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EXPRESSIONS—Post #2: Life is about choosing to evolve with whatever is.

The Realization of Ones Higher Self Through Massage, Wellness, and Shamanic Healing

A Blog by Robert Baittie, Owner, LMT, and Shamanic Practitioner at Giving Back Massage of Barrington

2011 to this point had already been a tumultuous year. And my stress was gradually mounting. The economy was struggling and the ripples of that crisis were reaching my business. When a bad economy hits business, advertising, marketing and design budgets are generally the first to get the axe. I had been through this before in 87 and then later in the 90s but this time things took on a different flavor. For the first time I had my business accounts coming to me asking me what sacrifices I could make to help strengthen their business. The one position of strength I always held during these periods was the size of my business. I was a small "boutique" design firm and as such carried minimal overhead and usually looked attractive to companies that were dumping their large firms in the hopes of streamlining budgets. The downside during these times? The size of my business. I was now doing all the work myself, having had to let my only employee go when the economic downturn took hold.

My oldest daughter was in college and my youngest daughter was finishing her senior year of high school and solidifying her commitment to a University as well. So to say money was top of mind at this time with the thought of two in college in 2012 was an understatement. And our economy just was not cooperating.

I needed to keep one step ahead.

Oh, but wait! That's right. My step seemed to be a little bit "off".

As I mentioned in my previous post, around August of 2011 the first sign that something was physically wrong for me was the slowing of my left leg on the treadmill at the gym. But it didn't stop there. About this same time I started to take notice of additional oddities.

Every so often when walking my left foot would catch on the carpet. Not enough to make me fall, but enough to make me take notice and stumble a bit. Additionally, in my haste to maneuver my way through the house I would periodically "misjudge" the corner wall and slam my shoulder into it jarring me back into a sense of reality.

Now my spiritual side would find humor in this. I could easily imagine a loved one who had passed on getting a chuckle by making me take that off step that drove me into the wall, or their spirit pulling up the carpet just a tad to catch my foot on. There are a lot of comedians in my family that have moved on and it wouldn't have surprised me at all if they were at work behind this. On more than one occasion I recall myself blurting out loud, "Not funny!", to which I imagined one of them on the other side laughing and saying, "Yeah. It really is!"

But as time went on, I stopped laughing.

By September of 2011 the stumbles, and the miscues started happening with more frequency, (not daily but definitely enough for me to take notice) and along with it new maladies began to emerge. The next was a stiffness that took over my left hand. It felt as though my hand was physically swollen but to the naked eye nothing was apparent. My fingers were hard to bend and inside them was a general ache. I would use my good right hand to exercise the left, grabbing the fingers and flexing them back and forth, back and forth. Strangely, after going to bed each night, I would wake up in the morning and they would feel much better. I could move them effortlessly. But after a half day in the office typing at the keyboard, my fingers were as stiff as could be again. Luckily I am right handed so the majority of my design mouse work at the computer was done with my right hand not my left, but my typing was presenting problems.

Next came my left shoulder. A soreness in the rotator cuff that was becoming bothersome at night. There wasn't a way I could lay in bed that I wasn't awoke by the discomfort. Now I'm still trying to work out with regularity at the gym mind you, so I'm thinking I didn't learn everything from the trainer on proper technique as I thought I had. Maybe this was an injury from lifting incorrectly.

So at this point in time not only have I adjusted speed on the treadmill, but I'm reducing the amount of weight work I'm getting in too.

I'm slowing down.

Yet ironically, just like a car getting up there in miles, the problems seem to keep coming one after another with greater speed now. Tingling (paresthesia) in my left hand down to the fingers. Tingling in my left foot. Simultaneously I am starting to experience what I would describe as feeling less "grounded" when I would walk, a state somewhere between feeling light-headed and dizzy.

Then in October came the wake up call I needed to say enough was enough and to get myself to my Internist.

I had pulled into a McDonalds on my way to work to order a cup of coffee for the commute ahead. And as I tried to speak the words I had said so many times before, "One large black coffee please", the words came out a jumble. "Un Lah Bwa Kaaf" I stopped myself and tried again only to hear the same result come out of my mouth in what sounded like the most alien voice to me. My heart raced and I composed myself and tried for the third time and with success placed my order. I honestly was frightened. I pulled over into one of the parking areas and assessed myself to try and judge if I was having a stroke. But for all appearances I now seemed fine. Sitting alone in my car repeating the same order over and over and over with no mistakes. All arms work, all legs work, no facial changes. I'm fine.

But I'm definitely calling my doctor.

By the time I see my Internist I am armed with a list of symptoms as long as a football coaches playlist. I'm experiencing periodic heart palpitations and a feeling like muscle trembling every time I use my muscles. Often in the simplest of ways. When filling the dog bowl with water, the heavier the bowl would get, the more my hand would start to tremble. Stretching when I arose from bed in the morning would send the muscles in my body into a shiver. Simply trying to turn over in bed and resting on one arm would cause the muscles in that arm to shake. The parasthesia (tingling) was now becoming transient moving from my left side to my right and I was no longer working out because by the end of a full day at the office I was completely exhausted.

"The Dr. will be in shortly"

There I sat alone on the exam table in the Drs office.

His walls were adorned with the usual brochures, charts and props that explain various diseases. I had actually worked on some medical promotions like this stuff from time to time in my design business. I found myself walking his exam room looking at the educational aids both critiquing the design work and educating myself medically.

What about Hyperthyroidism? It has a lot of my symptoms. They're all listed right here.

MS? Possible. Although I had had an MRI some 5 years previous during a bout of stress headaches and everything checked out fine.

Parkinson's? Could be.

And after barraging my doctor with my symptoms once he entered the room, I led with just that last prognosis. "What about Parkinson's?"

To which my doctor replied, "Gee. You're sure jumping ahead on this."

I've long been a believer that when it comes to medicine and your individual medical care, you have to be your own advocate.

And never in all of my experience would that become more true than right then.

The next 4 months would be a myriad of specialists and tests ultimately leading me to clarity and resolution.


I hold in my heart that the people we meet and encounter in our lives all serve a purpose and are part of a greater plan helping us navigate our way through this life. You never know who may hold that next opportunity, special gift or answer for you.

I do know I have many to thank for helping me ultimately get the answer I sought.

More to come.

Present day post script. The above example of my exacerbation of symptoms during that particular time of my life is a prime example of what many people deal with on a daily basis. The incredible power of the mind and particularly our thoughts have the power to keep you moving forward as well as the power to stop you dead in your tracks. Part of my work with clients in my present day practice is to help my clients learn to identify unhealthy thought patterns and how to change them.

If you are interested in learning how Shamanic wellness sessions can make a difference in your health and your life journey, please give me a call at 312.813.2530 or email me at


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