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  • Writer's pictureGina DeGirolamo

Why Healing Heart™ television, Why Now?

I didn’t start this business because I wanted to, I started it because I was compelled to. What is it that made me pivot from working on my video production business to creating a website for people who are laying in hospital beds? Well, let me start by introducing my sister, Joan Burge, who is truly my soul mate, and let her tell you how the journey began:

... So that’s how it started for her. In the meantime on that fateful 4th of July, I was working at my spiritual center’s annual Fireworks booth when I got the call from my nephew telling me that my sister was in the hospital and they had just discovered a large mass on her brain. It was, needless to say, a shock! What I remember is that at first I had an overwhelming sense of doom and also a feeling of THIS CANNOT BE TRUE!. NOTHING CAN HAPPEN TO MY SISTER! I dropped everything and got in my car and left for a 6 hr. drive to be by my sister and nephew to take up the charge in the fight of a lifetime.

She told you in the video about the nasty Clival Chordoma which of course none of us had ever heard of before. Now, we know much more than we thought we wanted to. The other part is that she had developed bacterial meningitis due to complications from the Clival Chordoma. So what does all this have to do with me creating a business on education and inspiring people to become trans-formative self healers? Well while we were in the waiting room to meet with Joan's medical team, there was a big screen TV playing beautiful nature scenes accompanied by relaxing, spa-type music. We found that this was very soothing and helped set the tone of a quiet, calming environment. In Joan’s hospital room (which she spent 2 weeks in ), the same channel was available and these videos were on 24 hrs a day. This was the only thing Joan wanted to see; she had no interest in watching the news, television shows and rarely movies. Joan just wanted to feel calm and a sense of relief from all that was happening. She wanted to be able to escape her hospital room, illness and fear of her future and she wanted to be in touch with the beauty of life. As I witnessed all of this and was viewing the videos with her, the cinematographer in me was thinking, "I can make videos like this and make them even better. I love nature and adventure and it would be not only therapeutic for me but look at the end result.” So the rest of the year I kept thinking about it and I would shoot occasionally but had not yet fully committed. It was one year later on my birthday in July that I shot the first images for the first episode. But what truly jump started Healing Heart™ tv was the following summer of 2015 when Joan had to go through open heart surgery and travel to the Cleveland Clinic, which is yet another story for another blog. Now that I was established as Joan’s medical advocate, I of course accompanied her and I had yet to edit any of my footage that I had shot so far. This surgery was quite different. Joan now had the experience of a long hospital stay with many unexpected twists and turns. One of the worst experiences happened after her 13 hour brain surgery. She developed what is commonly known as ICU psychosis. The anticipated recurrence of this is what she was most fearful of, not the cracking open of her chest. Joan made her medical team very aware of this fear, and surprisingly the Clinic had offered her Reiki treatment before her surgery to help calm her. Although Joan had never experienced Reiki she knew it was something she waned to opt into.

Nurse Sandi Zampino was the nurse in charge delivering this alternative treatment at the Cleveland Clinic, and was there every step of the way with Joan. The treatment was better than any pain medicine that Joan had taken. Because the Clinic was so advanced in offering Reiki, I thought they must have a channel on their television screens of beautiful nature and relaxation. Much to my surprise this was not the case. They did have some guided visualizations and patient education but nothing that would help the patient escape. It really started to sink in with me on the need for nature-based media as a form of escape for a patient. While sitting by Joan’s bedside, I looked through my footage and created the first two episodes just so Joan would be able to view them in her room. I also played soft healing music in her room (Pandora Spa Channel) and began to guard her door from unnecessary interruptions. These small steps along with Sandi’s Reiki treatment were the only things that Joan claims to have brought her relief from the pain, the anxiety, and frustration of the lack of control she was experiencing over her environment in the hospital setting. As amazing as the Cleveland Clinic was with brilliant physicians, an open mindedness to integrative alternative healing methods, and over 5000 pieces of artwork, I discovered a huge disconnect when it came to sitting in waiting rooms and the material that was being shown on the flat screens. There are literally hundreds of screen , if not thousands, all across the immense campus.

The worst content would be the 24 hour news channels in the waiting rooms. I could not understand why they thought it was ok to deliver such stress producing content when they are suppose to be doing everything in their power to help people fight the very stress and anxiety that our minds can produce by being exposed to negative media. I became close with Sandi Zampino, and in addition to her administering Reiki to Joan, she extended her services to our whole family. After my own experience of the Reiki treatments, I felt the energetic release of my own frustration and tension by having to assist Joan once again. Sandi became an advocate for my work and was instrumental In getting the first HHTV series broadcast in 6 Cleveland Clinic facilities and over 3000 patient rooms. The other piece of the puzzle that made Healing Heart™ TV into what it is now, is my own fascination with the brain and how it functions. Prior to Joan’s brain tumor, I was already interested and had been reading books on how we can create a better life by changing our thinking. However, once I had witnessed and learned a few things about the science behind the brain and the philosophy of how changing our thoughts changes our lives, I became obsessed with wanting to know more. I also wanted to know the science behind why we feel more relaxed when we hear certain music and when we watch beautiful scenes of nature. Also, how our body reacts physiologically to the external stimulus and how that effects the healing process. I realized that people need to understand the fundamentals first on why and how alternative healing techniques work in order to buy into it. These techniques are even more powerful once you understand the science behind it. I also realized that when you are lying in a hospital bed you do not have the mindset to seek these techniques out, and that you need to have them easily accessible to you. Since I had already been doing the research and creating the films, I thought why not have a website that is a resource set up for patients, family members and friends to learn, be inspired, and take control of the uncontrollable situation.

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