Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends! I hope that you’re having a great week so far! Today, I wanted to share with you exactly why I choose to use holistic medicine to treat and manage my chronic illnesses. I’m not going to go into a hugely detailed, scientific explanation. But, I will tell you about my experience, which is really the most relevant thing because if a certain kind of treatment works best, why wouldn’t I choose it anyway? We should all be doing what works best for us. So, I’m sharing with you today in case you haven’t considered alternative routes but haven’t had success in following conventional medicine either.
My Autoimmune Story…
Ten years ago now I was at work and my boss noticed that I was jaundiced. This was quite a shock to me at the time, but looking back, it probably shouldn’t have been. I had been sick already for many years with horrible IBS. I was chronically fatigued, and I suffered a lot with depression and anxiety. I thought at the time that it was all my fault. I figured the anxiety was causing the chronic diarrhea. I thought that the depression was what was making me tired and that I was just a lazy person because I couldn’t get myself to do everything everyone else my age was doing. I kind of accepted the fact that I just wasn’t a go-getter and that I was internally flawed. Turns out, I had been sicker than I could ever have imagined the entire time. You don’t just get an autoimmune disease out of the blue. It takes years and years to get to the point where your body is screaming at you and you’re severely inflamed. But, the diagnosis happens pretty quickly. So, sometimes people don’t understand or realize that they were actually sick for many years prior. We tend to just keep pushing forward and trying to ignore signs and symptoms. We brush them off in hopes they go away soon. But, all of those little signs are actually big red flags that our bodies are not functioning properly. We go to the doctor, get a pill, and then maybe our symptoms get better for a little bit, or maybe they don’t and we just learn to deal with it. That was me. I was just dealing with it. I had been to my primary care doctor a million times for my chronic IBS. She’d given me things to try, but nothing ever worked. So, I just lived with it. But, I have no doubt that was a sign that my body was under duress.
I went to the doctor the next day and he ran some tests for my liver functionality. I received a pretty frantic phone call from him as soon as he got the results. He wanted me admitted to the hospital immediately! He said that my liver enzyme levels were around 1,000 and the normal range was 21-30. I was so panicked. I had just been in the hospital a couple of months prior with a severe kidney infection (another red flag!). The last place I wanted to go was back to the hospital. But, I went anyway. I was in there for days as they ran test after test on me. They’d come stick me for blood every few hours, all hours of the day and night, until I had no spots left to draw from on my arms. I finally got to go home, but still didn’t have any answers. Eventually my doctor scheduled a liver biopsy for me. This was an awful experience, too! I hate to sound like a negative Nancy, but honestly this whole experience was a horrifying nightmare. The liver biopsy is performed while you are awake. They numb the skin where they make the incision, but everything from there you feel 100%! They go in through your rib cage with the longest, largest needle you will ever see, and snip a piece of your liver. Not only can you feel it but you can even hear it! It’s so awful. They say it won’t hurt at all, but mine definitely did. They also said that it would heal quickly and I would not feel any pain in the liver because the liver can’t possibly feel pain. Well, that’s not true either. I felt the whooole thing. Beginning to end, and I was in pain for six months afterward.
My doctor sent all of my results to a local specialist who then called and requested that I come in for an appointment. I went in to the appointment by myself and listened as he told me that I had Autoimmune Hepatitis. He said that it’s not a viral form of hepatitis. It’s an inflammatory response in the liver to my own immune system attacking it. Essentially, he was saying, my body was attacking itself. He went on to try to reassure me that this wasn’t the end of the world. I may have a shorter life than others, but I could live a totally normal life and manage this relatively easily. He said I would be on steroids for a few weeks probably and then the inflammation would calm down. I would just have to take another drug called an immunosuppressant (I took Azathioprine for anyone who knows this road) for the rest of my life. That immunosuppressant would lower my immune system so that it wouldn’t attack my liver. So, that sounded pretty manageable to me at the time. I left with a smile on my face and confidence that this would just be a minor bump in the road.
