Episode 30: Dr. Ginny Orenstein, Part 2

Listen in to Part 2 of Lauren’s interview with Dr. Ginny Orenstein (Dr. of music!) of @EatPrayLupus, who healed herself of lupus SLE, rheumatoid arthritis, two benign brain tumors, and stroke with Medical Medium Anthony William’s protocols for diet and lifestyle. Not only has Dr. Ginny been able to tackle her own health concerns, but after a major cardiac event her husband has also joined her on the journey to wellness through MM…and has seen remission of heart damage, diverticulitis, diverticulosis, and a diseased colon. It seems the stuff of fantasy, we know! Tune in for this real-life story of renewal.

Key links mentioned in this episode:

Dr. Ginny Orenstein – Eat Pray Lupus

Eat Pray Lupus on Instagram

Medical Medium

Join us as Ginny shares…

  • that, in the beginning of her recovery, she was in a devastating car accident – and didn’t flare. She attributes this to MM
  • that 1 year after starting MM protocols, her brain tumors were gone – and there was no sign of her having had a stroke
  • that she surmises MM protocols saved her from spinal surgery post-accident. She applied protocols specifically for inflammation and spinal health
  • that she sets alarms throughout the day to remind her to pause and breathe
  • that her husband was dead for 46 minutes after cardiac arrest, and doctors found his main artery was 100% blocked and the bottom muscle of his heart was so damaged, it would never heal – but whatever he’d been doing the last few months (MM), it had saved his life
  • that at this point, Ginny decided her hubby was going fully on the heart healing protocols from MM
  • that 3 months into MM heart-healing protocols, her hubby showed signs of healing in his heart – and that based on this success, his doctors estimated that 6 months later he’d have no signs of prior cardiac concern
  • the role of Reiki, meditation, and mindfulness in her daily life – and how she learned these lessons from MM
  • the importance of boundaries in mindfulness – and in removing toxic influences from our lives in every way in order to facilitate healing
  • that healing foods are meant to unblock you – and that once you’re unblocked, then you can begin to heal
  • the importance of self-advocacy, and how she learned it as a chronically ill patient – and on MM
  • the importance of community in chronic illness
  • that she was initially told by doctors that because of all the medication she required, she couldn’t risk pregnancy – and now that she’s almost off all her medication, she and her husband can begin to try for a baby. Wish them luck!

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Ginny’s journey to health, then and now (bottom right)

Ginny: I was leaving my new neurologist’s office, and we got into a car accident — and I couldn’t move. A disc had slipped out of my C4, C5 in my neck, and I couldn’t move my left side. So they rushed me to the hospital, and they were so afraid I was going to get into a lupus flare from all of this. They were watching me very carefully; I didn’t flare. And luckily, because it was in that neighborhood, my neurologist was there also. And he said, “Might as well … CAT scan, MRI … we’re going to do it right now just to see your neck and everything and see if it did any damage to your brain.”

So they did an MRI and CAT scan — and my tumors were gone.

Lauren: So this is is within how long …?

Ginny: One year.

Lauren: One year on Medical Medium … two brain tumors were gone.

Ginny: Two brain tumors were gone!

And the brain disease? Didn’t even look like I had it.

Lauren: So you reversed all the damage that had been done?

Ginny: Yes, from the stroke.

Lauren: So when you were doing all the Medical Medium stuff, your focus was on your lupus …

Ginny: Lupus and the brain tumors.

Lauren: So this completely cured them. Part of me doesn’t have the brain capacity to understand how this kind of miracle happens. But it’s amazing, the more you tell us about your story and your husband’s story, you guys have had some really bad luck.

Ginny: Well, I’m not even done with my husband’s story yet!

Lauren: Oh, I know. But it’s amazing to me how … a huge part of me really wants to really believe that nobody gets or has to face something that they can’t handle. You had one thing on top of another. This goes way back to college and your dad being sick and losing one of your best friends… to the present day, when you’ve been through a divorce, you’ve had stress in your relationships, your husband loses his job, and then you’re in this car accident. It’s like one thing after another!

Ginny: When does it end?! (laughs)

Lauren: There would be some people this would happen to, who wouldn’t survive it. The positivity that you’ve had to cultivate and teach yourselves throughout this whole process. And the patience, and the kindness, and the generosity to oneself … all of these things have been such a big part of it … and it’s such a testament to the fact that the emotional element is just as important as the physical. Really embracing this change has completely changed your life around.

