Is Your Lymphatic System Helping or Hindering You?

May 22, 2015

By Karli Andreas

Is Your Lymphatic System Helping or Hindering You?

I'm not sure when I learned about the lymphatic system. I had always known about lymph nodes – my mom would check the ones in my neck when I would complain of a sore throat. "Your lymph nodes are swollen," she would say and that somehow confirmed that my immune system was under attack and working hard. But I never understood exactly what that meant. When I started receiving regular BodyTalk sessions, lymph would often come up and the spleen was sometimes mentioned and once my homework following a session was to jump up and down for 2 consecutive minutes twice a day – an effort to increase the mobilization of my lymphatic system.

I do remember when the lymph system became extremely important to me. It was the summer of 2013 and I was waking up at 1:00am on the nose every night. I was waking up because I was in pain. For 2 hours every night I couldn't sleep because the pain was too intense. I would watch TV to distract myself, drink a warm cup of milk; nothing worked. Several weeks later it wasn't 2 hours but 4-6 hours that I couldn't sleep. I was exhausted. I had lost 15 lbs and on my usual 115lb frame, this was a lot. When I finally went to the doctor on July 8th, I learned that I had a 7.5cm diameter cyst on my left ovary that was hemorrhaging. That is why I was in so much pain.

I realized that I couldn't go on with the pain and lack of sleep anymore and I finally accepted that I needed medication to ease the pain. So I began taking a Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID's) every 24-36 hours. I would wait until I could feel the beginnings of pain again before I took another one – to make sure I still needed them.

Why was this happening to me?

When I found out about the cyst on my left ovary I was also hit with the news that I would need surgery. Add this to the fact that my husband and I had been trying for 3+ years to conceive and were in the process of fertility treatments, this news was devastating to me. I was told that my surgery would be in 6-8 weeks' time and I took this as a sort of challenge – I had BodyTalk! Now that I knew what was causing the pain, I could work to heal that!

I had even more BodyTalk sessions to bring any amount of clarity as to WHY this pathology had presented itself within my body. Twelve days after finding out about this large cyst, I had a distance BodyTalk session and in it, the practitioner did a full body Veltheim Method of Manual Lymphatic Drain (VMLD) with special attention on the interstitial fluid within and around my left ovary. All of this was Greek to me, but after that session my pain was GONE. I mean, it went from a 10+ where I needed to take NSAID's to not needing to take another single one while I waited for surgery to remove the cyst.

In my mind, I was convinced that the cyst was gone so I begged for a second ultrasound before my was still there. It had shrunk to just over 6cm in diameter, but it was still large enough to warrant surgery. I was crushed but a cousin of my husband's, who is also a pharmacist, mentioned that the fact I didn't need NSAID's was a victory in itself – at least I wasn't causing unnecessary harm to my stomach and/or liver.

Shortly after the VMLD session that eliminated my pain, my sister who is 4 years younger than I am found out that she, too, had a cyst on her left ovary and hers was 12 cm in diameter. I knew at that moment that there were ancestral pieces at play in our pathology. She was referred immediately to a gynecological oncologist because they believed that hers was cancer. In early August, 2013 my younger sister had surgery via an incision that started above her navel and went all the way to her pubic bone. Her surgical plan called for the removal of her left ovary, fallopian tube, appendix and lymph nodes so that they could assess if the cancer had spread. Fortunately when her surgical team observed her ovary, they knew that it wasn't cancer, and was instead an endometrial cyst, also known as a chocolate cyst. Her ovary was so deformed by the autoimmune disease endometriosis that it could not be saved.

I remember going into MindScape while her surgery was taking place and inviting her entire surgical team in. Our late paternal grandmother also entered my workshop and together we planted potatoes in the ground around my sister and the team working on her. I later found that historically potatoes have represented a pure form of love.

My Surgery

The day of my surgery, I remember being nervous yet calm. I had had a BodyTalk session with a performance agenda on my surgery and I had explored in MindScape and BreakThrough and I was as ready as I could be for something like this. I remember being wheeled into the O.R. and I could hardly see without my glasses until Dr. T, our fertility doctor and my surgeon, came up close to me. I remember how nice it was to see her face even though she is a very matter-of-fact kind of doctor and tends to be all business. With the recent knowledge of my sister's experience with a similar surgery, I looked at Dr. T and I told her that "I trust you and know that you will do what is best for my body". I meant it. I was prepared for a laparotomy even though my surgical plan was for laparoscopy. I was prepared to lose my ovary if it was necessary, even though my surgical plan did not include that. I had resisted Western Medicine so much in our journey to become parents that I decided it was time to finally surrender. What was supposed to be a one hour surgery turned into three hours because of the severe endometriosis that covered my entire pelvic cavity. My left fallopian tube was adhered to my uterus and there were adhesions all over my colon which explained the frequent bowel movements with menstruation. There is a moment in my surgical notes when I could sense they weren't sure if they could save my left ovary: "This was a tedious surgery"... "the cyst was so large it was extending on both sides of the tube (ureter), but once we evacuated it the ovary came together fairly nicely". I had started to embrace the feminine aspects of myself and my inner creativity and together with the VMLD I know that my left ovary was beginning to experience energy it hadn't experienced in a long time, if ever.

