My annual trek to Sanoviv is always a highlight of my year and this year was no different. How could staying in a hospital be a highlight of the year you may ask? Well, Sanoviv is a very different kind of hospital. It is a place filled with love and a unique energy that is vibrant and hopeful. It is a place where people go to receive healing instead of just "medical procedures."
The differences are noticeable immediately. First of all, when I am normally admitted into a traditional hospital, I go through the doors and go to the admitting office where I sit across the desk from a nice or not so nice person who stares at a computer and pounds the keyboard while asking question after question without looking at me. Then a bracelet with my medical record NUMBER is placed on my wrist so the nurses and doctors will be able to identify me. I am then taken to a small, sterile room where I refuse the paper thin gown they offer me and wait (sometimes hours) on a plastic bed for someone to come in and take vitals, do a whole medical history and give me a sort of game plan. I am used to this and I'm not complaining, it's not that bad but when I compare it to first getting to Sanoviv the differences are striking.
At Sanoviv I drive through the gates into one of the most beautiful settings on the planet. The landscaping is pristine and lush and as the shuttle driver pulls up in front of the building, my "coordinator" (who will be available to me my whole stay, scheduling all my treatments and handling anything that needs handling, they are incredible) rushes out to greet me with a welcoming hug. They insist I leave my bags, they will take them up to my room for me and then they take me to the amazing kitchen where Fransisco and Jorge- the cooks greet me with hugs and ask if there is something they can get me, some raw nuts, a protein shake or some fruit. They all call me by my first name, there will be no wrist bands here... Then I am taken to my deluxe room, I am not special, everybody has a deluxe room with an ocean view, a marble bathroom, an amazing King size bed with all non-toxic organic bedding and an attached guest suite in case of visitors. The closet is equipped with my comfy wardrobe for the next two weeks: non-toxic organic t-shirts, shorts and sweats and a robe to lounge in or wear to the pools.
That is only the beginning of how the experiences differ from each other and I will not go in to all of them specifically but I'll just say that when I arrive at Sanoviv, I am filled with excitement and hope and determination to take it all in and let the healing begin!
I am always frustrated that I didn't take enough pictures when I get home so this time I tried to document a whole day. Of course by the middle of the day I started slacking so I still don't have all the pictures I wish I could show you but hopefully the ones I have will give you an idea of how a normal day goes, (don't worry, I promise no COLONIC shots!):
At 7:00 am I wake up and do my breathing treatments (this is when I get my scripture study in too!) Also a step out on my balcony to welcome the new day and take some deep cleansing breaths.
Then I head to the Nurses station to check my vitals and pick up my morning meds. This is the view from the Nurses station...not bad!
I then head to the kitchen for a delicious breakfast, either a yummy avacado/lime protein shake or eggs and veggies. I neglected to take a picture of breakfast but after breakfast I wait in the living room for my doctor. While I wait, I work on the puzzle. It is one that all the patients work on together while we are waiting for our various appointments!
I think I found one!!
Then I meet with my Doctor. She is so wonderful. Our meetings are daily and can last more than an hour. Can you imagine? Talking to your doctor every day for as long as you need to get all your questions answered?! It's awesome and something I have never experienced at a traditional hospital. The catheter on my chest is a subclavian catheter and was put in on my first day. It is how I got all of my I.V. therapies and ultraviolet/ozone treatments while at Sanoviv.
Then down the hall to the lab for some blood work
After my blood work I head back upstairs to the Nurses station for blood ozone treatment...if you are squeamish about blood you may want to skip this photo : )
After a treatment like that I get pampered with a relaxing spa treatment. Today it was a non-toxic manicure and hand/arm massage with a parafin wax treatment to top it off. NO polish, just trimming the nails and cuticles, a good buffing and lots of massaging : ) My hands were baby soft after and my nails were so shiny!
We are all encouraged to get some good vitamin D while at Sanoviv by finding time to sit on our balconies and enjoy the sun. Most days it was difficult to find even 15 mins. of free time for this indulgence but this day I made it happen.
The highlight of my trip by far was getting a visit from Harrison. He came for a few days and was the hit of all of Sanoviv, everyone loved him! His favorite thing to do there was cuddle mommy and listen to music. We did this several times together while he was with me!
My days consisted of many more treatments and lots of wonderful healing green juice, wheat grass, fresh food, meditation classes, yoga, energy medicine and functional medicine, I.V.'s etc. etc. Two weeks is a very long time and although I love being at Sanoviv for the healing I receive, it can be very intense (especially the detoxing) and difficult. Being away from Harrison was the absolute hardest part and many tears were shed just because I missed him so much and ached to be with him. I could not have done this without Ryan, my mom and Ryan's parents. Ryan and my mom took turns being with me and staying home with Harrison and Terry and Linda also had Harrison for part of the time. It was a major team effort and I am more grateful than I can express. Whenever I would feel down about being away from Harrison, my mom would remind me that I was doing this for him, that he needed me to be as healthy as possible and that gave me a lot of strength.
My hope to be with Harrison and be the best mom I can be to him really does give me the strength to keep fighting this disease and Sanoviv is a big part of my fight. I am grateful for a place that treats my whole being: my body, mind and spirit. I always come away from there not only feeling stronger and better physically but also with new insights and inspiration and motivation to take it one day at a time, enjoying the healing journey I am on and truly appreciating every day and every breath. I am so blessed!