Ginny: Absolutely.

Lauren: Preach! Preach! Take us to church with the rest of this. Or to temple, I should say! (laughs)

Ginny: Yes! Back to my husband’s story … he wasn’t completely into the Medical Medium … he was doing what I was telling him to do, to help with his gut stuff. So then we get to … I am now healing with Medical Medium, with my accident stuff. So, trying to bring down the inflammation … it turned out I didn’t need surgery, it slipped back in on its own.

Lauren: And you think that was from the reduction in inflammation in your diet?

Ginny: Oh yeah, that’s from Medical Medium. I basically applied the muscle health, the nerve-muscle-inflammation health. So it was constantly researching.

Lauren: You also knew where in the book to look, because you were so familiar with it.

Ginny: Exactly. And for those of you, also go into the Index, and look up your symptoms. You can also Google ‘Medical Medium’ and your symptom, and it will pop up for you. For those of you, if it’s difficult to read because there’s a lot to read and when you have lupus fog and brain fog, it’s really hard. So you have that option. So, since we got his gut health better, they finally scheduled his surgery for September 6. We get to that date, they’ve reversed the colostomy bag — and then he’s bleeding profusely. He lost 10 units of blood — when our bodies normally have 14 units. He was on blood transfusions, and that was like a Wednesday or a Thursday …

Lauren: So you’ve both experienced how amazing it is when people donate blood, as well.

(Tinkling sound)

Ginny: That is my alarm, to breathe. I do have alarms throughout the day, to help me to pause, and to breathe.

Lauren: I love that!

Ginny: So, he was bleeding profusely, and that Friday, his attending doctor said, “We have to move you to the ICU because the nurses’ union only allows them to check on a patient once every four hours over a weekend.” So they moved him to the cardio-vascular ICU; he’s still bleeding Saturday. Sunday, his bleeding finally stopped. And then he’s complaining about chest pain. And the nurses say, “It’s from your medication, acid reflux maybe.” I stayed with him till 8.20 that night, because it was September 9 and I wanted to get home to meditate at 9pm … 9.9.9, right? Plus, his aunt was going to be there; she came, because at that point, we were basically running shifts. Because of what happened previously, for his first surgery.

We didn’t want him to be alone; we all wanted to advocate for him.

She told me she was going to be at the restaurant right down the street, so I said, okay. I went home, and as soon as I sat down to meditate, my cat jumps on me — which she never does — and then my phone rings, and I look at it, and it’s 9.02.  I’m thinking, this is weird … so I answer the phone and it’s this woman.

She says: “This is the ICU nurse. Your husband went into full cardiac arrest. We have been trying to revive him for the last 20 minutes. Can you come down to the hospital right now?” It was surreal.

Lauren: Telling the story, you’re emotional.

Ginny: Yeah! Coming out of this meditation too, because I go in deeply. I was in it for two minutes, and it just didn’t dawn on me … oh my God, my husband’s dead … right now. So I leave and I go down to the car and I back out … and what’s interesting is that my aunt lives next door and she has Ring security and she’s seeing me on her phone … while she’s at dinner down the street.

Lauren: She sees that you’re pulling out, and she’s thinking, what is going on?

Ginny: Yeah, why is Ginny getting in her car? Why is Ginny calling me right now?? Because I thought to call her first, because she could get there first — because she was literally two minutes from there. So then, she gets there and this is ere of Rosh Hashanah, the evening before the Jewish New Year, and his parents were in temple at the time.

Lauren: So you couldn’t reach them.

Ginny: I could not reach them. My husband sings in the choir every year; this was the first time he was missing it. And what’s crazy was, that night the rabbi decided to do something completely different. He started the service with a Mi Shebeirach, which is a prayer for healing. And they called his name out. So everyone in the temple was praying for him. And across the way, our friends that we had met on this program called Honeymoon Israel … 20 couples, we all went together, we had a blast … they were also doing the Mi Shebeirach and praying for him at that time.

Lauren: Because you guys had scheduled it?

Ginny: No. They were going to do a dinner …

Lauren: So this was all simultaneously occurring?

Ginny: Occurring at the same time.

Lauren: You couldn’t have planned it better.