So, I started on the Prednisone and Azathioprine protocol. Weeks and weeks went by with little to no improvement. They told me that I could continue eating and drinking as I usually do. I ate what I thought at the time was a healthy diet and exercised frequently. Sadly, I was still eating healthier than most typical Americans do, but it wasn’t clean enough. I still ate frozen dinners and canned foods. I had processed lunch meats like Subway and sauces with hidden ingredients I didn’t know about. I also still continued to drink alcohol. So dumb. They told me I could! I was in my early twenties and I liked to have fun. So, I still drank alcohol. They said it had nothing to do with why I was sick. I know that it wasn’t the reason why I was sick at all, but I know now that it wasn’t helping the inflammation. I was extremely fatigued. It hurt to get out of bed and I felt like it took everything I had in my body to just get ready to go work, let alone actually drive there and put in a day’s worth.
I had no idea what to expect. Everyone else (with the exception of my husband and I think sometimes even my boss) expected that I should still be able to function just the same. You couldn’t see my illness other than the bloating, acne, and weight gain. I could still walk and talk. I wasn’t screaming in pain, so I should be able to carry-on, right? WRONG. I also know now that when you’re so sick that your liver is making you jaundice, you absolutely will feel like complete garbage. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t depression or laziness causing me to feel this way. I was severely ill! It’s so frustrating to look back now and realize how I let other people make me feel like I was lazy and unmotivated. I felt so horribly about myself. I had no self-esteem, and I felt like I had inflicted all of this upon myself. I even had people questioning if it was partying that caused my illness. Everywhere around me I felt like there were fingers pointed in my direction and I was extremely overwhelmed, frightened for my life, sad, anxious, and exhausted. That only made me feel worse and just go deeper into my depression.
I continued to have the IBS, but now with the Prednisone added in, I was having terrible insomnia, extreme mood swings, increased anxiety, insatiable hunger, acne, moon face (when your face bloats up particularly round), painful abdominal bloating, and weight gain. I was newly engaged at the time. Only a couple of weeks in. Not exactly how I wanted to be feeling at that time or EVER!
I went to get my liver enzymes checked every two weeks. I was so hopeful and sure every time that it would be better, but it never was. I eventually sought out a new specialist. I spent years with her, did so many kinds of testing, and still saw no improvement. In fact, things were getting progressively worse. I did try some supplements around this time. My pharmacist suggested I try things for my gut and inflammation. When I read about it online, it seemed like this was a great idea! So, I bought a whole big bag worth of supplements which totally broke my bank at the time, but I was hopeful I’d see some improvement. When I told my specialist about them, she immediately told me to stop taking all of them right away! She said they were toxic and that pharmacists don’t know enough about this to be giving me supplements. In hindsight, I wish I taken them anyway!
I eventually made a trip to Cleveland Clinic with Ryan and my mom. I went in super hopeful that they would have something different to say than the others I had already seen. But, that doctor took one look at me and said, “You need to be on Prednisone and an immunosuppressant. And, I don’t think your face is bloated from steroids, I think it’s just fat.” I’m not kidding you. He seriously said that! Crushed is an understatement. I left there and was so upset and extremely hopeless.
I finally went to see THE GUY at my insurance-approved hospital in my city. He was the top gastroenterologist and came highly recommended. He said that I had one other option. I could try a different type of steroid called Budesonide. It apparently works slightly differently and does not have as severe of side effects as Prednisone, particularly the weight gain part. Since I was always concerned about the weight gain (55 pounds worth on my 5’3 frame) I desperately wanted to try this drug. It was supposed to also not make it so difficult to sleep and I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in four years at that point. So, we tried to get this drug but quickly realized that it was not covered by my insurance. It was going to cost $1,000 a month and we did not have the funds at that time to afford that. Far from it. So, we had to give up hope on that option. I was crushed. It’s such a shame that better medications aren’t covered by insurance companies. It really upsets me. I know so many people who just can’t afford the better options and have to settle for cheaper, more damaging treatments because they can’t afford it. So much of our current medical system is tied up in insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Money is the driving factor for everything. People aren’t getting the care they need because people are being so greedy about the money.
