Healing Powers by Cara J. Damer For years I had heard of the magic, the peace, the tranquility experienced when on the east end. Friends and family had shared stories of their upbringing, weekdays & weekends away. In October of 2011, I experienced that magic for the first time. A typical New Yorker, I push hard, doing it all, never saying no, and of course available via phone, text message and e-mail around the clock for both work & personal. The treadmill was always my sanity, my escape, my time. As a former dancer, cardio was always my relief, 6:30am daily; regardless of what time I got home the night before. Two months prior, the combined pressure in both my professional & personal life was extraordinary. The late hours, challenging times and environment were keeping me up most nights, physically sick with stress. The early morning of August 19th changed everything. My alarm never went off that day. Rather, I awoke to the jolt of being loaded into an ambulance at about 3am. I have a vague memory of the ambulance doors closing, while an oxygen mask was placed over my mouth. I’d been unresponsive for forty minutes, suffering a seizure. The moment in the ambulance is my only recollection of this terrifying morning. Family & friends told me days after of the NYPD, NYFD & EMT units in my home, transporting me to the hospital, my time there, and how I got home. The worst was the fear they experienced, uncertain if I’d survive. Weeks of appointments followed with various specialists, neurologists attaching twenty-two electrodes firmly into my head, monitoring brain activity. The discomfort was nearly unbearable, carrying around an electronic box with electrodes pressed so tightly, so deeply into my bandage wrapped head. I looked like a trauma patient. There was both a sense of relief & frustration as the tests came back all clear. Relief that I was neurologically well, frustration of what could have caused someone physically fit in their early 30’s to suffer a seizure. Blood work came back, showing several levels dangerously low. It still didn’t add up. I looked at everyone in the room and said, “Stress.” Over those few weeks, I lost a considerable amount of strength, weight, & my taste for food or drink. My favorite things were of no interest, menus were confusing, and nothing I wanted, craved, enjoyed for months. I needed a weekend away. I’d never before been to Montauk, but from what I had heard, it seemed like the perfect escape. The further east we drove, the more relaxed I became. The salt water smell & fresh air seemed to lift all the worries away. Everything I’d heard was right… As we entered Montauk, I could feel it. Montauk was magical. Entering Harvest for dinner, I was immediately captivated by the relaxed energy, the smiles, the warmth, and the cuisine. For the first time in two months, I was excited for dinner. My taste buds came alive with seafood delights, crisp wine & specialty desserts. The evening was spent enjoying each bite, each sip, each laugh, each moment. I felt better, I felt happy, I felt like me. It was perfect. The rest of the weekend continued on the same incredible path. Eighty-degree October days, my first lunch at the Lobster Roll, seafood & fishing boats at Gosman’s, and taking time alone to enjoy long walks on the beach. I wanted to experience everything, taste everything, and see everything. Montauk helped me find what I was missing. I could have stayed forever. Since then, The East End has held very special place in my heart. It’s become my “go-to,” my safe place, my recovery room. It’s where I find balance. It centers me, it’s accepting & forgiving. It allows you to be who you are. It’s magical by being itself. Its nature’s healing powers. Perhaps one day it will be my home.