Ep. 43: Cherie Aimée – Healing Message From the Other Side

‘Dying’ is probably the absolute worst-case scenario of any health issue.

There are those people who believe that nothing happens after death, because it’s the end, and then there are those who believe that we either go to heaven or hell, or some other form of afterlife. Who’s right and what is the truth for each and every one of us is something we’ll only know when we experience it.

But no matter what we believe, there are many individuals who died and returned back to life – who had a near-death experience.

This is what happened to Cherie Aimée who faced death not just once, but twice – and the second time, she actually flat-lined for 90 minutes before returning to life.

She had to relearn not just how to live, but how to walk, but what she discovered along the way was a power that each of us actually has within us, and which can lift you from pretty much any depth, if you can tap into it.

In this very interesting talk with Cherie, you’ll discover:

  • How to go from ‘it’s probably impossible for me…’ to ‘yes, it can absolutely happen’.
  • Why doctors couldn’t believe her incredible progress and how you can apply this approach to incredible healing as well.
  • What lessons might be behind our accidents.
  • How her near-death experience can help you on this healing journey.

Tune in + Share

Show notes & links

The show notes are written in chronological order.

00:00 – excerpt from the episode
01:08 – intro (listen to discover a little more about your host. Martin will tell you a new lesser-known fact about Dr. Maya)

01:41
Dr. Maya Novak:
There are those people who believe that nothing happens after death, because it’s the end, and then there are those who believe that we either go to heaven or hell, or some other form of afterlife. Who’s right and what is the truth for each and every one of us is something we’ll only know when we experience it. But no matter what we believe, there are many individuals who died and returned back to life – who had a near-death experience. This is what happened to Cherie Aimée who faced death not just once, but twice – and the second time, she actually flat-lined for 90 minutes before returning to life. I talked to Cherie in 2019 and the episode that you’re listening to is that conversation. I really appreciated what she shared and because so many people benefited from it back then, I also decided to share in now on my podcast The Mindful Injury Recovery Talks. Enjoy.

02:40
Dr. Maya Novak:
In this interview, I’m joined by Cherie Aimée, who is a near-death survivor, heart-transplant recipient, and global speaker. She was at the height of her career as a programmer and tech CEO when she experienced a near-death tragedy where she actually flat-lined for 90 minutes, which left her in a coma and fighting for her life for months. Now, she travels the world sharing her remarkable story of recovery and resilience. She’s been pictured in major media outlets such as the Dr. Oz Show, NBC News, Forbes, and many others. Recently she was named Female Leader of the year. Cherie, thank you so much for being here.

03:25
Cherie Aimée:
Thank you so much. It’s such an honor to be here today. Hello everyone! I’m so honored and so excited to be a part of this Summit. This really means a lot to me, and it’s kind of my way to also share with the world what I’ve done to really help recover along my journey. So I am thrilled to be here with everyone.

03:49
Dr. Maya Novak:
You know, I literally have goosebumps because when I initially reached out to you, I had a vision in my mind how this interview could go and what we could talk about. But then we started chatting and you shared more about your recoveries, and injuries, and pain and everything and you were just like – oh my goodness, this is going to be even better than what I imagined before, so I’m very excited to go deep into everything. To start with, can you share a bit about your story? What actually happened years ago?

04:25
Cherie Aimée:
Yeah, absolutely. So back in 2008, about two months after my wedding day, I was diagnosed with Hodgins Lymphoma, so that was kind of the beginning of a, let’s say, five or six-year health journey. My cancer was treated very successfully six months after. So by mid-January or mid-2009, I was actually cancer free. So I was kind of ready to start rebuilding my life with juicing and raw foods and yoga and doing all the things that I had done my whole life. I was always somebody that was in good shape and healthy. People always came to me for holistic ideas and how to treat things. So the cancer diagnosis really threw me for a loop, but once I was cancer free it was like okay, that was a little spiritual awakening, but let’s go on with life. Lo and behold, about eight months later I just went into sudden cardiac arrest. They think it’s from one of the four chemotherapy drugs I was on. When that happened I actually – thankfully, I happened to be in the hospital emergency room, but they were unable to resuscitate me, even after an hour and a half. So, you know, they were ready to call my time of death, but for whatever reason, one doctor in there continued. They saved my life. I was transferred to another hospital where I underwent multiple open-heart surgeries. I was in a coma for three months. So my body has really taken a beating. After that stay, where they finally brought me back to life I was still in end-stage heart failure. So to go home, I had to be on a portable bionic heart, which was a device that was implanted in me, but it had external batteries and controller that weighed about 10 pounds. I lived about four and a half years on this device, which kept me alive until my heart transplant in 2014. Now, both times I was in the hospital – 2010 after the cardiac arrest, and 2014 after my heart transplant, I had complications, obviously, which kept me alive – but even after the heart transplant. Both times, I was kept on life support for about three months. When that happens your muscles completely atrophy. So I lost all ability to walk, to feed myself, to move, to raise my arms, I couldn’t move my fingers, I couldn’t write. So both times, I actually had to undergo complete full body rehabilitation from wheelchair to walker, to pain, to eventually walking on my own. Both times took about a year. So when it comes to physical rehabilitation, rebuilding the body, I know all about it! One of the really big aspects that helped me heal and helped my body heal so quickly was a lot of the holistic mindset work that I’m sure we’re going to dive deep into a little bit later. So I’ve been through a lot but the healing – people look at me now and they’re like what? I can’t even tell that you went through all that and you were in a wheelchair and coma, almost lost your life, and you had a heart transplant. Like you look at me now and you’re like what? A lot of people times don’t – they can’t make the connection between what I went through and what I look like now only four years later. I looked very good even a year after my heart transplant and I honestly attribute a lot of that to the mindset and the holistic health that did in conjunction with all the modern medical assistance that I have.