So, I continued on the same protocol. They would just keep increasing and increasing my dosages of the steroids and immunosuppressants. I was taking 60 mg of Prednisone a day and 120 mg of Azathioprine. That’s an absurd amount! Regular doses of Prednisone are 5-10 mg. I was a horrible, miserable, mess! For years I wouldn’t go out of my apartment much at all. I hated being seen in public because I looked unrecognizable. I couldn’t sleep at night, but I slept all day. I barely got out of bed. I ballooned up to 175 pounds. I am naturally very petite. My face looked totally distorted. My upper body was so much bigger than my lower body, too. I gained it all in my chest and belly. It was all anyone would talk about. I felt so ashamed. Most of the time I just wanted to die. I couldn’t see a way out of this and it was just so hard to keep going day after day. I felt so badly for my husband because I was not the person I was when we first met. But, he stayed by my side and kept supporting me.
One day, I was researching online about treatments for autoimmune disease, I came across the autoimmune paleo diet also known as the autoimmune protocol, or AIP. It was an elimination diet that took out any inflammatory foods such as processed foods and oils, gluten, dairy, grains, soy, nightshades, eggs, and sugar. The success stories sounded really great! So, I printed out the information and took it with me to my next appointment with my specialist. He looked it over, handed it back to me, and said, “this is a bunch of horse****! If you want to go buy the most expensive cuts of meat, go knock yourself out, but this is not going to solve your problem.” I accepted that and was let down that he didn’t think it was a viable option, but I didn’t consider giving it a try regardless. There’s that hindsight again!
Eventually my specialist told me that this protocol was clearly not working (you think?). We were five years in. Five years on this same exact protocol and they were now just telling me that it wasn’t going to work? He suggested I try second-tier drugs, one of which was Methotrexate, before he would put me on the liver transplant list. Yikes. My jaw dropped when he said “liver transplant list”. He started to explain about this option to try Methotrexate. Methotrexate is a drug that is used for transplant and cancer patients. It has horrible side effects including hair loss, extreme nausea, vomitting, diarrhea, dizziness, tiredness, headaches, chills, and not to mention lymphoma! He wanted to make sure that I understood all of these side effects before I started. I also had to stop drinking all alcohol or else I would likely die from the combination! I was so disappointed that a drug this terrible was my only option other than a transplant. But, I figured I had no other choice. So, I committed to no alcohol and started the drug. I was on it for a couple of weeks. It made me violently ill! I would throw up constantly. All afternoon and evening. I was so dizzy, my stomach ached like never before, and the nausea was terrible. At the two week mark, we tested my liver enzymes. With no alcohol and the addition of the Methotrexate, my liver enzymes had gone UP 800 points! That’s a HUGE amount in two weeks time.
When they called to tell me this news, it was a very somber phone call. I was alone in my apartment, and it was the doctor calling me, not the nurse. He said that he was out of options. I had tried all of the drugs that would have any impact. He told me that I would need to go on the liver transplant list. As he explained to me what this would be like and what the rest of my life would look like, my heart sunk. I felt like this was the beginning of the end. He told me that I would live a short life. Generally, 75% of people who have a liver transplant live for at least five years. Meaning, for every 100 people who undergo a liver transplant, approximately 70 will live for five years and 30 will die within five years. My specialist said given my case and the fact that my disease was chronic and would come back, I could expect about ten years. I was 30 years old. As I’m writing this, I tear up because I could possibly be dead right now if I had gone along with this as I had the rest of the conventional medicine protocols. I hung up the phone and broke down in tears. I wondered how I would tell my husband about this when he got home. How do you break this news to your family? I barely remember telling Ryan about it. I don’t really recall even what I did in the few days following that phone call. I know that I chose not to tell my family about it. I just couldn’t even talk about it. (Anyone else just go silent when they’re going through something incredibly difficult?) The doctor told me to go back on the high dose of Prednisone and Azathioprine. He thought it was better than nothing. So, I did.
