Mindfulness instructor attributes holistic healing as assistant in recovery
— When you meet Eden Koz, she is effusive, bursting with positive energy. Though she’s been in the Akron area for almost 10 years, her Georgia accent still softens the ends of her phrases and her smile is contagious. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of speaking with her is, a little more than six months ago, she thought she was going to die, and despite two invasive brain surgeries, there are no noticeable aftereffects.
Last summer, doctors found a mass in her lungs that had also spread to her brain. “They thought it was stage 4 lung cancer,” she says. The doctors, who were unable to conduct a biopsy in the lungs because the mass was too close to her heart, removed one of the lesions from her head and determined it was actually a rare infection that had traveled through her body.
At first the antibiotics didn’t work, so doctors had to perform a second brain surgery. “I had two brain surgeries within two weeks,” she says, still incredulous about the ordeal. “I think the surgeons were just crossing their fingers that this time they got their antibiotics right.”
After the surgeries, Eden had to relearn to speak. “There were seven days when I couldn’t do anything,” she adds. “I couldn’t move. I was on an IV for a long time.”
Despite this initial setback, her recovery was quick, and other than “two Frankenstein-type scars under her hair,” there appears to be no long-lasting effects: no slurring of speech and no facial paralysis, which is atypical of someone who’s had intensive brain surgery such as hers.
Eden is not necessarily surprised about the rapid recovery. She has been a strong proponent of holistic healing and teaches meditation and mindfulness through her organization Just Be Meditation.
“I am a pretty holistic type person, but I attribute mindulfness, meditation, reiki and bowen to my recovery,” she adds. “I can attribute much of it to how I see the world and a positive outlook.”
While she’s spent the better part of the past 10 years leading meditation retreats, teaching classes and inspiring others, Eden says she still wasn’t where she needed to be, and considers this recent health scare a wake-up call for her to live a more authentic life.
“I realized I needed to be kicked in the pants a little bit,” she jokes, adding that she used to work in advertising before moving to meditation and had considered herself an intense, Type A personality. Even though she was working toward a more peaceful life, she still realizes she had a lot to learn before last summer’s scare.
While Western medicine was necessary to remove these infections, the holistic side really came to the rescue during her healing process.
Meditation and mindfulness are said to have neurological benefits in the brain, like reducing the aging process and increasing gray matter. A Forbes article even goes so far as to posit that long-term meditation rivals the effectiveness of antidepressants, along with helping with social anxiety and addiction. Eden, who’s also a reiki master, has worked first-hand with people who struggle with addiction, along with those facing physical pain and ailments.
Now, things that used to rattle her no longer stress her out. She’s been forced to slow her life down, which she appreciates. Before her surgeries, she admits there were still remnants of her early life that followed her.
Eden also attributes her speedy recovery to her family: her husband and two daughters, 15 and 12. Oh, and her Labradoodle named Moose.
Just Be Meditation will continue to operate, says Eden, but she will close the Hudson storefront and studio. “The purpose was to take our little city and the world beyond and make it a peaceful, more loving place and to make it authentic; to help everybody come together,” she says, adding that she doesn’t need to operate a physical location to do this work.
She will continue to host retreats and meditation classes, along with conducting outreach and espousing the benefits of meditation, mindfulness and other holistic practices like reiki and Bowen.
“I had given up my (physical) business because I have learned what is really important to me, and that is doing this work. It’s not paying rent (for a building); it’s not paying heating or electricity.”
She will have to take antibiotics and anti-seizure medication for some time, and, she says, “I can’t drive at night and still have issues with my peripheral vision, but all in all everything is probably pretty good. It should take a year to get balanced again.”
Eden considers these setbacks a small price to pay. “Everything is an anomaly. I still have a lot of learning to do. I think this is just the beginning.”
She also writes articles for the Huffington Post, usually related to meditation and mindfulness.
Eden recounts her journey in a November article: “I had two brain surgeries. I went from initially being diagnosed as having stage 4 lung cancer to a rare, rare bacterial infection. I almost lost my life at least twice. Both of my docs, a neurologist and an infectious disease gent, I feel just cross their fingers that they get my medication correct as neither of them nor anybody else has ever had this infection go to their brain. Luckily, after brain surgery number two, as well as a decisive culture (finally), everything seems to be on the up and up.
I needed something to put me literally on my ass to make me slow down. Not that this is what I would have consciously chosen, however it has given me a totally expanded my outlook on life, specifically my life.”
Eden is available for wellness classes, speaking engagements and private and group classes.