09:01
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah, it’s so great that you’re sharing this because the mainstream approach to injury recoveries - or your situation with the operation and everything - it’s like having a surgery or going to the doctors and then waiting and hoping for the best. Which is not the only way to go, because we do have so much potential and healing power. Thank you much for emphasizing this, that it was a combination of everything. Not just one thing, not just the other thing, but the combination of everything. Your story is so interesting because in those 90 minutes you experienced something really special. Now, my question is, do you think that we all have lessons that we need to learn in this lifetime, but for many people those lessons are probably learned just as they’ve already transitioned to the other side? What is your opinion about the lessons?

10:10
Cherie Aimée:
The lessons, you definitely don’t have to go through what I went through where I flat-lined and was in another realm for over 90 minutes. You definitely don’t have to go through something like that to come back with the awareness and the knowledge and the wisdom that I picked up so quickly. I can definitely say now that I saw what I saw. I witnessed what I witnessed and I experienced what I experienced. A lot of that was hinted at me throughout my whole life. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. What the near-death experience really did was it took everything and like shoved it in like right in my face all at once. So if you were just walking through life and that much awareness hit you at once, you might go crazy, right. We’re just – we’re not meant to hold so much awareness all at once. It’s like a shock to the system. So in life, we have different things that have happened to us that kind of wake us up. They force us to slow down and actually be with ourselves, right, instead of being so busy, busy, busy, running around, blah, blah, blah. It’s like looking back, I was really able to see why I got sick, why I was forced to be in an ICU for four months unable to eat, unable to talk because I had trachea, unable to write – all communication. I was stripped of all communication. For somebody like me, that loves to talk, I mean talk about just the ultimate of suffering. But in that suffering, I truly was forced to go within and to really experience those healing powers that we all have, we just have never allowed ourselves that quiet time to go within, to actually access them, without some kind of tragedy happening to us that forces us to be still. It’s not always enough to just do your typical five minutes of meditation a day. This is about living a life in alignment with who you are. You learn who you are through experiences, through hurts, through injury, through traumas, and then you give yourself that time to go within and access the inner wisdom that is there within all of us if we give ourselves that time to sit still and acknowledge and process – learning how to process as the wisdom comes in. It doesn’t come in like knock, knock, knock, hey Cherie, you need to do one, two, three, four, and five. The wisdom comes in through struggle, through tears, through anger, right. Through not feeling good enough – all those things that maybe don’t feel all right and that’s why we tend not to really sit still. I mean let’s be honest! We want to stay busy we really don’t have to feel these feelings that are just part of human nature, it’s part of our power, right. But we’ve been taught our whole lives that taking care of yourself, going within, having quiet time, is selfish or lazy. My near-death experience and being laid up for three-four months in a hospital two times actually showed me that the opposite is true. That I’m more – I felt more powerful on life-support. So the real learning for me in coming back after such a trauma to my physical body – the real learning was how can I actually view and tap into the power, that inner power I had on life support, but in my daily life back in the world, back around people that may not make me very happy. For me, it’s always this – it’s a reminder for me. So to answer your question, absolutely not - I do not think anybody needs to have a near-death experience or that type of awakening to just learn, teach yourself to listen to your body, because your body will honestly 100% tell you what it needs to heal and recover. I honestly believe that. I’ve witnessed it for myself and I’ve witnessed it in other people.

16:13
Dr. Maya Novak:
Beautiful, and I agree that we don’t need a near-death experience, however that was your journey. You needed that. Your soul needed that. Thank you for sharing this, because my view of injuries is that these are wake up calls, they needed to happen because otherwise, we are ignoring stuff, we are pushing it aside. It’s like thinking, I’m going to do it when I have time and that time never comes. So I see injuries as wake up calls and that was also my journey, or the way I saw my terrible fracture in 2012. Of course, it wasn’t easy, like you shared, but sitting still with that pain and resolving that pain can then lead you to something greater, right?

17:06
Cherie Aimée:
Absolutely, and that’s the key is that it’s actually taking you somewhere greater.

17:12
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah.

17:13
Cherie Aimée:
It’s so hard to see that when you’re in the midst of it, but it really ends up doing that.

17:19
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah, can you share a bit about what happened in these 90 minutes? What you felt, or maybe saw, or what was that experience? How did this look?