I couldn’t fathom going through with a liver transplant. I didn’t want to die in less than ten years. I had barely gotten to live yet! I had been sick my entire teen and adult life. I started to revisit that autoimmune paleo diet online. I delved in deep. I researched the heck out of it and I decided that I would give it everything that I had. I set a start date for when I would first go completely gluten free. Then a week after that I would go dairy free, and a week after that I would go full-on autoimmune paleo. I had a plan and I was determined to execute it!
I was still having horrible insomnia. At night I would scroll through a Facebook support group for Autoimmune Hepatitis. One night, I noticed an unusual post. It was a photo of a woman smiling and the caption said that she reversed her autoimmune disease with an all-natural protocol using Alpha Lipoic Acid. No one posts pics of themselves smiling in that group, and certainly no one has ever said that reversing their autoimmune disease is even possible! She said she had found out about this protocol from a book called “Curing Courtney”. It was the story of how a mother reversed her child’s autoimmune hepatitis this way after years of struggling with the same conventional medicine protocol that I had been on. I immediately ordered the book and when it came I read it in one night. It was like reading my own story but through a mother’s perspective. I was so touched by it. The name of the woman who wrote the book is Denise Gabay Otten. She would soon become my hero. She too had been from specialist to specialist desperately seeking answers to save her daughter’s life. Finally, she came upon Dr. Bert Berkson who was a medical doctor of the liver himself. He had seen how liver patients were treated by the medical system and he knew that there were better options. He was working with Alpha Lipoic Acid and found that it was regenerating people’s livers who had been sick for years! People who were on their death beds were making full comebacks. However, the medical system did not approve of using this natural substance because it did not profit them at all. They told him, “we are in the business of transplants”. The business of transplants. It was all coming together. I don’t think that my doctors necessarily were just in it for my money. I don’t think that they wanted me to live a short life. But, I do believe that our medical system is severely flawed and is driven by money. They teach doctors in school to practice in ways that profit. They don’t teach them to truly heal people. So, doctors like mine, when presented with alternative options see no “scientific evidence” that anything other than their treatments would help. Why? Because no studies show that they help. Well, the problem is, no scientific studies are done on alternative treatments. Why? Because pharmaceutical companies are funding the studies. Why would they study the effectiveness of natural treatments? There’s no money in that.
I really resonated with Denise’s story. Her daughter was also able to come completely off of the steroids and immunosuppressants. She was able to live a normal, healthy life! The woman that posted in the group was also off of her medications and her autoimmune hepatitis remained in remission. I finally had a piece of hope!
I found Denise on Facebook and I sent her a private message. She texted me the next day and we set up an appointment to talk. She wanted to video chat! I was mortified because I looked so terrible and I didn’t want anyone to see me like this, not even a total stranger who completely understand why my face would be so blown up. But, I did it and we talked for a while about the protocol and what to expect. We agreed that she would coach me through it. I told her I was doing the autoimmune paleo diet and she agreed that it was a great thing to do! So, I borrowed some money from my parents to pay for her coaching fee and supplements, and I started the protocol!
Within weeks I already had more energy from the diet and supplements. I was even starting to do some exercise! I had my first blood test done at the two week mark, and sure enough, my liver enzymes had dropped! It was the first time they had dropped that much! I was ecstatic and it gave me so much hope to keep going with the protocol. I did not tell my liver specialist about it at all. I knew he would not support it. I simply told him that I would continue on the Prednisone and think about the liver transplant. So, for the meantime, I would take those drugs in conjunction with the supplements. More weeks went by and the numbers just kept dropping. Eventually, I started to decrease my Prednisone amount. Every two weeks we tested my enzymes. Sometimes they would remain the same or slightly go up a few points. This would completely freak me out! I would start to get slightly discouraged. But, Denise assured me this was normal and to keep going.
