own hands. He is allowing me to document the sessions and share the journey with you.

If you work outdoors, invest in sun protective clothing. Even though Markus has been wearing hats and sleeves, he is now upping the anti with stronger coverage.

Cards include the Wildwood Tarot and the Water Crystal Oracle.