Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How Conventional Medicine Has Never Helped Me

(Marcy & I are just starting to play with light paintings)

If I am having a heart attack or have a life-threatening illness, conventional medicine would be my primary weapon to fight these sorts of battles. I want all the current science I can gather at my disposal. I want a very confident physician at my side. For sure.

But when it comes to chronic issues, I have never ever been anything but let down by that same medical community. They suck at this stuff.

Just like herbs suck for fighting said heart attack.

Every approach has its strengths and weaknesses.  Every approach has its place.

Chronic is not a place for conventional.

If you have pain, they have pills and surgery but not solutions.

I have experienced this directly myself and watched it happen to far too many people.

Through all of my chronic issues, I have learned something super important: We have to take care of ourselves. It's our job. Not the doctors.

We are the solution.

But this approach takes a lot of work and there is no one left to blame so it also takes a level of courage.

And when I tell you that I know from personal experience, I KNOW from personal experience:

From the time I was 11, I suffered from severe IBS and eventually this led to an acute case of colitis. I had tests, of course, but they could never figure out a solution and they certainly never gave me any clues about how diet could help.

Eventually, it got so bad at one point that I was put on steroids.  Which didn't make a dent.

So I researched.  I bought some peppermint pills. I was all better.

I took aloe vera juice for years to heal my intestines, and I barely ever suffer from anything that resembles IBS ever anymore.  When I think about all the years that I felt like I couldn't even go out with friends for dinner and the simplicity of the solution (eventually gluten free), it can be hard not to get angry.

From the time I was 13, I started having many times a month, completely debilitating classic, puke your guts out every fifteen minutes, want to die migraines.

Many times a month.

Days and days and weeks and weeks and months and months of lost time that I will never get back.

They tried me on different drugs.  Nothing helped.

In my last year of college, my migraines triggered an event that caused permanent partial loss of sight in my left eye. They never figured out why. Of course.

Finally in my late 20s, I kept a food and trigger diet.

I got rid of all dairy for 3 years and never had not-organic dairy ever again. I used feverfew and gingko in cycles. They are pretty much GONE.  (You can read more here.)

From the time I was...oh! I can't even remember a time in my life when my low back didn't hurt, and by the time I was 22, I was going in for my first cortisone shot in my hip, being told it would most likely be a regular occurrence in my life from then on out.

I became less and less active.

No one had any suggestions.

No doctor ever said, "let's take a look at your alignment; let's get you into a daily physical regimen..."

Marcy and I started looking for attractive canes.  I was in my mid to late 30s.

Luckily I met a very on-the-edge of things physical therapist who taught me how to be in my body.  (Read about it here.)

But this took time and effort on my part and I rarely meet people who are willing...

From the time I was about 9, I have suffered from depression and anxiety.  (And in this interview, I come closest to describing its all consuming complexity.)

About six years ago, it got so bad again that I went to the doctor and said all the magic words and walked out with a prescription.  Something I had not done in over 10 years.

I went home, and two days later, I was calling Marcy from the floor of the bathroom, so sick -- and sounding so sick on the phone -- that she thought she was going to have to call an ambulance.

My body -- Thank God -- hates those drugs.  Always has and always will.

No one I ever met with ever bothered to do a true diagnostic, first of all, or they might have actually figured out that I wasn't depressed but different.

In the meantime, through many false diagnoses, I figured out (with Marcy's guidance and help) that I needed to be gluten free and finally, that I could not NOT dance.

Every time I have turned to conventional medicine for help with something chronic, something that was blocking my full engagement with and enjoyment of life, I have been disappointed, yes.

But it has forced me to figure things out for myself.

It has forced me to learn about these difficult paths that so many of my students now walk.

And now I can walk right beside them, knowing that each step is a victory.

I have been there and back again.  Over and over.