17:33
Cherie Aimée:
Yeah, I mean for me I was able to witness – I mean what it looked like was – to give just a little description of the setting – when I first crossed over I was just floating in this white space. It’s as if the burdens of like my daily life were a backpack, and all of a sudden, somebody had taken that backpack off. I felt so light as a feather, so free, and for the first time, I felt like my true pure essence as a soul. Like it was just nothing like I had ever experienced in my life before. Just complete pure essence and I remember still being me, just without all the burdens and the I’m not good enough, I’m not worthy, all the – no longer the people pleaser trying to make other people happy. I just was worthy. Like I just was light, love and I was surrounded by so much unconditional love. So it was this incredible experience that took me into meeting loved ones who had passed on. I had also met with what I call my spirit guides now. It was like this counsel of beings that just radiated just pure love, but they were the ones that also took me on this lifetime review, which wasn’t necessarily a lifetime review of my previous life, it was a lifetime review of all lifetimes my soul had ever gone through. So what was fascinating was I got to learn all those things that I was talking about where throughout your life you get these little nudges of like issues that are common themes that keep recurring in your life. You know, feelings of inadequacy, not good enough, or sometimes they show up as symptoms of a lack in different areas, health challenges. I saw in my lifetime reviews that that same theme was following me around throughout different soul timelines, which was incredible to me. Because here I am thinking oh, this is just a Cherie Aimee thing in this lifetime. Like no, like it’s bigger than that. Like we really are soul beings in a human body, that’s really what we are. So there is so much more to our individual soul story. I got see my story in the afterlife and I got to see the reoccurring themes that were showing up that were manifesting as symptoms such as cancer, heart failure, and all this health suffering that I had gone through. So it was amazing. It was an amazing awakening to the truth of my power, and the truth of everyone’s power. That we really are all one and we really do have more powers, even as a human being on physical earth, than we’ve ever been taught. We don’t even know how to use them, right, because you can’t see them but you can see the end result, and that’s what it comes down to. Like this is about who you are and your power as a spiritual being in a human body. We didn’t just end up in these bodies by accident. We weren’t just born by accident. A series of miracles on a cellular, spiritual, physical level had to happen in a certain order for you to show up as the human that you are, whether or not you feel good enough. That is the magic that had to take place that you can’t see, that is the power. We, as humans, we’re so used to operating in the physical, you know, I’ve got to go work, you’ve got to pay these bills. We never even stop to sit down and be like wow, what a miracle this planet is, what a miracle humans are. Like how did this happen? We don’t do that, right, because someone will kind of laugh at you like duh, just you know – and you’ll reminisce on your like fifth-grade science class or biology and then we move on with life. Like okay, what’s my next meeting. But no, there is power. There is so much power and miracles in existence itself and when we learn to actually tap into that – and I know it’s not easy when the world is not sharing commercials on TV on how to do this. So you’re going to think that you can’t talk about this with anybody because it’s not common. It’s not a part of “mainstream” conversation.

23:37
Dr. Maya Novak:
This is so extremely true, and I can share with you that when I started talking about injury recovery I was focusing more on the physical aspects. My background is that I’m a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, so it was that scientific way of thinking about recovery. But there’s always been more inside of me, and I did not recover the way I recovered just by doing the exercises, even though they are extremely important, and not just by doing x, y, z – even though that was important as well. So honestly, I was slightly scared that people are going to think that I’m cuckoo talking about spirituality in regards to injury recovery. So thank you for sharing what you’re sharing, because it is so important. We all have so much power inside of us.

24:43
Cherie Aimée:
Yes, absolutely, we really do and I understand that fear. I mean I really do. It’s not easy coming out in the world and sharing a lot of this stuff. I think though that when you really, truly, have lived benefits, not just you and me, we’re willing to do whatever it takes, right. We’re willing to push past that fear and you’re right. It’s not easy. It’s not easy at all. The last thing any of us want to do is be labeled as cuckoo, but at the same time, we’re getting questioned all the time how did you do that? How did you recover? I had some of the top well-renowned surgeons in cardiothoracic surgery in the world asking me what I was doing. What was I doing differently? Asking my husband what is she doing differently. Because there were people, just like you said, that were in the ICU that were in better shape than me – better shape – that did not make it. They didn’t make it. And I had doctors say to me you’re so brave. I remember in the ICU being like crying to my husband. I said why are people lying to me? He said what are you talking about? I said why are people lying to me? They keep telling me how brave I am. Like I’m not brave, I’m crying with every needle. I’m crying every time they do something to my trach. Like I don’t want to be here. He went like babe, you’re not brave – it’s not that bravery looks like this tough person that doesn’t have feelings and doesn’t have emotions. He said they’re calling you brave because you did what the doctors asked you to do.

27:06
Dr. Maya Novak:
When we are talking about these healing powers that we all possess, what would you say to someone with doubts – because, of course, there are people who naturally know that they can do it. They feel inside of them. But then, especially when a serious injury occurs, when you get a horrible prognosis – I heard so many things. That I would be limping for the rest of my life, I would be in pain for the rest of my life. I could lose my ankle, or my bone would die off. Of course, this is the terrifying part of the whole process. So for some people, for many people, it’s like when they hear that they have the power, a tiny voice in their head whispers, this is not possible, or I cannot do that, or it’s just possible for others, or statistics show that this is not going to happen. What is your response to these types of thoughts?

28:19
Cherie Aimée:
Yeah, absolutely - I mean I have definitely been there. I’ve been there twice. Once with the cancer diagnosis, and the second time was when I was on the bionic heart, the life support device. My heart actually started healing during those four and a half years and it looked like – I went through a series of tests – and it looked like my heart had actually recovered and I wouldn’t need a heart transplant. I had spent so many years with that belief that my heart was recovering. I did all the mindset work to really say that heart transplant was not for me, that my innate heart was to completely recover. So I get that. I get that when those doctors came in the day – the day before they were going to remove the device without a heart transplant – and they came into my room and said it’s canceled. I’m sorry, you’re going to need a heart transplant. We ran one last test and you didn’t pass it. It’s not a risk that we can take. I bawled for 24 hours – screaming. They heard me down the other end of the hospital hallway. So I get it. I get what that emotionally does to somebody. I’ll tell you how I eventually came to terms with having a heart transplant, and it was the mindset work.

