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Into Sky: A Tale of Somatic Release

I’m growing a wing. More accurately, the wing that’s always been there, atrophied and flightless, is finding freedom. Strange as it sounds, my shoulder is being liberated from guarding my body where a surgeon cut my belly open when I was twenty-six days old.  Somatic release!

Amazing. Check this out. All day every day, and mind you while I sleep, I hold my right shoulder slightly forward in deep tension. This protective posture is one of the ways I learned to cope with the trauma of surgery without anesthesia. Often, I hold my breath when my shoulder is unconsciously brought forward. I’m in some weird state of suspension, frozen in place. When I finally do breathe, it’s slight, my breath barely expanding my diaphragm. As an infant, I must have tried desperately to mitigate the pain by minimizing body movement. Remember, generally, no pain control was given for infants cut open in America in the ’50s, so I did what I could.

This early pattern of tense holding affected my whole body. Since my right shoulder was bent inward, my left hip was often out of alignment. If I tripped or fell or lifted something too heavy, a cascade of painful events was set in motion–pain below my left knee and up the side of my thigh, a knob of tension swelling in my left rear hip, pain in my lower back, and then neck and right shoulder pain.

So the other day, after one more stumble and cascade of pain, I decided enough. My chiropractor’s wisdom was key here. When I told him about the connection of my somatic pattern to early surgery, his response helped me realize that though the body memory was deeply entrenched, it could change. He said that it made sense that the right side of my body would lean forward in an attempt to protect myself from injury. Then, he showed me exercises to extend my back legs and shoulders outward to counter the protective position. Somatic release!

And what of the left wing?  I forgot about her.  You need two wings to fly, she informs me. Ok, got to get her on board. It feels like too much to do. But then I hear my next thought: Can’t wait to lift off.

 

A Must-Read Book for All Early Trauma Survivors!

I’ve just discovered my new bible–the book that explains me to me perfectly. Louis Tinnin, MD and Linda Gantt, PhD’s The Instinctual Trauma Response & Dual Brain Dynamics: A Guide for Trauma Therapy is THE book to read if you want to understand all types of early trauma: invasive medical procedures and infant surgery without anesthesia, sexual… Continue Reading

Some Quotes and Responses, Having Finished Reading Groundbreaking Article

As it turns out, finishing the Anand and Hickey article, “Pain and its Effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus,” was relatively easy. The bulk of the chemistry and the neuroanatomy was contained in the first half of the piece, on which I reported in my blog post Feb. 10, 2013 “Just Above Water.”  I feel relief and pride… Continue Reading

Just Above Water: Reading Revolutionary Research in Pediatric Medicine

I’m sitting in my well-let living room on a Sunday morning on a hard folding chair, hoping both the light and non-comfy seat will keep me on task: reading the seminal article “Pain and its Effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus” by Dr. K.J.S Anand and Dr. P.R. Hickey published in the New England Journal of Medicine in… Continue Reading

Infant Circumcision–"An Unnatural Reality"

Robert Clover Johnson comments below on my previous post, dated January 21, 2013, about Robin Grille’s article “What Your Child Remembers–New discoveries about early memory and how it affects us.” I want to thank him personally for having the courage and taking the time to share his experiences and his knowledge with us. He is… Continue Reading

Cause of Pyloric Stenosis? Prevention? Who Cares!

I just finished reading an article “Centennial of Pyloromyotomy” in the Journal of Neonatal Surgery by Dr. V. Raveenthiran, a pediatric surgeon with SRM Medical College and Hospital in Chennai, India. Since 2012 was the year to celebrate the discovery by Dr. Conrad Ramstedt of the Ramstedt procedure, a surgical technique which saved my life as an… Continue Reading

Thank you, Surviving Infant Surgery blog (SIS)

I am extremely grateful to Fred Vanderbom, blogger at http://survivinginfantsurgery.wordpress.com. He continues to offer top notch information to those of us whose lives have been impacted by infant surgery. By researching medical articles on this topic in the US, Europe, Canada and around the world and interpreting this material for the lay person, he offers… Continue Reading

Understanding Infant Surgery: Explaining Ourselves to Ourselves

I’ve been listening to an Audio Course “Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality” in which Dr. Robert Sapolsky, a scientist from Stanford University, discusses some of the latest discoveries in neurobiology. In the lecture about two nuerons (brain cells) communicating, he said that Curare (the drug that was typically used in the… Continue Reading