When I woke up from surgery, I asked the nurse what time it was. When she told me the time and I realized how long my surgery had been, I internally accepted that I had needed a laparotomy in the end and my left ovary was removed. I remember feeling just a calm peacefulness that I had done everything I could have done and that my husband and I would figure out how to move forward with our dream of becoming parents in perhaps a different way. When I voiced my understanding that they had done what they could do she replied: "oh no, you had a lap and from what I can tell, both ovaries are still there". I almost didn't believe her until I saw the small bandages on my abdomen myself.

The Road to Recovery is Not Always Easy

While I was thrilled that I still had both of my ovaries, the next year and a half of healing would prove challenging in other ways. I was immediately put into a medically induced menopause to allow my body to heal and keep the endometriosis at bay in the meantime. After 6 months on Lupron Depot, I immediately went onto fertility drugs which produced 5 great quality embryos however during the stimulation, my uterus had grown a polyp. So our embryos were frozen and I was put on birth control to thin my uterine lining in preparation for a hysteroscopy to remove the polyp. After one un-medicated cycle I was then suppressed to prepare my body for hormone manipulation to transfer an embryo. We had a positive pregnancy test indicating the embryo had attached however it went negative shortly after that indicating that it had failed to implant. So in one year, I had had experienced a laparoscopy, menopause, IVF stimulation, the BCP, pregnancy and miscarriage. When our embryo transfer failed, I decided that I wanted to take a break. Starting in 2012 I had been taking steps during this time to create a life I loved NOW; with or without a baby. I realized that I had been making so many decisions and my husband and I were holding off on truly living as we "waited" for life to start, which was only going to happen when a baby arrived. I realized that this was no way to live. I started building a BodyTalk practice and studying the material more, I found great healing in FreeFall and continued to explore BreakThrough. I made changes to my work schedule as an Engineer and started working part-time, although this change was initiated prior to my first surgery because the realization to create a life I loved started before all of this medical intervention began.

On our "break" from actively trying to become pregnant other things were surfacing – I believe that I was allowing a part of me to die; the part of me that expected and kept hoping to become a mother.

A Welcomed Surprise

In January, 2015 we ended up conceiving naturally; the old fashioned way. Or as our family doctor put it "you were just fooling around?" Even this has some interesting parts to the story, because my endometriosis had started to surface again as confirmed by an ultrasound in mid-January. This time my right ovary had grown a 4cm endometrioma but my left ovary was growing a beautiful follicle. During an appointment with Dr. T at the end of January she wrote me a prescription for a drug to suppress me again but this time it wouldn't be as strong as Lupron Depot. When I asked about when to start she said "You can start it today" but I inquired if I could wait until my next menstrual period. She complied and I waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach made me take an over the counter pregnancy test and it was positive. I was pregnant. And it was my left ovary that produced the ova that became fertilized.

In some way I must have created the space for this potential to then be able to manifest in our lives. Whatever, or however, we are grateful and this pregnancy is such a gift to us and this child will be loved.

A Passion Ignited

I still think back often to that VMLD session because I believe it was a turning point in my healing journey. There were many remarkable things that happened before that session as well as after, but that was the initiation of a fork in the road for me where I was able to choose a different path. The road less traveled in the words of Robert Frost. I do feel that it may be due to the fact that it was the first session I had where the physical changes were so pronounced – to go from needing NSAID's to not needing them at all, was something that could not be overlooked by me, my husband or anyone else who I told about this experience. This had sparked within me the desire to learn the VMLD. In October, 2014 I was able to study this technique with Tracey Clark and it is nothing short of amazing. I love doing the technique for my clients almost as much as I enjoy receiving it! Since I came from a career as an Engineer, and not from something with touch, it has been incredible using my hands to feel the body, and work with my clients in such an intimate yet respectful way. My confidence in my own ability as a BodyTalk practitioner has grown since adding this technique to my toolkit and I perceive that my sessions are more powerful. It has been such a joy adding this into my clinic. Due to my personal experience with this technique, I am passionate about bringing it to the Edmonton area for more practitioners in this area to benefit from adding this to their clinic for their clients. I would love for Lymphatic Drain to receive more awareness! I can honestly say that this technique changed my life and is transforming my BodyTalk business. I would encourage you to find a Module 5 course offering near you so you can see for yourself how special this technique is.

To Joy & Potential,


Karli Andreas, CBP & P.Eng
Owner/Operator of Abundant Potential
Sherwood Park, AB, Canada

Tracey Clark is coming to Edmonton/Sherwood Park to teach Module 5: Manual Lymphatic Drain and Applied Anatomy & Physiology May 29-31, 2015. To register, go to:

Or to find a Module 5 course near you, go to:

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