Meanwhile, my specialist who was ordering the tests was thrilled that the numbers were going down at all. They had no idea why the numbers were truly dropping, though. They thought it was because I was taking the Prednisone by itself, not because of the diet and Alpha Lipoic Acid protocol. Hilarious.
I continued to wean off of the Prednisone and was doing great on the diet. I lost 60 pounds in 5 months! My levels were so close to being in remission but for a couple of months it seemed like I couldn’t get them to budge. I had an appointment coming up with my specialist and I had to get them checked before I went. I was so excited to go see him because I was 60 pounds lighter and down to 5 mg of Prednisone. He had no idea that I wasn’t still on the large dose.
When we got there, the nurse took us back. She didn’t recognize me at first. When I told her what I had done, she just looked at me and said “Good for you!” in a very non-excited way. Haha. This was the same nurse who prayed over me for my vanity because I was concerned about the weight gain. Yeah. How rude is that?! Pretty sure a 55 pound weight gain is not just a vanity concern. It’s also a serious health concern! They’re also the same ones who always informed me that my BMI was too high. (Huge eye roll…)
When the doctor first opened the door, he looked up from his chart, saw me, looked back down at the chart and started to back away. Then, he looked back up at me with a very puzzled look and said, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t even recognize you! What’s happened?!” I filled him in. Every last detail. I wanted him to know that there are other options out there besides damaging steroids and immunosuppressants. There are things that we can do naturally to support our bodies and begin to heal on a deeper level. He was shocked. He admitted that he couldn’t take credit for it! He even asked me if he could borrow my copy of the book “Curing Courtney”! I was like, dude, you’re a top level gastroenterologist at the best hospital in Pittsburgh. Pretty sure you can buy your own copy! Haha!
He was so impressed with what I had done. But, before I left, I wanted to know if he had my last blood test results. He went back to check. When he came back in, he had a shocked look on his face. He told me that I was in remission! I was finally in remission! My liver enzymes had come down into the normal range! Six years of battling this awful disease and I had finally made it. I’d avoided a liver transplant that would have taken my life at such a young age, and I had done it with my own will power, drive, determination, and the help of an incredible woman, not to mention the patience and support of my husband and help from my parents. I wasn’t a lazy loser afterall! Haha. I felt like I could take on the world! It was the most amazing moment of my life.
Sadly, just eight months after, my body crashed from the usage of the high doses of steroids and immunosuppressants for so many years. In a way, this was a blessing because it lead me to find the true cause behind the autoimmune disease, but it has been another extremely long and painful process. I was eventually diagnosed with Lyme disease in a very chronic, late stage. I also found that I have heavy loads of mold, metals, viruses, and other pathogens. I’m still on my healing journey, but I know that I will get there eventually. Healing from years and years of being sick doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process in itself just to find the treatments that work without completely wiping my body out. Killing pathogens is an entirely different kind of healing than reducing inflammation. It’s so much harder on the body. But, I continue to stay on the holistic path, and have no doubts that I can heal. It’s just a matter of the right plan and timing.