Ginny: Right! So, as I’m driving to the hospital, his dad finally calls me, and I tell him what’s going on. And he’s just … we all couldn’t believe it. So, I get to the hospital, and I run in and I see him dead on his bed. I could hear him flatlining; you can see them with the defibrillator, shocking him, and they’re doing CPR on him. They broke all his ribs.

Lauren: And he’s a big guy, too, your husband, we should say … to break all ribs, you’ve been doin’ some CPR.

Ginny: Oh yeah. So, this is now, like, 30 minutes into it. And I’m just watching, and praying to everyone I know on the other side … please, bring him back. And literally, by the 46-minute mark, he comes back.

So he was dead for 46 minutes.

They were working on him for that long. He was on the other side; he had his whole death experience. So when he came back, they immediately intubated him because they had to find out what happened. Why did he have a heart attack? He’s 36 years old. They found out his main artery was 100% blocked, and the cardiologist said that there was so much severe damage to the bottom muscle of his heart that it was never going to heal. And he also said, that whatever he was doing in the last couple of months saved his life. So they – as my husband loves to put it, Roto-Rootered – his arteries! (laughs) And then afterwards they put him on a portable life vest, so that if something ever happened to his heart …

Lauren: It would shock him. And there are people who have these devices implanted, so he was just on the temporary vest thing?

Ginny: They were going to implant it, by December, and I said, “That’s not going to happen. You are going to do the Medical Medium heart stuff, and we’re going to make sure you’re not going to have the heart surgery to put it in.”

By December, they looked at his heart and they said, “Wow, your heart is healing.”

I took the supplement list, the heart stuff, and I sent it to all his family … “This is what he needs to do. Make sure he eats this way when he goes out with you guys.”

Lauren: It sounds like your families are both really supportive of you both in that way; they show up.

Ginny: Yeah. In some ways! 

Lauren: Gotcha!

Ginny: Like, his dad … super, super supportive. He would go to Costco and buy the healing foods for us. Super supportive. And so, with his heart health, now applying it to him every day … he was all in with the Medical Medium stuff, thankfully.

Lauren: He had seen how it had helped you!

Ginny: Yes, plus his death experience made him wake up.  He said, “Yeah, I really need to do this.”

Lauren: Was he living a particularly unhealthy lifestyle before this? Was he deep into the standard American diet?

Ginny: Yeah, pretty much. He liked fried foods, pork.

Lauren: Bad Jew! (laughs)

Ginny: Bad Jew! (laughs) Not kosher at all. Meat and dairy together, all day long! And plus, he had a pretty hard life … he was a talent agent … there were a lot of pretty stressful things he had to go through in his life. Which I’m pretty sure also led to that. And so, after December, the cardiologist looked at his heart and said, “Wow, you’re healing.” 

Lauren: Even the bottom muscle?

Ginny: Even the bottom muscle. Which he said was never going to heal … was healing.

We saw the cardiologist just a few months ago, and at that point he said, “In six months, it’s going to look like you never even had a heart attack.”

Lauren: Unbelievable. Because your husband has committed to this change, he has also turned his life around.

Ginny: We are proof that this stuff works.

Lauren: And you’re two people with totally different bodies and totally different symptoms. You are practicing what Anthony William preaches, and here you are, healing. It’s just incredible.

Ginny: I just want to say, it’s crazy because he’s not a doctor. He’s just a medium. He says it’s not him. Obviously, it’s partly him because he is able to deliver the message. 

Lauren: And this is where it gets kinda woo-woo for people.

Ginny: It gets woo-woo for people.

But I’ll tell you, when you’re so sick, you are desperate to do and try anything and everything. And that’s where I was at. I was also kind of, ‘I don’t know about this spiritual stuff!’ But I was desperate to heal, and I said, ‘I’m going to try it.’ And I tried it, and it was working.

So even if you do or don’t believe in the spiritual aspect or the woo-woo stuff, just do it!

