-Susie Q –
-Bobbi Lu –
My struggle with writing this blog was figuring out how to be brief about the thing that shook my life to pieces and forced me into a new path. How do I condense 22 years that led up to the moment when a viral infection brought on the cascading onslaught of autoimmune disease which changed the food I ate, the way I approached my life, and how I came to understand health? The thing is, I can’t share the full story and be brief. This story is really a dissertation and I know you don’t have time to read that. Settle for this, I am OK now. It took months to get me to stop losing weight, to be able to eat food without feeling like I needed to go to the hospital. It took blood tests, exams, poking, prodding, a cardiologist that looked confused, and multiple urgent care and hospital visits. It took months for someone to tell me something so fucking simple as don’t eat *that*. And yeah, that is a gross oversimplification of the issues I had going on, but it was the first step toward feeling alive.
After months of misery I received a phone call with a diagnosis and the suggestion that I google it. I did, then I cried, and then I bucked up and did what I needed to do. I went at it on my own for a year. I wasn’t feeling better though, so I took my first step into the world of alternative medicine. I saw a naturopath. There were things I loved and then things I didn’t love, but I made several changes that made a seriously positive impact. I was tuning in and learning to listen to my body.
Let’s fast forward 7 years; skip grad school, living and working in 2 different countries, relationships and friendships, thousands of miles logged on the trails, assorted illnesses that popped up and had something to do with something…. and my appendectomy. Skip the naturopaths, the blood tests, stool samples, spit test, breath tests, the chiropractor, the lady parts doctor, the nutritionists, the therapist, the functional medicine doctor. They all helped to paint the picture of what was going on inside but I found one ongoing treatment that balances me out.
I now routinely see an acupuncturist who can take my pulse and know when I haven’t been sleeping, she knows when I feel off by looking at my tongue. She has worked on my gut health, my emotional health, my liver, my kidneys, my heart, and my lungs. She once gave me a treatment that gave me the best cry of my life. She fills me up with needles and leaves me alone with my thoughts. And, I fucking love it.
So far in my health journey, Eastern Medicine has taken the gluten and dairy free cake. Eastern medicine and other “alternative” approaches (naturopaths, chiropractor, and a functional medicine doctor) have been what has given me a new perspective on health and wellbeing.
Ok, this year has been one for the books. I’ll skip through the list of events that you really don’t need and get to the part about stress, though I should include the adoption of a new puppy! I’ll explain. I’m allergic to everything. Seriously – life sets me a sneezing. But, my family also really wanted a dog – c’est la vive.
So, this accumulation of serious stress and allergies contributed to a serious outbreak of adult acne. I mean, c’mon! Acne at my age!? No. No, sir. I’m past those year, right! Right?! Right?? Apparently not. Naturally, I call my doctor. Change soap, change washcloths every day, silk pillow sheets . . . Nadda. Back to the doc.
Ohh, a prescription – that is easy. *Warning! Warning!* “Easy,” should have been my first clue to the storm on the horizon. There hasn’t been an “easy button” in my life for, ohh, forever!
Two months on this and I’m clear! It’s great! Except, I might be getting a UTI. Call up, you guessed it, the doc. Antibiotics. OK, seems ok, still a bit off but . . . nope,nope, something is really wrong. More antibiotics – I seem to remember something about how this is not good for all the healthy biotics running around my gut? Ohh, just eat some yogurt and I’ll be fine? OK. NOT! Off to visit the Urologist.
You think it’s what?! I can’t even pronounce that. Did you just make that up? You’ve only been here 5 minutes. Options please. Take this to lower your inflammation. OK. I can come in 2 times a week and hook up to a catheter as you pump what into and out of me!? That’s a joke right? No, seriously?! Well, I’ll take a hard pass, thanks.
So, I proceed with the over counter pills for inflammation. No guidance or instructions. Two weeks later, I’m Googling this crap with a hot pad on my gut and I’m moaning in pain. Ohhhhh, don’t take longer than . . . can cause . . . where the hell was this warning from my supposed doctor!?!?
That’s it. I know a person who does acupuncture, and I’m at my wits end. Now, understand, it’s not like I’m against acupuncture or herbal remedies per se, but remember the beginning of this blog. I’m allergic to all life. And, ohh yea, I have a phobia about needles. Get light headed, woozy, pass out – the whole gambit. To be clear, it’s not about the pain – pain is something I can manage, but apparently my brain doesn’t process the psychological aspect of a needle very well. I gave birth with no epidural, that’s how phobic I am – p.s., I would recommend the spinal tapping if you can because damn! That pain when to eleven! But, I can push though it when I need/want to, or at least lie down with orange juice at the ready. I have tattoos for goodness sakes!
Back on track – I get an appointment at the shop of stabbings. After a nice thorough discussion, a few vital checks, and a look at my tongue – huh, it’s universal, who knew!? It’s time to get down to business. It won’t be a quick fix, she says, you need multiple sessions and self care at home. You basically unked your guts, being on antibiotics for 3 months – the doctors should have known better. Errgh!
So, I survive the needles (it was not easy, but not painful either) and here is some herbal soap to try from a colleague who makes all this. “Gesh,” I think. “Remember, I’m allergic to all living things, so herbal soap, hmm.”
One month in. Well, hell. I feel better. My face feels so much better. Redness reducing, acne clearing – not at a rapid fire pace, but enough that I know it’s working. Stress is easing as I practice managing my health in a holistic way. Ohh, the body is all connected? Well, shoot-dang!
*This rant was brought to you by a girl who always followed “Western” medicine and was apathetic towards “alternative” medicine. I’ve been won over – let the stabbings continue!*