30:06
Dr. Maya Novak:
We'll continue in just a moment. I wanted to quickly jump in for two things. First, thank you for tuning in. And second, I’m sure you have at least one friend, colleague, or family member who would very much appreciate this episode. So share it with them and help us spread the word. Now let’s continue…

30:27
Cherie Aimée:
It was the mindset work of forgiveness. Forgiveness for what was told to me. Forgiveness of failed hopes and dreams of a future. Something powerful happens in the forgiveness and this is the key part. We can’t necessarily control life, but we can control how we respond, which in turn helps our body heal. So it’s not necessarily that I want people to ignore what their doctors say, but you forgive the present moment no matter what circumstance you’re in and you keep forgiving that. You slowly open up your heart and your mind the possibility that, just like you said, something greater is actually going to come out of all of that. What I can say is that I lived an amazing life for four and a half years of stress levels pretty high. I mean I was featured in a movie overseas in Japan. I started getting my message out. I started helping other people, which in turn fed me love and nurturing and the security and the comfort and the connection to others - things that I had struggled for so long with. Then what ended up happening was when I had my heart transplant I healed faster than most of the other people around me. So I know – I get that these diagnoses are absolutely traumatic. I also didn’t know if I was going to survive that heart transplant - I didn’t know. Before my heart transplant, I had several friends that didn’t survive. So I was scared. I was really scared. I accepted that if keep myself in a place of peace, my mind in place of peace, that I am right where I need to be at all times. Whether I end up on this device for the rest of my life, whether I don’t survive the heart transplant, whether I survive the heart transplant but I can’t walk the rest of my life. I still had to find forgiveness, and within that, forgiveness miracles then happened, but I didn’t sit around waiting for miracles. I sat around in gratitude for the things that I did have. I know that’s very difficult to do, but that is the truth of what I did. Even after my heart transplant, that is the truth. I did not know if I would ever walk again, or feel well again because the new heart in me did not feel good when it was first implanted. It didn’t feel good at all. My whole body actually shook and it was very scary. I had to come to terms with that and I had to forgive myself and I had to say no matter what, I’m still going to make something of my life if I can help one person out there through learning what I’ve been through. Then at least my life won’t be in vain, everything I went through. Do you know what I mean? So there’s still – still through the struggle – there’s always something more. There’s always something greater, and it’s your responsibility to tap into that greatness and that’s where your power is.

34:55
Dr. Maya Novak:
That’s so true, and as you said, if I’m able to help one person – that’s how I started. It was like only one person. If I can change only one person’s life, I’m done, I’m happy, it’s okay. What you shared here with forgiveness and gratitude, these are two really important things. This is really how the body then starts experiencing those miracles because this is how you can influence and affect your body, not just with the physical part like exercises, but going from the inside out and preparing your body to then bloom in miracles, right?

35:41
Cherie Aimée:
Yes, absolutely. It’s incredible, and it’s such a – I can say after going through it so many times, it’s such a beautiful experience. It really opens you up to learning how to receive, not just from others, but from the universe, from the magic that is existence itself. You really do open yourself up to miraculous occurrences happening in your life that you cannot sit down and write a plan for.

36:23
Dr. Maya Novak:
So one part of your story - and I’m really, really interested in this – can you talk about how you became aware that divine beings can intervene in our lives?

36:39
Cherie Aimée:
Yeah, I mean definitely through my near-death experience. When I was there with my guides I felt like they had been with my entire life and I was like just now seeing them, and they felt real. They felt just as real and in the physical as you feel right now with me, only in a different realm. And I know how much love and support – it’s like having – it’s almost like even when you feel alone - like especially when you’re going through health stuff. I mean I don’t know about you, but I felt so alone half the time because even if – you’ve got doctors. There’s different levels of support that you’ve got, but there was always like – especially at night I would really feel it – where you’re in the dark, you’re sleeping and you’re alone with your thoughts. Then you get the fears and you’re like I get that they know how to help me with this symptom and that symptom, but no one can get into this inside here, like where I’m really scared. That was so hard for me. What I realized in this near-death experience, I realized that in another realm I had all these beings around me and that I was never alone, and that the moments that I was ever going through life physically by myself but somehow felt really safe or secure or sometimes I feel like that when I’m at the beach. I just feel like comforted. Like this energy around me feels comforting. I kind of started realizing like that’s when I’m able to connect with the other realms more, is when I’m out in nature, when I’m by myself and when I’m meditating. The reason I don’t feel alone is because I’m actually connecting to these other realms and connecting to my spirit guides. But prior to meeting them, I really didn’t have proof so to say that they were actually beings supporting me and surrounding me and helping me heal and giving me guidance. Even though I’m in my recovery now and four years out from my heart transplant I still connect with my spirit guides for help, healing, whenever I’m stressed out. I think I mentioned with you when we were chatting that I fell down the stairs the day I came home after my interview on the Dr. Oz show. I immediately went into accessing my guides and really digging deep because I knew, after everything I’ve been through, I knew that that falling down the stairs was not like some random accident. In fact, I was laughing, because I was in so much pain and I was just on the Dr. Oz show, are you kidding me?! Now I just fall down the stairs randomly later that afternoon, and now I’m laid up in bed for a month! Like what are the chances of that? And I fell down the stairs in my own house!

40:15
Dr. Maya Novak:
And do you know how many people have these type of stories with ankle fractures?

40:21
Cherie Aimée:
Really?

40:21
Dr. Maya Novak:
I was going down the stairs in my own house, the last step and then I hurt something. This is the most common story that I hear.

