Many of us are on healing journeys. We live in a time when factory-made foods and over-use of antibiotics have made us sick.
Weston A. Price discovered in the 1930s that indigenous people groups untouched by Western medicine and Western food were shockingly robust and resistant to disease. Enter 21st century Americans, in stark contrast.
So how does it feel to be unwell?
We are, some of us, isolated, ignorant, yet longing to be well. But we are a community, together, seeking healing and answers.
HOW IT FEELS TO BE UNWELL
Below I describe how it feels to be unwell, according to many of my clients’, and according to my own, experiences. Can you relate?
- Tired. Running errands is enervating. Meals and chores suffer, or are done with forced effort. Naps are awesome. But nighttime sleep is often broken by insomnia. There’s no energy to exercise, sometimes for years; and there is guilt or disappointment about that.
- Slow, with setbacks. Right when progress occurs in one area, another symptom or disease crops up. It is hard to persevere. We make strides with a skin rash only to find out we have kidney stones or SIBO or a histamine allergy. It’s discouraging and our doctors may not have the answers. (Our doctors want to put us on antibiotics, which is what first got us into this mess.)
- Scary. Some of us look at our mortality long before we want to. We are faced with our degeneration, contrasted with what we want to be doing or how we want to be feeling. In some cases we have to prepare for death or limitations that we didn’t “sign on for.”
- Isolating. Beyond immediate family, no one cares to know about invisible sickness. The only people that want to talk are the ones who are also unwell. Those who don’t care aren’t totally lacking in empathy; but they don’t exist in the same paradigm. Sick people that look well are an anomaly. Socializing becomes sooo hard. We can’t eat or drink with our friends. We’re not as much fun to be around. We don’t enjoy social occasions anymore, without a treat in our hand. (And we’d rather be taking a nap anyway.)
- Long. We originally set out on a certain medication or diet and expected it to last for maybe 2 weeks, 6 months, 2 years. Before we know it, that time has gone by. We have made progress but realize we have years more ahead. Would we have chosen this protocol if we knew how long it would take?
- Liberating. At times former addictions go. We realize we couldn’t care less about chocolate or sugar or (fill in the blank) and we kind of miss that old addiction. But then we slap ourselves and praise God; because we realize we are getting well! And it’s awesome to actually like bone broth and to feel satiated by savory food. A big bite of homemade sauerkraut is the perfect ending to a meal and we feel satisfied without longing for more. Our bodies are utilizing nutrition. There are no more pathogens calling the shots, demanding starches and sugars. We sleep through the night; and we know which supplements to take, what they do and why they’re helping. We see an end in sight.
I am speaking from experience, of course. My husband and I said goodbye to each other 5 years ago, when a cardiologist told me I didn’t have long to live. I kept that secret from most of our friends and relatives. I wrote memories and adoring thoughts regularly in my children’s baby books, so they’d know me, how much I loved them and longed to live.
But living is what I kept on doing until one day I met a doctor who told me I was not dying of heart disease.
I’d like to share with you a few pieces of wisdom I’ve gained since that time; and I hope these nuggets will be pearls of encouragement for you.
PUTTING AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES INTO REMISSION
1. Search your budget and keep looking for the right doctor. I have seen close to 20 medical, functional and naturopathic practitioners in the last 20 years. I have only found 5 that were beneficial to my process of healing. In the past few years I have gotten better at only pursuing care from those I firmly believe can advance my knowledge and wellness. I glean as much as I can from that practitioner and then I set out, again, on my own.
2. Be your own best advocate. While, on the one hand, you need the best practitioners in your arena, nothing can replace you doing your own research. Most doctors won’t spend as much time as you will looking up your condition(s) and all the related treatments or factors that may weigh in.
3. Diet- not to lose weight, but to heal. Look into AIP and GAPS diets to see what’s right for you. Different autoimmune conditions benefit from different dietary protocol. Find the one that suits you best and then focus on what you can have food-wise. Learn to love fresh produce from the farmer’s market (instead of some former treat). Find a sweetener that works for you, if you like treats: usually raw honey or stevia. Delight in the beauty of simple whole foods.
4. Don’t get discouraged my how much natural foods cost. Let this become creative and fun. Where can you buy bulk or discounted organic produce? Where can you buy bulk, grass-fed meat? Buy ground meat and use herbs to make meatballs. Add vine-ripened tomatoes or fall in love with coconut manna (homemade is really inexpensive). It’s becoming cliche; but that’s because it’s true: real food is cheaper than medical healthcare.
5. Reach out to your online community. While this day and age brings with it disease and sickness, it also provides information with greater efficiency than any other time in history. Find bloggers who understand, who share recipes and health-related articles. Find functional practitioners who are on the front lines, sharing the best of what they know, empowering you *for free* toward wellness.
Please check out my blog, Eat Beautiful, and my Facebook page. My most recent discovery, toward our family’s wellness, relates to the MTHFR gene mutation. If you have an autoimmune condition and haven’t yet been tested for this, I recommend looking at Dr. Lynch’s site and doing the mail-in saliva test. Why? The correct supplementation can help your body to detoxify. It was the missing piece in our family’s healing.
Cheers, Friends. As I’ve said before, we’re in this together. What can you add? What advice do you have for others who share a healing journey? What questions do you have?