Two Dog Tales

The Two Dogger Next Door

By Jan Mikus, LMP
The life and healing experience of a regular at the studio from the Mid-July 2012 Two Dog Newsletter

Lives in: Maple Leaf with her husband Bill Hollman & dog Calliope Rose
Works: helping others live and operate more happily in their own bodies
Yogi: for 46 years!

Most recent personal healing experience:
I knew for years that some day my feet would need surgery. When pain made walking a worse than negative experience, and instability made balance poses wobbly, I knew it was time. But how to approach these fearful & very invasive surgical events?

Annie and I strategized – her skilled and intuitive eye and instincts as a yoga teacher and bodyworker were invaluable to me – bolstering my courage and confidence. One of the best decisions I made was to spend 17+ hours on her massage table prior to the second surgery (February 2012), experiencing the profound effects of her Hellerwork skills. I think this allowed healing & shifting of some long-held movement patterns which had worsened over the years of having faulty ‘dogs’. Best to begin this experience from a stance of strength, I thought.

I also took advice from my wise naturopath, Arden Pinault, ND ( who offered a very specific pre- and post-operative regime of nutritional and homeopathic support for ligament and bone healing, as well as for pain reduction.

Having learned over many years of conversations from skilled hypnotherapist Lisa Geiger ( ) the power of our minds to heal, I collaborated with her to create a post-op self-hypnosis script (handily read onto my iTouch ), which I used 3 – 4 times daily for a few weeks. I noticed early on that doing self-hypnosis reduced my need for pain medications!

For the second surgery I was fortunate to have the use of a massage therapist friend’s cold laser machine for a whole month immediately post-op. So of course every day found me utilizing this simple, non-invasive, machine’s low-power red laser to stimulate tissue repair. I noticed early on that this dog (my left foot) experienced WAAAAY less swelling than the other, non-lasered foot had during healing.

Because I had more trust in my own instinct about this the second time around, I began to MOVE MY FOOT AND TOES within a day of the operation. This is significant, because both times, I was instructed to ‘keep the area entirely still’. Yogis, until you’ve tried it, you have no idea how difficult (and uncomfortable) it is to remain motionless in an area of your body for days and days! I think moving early (and gingerly, believe me), and beginning physical therapy at six weeks instead of ten has made a huge difference in the speed of healing for this second ‘dog’ – I walked sooner, first with crutches, then with a cane, and needed both for less time. In the end, I was on my own two feet earlier the second time around.

Most recently I have begun weekly acupuncture treatment with Susan Scott LAc ( I’ve always loved receiving acupuncture, but I swear that Susan’s skill with moxa (directly on skin tissue—how counter-intuitive is that?) has had an immediate positive effect on toe mobility and foot swelling.

Of course I am, after 4 months, still a work in progress. But having met recently (in my own massage therapy practice) a woman who had a similar surgery in December, I realize how relatively pain-free, and swift my own experience has been. I am swimming three times a week again and seeing clients. I am able to walk a mile and looking toward the day I can go on a real hike for the first time in many years. As the weather warms my bicycle looks more and more appealing, I’m getting my fingernails dirty in the garden, and I’m full of energy!

I did not undertake this journey alone, and feel profound gratitude for the wisdom, skill and guidance of the many healers in my life, beginning with my surgeon Richard Bouche DPM & his OR team, my genius PT, Sue Knowles at Movement Systems Physical Therapy in Eastlake, and for the patient support of my husband, Bill Hollman through my months of recuperating over two years. It takes a village to recover from surgery, and the friends who brought many meals and cups of tea, helped with showers and appointments, and lent themselves in so many ways in the early days are my village.

Finally, I am grateful to be at home again, in Annie’s Saturday morning Level 1 class, drawing inspiration from yogis on either side as I re-learn how to move on my two “new” dogs.

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