40:33
Cherie Aimée:
Wow, yeah. Absolutely, because we get so comfortable in our home, we’re not paying attention, we’re doing fifty million things, and we’re trying to run out the door, right. Yes. And I can see now, now that I made it through the four weeks, I had a speaking engagement that I had to get better by that was literally four weeks from the moment I fell down the stairs, sprained and fractured my ankle and then had to speak in Greece, and I had to say no. It’s been several months later, it’s healed so well. I never had to take pain medicines, never had to really do anything other than for four weeks I spent lying down, icing my ankle, and doing the inner work. Everything that helped me heal from all these things – cancer, near death, cardiac arrest, the heart transplant – I just utilized everything I’d learned and this ankle has healed like nothing has ever happened to it. I am back in the gym, back on the treadmill, back doing everything as if nothing ever happened.

41:55
Dr. Maya Novak:
So besides the gratitude and forgiveness that you, of course, were doing before, with this specific situation with your ankle injury, were there maybe one or two other things that you were doing from the inside out?

42:12
Cherie Aimée:
I mean definitely from the inside it out. I really was my opportunity to say what am I not seeing, because I recognized that the injury was forcing me, once again, to be laid up in bed, and when you’re laid up in bed there’s a reason for that. There’s some lesson. There’s some healing internally that your body has said to you we want you to work on.

42:42
Dr. Maya Novak:
It’s the opportunity.

42:44
Cherie Aimée:
It’s the opportunity. So because I knew it, I kind of just laughed in between the tears of the pain – because it’s really painful – and everyone says that it’s actually more painful than actually breaking your ankle, which was very interesting. But between the pain and the tears, I knew there was work to be done. I had to figure out what was it my body needed to communicate. To be honest, I had been on such a roll traveling, like an entire year around the world giving keynote talks to big events that the only thing I could think of was okay, okay, my ankle wants me to slow down. Like I get it, absolutely, I want to slow down. But I was like but this – there’s something more and it was really that willingness to dig deeper. What I found deep, deep within healing this ankle was a lot of past trauma from childhood, from the cancer, the cardiac arrest, and the heart transplant that I had actually never dealt with. I thought I had, but I actually never did because if you think about it, I got home immediately after the heart transplant and started writing an eBook for other patients on end-stage heart failure. I was figuring out how I could learn to walk again on my own by myself in my house with no help. How can I get myself out of bed, out of the wheelchair, start strengthening my muscles and learning to feed myself again? How do I take care of this heart by myself? I was so preoccupied with just functioning in life I didn’t realize how much I’d buried the pain behind everything I had been through. And the pain from this health tragedy was really the pain that I learned in the afterlife regarding the themes that I needed to clear. So this ankle injury took me deep. It took me deep into uncovering more of the truth of who I was. What ended up happening was that ankle injury kept me flat on my back long enough to realize that I had done the necessary work I needed to do since my heart transplant to get back into society as a functioning human being. And that I had done enough to rebuild my life, but now was the time for me to step into the true purpose and reason for why I’m still alive. I would not have come to that conclusion if I had not had that injury.

46:14
Dr. Maya Novak:
Oh, I have goosebumps because it’s so extremely true and because my story is about a fractured ankle, a lot of people that find me, they have ankle injuries as well. When I start working with a client privately, I usually tell them on the first call that I’m so extremely happy for them having this injury, even though this might sound really, really weird right now, but after a few weeks, they might be seeing that as well. It’s exactly that, what you just shared. It’s like being still and allowing yourself to deal with something that you were slightly ignoring before or pushing aside. Not because you wanted to, but maybe it just wasn’t the time for you to deal with that and then it was another opportunity with the ankle.

47:16
Cherie Aimée:
Absolutely. I mean it was a blessing. It was an absolute blessing.

47:23
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah.

47:23
Cherie Aimée:
It never feels like that in the beginning, but it truly, truly is. And it’s shifted everything for me, just from that ankle injury.

44:33
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah. So when you had to go through learning to walk again, of course, it wasn’t easy. How did you deal with this emotionally and mentally, because we understand that on the physical level, you have to teach your brain and your muscles how to start doing this, but behind that, there’s so much more. So how did you deal with that?

