Cancer. It’s like a curse word, I resist saying it. I have a tumor, I say. Two, now, actually. I had a teacher in chiropractic college who used to say, “Name your children and your pets - the ones you love and want to keep around, not your illnesses.” So I am careful not to say “I have cancer.” I don’t want it to become my identity.
But then I think of all the head injuries I’ve had (a ridiculous number). And the chronic infections, like Lyme, in my brain.
Sometimes I say that I won the brain lottery, having had not only brain infection but brain herniation outside the base of my skull - and countless concussions since then. And navigating the healing process through these indescribably difficult challenges HAS become my identity. My identity as a healer, as a sherpa of sorts for others navigating health crises.
But this. This feels like a failure. I have often cited the statistic that “1 in every 3 women in this country gets cancer - and I’m not trying to be one of them!” Yet here I am. And then I listen to my own words repeated over and over when I teach about the neuroscience of trauma + chronic stress. That fight-or-flight alarm mode actively suppresses the part of the immune system that fights infections and cancer. That held tension physically changes body-brain signaling to maintain a constantly elevated alarm response (even during sleep). And of course it makes sense with all of the injuries I’ve sustained. 🤦🏻♀️
This is the urgency with which I share with anyone who will listen how crucial it is to unwind the layered patterns of tension. Because, as my father pointed out to me, my brain is constantly bombarded with mechanical alarm signals from the three herniated discs in my neck (and one in my low back), from the squished bit of brain coming out the base of my skull compressing brainstem and blocking fluid flow, from the taut tension in my spinal cord from flattened spinal curves, from fascial adhesions restricting full ribcage expansion (hello deep breathing, what’s that?), and from subluxations in my spine (stuck joints that I rarely notice because the ones around move too much - actually meaning that they, too, send alarm signals). It takes YEARS to unwind and heal in a way that feels safe (rather than forcing everything loose such as by intense massage, PT, etc).
And this is nothing to speak of stressors in food and personal care products (which I’m more careful of than most). Or electromagnetic radiation from cell phones, wifi, and bluetooth in my car. And of course there is spirit, emotions, beliefs. Dissonance in these energetic influences are often the thing holding stored physical tension in place.
At the end of the day, though, our bodies can heal - better from the inside out than from any outside in approach we have found to date. We each went from a fertilized egg to trillions of cells that all know what to do in a perfect symphony. And this includes a tremendous capacity for self-healing and self-regulation. So when I consider the sheer amount of stressful triggers that constantly bombard my brain, I double down on the urgency of unwinding the places where I have bound myself.
We splint and create layers of held tension when we don’t know how to process something in the moment, when we cannot simply ‘roll with it’ and instead feel the need to freeze as a protective defense. And that is totally valid! But it’s imperative that we consciously soften those places, sooner than later, so they don’t perpetuate this fight-or-flight alarm response and force the brain + body to sustain survival mode for months, years, decades.
So I will continue to dive deep and focus on unpacking every corner of stored tension in my body. Every place where I have pushed something down for lack of ability to process it in the moment. And I will continue to feed my brain healthy movement signals to temporarily compensate for those bound places which starve the brain and instead trigger alarm mode.
Because we CAN measurably support a stressed out brain with movement. It’s the best way I know how, and I’m sure it’s why my bloodwork is still good, why my doctors tell me that I’m ‘the healthiest sick person’ they’ve seen. It’s why I’m certain that I will heal from this, too.This is also precisely why I created the Fascial Flow Method™ exercises + bodywork to feed the stressed brain, and the NeuroFascial Integration™ fusion of chiropractic, cranial, yoga, fascial release, and energetic work to sustainably help the physical and energetic body move through the process of unwinding.
I often say that magic is just science we don’t yet understand. And it appears to be my life path to experience massive health challenges through the filter of a mind that insists on understanding the science of healing from the inside-out so I can share it with all of you. So it is my deepest hope that this inspires you, creates some sort of “aha” moment, or at the very least creates a sense of connection.
Because one of the biggest ways in which we “splint” is to separate from others when we feel pain. Which is ironic, because isolation can be extremely stressful - feeling like you are going through difficulty alone. And one of the powerful things about email, social media, and the internet is the opportunity to connect us when sharing authentically. So I am here, sharing a bit of my story, letting whomever needs to hear this know:
You are not alone. ♡
Satya Sardonicus, DC, CACCP
Champion of Human Potential
Founder | Chrysalis Studio PDX