A Beacon of Hope – Wendy Blanchard, M.S., INHC, NYCPS

Happy Thursday everyone! 

I am writing today’s blog to all of the “Love Angels” and for those who “carried” me through my most recent health crisis through prayer, loving kindness, etc.

It has been 4 months since I suffered 5 compression fractures in my spine alongside Lupus inflammation, lost my income, lost my ability to walk, to wash my own hair, lift a cup of coffee!! Yup!! It caused my hand to drop the cup from the piercing pain in my back! and weakness in my extremities in addition to a nerve impingement, and could not sit, stand, or lay down without piercing pain in my sides, back, and pelvic area, as well as my left leg.  I could not stand long enough to cook any meals, going to the bathroom was an extremely painful task, etc. 

I could not return to work for May and June. This is when I realized I was going to need a great deal of help and support, AND that this is a God given opportunity to practice the wellness program that I created, An Integrative Approach to Wellness, which I wrote about in my book, Write Pray Recover:A Journey To Wellness Through Spiritual Solutions and Self Care.

My children work and of course were unable to come here for an undetermined amount of time. They supported me through daily calls, FaceTime, texts, visits on their day off, and my daughter, Sarah, came every month to clean and do laundry. My son, Matthew, reminded me daily to “hold onto my faith.” Don’t you love it when your child uses your own words to remind you that everything will be okay?! The other day he said to me, “I learned this all from you, mom!”

Subsequently, after meeting with a neurologist at Columbia Pres., he informed me that I was not a candidate for surgery/fusing due to my severe osteoporosis and in fact said, “It would be like putting a screw into a piece of styrofoam.”


My friend, Charlotte who drove me to the doctor was with me in the exam room, and I had to hold back the tears. I thought surgery was necessary in order to heal and here I’m being told it is not an option after an orthopedic surgeon told me it was necessary and needed immediately! God was guiding me to the neurologist for the appropriate care. 

The neurosurgeon and my local orthopedist/physiatrist/pain management physician  assured me that once the fractures healed, (up to 4 full months) I would be able to work my way back to wellness. I could not believe that was true given the excruciating and debilitating pain I was experiencing. I lost hope…just for a moment…

And, Charlotte reassured me by reminding me to take it “one day at a time.” 


Well, I want to let you know that I am now back to walking at the beautiful ponds in my hometown, and yesterday and today WITHOUT MY BRACE! At the beginning of this 4 month journey and honestly, some days still, I could drive the 1 1/2 miles to the ponds and BARELY walk from my car to the bench to just sit outdoors without moaning and spasming from the severe pain. And I could only sit without widespread spasming for about 10 minutes at a time. BUT I WAS DETERMINED. This has been my decade long mental health and physical health “go to” since I began my substance use disorder recovery over a decade ago. IT IS MY GREATEST HEALING REMEDY.

I feel closest to Spirit out in nature. It brings me a deep sense of peace and belonging…and joy! 

I am able to practice my breath work, listen to my music, move my body, engage with others in my community, and remind myself of what a beautiful and blessed life I have. I took this crisis as an opportunity to stay grounded and determined in order to use this experience to offer hope and inspiration to others…AND I HAVE DONE IT ALL WITHOUT ANY CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES/PAIN MEDS. I think I am most proud of that. 

No one would have blamed me if I had accepted pain meds, and in fact, I was encouraged to accept it. But when it came time to actually follow through, God intervened in the most obvious of ways to reassure me that I had made the right decision NOT to accept any pain medication. It was a deeply spiritual moment that will always remain with me. Such a blessing.

And I made it through.

I have used my breath in a very different way as I felt my body guiding me, and I mindfully navigated even the simplest movement in order to “breath out” the pain for the moment, listened to music, took Motrin and restarted Lupus meds, watched back to back episodes of I Love Lucy to distract my mind, prayed, meditated, and had wonderful and loving friends visit, bring meals, phone me, FaceTime with me, text me, offer support through a GoFundMe campaign started by my dear friends Sheila and Lynne, and offer prayers for me. 

And all of this was how I have healed, and continue to do so.

How do I ever say “Thank you” to all of you for your loving support? 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. It just doesn’t seem enough.

I am already paying your kindness and love forward. (More to come).

I am doing PT daily to strengthen my core muscles and my back muscles (a bit painful as my muscles adjust to movement I haven’t had for 4 months. BUT I AM DOING IT! ) Lupus has unfortunately caused widespread swelling, and I feel so uncomfortable with this added weight, but just like the improvement in my flexibility and diminishing pain, I will get there. 

I walked over 2 miles yesterday and today. A far cry from barely walking 10 steps to the bench at the pond. I did a little bit more each day over these past few months, and even did nothing on the days that my body was telling me to rest. 

As you may know, I have a very devoted spiritual practice, and as I awaken in the morning, I ask God/Spirit/Universe to “walk with me” in order to show me what movement will be safe for me each day. Through this challenging time, my spiritual connection has become even deeper. I hear, see and feel more beyond my physical limitations than I did before.

I am grateful to the Universe for offering me resources and people who have helped to heal me. After my early morning walks, I am doing nothing else but resting and writing, of course! 

It has been a slow pace to healing, and I have quite a distance to go, but look how far I have come!

And I want to encourage you to read my book, Write Pray Recover:A Journey To Wellness Through Spiritual Solutions and Self Care. 

I truly believe that God offered me this 4 month challenge in order to once again, follow my own experiences and advice that I offer to my clients, family and friends.

And I did it…

I am in awe of how my body is healing slowly but surely, and how my spiritual connection has been the conduit to wellness…

Spiritual Wellness, Mental Wellness, Physical Wellness.

The following questions are what I asked myself each morning and were my daily guidelines for wellness:

  1. What gives my life meaning and purpose in an organic way?
  2. What am I certain about pertaining to healing the human body using “an integrative approach to wellness?” (Food, mindset, prayer, movement, journaling, hydration, loving relationships, working with doctors who align with an integrative mindset, to name a few). What is proven scientifically about the body’s ability to heal itself?
  3. What gives me hope?
  4. What are the essential tools and self compassion practices that I want to follow for myself, and in order to model for those who may benefit from my experience?
  5. How can I get through this unprecedented challenge in the most organic way that will offer me wellness, body, mind and spirit?

For the answers to these questions, you can read my book to learn what my Integrative Approach to Wellness looks like. It is available on Amazon and online bookstores worldwide.

Love, gratitude and blessings always,


Wendy Blanchard