48:08
Cherie Aimée:
There was definitely the emotional part of the recoveries that just – and correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t know if this is exactly quite what you mean. But, for example, when I was in rehab in the hospital I needed 3-4 people to pick me up out of bed and I only weighed 112 pounds at that point and I needed four people to get me out of bed! I felt like I was the heaviest person in the world. I’m like why is it taking so many people? It’s because you’re like deadweight. I could not stand up at all. It’s like picking up somebody that has no access to any kind of muscle, right. So 112 pounds of pure just somebody that cannot use any muscle is very heavy and you need that security support. So by the time I got to the point where I was just strong enough to start using a walker, and all this medical equipment – IVs – like insane – life support being rolled behind me. Having to just make it from one end of the hallway down to the other, the tears and the – like I’m never going to walk again would just be rampant in my mind. That type of mindset to keep going when it feels like it’s impossible – I had to turn up that courage on like 20. From like a scale of one to 10, I had to turn it up to 20. There were many times where we would get halfway down the hall and I would have to stop and they would actually push a chair behind me so that whenever I got too tired, which was usually after three steps, I could sit down. They don’t let you – it’s not like you give up and go back to bed – you’ve got to keep going even if you have to sit down in the chair as you’re going down the hall. So obviously in the beginning stages, I had to sit down like every two steps. When you used to be an athlete, when you used to be somebody that was really mobile, emotionally it breaks you. I mean it really breaks you, especially when it’s an overnight shock. Like one day you’re fine and the next day you just – you’re injured. Your body is in trauma. It’s a shock because you’re like what happened? Like how is this possible? You almost feel like you’re in a nightmare. So the mindset that I had to build to keep going to be that warrior was built up thanks to the people around me. I have to say that support in my ear of the PT specialist, I always had friends that were from different holistic therapies – reiki and massage therapy – they came to visit. There was in my ear you’re going to get better, you can do this, this is only temporary. Like you’ve got to keep going. It was that constant reassurance and accountability that took those three steps, sitting, three steps, sitting and eventually I was able to make it all the way down that hallway. I would get to the end of the hallway and collapse in tears. In tears, and then they would have to remind me again do you remember when you couldn’t even take three steps. I mean this is what it has taken. This is the stuff that I haven’t shared every day because I keep thinking well, you know, who wants to hear about every step I took and what it took to recover? This is why a Summit like this is so important because this allows me to actually share this is what it took for me to be a speaker around the world. It took having people around me. It took having my inner guides that I knew I could tap into. It took having the right support team physically around me, guiding me, showing me how to not give up mentally, reminding me of the blessing and the light at the end of the tunnel. It took an entire team to get me back to not just health, but vibrancy. Vibrancy where I can now impact and help others in their healing no matter where they are in life, what they do, right, what their diagnosis is. I can now share those inner details of what it really took. My goal is not to be like hey, I had a heart transplant and hey, I hurt my ankle and now everything’s fine. Like no, it’s not what it took. It took a lot of work and a lot of mindset and a lot of inner belief and a lot of forgiveness. But the end result, no matter what the physical end result was, me – I have the peace of mind. I have the connection to the power within me. I have the connection now to the opportunities that life gives us no matter how they show up. That is where the power is. That is where your true existence and the reason for why you are here comes to life. It’s such an incredible beautiful journey of tragedy and healing that I just don’t get to share often enough, but it’s so powerful.

55:03
Dr. Maya Novak:
I love what you shared here because this is sort of a paradox. We can heal ourselves because we do have that power, however, we cannot heal ourselves alone. We do need that support system. I love what you said – the positive support system – so that you have people that are cheering you up, who are there for you, who are saying positive things. I love this because even if a person has support, sometimes that support can be, well, maybe it’s not meant for you and it keeps you down. So I love what you shared here. In regards to pain and pain medication, I know that you have a lot of experience with that. Can you share a bit about how it was for you, but also how it was getting off of pain medication?

56:07
Cherie Aimée:
Whoa, yes. All right, so I’ll start with being on pain medicines. So absolutely with everything I’ve been through from cancer and the pain of chemotherapy, all of that, that was probably the first time I really had to be on pain meds. I was able to come off of it. But then, once I had the cardiac arrest and had all these medical life support devices attached to me. They were very large devices that kept my body physically alive for months when they didn’t know if I would survive or not. So there were tubes everywhere. So my body still to this day has a lot of scar tissue from all the surgeries and the life support equipment. I’ve been in chronic pain for years. I mean almost 10 years now, so I know all about chronic pain. I know all about being on pain medicines. I eventually had to – well, I’ll tell you about being on them. They’re great in the beginning. Eventually what happens is your body gets a little too accustomed to it. I’m not a medical doctor, but I have read that the body does its own healing chemicals within your own body that are actually natural painkillers. But what happens is when you take so many pain meds it’s similar to like taking loads of antibiotics. Eventually, they just don’t work. What happens is you think they work because you haven’t stopped taking them, but they don’t work as much so you’re like well, I think I need a higher dose or I think I just need to take another extra half. That’s where the addiction comes in. I don’t think I realized that. I think I kind of always thought of addiction as like drug addiction like you see on television like they’re really addicted. Like they’re shooting up heroin, and this and that. I’m like I’m fine. I had a heart transplant. I deserve to be on this pain medication. I deserve this! But what you don’t realize is the addiction of your body is actually a physical thing. It’s not that I wanted to take a pill. It’s that physically, if I wanted to be at a meeting, be on a call like this even, I needed pain medicine so I could function and not look like I was in pain, right. When you have a job, when you need to make a living, when you actually have to do stuff, even when you have to do physical rehabilitation, a lot of times they will recommend pain medicine because they want to at least get to rehab. So it’s very easy for that to get like – it’s very easy for the addiction to kind of creep up more and more and more. It’s addiction because your body has basically shut off all natural forms of natural healing and you are now completely dependent on this drug. So addiction doesn’t necessarily look like you are like popping a million pills or whatever you see on TV. What it looks like is oh, I need another pill, even if it’s just that one-half. Or maybe just this one time I’ll maybe take an extra half. Like it really does sneak up on you. It wasn’t until eventually, my doctor said something. They said really will need you to come off of this, I think you’re addicted. I’m like, I’m not addicted, I’m fine. But I realized that when I thought about it, I’m like you know what, it’s been several years. I’m actually still in pain, even with the pain medicine. I did an experiment with myself and I started weaning myself off and I realized it didn’t matter whether I was taking a full pill, or a half pill, or a quarter of a pill. The pain was actually the same. Now, there’s a few days where your body needs to adjust to coming off of it. So your brain might tell you that you’re in more pain than you are. So I specifically made sure I had nothing on my calendar. I was lying in bed, drinking tons of water, and doing the doctor recommended way to reduce the pain meds. I finally came off of all of them and I did it myself. It was the same level of pain. So at that point I realized, and I had already been doing this, but I really realized that there must be other ways similar to how I got through all these surgeries, there must be another way. Where I could utilize either massage therapy, I discovered that some of the essential oils are good for pain, so I started applying that. To be honest, that’s what also helped me come off of it. So I realized that if it was the same level of pain I could actually just use essential oils, working on the inner world, massage therapy, eat, right, things like heat. And just different things that I would do and it would actually, over time, start easing the pain and making it more bearable. So, to this day, I’m on nothing, literally nothing. So when I fell down the stairs I was on nothing. I have no interest in going back on those drugs because I realize how spacy they make you. I realized how quickly you become addicted to them. And overall, I just don’t think it’s good for your health. Now, in terms of the side effects of coming off, I did not have any short-term issues coming off of it. Like I said I did it very carefully. I reduced it very slowly, I used the massage therapy and essential oils. I had something prepared to replace it and I made sure I did that daily. I gave my body time, and my schedule time to come off of it. But that was actually the easy part. What I know now is – I didn’t realize how much it was like really affecting my mood. For a while there, I realized I wasn’t getting out of bed as much as I used to. I realized I wanted to just sleep a little bit more than normal. When that started going on a little bit too long, I started realizing what had changed and when did I start changing, and really I was able to link it back to coming off of the pain meds. So that’s – there’s a lot that comes with the easy route of trying to cover up your pain with pain meds. There is a lot of long-term suffering that can happen that you don’t know is going to happen until it happens. I would say in the past even six months, I really realized how much – and I’ve been off for a while – but I realized how much it really was affecting me. I would say the past six months I’ve been going deeper and really asking my body what it needs to get back into balance again. This is me really reversing those long-term side effects from being on those pain meds when I needed them. So the ideal with pain medicine is not to use them at all. If you have to use them, such as something like a heart transplant, I mean there’s a lot of pain and stuff like that. The key is to get off them as soon as possible. You should not be on them for years, and if you are there’s a serious issue.