So, this is why I choose holistic medicine. This is why it makes so much more sense to me to find the root cause of the problem and go after that instead of band-aiding the symptoms with drugs that only harm our bodies more. The Prednisone steroid and immunosuppressants only made my infections worse. They weakened my immune system and allowed the infections to take an even deeper hold. They destroyed my adrenal glands. I now struggle with horrible adrenal fatigue. I couldn’t watch a suspenseful or stressful TV show because I couldn’t recover from the rush of adrenaline for so long. If something startled me I felt like I was stuck at the top of a roller-coaster and couldn’t come down. Having a difficult conversation was unbelievably physically painful because I had no adrenal support to help me handle the stress. Try telling that to someone as an excuse for why you don’t want to talk to them! Haha. Nobody understood because it didn’t show on the outside. But, what those drugs did to me was brutal on the inside. The steroids also caused the mold and candida to grow rampantly in my body which taxes the liver and other organs even more. My kidneys have not been the same since. I have a horrific bladder condition, my other organs have been affected… things just aren’t the same as they used to be before I spent years on those medications. Yet, I’m not angry with the people who prescribed them to me. I’m angry with the medical system for allowing and encouraging it. No one should ever be on that high of a dose of steroids or immunosuppressants for that matter, for that long! It’s absolutely insane. Those are meant for short term use. The fact that we have no better options when there clearly are natural, safe options is absolutely ridiculous! We have been conditioned to believe that our medical system is going to take care of us. We believe that they are doing the best that they can and have the most amount of knowledge of anyone out there. We practically worship doctors because they go to school longer than any of us. But, the fact is, this system is broken and it is not helping us. It’s hurting us. It is not health care. Health care is preventing and healing conditions, not making them worse or ending one’s life too soon for no reason. And can we talk about the domino effect of medications?! Once you start taking a pill you get a bunch of side effects. So, what do they do? They prescribe you another pill to deal with the side effects of that one. And then another for the side effects of the other one, and so on. I was on so many medications I couldn’t even keep them straight! How’s that for healing an inflamed liver?
Now, some of you might be saying, well what would you do if you got into a car accident? Well, of course I would use conventional medicine. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing treatments, surgeries, and doctors out there! (I truly don’t think that the majority of doctors mean us any harm.) I think modern medicine is fantastic for trauma, injury, and other necessary things. But, for chronic illness, I do not find it remotely helpful. And, I’ve had A LOT of chronic illnesses over the years and I often give western medicine a shot, because when we are in pain or some kind of discomfort, we will do just about anything to get out of it. But, conventional (western) medicine for me has never had long-term solutions for chronic issues.
Also, I’d love to tell you my opinion about autoimmune disease. I do not believe that an autoimmune disease is the result of the body attacking itself. Our bodies are extremely intelligent. They know how to heal themselves. They also know how to create tiny humans, give birth to them, know that they need food from us, and they supply it. They do not just randomly go about attacking themselves. I know this now because I eventually found the root causes of my autoimmune disease: Lyme, mold, viruses, heavy metals, parasites, and other toxins. The problem is, for some reason, the medical community does not look for the root causes of chronic illnesses anymore. I don’t know if there ever was a time that they did. I haven’t been alive to see it. They just slap a name on your condition (for which there could be many individual causes, no one chronic condition is caused by the same exact thing, so I don’t know why they treat it as such) and send you home with a drug to band-aid your symptoms. You never get medication to address the root cause of chronic illness. There is a never a cure, because they don’t know why it truly happens. (I can’t tell you how many times I requested to be tested for Lyme Disease and was denied!) You can’t cure something without finding out why it’s happening at all. Did anyone ever ask their doctor why their immune system is attacking itself? What makes it do that? I would guess they would blame it on our faulty genes. It’s always those dang genes. Well, sure, maybe genes have something to do with it because when you’re in the womb you do get toxins and pathogens passed on to you. Plus, if you inherit your parents eating habits and lifestyle, that affects your health, too. But, in my opinion and experience, there is always a pathogen and toxic load involved in chronic, mystery illnesses. It’s not always just passed on from your parents. That is not to say that there aren’t illnesses that are genetic, such as Down’s Syndrome and Friedreich ataxia. But, those are in a totally different category.
