Being sick sucks. Being sick and not knowing how to get better sucks even more. Over the years I have seen A LOT of healthcare professionals. I’ve tried traditional, alternative and VERY alternative treatments. I want to share some thoughts on the methods I’ve tried and hopefully you can gain more insight into your own healing journey. By no means do I have the answers. Everyone’s bodies want something different. At the end of the day the most important thing to remember is your health journey is yours. You get to decide what’s right for you. Not me. Not your friends and family. Not the doctors.
Family doctor: Obviously this is where it all starts. You feel sick and you go to the doctor. But what happens when she can’t give you a prescription? What do you do when your doctor runs a few tests and has no answer? For me, nothing. I believed my doctor when she said there was nothing wrong with me. I ignored the voice in my head that told me she was mistaken. I do not recommend this strategy. Instead, ask for more tests. Ask for referrals to see specialists within your insurance plan. Your family doctor usually doesn’t have much to offer besides the basic health advice, but she does have access to a network of doctors. You just have to take initiative and ask for help. Tell her you want more answers. Tell her you will not just wait and see how you feel in a few months.
Infectious disease specialist: A year after being diagnosed with mono my doctor referred me to the UW Infectious Disease Clinic. I scored an appointment with the head honcho. I was so hopeful going into that appointment because I’d heard the doctor was one of the best in the country. After explaining my health history to him he ordered tons of blood tests. He didn’t give me a diagnosis, but I left feeling confident he would give me an answer soon. Surely a highly respected doctor could figure out what was wrong…. Spoiler alert: He couldn’t. During my follow up appointment I was told all of the blood tests came back negative. There was no explanation but chronic mono. When I asked about all the years of bad health before mono he basically discredited how I was feeling. He even gave some bullshit excuse about how everyone is tired so I’ll just have to live with it. I left that appointment in tears.
In conclusion, healthcare specialists can be very helpful for some people, but not everyone. Just because they have fancy degrees and have found the cure to whichever disease does not mean they can help you. That doesn’t mean your symptoms are not real. That doesn’t mean you should stop searching for answers.
Lyme literate doctor: If you suspect you have Lyme disease (click HERE for a list of symptoms) I highly recommend seeing a Lyme literate doctor aka a doctor who actually knows about Lyme disease. Here’s an article to help guide your search. When I finally found Dr. Meress at the Fox Valley Wellness Center I was incredibly relieved. It felt so great to have a doctor really listen to me and understand what I was going through.
I went to an appointment every two months for a little over a year. I changed my diet and took supplements and antibiotics. I really believe in what the Wellness Center does, but after a while I stopped going. I felt like I hit a wall and needed to try something different. Again, I trust the Wellness Center and know they’ve helped a lot of people. My health did improve while I was a patient, but near the end I didn’t feel like they could help me anymore.
Image via Tumblr
Energy healing: Ever since I was young the idea of healing the body through energy was normal to me. Because I’ve grown up with it I have a hard time explaining exactly what it means. Basically it’s a way of getting rid of negative energy and guiding positive energy through your body. I don’t mean witchcraft or anything spiritual. Everyone has energy fields (this is just plain science) and trained healers can tap into that energy. I’ve seen a few different energy healers and have had only positive experiences. I truly feel a difference after and often during my appointments. I probably wouldn’t recommend relying solely on energy healing for a treatment option, but it’s a great way to help your body help itself. Ultimately your body is the one doing all the healing. The medications and everything else are just assisting.
Image via Starchaser Healing Arts
Diet: I’ll make this short and sweet. What you put in your body has a huge impact on how well your body functions. So why would you eat crappy food if you already feel crappy? I don’t believe there is a magic diet, but I do know you need to listen to what your body wants. Experiment with eliminating certain foods (I recommend starting with gluten and dairy). It can be difficult, but when you feel better it makes resisting that pizza a lot easier.
Acupuncture: I’ve never been a huge fan of acupuncture, until I went to Oriental Medicine in January. I’d seen a few acupuncturists over the years and I would feel better after the appointments, but the healing never really stuck. After meeting Qing at Oriental Medicine I changed my mind. She has an amazing ability to read your body and figure out exactly what it needs. She also incorporates personalized diet plans to help heal your body. I’ve been seeing Qing regularly for a little over two months and am amazed by the progress I’ve made. Part of it is due to my EXTREMELY stick diet and the other is due to the acupuncture. I’m really hoping this is the final piece to the mysterious puzzle that is my health recovery.
Image via West Village Acupuncture
Through all the treatments I’ve learned everyone has an opinion. And that’s all it is, an opinion. I spent many years believing everyone when they said nothing was really wrong with me. I blamed myself when the numerous blood tests showed no signs of physical aliments. But at the end of the day only you know your body. You know when something’s not right. Instead of blindly following everyone’s advice I urge you to trust your gut. Try a treatment for a while and as soon as it doesn’t feel right try something else. Unfortunately healing is rarely straightforward, but please don’t give up. I promise it will all be worth it.