01:05:06
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes, I agree with you - pain medication can really be a lifesaver when you need it, but I cannot imagine how it was really for you emotionally. I was on opioids just for 10 days after the surgery and a week before the surgery, but weaning myself off, it was horrible. I was crying. A week before the nurse told me it was going to be tough – and that this was medication so when you’re feeling down, know that there’s nothing wrong with you. If I hadn’t known that, I would think that something was wrong with me.

01:05:50
Cherie Aimée:
Yeah, absolutely.

01:05:51
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah. So how is it for you now? You had so many experiences, and after 90 minutes of being out, how are you now? What is happening with your body? Where are you in the healing process?

01:06:10
Cherie Aimée:
Yeah, I think for me – I mean like I said, that ankle injury was last October, so almost six months ago or almost five, I think. So it really gave me time to dig deep and really start realizing that I had some healing work to do from the trauma to my body. That I just had been so good about getting through with the mindset and forgiving myself for everything that happened, but there were still areas that I had buried that opened up into actually bigger issues and reoccurring themes in my life. So like I said, that was a blessing. Where I am now is an amazing feeling. I’ve been through so much. I’ve been through so much and also achieved so much in my life in just four years, which is a really short amount of time when you have to rehabilitate your body, your emotions, your mindset, and you’re like rebuilding your entire life. You’re cleaning out all the toxic relationships of your life. You’re getting to know new people, seeing if you can build healthier relationships. Building a business that’s not going to land me in the hospital again. All these things, I mean it’s a lot for anyone to go through or tackle within a short span of even just four years, so I’ve been through a lot. I’ve realized recently that I needed to give my body some months – beyond healing the foot – I realized I needed to give my body time to be grateful for everything that has happened, even in the last four years, the good, the struggles. I had to give myself time to process and feel how does everything that’s taken place feel in my body. So this is another level of healing. This is healing before something happens, right. I don’t want to fall down the stairs again. I don’t want to end up back in the hospital. It’s not a, hey, I just an interview, let me do the work. This is actually a part of my life now. Everything I do while healing my physical body from some incident, I know I have to do it daily in my life, even if things are going well. It means that I have to continually stop and reassess where am I going, and who do I want to be with me and what does my body think of it all. A lot of times I think in spirituality mindset work, a lot of the focus has always been how does my mind feel about things. I’ve really recently learned in going through all of this healing, I learned that at the end of the day, it’s what does my body say. Do I want that job? It’s not about asking my mind, it’s about asking my body. I’ve really come to determine that my body, more than anything, is my guidance. My body and how it feels in every single moment with every single life decision I need to make whether it’s regarding my health, my wellness, my brand, my business – I need to run it first through my body because your body doesn’t lie, your mind might! Your mind might play games with you, but your body will actually never be confused.

01:10:55
Dr. Maya Novak:
Beautiful advice. So would you also say – or if I asked you what is your number one advice that you would give to someone who is injured, is that it? Or is there something else that you would say that is absolutely number one, and the thing you have to do?

01:11:15
Cherie Aimée:
You have to give yourself time to rest, in addition to taking action. So your physical therapist, your coach, is obviously going to guide you on what you need to do for rehab, what steps you can take to heal, but never underestimate the power of giving the body time to rest because that is where the wisdom in healing is. I can tell you the number of people that would come to my home and be like why are you in bed? Why are you resting? You need to be up and da-da-da. That was great and all but I also, in speaking with a very good healer friend of mine, realized that I also needed to be able to get in rest whenever I could because that rest is allowing yourselves to rejuvenate on levels that you can’t even see. Where your mind travels to, tapping into your guides, tapping into other realms, other frequencies of healing whether it’s through smell and scent, essential oils, Bowen therapy I use a lot of healing. These are using other modalities, other frequencies that the body really does respond to. So you need that rest to recover. Don’t ever underestimate the time to rest.

