The Penelope Silver of today is a walking, talking embodiment of female empowerment. However, the Reiki healer from Cheshire has had to endure the toughest of times. The single mother of two talks about her past, living with crippling anxiety and navigating life around her youngest daughter’s heart health.
Fifteen-year-old Natasha is living with two congenital heart diseases. Superventricular Tachycardia (SVT) and Wolff-Parkinson- White (WPW). These are both common types of heart problems, however, together the diagnoses have meant endless hospital visits. Natasha has endured years of tests, procedures, six monthly check- ups and most recently multiple cardiac ablations. She has six operations in the space of four years.
Early symptoms included, Natasha feeling extremely tired and weak. She would sleep the majority of the time in different places around their home or in the car. Regular headaches were also an issue due to very high blood pressure.
“Natasha just used to sleep anywhere. I have so many pictures of her just asleep.”
Natasha was also born with Kidney Dysplasia – a condition in which the internal structures of the one or both kidney’s do not develop normally in the womb. Penelope was aware of this from the start. It became normal that Natasha suffered with reoccurring urine infections coupled with blood and calcium deposits in her urine from a very early age.
Although Natasha’s heart conditions were from birth, it wasn’t until later in to her childhood, during a minor operation to remove a lump that her heart “crashed”. Penelope started to seriously worry when her daughter’s supposed minor procedure took far longer than it should have.
“It was a terrifying experience. Tasha was distraught and I was alone and didn’t know what was going on.”
Natasha’s WPW diagnosis became apparent when she was under the general anaesthetic. Further tests revealed her SVT diagnosis. Penelope has since learned that the kidneys and heart are possibly linked and the symptoms that had always been there, made more sense. Pieces of the puzzle started to fall in to place. The reality that Natasha’s had two heart conditions was a frightening place to be.
“When we are on the cardiac and renal wards and I watch and see how sick other children are, I am thankful that Natasha is coping as well as she is and we get to go home.”
I could feel an aura from Penelope as soon as we met. She has managed to perfect a calmness in her demeanour. Her tone of voice is soft and soothing, skills she has no doubt polished from her experience in Reiki. It wasn’t always this way. She has had to train herself to unlearn the impact of the stress from her past relationship, being a single parent and managing her daughter’s medical needs.
Although doctors have disagreed with this, Penelope has carried a suspicion about other circumstances being contributing factors to Natasha’s heart health. When she was pregnant violent robbers broke in to her and at the time, her husband’s home. She has always worried that the adrenaline and stress of being held hostage at gunpoint for hours could have been responsible for Natasha’s health problems. In addition to this trauma, Penelope did not realise that she was living in a Cluster B type toxic marriage.
Her home life became increasingly intolerable.
When her eldest daughter Charlotte was eighteen months and Natasha just twelve weeks, she left with nothing and took refuge with her parents.
“I just got the girls and left with nothing, in the middle of the night and never returned. I still question today if I did the right thing, even though I know I did.”
These are now events that Penelope has had to accept. Understandably she did not want to go in to lengthy detail so as not to undo her self- healing. However this part of her life had a profound impact on her. Leaving was the hardest thing to do.
At the time that followed the break -down of her marriage, Penelope’s health seriously deteriorated, she looked visibly shook and experienced crippling anxiety that led to a diagnosis of CPTSD. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Within a four minute conversation, her GP prescribed her antidepressants.
As she walked out of the consulting room, something inside her said they would only mask what was going on. Her instinct told her that it would not get to the root cause of her sadness. She searched for alternative therapies and tried EVERYTHING.
Penelope found that standard “talking therapy” didn’t work for her either. Recounting week after week the details of why she left that night kept her stuck and frustrated in an old toxic energy. It was only when a friend recommended meditation, Penelope decided that it wouldn’t hurt to try. The results were phenomenal.
“I started just 3 mins a day and then I increased it to 5 then 10 until I was able to sit for 30 mins. I couldn’t believe how it made me feel.”
She also heart about EFT. Emotional Freedom Techniques, through a friend. This is a process of tapping certain areas of the body with your fingertips to restore the balance of energy. It helps to resolve any physical and emotional issues. Again, this just worked tremendously for Penelope. She found herself being able to cope in situations that she hadn’t been unable to navigate prior to this. An overwhelming desire to help other women came over her.
“I just thought, I am going to train and learn how to do these techniques, I have to help other women the way I have been helped. It was such a turning point for me.”
Penelope went on to train in the therapies that worked best for her, but Reiki is the one that won her heart. She has never looked back.
Happier times – Penelope having fun with her daughter’s Charlotte and Natasha
Her Instagram @penelopesilveruk is a haven for the promotion of wellbeing for women and she prides herself on focusing on her clients. She uses a play on words to explain how she helps people:
“Whole- list-ically. I.E The whole person – Physically, spiritually and mentally and emotionally.”
Penelope has been able to turn her expertise to also support Natasha. If she starts to experience nervousness prior to appointments and procedures, Penelope’s uses her meditation and reiki to help calm her daughter. This has created a wonderful bond for them both.
Natasha discovered the air cadets and Penelope laughs as she shares just how fierce her “Tasha” is. Natasha has already carried out the research – there is nothing stopping this young lady from pursuing her dream of being an RAF pilot. Despite all that she has been through and continues to go through, she is a determined character. When she was given the opportunity to attend the same school as her older sister and mum, Penelope joked;
“Don’t you want to follow in our footsteps?” to which she replied
“I’m going to make my own footsteps mum.”
Her medical team have suggested the best way forward could be to implant a pacemaker.
“With all of Tasha’s medical problems, her first full year at school was Year 10. In previous years she had to study mostly from home. If a pacemaker allows her to live a more fulfilled life then I want her to have that.”
Note from The Editor
As a mother myself who also has a daughter of fifteen years old, I can only begin to imagine the journey that both Penelope and Natasha have been on together. In a sense, the highs and lows have brought them closer together and I totally admire Penelope’s dedication to her daughter and the mutual respect that they have shines through their story. The team at Uplifted Magazine wish Natasha the very best with the implant procedure and look forward to hearing updates about becoming a pilot.
Another interesting aspect of Penelope’s work that became apparent during our time together is that she is providing a much needed service. She is using her difficult experiences to support other women.
Tweens and women who need more support with learning to unpack their stress and anxieties realise that this area is lacking when they visit their GP. With more pressure on the NHS services than ever before – is it harder for GP’s in the short time that they have allocated for an appointment to really listen to our feelings? Is meditation, EFT and Reiki a better way forward as opposed to a prescription – can/are these alternative therapies be accessed as a prescription?
Please feel free to comment.
If there were any issues that have affected you during this article, use the links below.