Thalasemia and the reason to live

Heart Diseases, Inner Peace, Mind-Body Connection

A friend of mine suffers from the following ailments:

  • Minor thalasemia
  • Hepatitis B carrier
  • Heart murmur
  • And a host of health conditions that she was not comfortable in revealing.

She was not aware that she had these conditions until she was well into her twenties. A blood test taken prior to a minor operation revealed that she had thalasemia. From young, she had been experiencing fatigue and lack of energy but had never known that she had any health problems.

She had tried everything- all forms of treatment- conventional, complimentary and alternative that she could find or were recommended by friends…qi gong (she had learned a few types), tai chi, sun yoga, taking various supplements, cane exercise, massage, Chinese medication and a whole array of treatments. You name it, she had probably done it. Nothing seemed to offer her long term solution.

As thalasemia is related to the premature breakdown of red blood cells, exercise that promotes oxygenation of the body such as qi gong should be very effective. But for her case, she told me that after each qi gong session, she was so exhausted that she needed to sleep the whole day. In the end, she stopped attending any qi gong lessons.

Working life had been tiring and exhausting. Her bosses and other units frequently assign tasks to her since she was a senior and was experienced. And always being very accommodating. Because her nature was non confrontational, she accepted the tasks, even though she was not happy about them.

No doubt, the diagnosis of thalasemia seemed to provide the answer of her despondent condition. Initially, she just surrendered to her condition. When she finally met a wise teacher who told her straight that her condition had nothing to do with her body, but it is related to her tired heart (not the physical heart but the emotional/spiritual heart), she broke down and cried as she knew it was the truth. It was then that she made the decision to resign and retreat into a quieter way of life.

Her condition got better- no miracle diets, qi gong or special exercises. But living a simple and quiet life away from the demands of her home and under the guidance of her spiritual teacher. She seemed to get healthier and more cheerful.

Have a good reason to live for- not for others, but for yourself.

How thalasemia works is that the red blood cells- the most important component that brings oxygen and nutrients to each nook and cranny of the body….are dying prematurely. Why is that these life giving red blood cells are not well enough to continue to bring the needed life force to a person?

Please do not misunderstand. I am not saying that all thalasemia is due to lack of motivation for living. It does strike innocent happy and active children who are too young to experience these emotions. Even for my friend, she had been having this condition since a very young age. And thalasemia is known to be inherited.

By finding something or a reason to truly look forward to in life- it may not give the full cure.  But our body does work alongside with us and when we have inner motivation, the cells may just live longer instead of dying prematurely.

I remember a few months ago, I told my friend that she needed to find something that would make her realize that her life was indeed worth living. Give her cells a reason to live and to continue delivering life (in the form of oxygen and nutrients and removing waste) instead of dying prematurely. All the while, it was as if she was just going through the motions of life like a zombie and seldom experience real joy or meaning.

My friend agreed with me- she admitted that unfortunately, she still had not found anything that gave her something to look forward to in life.

I then asked her if there were any events in her life that had made her happy or joyful. She thought for a while and told me that indeed there were- even though these moments were fleeting but she had been very happy. Then I told her that these events could be clue to what is it that truly motivates her. Could she plan her life and time around those events or create more opportunities to experience them? She could me she could give it a try.

Today she is more active, talkative and does not look tired or drained- even though when I met her recently, she had a demanding travelling schedule- the type of schedule that would even drain the most healthy individual. She has found joy and meaning in her life. She smiles most of the time now instead of having a depressed look two years ago.

Therefore, a person who have any health condition, especially related to the heart or circulatory systems would first need to minimize stress and avoid being in an unhealthy environment. There is a need to slow, calm down and learn to relax and quiet down the mind, literally for life’s sake. Take time to reflect and figure out on the missing link- find out why we have been put to this earth for or what’s our life’s calling is.

Then stop going through life like a zombie- be an active participant. Give it time, slowly…there’s no rush. Change will not be overnight- so don’t stop any treatment till the doctor is comfortable that the body’s condition has improved.

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