01:13:04
Dr. Maya Novak:
Mm-mm.

01:13:05
Cherie Aimée:
I honestly believe that’s where most of the healing that the majority of people, hospitals, etc. don’t understand, but that is where a lot of the healing was. The biggest – my biggest dream when I was in the hospital both times was I want to get home because I wanted to go all in with that I knew. What I knew was that the doctors had saved my life, now I wanted to rest. I have the power to do the rest.

01:13:41
Dr. Maya Novak:
I love this. I love this because it’s so – what we talked about at the beginning – pushing aside, ignoring, and things like that. When a serious injury happens, and if it’s not something where you are, for example, paralyzed so that you absolutely cannot move. Sometimes people are still trying to be as busy as before, doing as many things as possible. So that’s the reason why I love your advice. I know that this interview and your message is so inspiring and it’s giving hope to so many people. I also know that there are people out there listening to this that don’t have hope. They feel it’s not going to happen for then, or asking why they are here, or it’s just a really hopeless situation. So what would you say to someone who doesn’t have any hope in their healing?

01:14:43
Cherie Aimée:
Absolutely, and what I really want you guys to know is that I have those moments too, all right. I’m still human. I’m no different from anybody else. I’m no different from you. I still have my moments and when that happens, there’s one thing I do, always without fail. That is I ask for help. It’s the biggest gift that you can give yourself. You do not need to do this alone. I did not have to go through cancer alone. I did not have to go through end-stage heart failure alone. There are resources everywhere. I will ask for help when I feel like I, in that moment, cannot do it alone. It is the greatest gift I ever allowed myself to do is ask for help. There are areas right now in my life that I have felt that way. I’m like this isn’t like me. Like I can’t tell you, to be talking about forgiveness and this and that, and then not do it myself. Everything I share, I do myself. So if there is an area where I’m literally absolutely struggling, I will call in extra help because sometimes it’s the extra help that steps in and whispers something in your ear and tells you just enough to get you back on track where you can then take over and do the rest yourself, we’re human. We’re human, this is a complex world. We have complex bodies and we have minds that we don’t fully even understand. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, ever. That is the biggest piece of advice I could give anyone. If you are struggling and if anything that I’m saying or anyone else on this Summit is saying, and you are struggling to do even a portion of it by yourself, ask for help.

01:14:09
Dr. Maya Novak:
I love this, and I know that so many people – and I’m going to be talking about women here – are struggling with this because women, we are usually givers. We give and give and give but then we have a hard time receiving and asking for someone to help us. So thank you so much for sharing this. Cherie, I could be talking with you for hours, hours and hours, but let’s slowly wrap this up and maybe there will be another time to explore even more. I do have one last question for you, and it’s a bit more of a fun question. The question is if you were stuck on a desert island with an injury and you were allowed to take only one thing with you that help you heal perfectly or completely, what would that thing be?

01:18:06
Cherie Aimée:
That’s an interesting one. Injury wise, maybe – that’s a tough one. You know, the only – my brain keeps wanting to say your ankle – but nobody wants to be stuck on an island with an ankle injury. The only reason that I say that is because I healed so beautifully with nothing but doing exactly what we’ve been talking about. So I know it’s possible to heal from it and I know how much I accomplished even while I was healing. So yeah, let’s go with that.

01:18:54
Dr. Maya Novak:
Okay, perfect. There is no right or wrong answer. I mean it can be anything out of the box, absolutely. Cherie, can you please share where people can find more about you?

01:19:08
Cherie Aimée:
Absolutely. You can definitely find me at my website, which is cherieaimee.com. I’m so excited because this summer I have an entirely new brand website launching and I’m going to be really able to offer a lot more of the services that I’ve been talking about on interviews and stuff that hasn’t been showcased on my site. So I’m really – I’m here to give back. I always say that. I’m not able to thank my heart donor, but I know my purpose and my mission, and that’s to give back. Nothing makes me happier than helping people, especially that are going through injuries, physical trauma, emotional trauma and just giving them that support because, believe me, I know what it’s like and I know it’s not easy to find people that number one understand, but number two are capable of guiding you through such a sensitive time in life. Yeah, so I’m excited. You can definitely reach out to me there and I’m also on social media. There are links on my website to connect with me via social media as well.

01:20:28
Dr. Maya Novak:
Perfect. Cherie, thank you so much for being here and for sharing your experience and your knowledge and helping so many people.

01:20:37
Cherie Aimée:
It’s my pleasure, and I really truly hope everyone watching this got something out of this, and again, if there’s anything else I can do to help, please let me know. This has been an absolute honor. You are so beautiful. You’re such a radiant beautiful inside and outside soul. Thank you again for inviting me on this. It’s been wonderful.

01:21:01
Dr. Maya Novak:
This wraps up today’s episode with Cherie Aimée. If you haven’t done it yet, subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you’re using to tune in, and share this episode with your loved ones – it really can change someone’s life. To access show notes, links, and transcript, of today’s talk go to mayanovak.com/podcast. To learn more about The Mindful Injury Recovery Method visit my website mayanovak.com and find my book Heal Beyond Expectations on Amazon. Until next time – keep evolving, blooming, and healing.

Love and gratitude xx
Dr. Maya

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