Our bodies aren’t made to handle the chemicals in modern day drugs. They bring so much toxicity. That’s why there are side effects. Toxins are one of the major reasons we get sick in the first place, not to mention the fact that they feed the pathogens that also make us sick. So, pumping our bodies full of more toxins doesn’t make any sense to me or others with my same beliefs. I’m not alone here. We have to look at the facts and the truth about how what we put in our bodies effects our health. That includes drugs to treat illness. It also includes our daily diets. No pill is going to counteract a terrible diet forever. Your body will start to break down in other ways. Clearly, coming off of those drugs and removing the inflammatory foods I was eating changed my body so much! I went from dying to having a new chance at life. So, my point here is, please don’t fall victim to believing everything that medical doctors tell you to be true. It’s very dangerous. You have to be your own health advocate and inform yourself! You have the power to change your health right in your own hands. It starts with you and your choices. It is not your fault that you have pathogens and toxins. It’s not your fault that you are sick. You didn’t do it to yourself. No one in their right mind would do that to themselves. But, you can change it yourself.
My Advice To You…
If you’re wondering where to start on your holistic journey, I would highly recommend seeking out an experienced naturopath or functional medicine doctor. You can often find certified ones that are also chiropractors. There is a lot of talk about chiropractors being total quacks. I think that is unfortunate because the majority of them aren’t. Most chiropractors generally want to help you on your wellness journey. I will admit, there are some out there that don’t always know what they’re doing and follow the trends in hopes of growing their businesses. But, if you do your research, ask for referrals, and find someone who has been practicing successfully for years, you can find great ones who can really help and support you. You will find that they are more attentive to your concerns, will do more in depth testing to find out why you are sick, and they will treat your body as a whole – not as separate compartments like conventional medicine does. The human body is all interconnected. Why we treat it like separate computer parts is very puzzling. But, holistic medicine will look at the entire picture. I can’t promise you success overnight or immediate relief. But, I can guarantee that it will help you become healthier! You have to be patient and believe in it. Your attitude towards it is just as important as what you are putting inside of your body. It’s so true that health is all about the mind, body, spirit connection. So, don’t forget those aspects either.
Obviously, I’m not totally healed yet. But, I know that when I put all of these things into place, I see improvement. It’s slow sometimes and so frustrating to get through, but eventually it gets better. I know I can heal and I’m determined to do so.
I do not always have support from friends and family regarding my choices of treatment. In fact, I’d say most people don’t agree with it. It’s disappointing to me. I would hope that they would listen to my concerns, value my opinions, see what I’ve been through, and understand why I would make the choices that I do. But, a lot of them just think I’m crazy and avoiding the help that the western medicine world could offer me. Funny though, most of those people don’t have any chronic health conditions of their own to actually understand firsthand that the medical system does not offer true help for chronic illness. They don’t understand the toxicity of drugs or how they can make conditions worse. They don’t feel the pain of the side-effects. So, I have to stand firm in my beliefs and often keep them to myself. It protects my energy and my sanity! I know what I’ve experienced and I’ve put in the countless hours of research. My body is the one who has been through all of this, and it knows what’s best for me. I listen to my gut and I have absolutely zero doubts that the path I have chosen is the best one. Don’t let other people persuade you. You have to make your own decisions. If you don’t have support around you, find it elsewhere. It’s there! I promise you. There are countless support groups online and in person. You can choose your path and find others who are on it, too.
I am not a medical professional. Please do not take this as advice on how to heal your condition. Rather, let it be inspiration to help you find answers on your own health journey. The AIP Diet helped me a lot. It may or may not be what’s best for you, though. If you want to learn more about my experience doing it and the itself, see my previous post here. I’ve done a lot of trial and error with diets over the years for different kinds of conditions. Each one is unique. So, if one thing doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to get back out there, do some more research, and try another! You will find what works best for you. Follow your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, like getting a serious, life-altering surgery, postpone it and take the time you need to figure out the best path – if you have the time. It’s your body. No one is in control of it but you. You can say no to doctors. They aren’t God. They’re human and they make mistakes just like you and me. Remember that. And if I can ever be of any help to you, please don’t ever hesitate to reach out. I’m here for you! Thank you to anyone who actually read this post all the way to the end! It was kind of therapeutic to write this story and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. I hope that it helps you in some way.
Be well, friends!