Lauren: Look at the science. Look at the MRIs. It’s really amazing, isn’t it? And what I love is that you also, in this process … I know this because I follow you on Instagram … guys, follow @EatPrayLupus on Instagram, which we’ll link to on the episode page … but one of the things that you talk about is that you also received spirit from a very young age, and you were taught to deny that aspect of your personality. But going through this experience with your health, connecting it to your spirituality, made you re-open those pathways for yourself and let that back in. So you really have become your whole self, and have returned to self, and that’s what that restoration part of this whole process is for. And I just think, that what you’ve been through, not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually, it is just absolutely incredible. You do not hear stories about this every day. I want you to be on Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday and have Oprah jumping on a couch … because it’s just so incredible! And, look, everyone’s going to have varying degrees of success with different approaches to their health — be that mental, physical, or spiritual — but the fact that you have had such success, that you are able to speak to the protocol and your experience with it, is just … And thank goodness there are people like you who are sharing about that and saying, “Look, it worked for me, so it might be worth a try?” So, we’ve talked about your health, and we’ve talked about your husband’s health, and we’ve talked about how you’ve gone back to work … how are you now balancing the demands of work and life? And how is your husband doing that? In this fast-paced world we live in? Taking into account all the lessons you’ve learned from your healing journey, how do you find that balance? How do you strike balance? I suppose because you’re working in meditation and Reiki, it’s a bit easier access, right?

Ginny: And wellness consultations.

I think, going through this process, you then begin to find yourself wanting to be of service.

And so throughout my process, coming to it as a professional musician … I always wanted to bring music to the world, to bring healing in that way, through music. But then, having to let that go because of the rheumatoid arthritis, it kind of opened a doorway of the unknown. And I think I just embraced that unknown. And when you embrace the unknown, you find your own balance.

Lauren: I think that’s really beautifully said. 

Ginny: Because everyone is different, everyone’s balance is different. So when you do that, and you find your own balance … for me, and especially for my husband who has gone back to work — he’s director of technology, so it’s a big job … it can be stressful, and he’s on call 24/7 … for him, it’s just making sure he’s eating the right foods, that he’s taking his supplements; I give him Reiki.

Lauren: It’s handy to have a Reiki practitioner in the house!

Ginny: Exactly! I give him Reiki, and it’s about giving each other space and finding that balance.

Lauren: And you have each other for support, which is wonderful. That’s a really good lesson … if you’re going through something like this, and you have a partner. Your husband had to sort of do it with you eventually, right? But if you have someone who can do this with you from the word go … it’s hugely helpful, isn’t it? And obviously it has deepened your relationship, because the two of you are even more solid than you were before … with everything you’ve been through.

Ginny: Absolutely!

Lauren: It’s just gorgeous.

Ginny: And with me now, finding my balance, it’s basically just doing one thing at a time … one client at a time … and just allowing myself the space to give my client the attention that they need. And also with ways that I can help them with the healing process. So if I am able to focus on ways to give myself that space, then I can give them that space. So it’s about really finding ways to be kind towards myself. Those alarms I hear throughout the day remind me to breathe, to meditate. I can even send Reiki to myself, that’s a thing that I can do. There’s a breath work playlist that I can send to myself. So it’s just finding things throughout the day … Oh, I should say another thing …

… setting boundaries is a big thing, especially setting boundaries on media — even social media — the news, anything that’s negative and toxic. Because I feel, if it’s big enough news, I’ll hear about it.

Lauren: It’s really interesting the way we’ve been conditioned to consume information. And not just information … food, too. 

Ginny: Yes! All the things we consume. And bombard us. And you know what’s really fascinating … I watched Game of Thrones for the first three seasons, and then I thought, I cannot deal with this anymore. It’s too violent. And then I said, I’m just going to watch the last season …

Lauren: (laughs) Well, not very many of us were thrilled with the last season – well, the ending, anyway! Let me tell you … the ladies got shafted … spoiler alert!

Ginny: (laughs) So, when I watched the last season, it was the “Bells” episode … you know, the one with the big battle?

Lauren: Yeah, the huge battle at King’s Landing … spoiler alerts, guys!

Ginny: So, when I watched it, I was sobbing! That has never happened to me before. I have cleared out so much of that stuff out of my life. All the violent stuff, anything media-related … that contained that negative energy. And when I watched it, I was shaking uncontrollably, and sobbing.

Lauren: Yeah, because it was so confronting.

Ginny: Feeling the suffering.

Lauren: Well acted, so you’ve got to give them credit for putting together a great program.

Ginny: Right. Well, it’s just that idea of war.

