Eastern Medicine Helped Lead Me to My New Life:
There comes a time in all of our lives when we have to sit and take stock in what we have, what we’ve lost, what we’ve gained and what we are moving forward towards. Along with that, we all need to take time out and remember to thank those who have been there for us, especially in the darkest of hours.
In the spring of 2009 I was given a second life test. My first test came to me in the form of Bacterial Meningitis in 1992 which cost me my left leg below the knee but allowed me to see how powerful my own inner strength was. This new challenge was, without me knowing it, a true test of that strength at the highest level.
When the neurologist sat me and my trumpet teacher, Laurie Frink, down to deliver the news that because of this very rare neurological disorder, Focal Dystonia, I had to think about putting the trumpet down and find a new career, I was crushed. (For those who are confused; I studied the trumpet and music all my life and played professionally from the age of 17. I was a successful Musical Director and trumpet player for major cruise lines, Broadway style shows and travelled the globe with my music up until this date.) The reason the doctor said I should think about ending my relationship with the trumpet was because this disorder could progress and move into more of my facial muscles causing loss of speech and affect my ability to chew and eat. BUT, there is always a chance that things can change and there is was a chance to somehow find a way to heal. This news was devastating and if you were to put the day I was told I was going to lose my leg and this day side-by-side, I would say, they would be equally as tough and life changing.
I fell into an out of control tail spin at this time and thankfully, before I did too much damage, I found solace in the form of friends, family (from a far) and the new guidance I was to receive from Michael Ishii at Stonewell Acupuncture, here in NYC. Never before did I think I would seek the help of acupuncture for such a rough spot in my life. Thankfully Michael knew that I could beat this and in the process make a transformation which would allow me to live a life of pure happiness and acceptance of my new life.
The process wasn’t easy. It wasn’t hard either. It was, as the theme of this blog has become, a challenge. I never like saying that things in life are “hard” because the word alone comes with a feeling of defeat. Being able to see things as challenging invokes a feeling of wanting to win, to conquer, to overcome. It was during my sessions with Michael that I really began to see the power of seeing the obstacles in my life as challenges and seeing those challenges as opportunities to better my life. The process was both physical and emotional with the emotional part dominating much of the first couple months. The process of acceptance to my new life without music, which I felt defined me as a man, was one of the toughest both physically and mentally. I would beat myself up about it, but the process Michael and I went through allowed those beatings to lessen and eventually go away.
Every treatment session felt like a re-birth in a sense. I would lay on the table as Michael would ask me about how I was feeling and how I was dealing. At the same time he was reading the signals and figuring out how best to treat me. He had this keen ability to tell how much I could take on any given day. We started off with one session a week and slowly moved to two as I was able to open up more and more.
At the beginning there was still hope that I could return to music, and I am sure Michael did everything he could to help me through that. But, there was a point where, without saying anything, I think I told him that I wanted to let it go. I was tired of feeling the guilt and the shame of my loss and I was ready to move on, to accept where it was my life was going. From this point on, my treatments got me stronger and stronger with myself and with who I was becoming. I was no longer the fearful man who felt like he had lost what defined him as a man. No longer was I allowing myself to forget the fact that a painful childhood experience didn’t stop me. I was allowing myself to see that the pain, loss and challenge I experienced as a child helped protect, fuel and inspire me and to recognize that everything was going to be OK. Not only was it going to be OK, I was going to come out on-top, with a full head of steam in the right, positive direction.
There are many times in this blog that I thank people for all of their help and support over the past few years. Many times I list them as part of my team. I always make sure that I mention Michael Ishii at Stonewell Acupuncture, but I’ve never had the opportunity to properly introduce you to him. So here it is. I am happy to say that Michael and his acupuncture treatments allowed me to go through this process as peaceful and as healthy as possible, eliminating as much of the negative junk that any of us could get into, considering the circumstances. He allowed me to heal, evolve, transform and move forward into my new life. Through his help I now see a life that is full, even without music, something I thought would be impossible. I never want to and I never will forget my music; it was my love, it was my passion.
Today I carry that passion with me in my new pursuits, each and every one of them. Today I use that passion and put it into bringing joy and inspiration to each and every person I meet who needs boost. I hope to inspire and encourage through my new found ability that Mike helped me discover which is to look at life’s challenges as opportunities; we take what we are given and Run With It!!
Thank you Mike for your friendship and guidance; I will always be grateful.
For more info on Mike and his practice at Stonewell Acupuncture you can visit: