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STORIES: Zentangle helped CZT get through pre-op procedure without anesthesia

In this occasional series on TanglePatterns, readers describe in their own words how Zentangle® has changed their lives. For more accounts in this series, click on the “STORIES” link in the pink alphabetic tangle index above.
Visit this post for the stories that inspired this series.

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STORIES: How Zentangle changes livesRecently I was introduced to the tangle Azteka by Cyndi Knapp. In her description she tells us, “And so I would not forget the step-out by morning, I found myself air-tangling in the dark to embed it in my mind.” Commenting on the post, Sharyn also mentioned her “air-tangling” practice.

Here is my story on the subject that I sometimes share with my Zentangle® students who are in need of a calming influence.

Some time ago, I had early stage breast cancer. The main surgery required a pre-op procedure before a general anesthesia was administered. Let’s just say the pre-op procedure was invasive and required using a local anesthetic.

While preparing for the pre-op, I was introduced to a doctor who reviewed my severe allergies to several common local anesthetics. She was concerned that I might also be allergic to several others on hand, except that I’d never been exposed to them yet. She gave me the choice of 1) rescheduling all the day’s events to have the pre-op done under general anesthesia or 2) having the pre-op done with no anesthesia at all. I choose the latter. So, I was given a muscle relaxer and told to make myself comfortable.

What can be more comforting than tangling — but if that is not possible, air-tangling? I focused on a light switch and air-tangled it with soothing S and C strokes. I must have closed my eyes and nodded off because the next thing I remember is someone in the OR saying “Is she still with us?” meaning “Has she passed out?”

The surgeon asked me a few questions like “What’s your name?” and “Where are you?” I answered her questions and the doctor announced, “She’s fine.” Then the doctor told me, “I don’t know what you’re doing but keep doing it.”

For the remainder of the pre-op procedure, I air-tangled a fire sprinkler head on the ceiling. I felt no pain. As I was wheeled to another room, I heard someone say, “Her blood pressure didn’t even change.” Then the plan proceeded and I was given a general anesthetic to remove the cancer.

So, to all of you who air-tangle when the real thing is impossible, keep it up. Your body will thank you.”

~ Linda Dochter, CZT

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If you would like to share your own experience for this series, please email me (linda [at] tanglepatterns [dot] com). You can make your story as long as or short as you like and if you wish your personal details to remain private, I will certainly honor that.

By publishing your “testimonials”, I’m hoping it will help spread the word about Zentangle to many others who can REALLY benefit from it. As the Zentangle founders say, “Anything is possible, one stroke at a time.”™

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2 comments to STORIES: Zentangle helped CZT get through pre-op procedure without anesthesia

  • Joyce Blodgett

    There’s a book titled “Your Body Believes Every Word You Say” (Barbara Hoberman Levine, October, 2000, available on Amazon at many different price points), and in it, the author states that our bodies will and do respond to whatever we think toward it, knowingly or unknowingly. I’m sure the process of air-tangling has to be very relaxing to the mind, so the body follows suit and relaxes. I have a severely damaged, therefore always painful dominant shoulder/arm/hand, and while I have often tried to convince myself that everything is now healed, one cannot lie about their condition, and that’s not what Ms. Levine is telling the readers.

    It’s an excellent book, but I would get much too wordy, so will leave it for those interested to read it for themselves.

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