Lauren: Well, normalizing it. I think that’s what we get with the 24-hour news cycle … we’re just so used to … ever since the Vietnam War, when we had constant access to carnage, we’ve become desensitized to violence in a lot of ways. It’s on TV all the time. I was watching an action TV show last night … for sure, there were people and blood. You’re right, we do become desensitized. It doesn’t mean you have to stop watching it, but you have to be mindful.

Ginny: I do feel that …

When you get rid of that stuff, and you set boundaries — on anything toxic — it really contributes to your healing.

Lauren: And that’s not just the physical symptoms, or just the food you’re putting in your body …

Ginny: It all works together.

Lauren: Everything in your environment.

Ginny: And I do think with Medical Medium, the healing foods are meant to unblock you.

And once you become unblocked, then you can really heal.

Lauren: On every level. 

Ginny: On every level.

Lauren: You talked a bit before about going to the doctor in your 16 years of trying to get a diagnosis and get treatment. Can you give us any particular anecdotes from that time — or even now — when you’ve had to tell people about how you’ve felt? If you’ve been confronted, and have to justify what was going on for you, so that other people could see it, or understand it? Are there any particular experiences that stand out for you, that we can laugh about now?

Ginny: Oh, I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus! (laughs). 

Lauren: But that’s another thing … maybe we don’t dwell on that negative stuff, maybe it’s just … those were just things that happened?

Ginny: You know, the way I perceive it, is: they’re hurting. They’re in a lot of pain. And the only way for them to express it is for pain to come out of them, for hurt to come out of them. 

Lauren: And it looks like judgment.

Ginny: Yeah, it looks like judgment. So all I can really do is wish them well, and just send them love. And just be kind.

Because kindness is true power. It really is. Just imagine if everyone in this world were truly kind, to themselves. That way, they can be kind to others. It would be so different.

Lauren: It would be so different. There would be no greed.

Ginny: No issues really.

Lauren: That sounds so lovely! Can we start a commune?! (laughs)

Ginny: A kindness commune!

Lauren: So, we talked about the advocates you’ve had on your journey. And we’ve touched a little bit on the work you’re doing. But I’d love for you to tell us a little bit more about how your experience has turned you into an advocate, and how it’s turned you into a healer of others. Tell us more specifically about everything that you’re doing now, and how you’re helping the chronic illness community.

Ginny: I joined Instagram in 2013, and I was kind of sharing my life trying to be an entertainer. And once I started to … I had the lupus diagnosis and I started reading more about it …  I wanted to find a community out there — because …

I lost a lot of friends through this process … it’s not for everyone and I understand, and it’s okay.

It totally is okay. They have a lot going on in their lives, and you can’t expect them to be there for you — and get angry about it.  So, I decided that I wanted to find a community on Instagram — and I did. There was a really awesome chronic illness community out there. So I thought, I’m going to share my lupus journey.  I did Goodbye Lupus protocol and I did all these other things, and I was sharing that, and the failed kind of a thing … and then after that, when I found Medical Medium and it started working, I thought, I need to share this so people know they can heal from this.

Lauren: It’s what you say … you go through something like this and you realize you want to be of service to others.

Ginny: So that’s where the advocacy really started to push. Because I was healing, my husband was healing, and I just wanted to help people. Because I felt so alone in my own journey — losing the friends, even family members — you know, they just had their own thing going on.

Lauren: Yeah, they didn’t have time to get it.

Ginny: I was reaching out, finding those people who were also in the same situation as me, connecting with them, building that bond. And then, starting to advocate that this was working.

So, I think for me it’s just showing kindness; that’s my whole jam. Kindness and courage. And so I just wanted to give that space to other people who don’t have that in their lives. I wanted to be that person that I didn’t get to have; I wanted to be that person for them.

Lauren: And one of the things you do now is consult with people.

Ginny: Now I do consulting. During those two years, I was doing it for free. All those people I helped, who are now doing better … I was just kind of doing it from the kindness of my heart.

Lauren: Training yourself!

Ginny: Training myself. And then, as I was seeing results — people were getting better and they were sharing with me — I thought, this is what the universe wants me to do!

Lauren: Isn’t it amazing. When you start listening to what the universe is trying to send you … and I mean that in the most woo-woo kind of way.  When you finally hear it, things start coming. It all just comes to you. It’s all so easy, isn’t it? It’s amazing how you go from fighting all the time … to suddenly, abundance.

Ginny: Yes! 

I’m really grateful for the opportunity to be able to help people.

And what you’re doing with this podcast, how you’re helping people. We’re here to help.

Lauren: When she said that, she was looking at the mic, as if she were talking to people out there. Guys, we’re here to help! And if people want to get in touch with you, you’re based in the LA area. But I’m sure you also do long-distance stuff, too?

Ginny: I do. I have clients in the Philippines, Africa. Australia.

Lauren: So you really work with people across the board, and people can find you on Instagram … I imagine that’s the best way to get in contact with you. Because I found you on Instagram, and I said, I’d really like to have you on my show. We connected over email, and here we are! It’s amazing, I’m having more and more interviews where I say, “I met this person because of Instagram!” But it’s amazing, the community out there. And when you’re finding people who are creating quality content, whether that’s the intent or not, as you say … it takes, as you say, courage and kindness. And I think that’s really beautiful. I guess, you and I are people who spend a lot of time talking about chronic illness. How important is it that we keep talking about it? And is talking part of the “cure”, a way to break down the stigma around it? 

Ginny: Oh yes, absolutely. We have to!

Lauren: We have to shout it from the rooftops!

Ginny: And you know what’s interesting … I get some interesting comments about what I share, from people. 

Lauren: That’s also one of the wonderful things about social media, isn’t it! (laughs)

Ginny: And you know, it’s people in my life…and I get it … what I share, it’s not for them.

Lauren: They don’t have to look at it if they don’t want to.

Ginny: Yeah, but …

I feel like this message is so important to share … that healing can happen.

And, when you start to take practice steps with kindness and compassion towards yourself, and start to release the foods that no longer serve you … relationships, energies, all those things … trauma in your life … all those things that we hang on to that cause suffering, internal suffering that manifests physically. And I feel like if I share that with people, being vulnerable, being honest, being truthful … people connect to that and it gives them hope and it gives them faith. It gets them to think, oh yes, I haven’t been kind to myself … it’s time to be kind to myself. And it is so important to talk about these illnesses and to get the information out there.

Lauren: And also so maybe it doesn’t take 10 years to get diagnosed, for the next person.

Ginny: Exactly.

Lauren: And it’s not just for the chronic illness community; it’s for the wider community, for the medical community, advocates, supporters, everyone. If it’s about one of us, it’s about all of us, isn’t it?

Ginny: Yes, it’s about all of us.

We are all in this together. We are all chronic illness warriors. We’re all warriors.

Lauren: And that’s the thing, isn’t it … you become chronically ill and you are called to fight harder than you’ve ever fought in your life. One thing will often pile upon another another. There will be additional stressors. Life happens. Misunderstandings happen within the medical system. But being able to show compassion toward yourself, for people around you. Educate where you can. And educate yourself. But the fight doesn’t necessarily look like Game of Thrones! It doesn’t look like the “Bells”! There will be no bloodshed!

Ginny: Sometimes it does feel that way, though!

Lauren: Yes, sometimes, there is bloodshed! But a lot of times, we’re called to do these things because there is a greater purpose at play. Whether or not you’re religious, I think it is something you’re called to do. And then we become of service to others, and to help spread the message that stuff exists in the world and we can heal it together.

Ginny: And that’s what this is about — healing together.

Lauren: It’s not just about healing oneself. So, we’ve pretty much covered everything, and I like to wrap up my interviews with a couple of Top Three Lists, as I’m sure you know by now. So, the first thing I’ll ask you … and I can already predict what some of your answers will be here … but what are your Top Three Tips for someone who looks like they might be entering the chronic illness world, who has been waiting for diagnoses and doesn’t know what to do for treatment, and has symptoms — but doesn’t know how to move forward? What are your Top Three Tips?

Ginny: Number one, I would say … definitely check out Medical Medium, because he lists every symptom, every disease. And so all you have to do is look up your symptom and figure out how you can heal it, applying supplements. The second one … find your community. It’s really important to find your community — whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, whatever it is.

Lauren: And even support groups through particular chronic illness organizations.

Ginny: Yes, I did actually go to these local support groups for lupus around here. And one of the really great things I learned from that support group was: You make your own treatment. 

Lauren: You’re the boss of you!

Ginny: You’re the boss.

So if your doctor is working on a treatment for you, and you think it’s too aggressive — or not aggressive enough — you speak up.

