|Places Of Inspiration Audrey's Story
|Audrey?s story. We are very grateful to Audrey Brown for her courage in writing her extraordinary testimonial, which she has done to offer hope and help to others. It highlights powerfully, how a Sickle Cell sufferer?s life is devastated by their disease and yet is full of hope as she explains how the Full Circle techniques have helped her cope with her disease:
My name is Audrey Brown. I have Sickle Cell Disease (HbSS). In 2003 my consultant, Dr Bevan suggested I try the meditation and relaxation techniques being offered on the haematology unit as he thought they might be able to help me. I was desperate to find a way to control my pain and anxieties and also I'm very aware of the side-effects of my medications, especially, morphine, I don?t want to take morphine unless I absolutely have to. I was in a lot of constant pain, I had asthma, recurring chest infections and because of all of this I had a lot of admissions for chest crisis. I had learnt, because of the pain, to shallow breathe but it caused my recurring chest infections and made my asthma worse. Because of all of this I had difficulty sleeping due to the constant pain, fear and my stresses in life.
The positive effect from even the first Full Circle session I had was immediate. I learnt to relax for the first time in my life. I learnt to focus on where the pain was, to go into myself and help myself relax. It helped me to sleep so I didn?t even need sleeping pills after that! I used to be tense all the time, crying a lot and resorting to painkillers and a lot of tablets. It helped me now as I realised that I finally had a skill that I can do to help 'me' rather than depending on more and more medication and feeling so hopelessly out of control. It is the only reason I have been able to cut down dramatically on my morphine and other painkillers.
Now I?ve learnt to pinpoint every part of my body and keep it relaxed. I have been able to completely change what happens when I feel a sickle cell crisis starting. Before, I had no option. As soon as I felt the sickle cell pain starting I would get more and more angry, very tense, I became so miserable and so upset; the awful soul destroying anticipation of the pain that was coming. I would take a small amount of morphine (which takes 1 ? 2 hours to start to work) all the while the pain would increase and I?d be literally writhing about in pain, curled up on the floor, panicking because I know how much more pain is still in store. I would get to an hour like this and think "oh no, the morphine?s not working" and take more and every hour until I could stand no more pain and have to call the ambulance and go to A&E. I would be so stressed by this time and in such agony that I would just want whatever and however much painkiller I could have just to stop the pain. People, just can?t understand why you can?t wait anymore, they can?t feel how much agony you?re in.
Now, when I feel a sickle crisis starting I use the time differently. I make myself lie down immediately on the bed (I?ve even asked my son to remind me if I?m in a panic and he knows to also help me to remind me to do my breathing exercises). I lie down and with all my effort I do my abdominal breathing and focus on the pain and breathe it out. I don?t stop focusing. I stay doing this and for 1 ? 2 hours the pain gets no worse and slowly reduces. I can last for 4 ? 6 hours before needing any other painkiller! I've done this now for 4 years ? so I can say it works.
Nobody?s ever showed us an alternative and I worry a lot about what morphine is doing to my system, the damage it's doing and I'm desperate to reduce what I take if I can. Our mind?s are such a strong organism and I do believe our minds can make sickle cell worse or better depending on what choice you make at the time of the start of the crisis or even as a prevention at times of stress. If you can control, can learn to control you then have a choice. You have to want to do it, you have to put you mind to it but if you do - it?s worth it. If you can control your levels of stress ? stress is the key in sickle cell you can help yourself.
Since I learnt the relaxation and meditation techniques in 2003, I've not had another chest infection, nor asthma and only one admission a year for sickle crisis rather than every other month as it had been for 17 years! Considering how often I was being admitted before and, since 2003 I?ve been managing very well myself. I can say that in learning the techniques I've learnt how I can help myself and manage the onset of a crisis with much less morphine and painkillers (which is very important to me). I keep it under control so I don?t end up in hospital.
Learning these relaxation and meditation techniques has helped me in my own life too, when I feel a crisis coming on, I deal with it, I control it and recover like I never knew how to before.
I wish this could be taught early on in life to us sickle cell patients and certainly regularly too, it could help us learn to control stress.
Because of what I have experienced I am happy for my name and letter to be used if it will help others with sickle cell disease or actually I think any other disease or serious stress.
A special thank you goes to Dr Bevan for making this referral for me, it has given me a skill that helps me have a life which I?ve never been able to have before with my disease. Thank you.
Return to Top