That was the one thing I really took away from that experience. Because I wasn’t on an aggressive treatment, and I was getting worse … and after that, I spoke up. It did get me on more medication, but I was moving forward in a way that was proactive for my health, to help me get better.

Lauren: And also, I don’t know if we completely covered this, but you’re off all your medications now pretty much, aren’t you?

Ginny: Almost. I’m just weaning off one: Plaquenil.

Lauren: Which is often prescribed for lupus. But the fact that you’re at a point where you’re weaning off it is incredible.

Ginny: I wake up each day; I don’t have pain. Sometimes, it’s interesting, I’ll have a dream and I’ll wake up with phantom pain.

Lauren: Oh wow! But that’s emotional remnant stuff, isn’t it?

Ginny: Yes. It is so crazy! Because I’ll have a dream where I’m playing, performing. And usually whenever I played my instrument, it would cause flare-ups for me.

Lauren: This is the oboe?

Ginny: Yes, the oboe. Lots of back pressure. So, last week, I had this dream where I was playing my English horn, and I was giving a concert, and I woke up … and I was telling my husband, “Oh, no! I think my pain is coming back!” But then, literally, as I woke up … ten minutes later, it was gone.

Lauren: I think you have those kinds of dreams to remind you to be grateful for the health you have in your life! It’s a gratitude thing. So, going back to tips … it’s Medical Medium …

Ginny: Find your community …

Lauren: … and stand up for yourself.

Ginny: Yeah, really advocate for yourself.

Lauren: You can be on a learning curve with that, but you’ll find your way through it because we all manage to at some stage.

Ginny: By setting boundaries. Because you don’t let your doctor have the say-all. And actually, when you decide to do Medical Medium with your Western treatment — because it does work well together — because some people think, ‘Oh, I have to stop all my medications to do Medical Medium.’ No, I did it together, and it helped me to wean off my medication.

Lauren: And it may not be your goal to get off medication.

Ginny: It wasn’t my goal, but it just happened to be that way.

My doctor said, “You’re doing better. You don’t need this medication any more.”

Lauren: And maybe a few years down the line, as age does what it does to our bodies, maybe you do end up back on Plaquenil. But fine, if you have a few years off it, though …

Ginny: Exactly. And so, at that time, I should also add, because we had just gotten married and I wanted to have children …

Lauren: Oh yeah, this is important.

Ginny: All of them said to me, “We don’t recommend you ever have children.” And I said, “But I really want to.” And they said, “Yeah, but what’s more important — your health, or having kids?”

Lauren: Get well first, and then worry about it, right?

Ginny: But they were basically telling me that I was never going to be fully better. That I will have to be on this medication for life, and I will never, ever have the opportunity to have kids. So just throw that dream away. So, with the Medical Medium, now that I’ve healed myself, my doctors are, like: “Go have kids! Go do it!”

Lauren: It’s amazing! Oh, man! Maybe the next time we talk to you, there will be a little bun in the oven!

Ginny: Oh, for sure!

Lauren: I think that’s really exciting! Okay, one more Top Three List … obviously you’ve made these changes in the way you live your entire life. Do you still have any cheats that you haven’t been able to knock out of your wheelhouse? Or guilty pleasures, or even comfort activities that you turn to, if you’re having a flare-up or if you feel a flare-up may be coming on? Cheats, guilty pleasures, comfort activities … what would your Top Three be?

Ginny: Okay. Comfort Activities … the first one that I like to default to is my heating blanket.

Lauren: Oh, you’ve got one of those! Is it one of those that goes under the sheets, or over the sheets?

Ginny: I have a bunch of them. Not just one! I have many of them, in every single room of this house. I’ve got one on my couch, I’ve got two in my bedroom. I cannot live without my heating blanket. It brought me so much comfort when I was sick, because it alleviated the joint pain and stuff like that. Now, it just feels nice and cozy; it feels like a hug. And my default is to just lay in bed and rest. I don’t go all day long. I have those bells on for a reason. So when the bell goes off and it’s my resting meditation time, I go upstairs and I will actually get into bed, and I’ll just rest for an hour. Your body needs that. I’ll read a book, or I’ll meditate during that time. I just keep it very calming. The heating blanket always helps. And then the second one …a guilty pleasure? Oh my gosh, I don’t know how people are going to feel about me after I share this! (laughs)

Lauren: (laughs) We’re opening up a can of worms, I love it!

Ginny: Okay, so, on YouTube, there’s this thing called Mukbang. People literally videotape themselves eating food.

Lauren: Oh, yeah! Isn’t there an erotic element to that, because people listen to the sound of them eating??

Ginny: Maybe! That could be part of it!

Lauren: I had a neighbor who used to do that. She was a lawyer; she was doing really well. But she would say, “I make extra money doing it.” People pay to listen to that!

Ginny: Yes! You know what, it is a guilty pleasure for me because I love watching them eating the foods that I can’t eat.

Lauren: Oh, interesting! So you won’t cheat on the food stuff?

Ginny: I’ll cheat, every once in a while. But rarely, though. But when I watch them doing it, it’s almost like I’m eating it. Afterwards, I realize, ‘Oh, I don’t feel pain from this. I don’t feel disgusting after eating this.’ And then I actually feel really bad for them, and I think, I hope their health is okay.  It’s almost like when you hang out with friends who have crazy kids, and you think, oh, that’s a form of birth control!

Lauren: (laughs) This is what this is for you, isn’t it!

Ginny: This is what this is for me. And the thing is, my husband will say, “Why are you watching that??”

Lauren: (laughs) So even your husband thinks it’s a little weird!

Ginny: I really enjoy watching them cook it.

Lauren: Oh, so there’s a preparation, too.

Ginny: There’s a preparation, so I like seeing how they cook it. And I’m thinking, ‘Oh, I can’t eat that, I can’t eat that.’ But then when they’re eating it, it looks so good. And I’m kind of enjoying it through them. And as soon as they’re done eating, I’m, like, ‘Oh, I’m so glad I didn’t eat that!’

Lauren: So even cooking shows are good for you, too … it doesn’t have to be Mukbang … you get the joy out of watching people eat it?

Ginny: Yeah, cooking shows, that kind of stuff, is really a guilty pleasure for me.

Lauren: Whatever floats your boat! (laughs)

Ginny: Everyone’s now, like, err… (laughs)

Lauren: Yeah, we’re done with her! (laughs)

Ginny: Exactly! I don’t know about this one!

Lauren: I do! She’s good! 

Ginny: Lauren, I know what you’re thinking!

Lauren: I’m thinking I’m going to have to check out Mukbang. Thank you for the recommendation! And one more … do you have one more … secret indulgence, guilty pleasure, comfort activity … Game of Thrones Season 8?

Ginny: You know, I’m so happy it’s over. It wasn’t really a guilty pleasure. I just wanted to know!

Lauren: You should have read the books. But then they changed them I suppose.

Ginny: A guilty pleasure … gosh, I don’t know, I think it’s just those two. I don’t see it, really, as cheating or a guilty pleasure, because sometimes … the other day I had Korean fried chicken, and enjoyed it … and …

I think when you’re mindful when you’re ”cheating” … I don’t see it as cheating. I see it as, I’m mindfully choosing this.  And I know I can always come back to the healing foods. The healing foods are always going to be there.

It’s always going to be in the grocery stores for you, to pick up. You can always come back to it. And I know, even though I ate a cookie, or we went out and got ice cream with friends, that I’m enjoying the moment with my friends and not saying, ‘I can’t do that,’ and be[ing] that person. We went to a barbecue the other day, for Memorial Day, and there was a lot of stuff there I “couldn’t” eat. But I ate it, with gratitude – because they cooked it. I didn’t feel so great afterwards, because I haven’t eaten that kind of stuff in so long and my stomach is, ‘I don’t know about this!’

Lauren: You didn’t have a flare; you just had a tummy upset.

Ginny: It was just a tummy upset. But after that, I just say … I’m grateful for the experience, I’m grateful I was with my friends … and just being mindful of what I was doing at that moment, so I can take responsibility and eat a spinach soup at home. Or more celery juice, that kind of thing.

Lauren: It’s taking responsibility for your own healing. Well, Dr. Ginny Orenstein, it has been such a pleasure having you on the show. I can’t wait to hear when you’re pregnant! And I can’t wait to check out Mukbang! Thank you so much for taking the time with us today.

Ginny: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m so grateful for the connection.

Lauren: It’s great! You’re my new best friend. We’re in LA together; you’re stuck with me, now! (laughs)

Ginny: Yay!

We welcome your thoughts and comments!

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