For the last few years I have had some health challenges. Slowly, insidiously getting weaker. A slow decline to old age some people said, it’s what is expected. But although I didn’t agree with them it was still happening.
When I ruminated on it I realised that things had been gradually getting worse over the last ten years. So slowly it was hardly noticeable. Until the day that I woke up and couldn’t straighten out my fingers, my knees seized up and the pain was excruciating.
I still remember the fear that morning when I couldn’t do anything for myself. The touch of a feather on my finger was like a knife cutting into me. My husband had to help me toilet and dress. He did up my bra and I vividly remember thinking ‘he can’t even do that properly, how am I going to cope with him doing everything for me!!’ A control freak in meltdown! A reformed catastrophiser back in full swing! I could see my future. We would have to move, our house is two storey and the living is upstairs. My life as I knew it was over, just when it had got going. Just when I was reaping the rewards of all the hard work I had put in.
I was a mess ~ physically, mentally and emotionally. The longer it went on the further down I spiralled. The doctors treated the symptoms. They prescribed drugs that took away most of the pain and had me feeling like Wonder Woman but the side effects were most definitely not good.
The whole situation has been a huge cause of frustration for me, not just the pain and limitation it has caused me, because I believed that as a therapist I should have been able to sort it out myself. Yes, I have been known to be a little tough on myself!
This has been a hard thing for me to admit and to write about. I am able to help my clients and students sort their lives out so therefore I felt that I had to be perfect, in order to, or, before I could help others.
When I thought about it I realised that there were some interesting beliefs I had there and I needed to work on and then get rid of.
The fact that I am able to write this admission is testament to the fact that I have done it.
In the quest to solve the puzzle of my health I have done the rounds of doctors. Their solution has been to throw drugs at it/the condition/me, and if those drugs don’t work then come back and we’ll try more drugs. The strength of these drugs and the side effects were becoming horrifying.
Then I was seeing other doctors who were telling me that I must get off those drugs. Most confusing!
But the thing that upset me the most in all this was that no-one was wanting to look at what was causing the inflammation and pain.
Nobody was interested in finding the root cause. Something that I as a therapist am always looking for.
The other thing that I found on this painful journey was that once you step up onto the doctor merry-go-round it is very easy to get sucked into the whole medical model.
Even though I knew through my study and experience that there were other options, I was being sucked into the fear and I then handed my health over to other people, expecting them to fix me.
Throw into the mix a torn hamstring earlier this year and a broken ankle 18 months ago and I was wondering ‘what on earth’ the Universe was trying to tell me.
I want to state here that I am not against doctors.
I certainly could not have coped when I broke my ankle without the skill of the surgeon who strengthened my ankle with a plate and ten screws. I have had many operations in my life and I am rule grateful for the skill of the medical system. In fact I wouldn’t be here without the paediatrician who diagnosed a life threatening kidney disease when I was eleven.
I now see an holistic GP who has prescribed supplements as well as drugs.
For me it was time to take some of my own advice. What would I tell clients who come to see me?
A naturopath came to see me as a client and we got talking about lots of different things and I thought ‘she knows what she’s talking about, she investigates things … and she loves research! I’m going to go and see her as a client.’
So I went and what a great decision that turned out to be. On viewing my old blood tests she said ‘no wonder you’re feeling so crappy!’
I can’t explain how wonderful it was to hear those words and how relieved I felt that at last someone was actually hearing what I was saying and was wanting to put all the pieces together, not just bits.
I filled in a few questionnaires, we had new blood results and then we had a picture we could work with.
Among other things, I am deficient in two amino acids which would be contributing to my fuzzy head and affecting my thought processes. Having seen my mother when her dementia started I now wonder if in fact that was what was wrong with her.
Which then lead me to pondering if that might be the cause of dementia, does the body just completely run out of various nutrients. Maybe in time that will be the answer and an easy solution to an ever increasing problem. It makes sense to me. Like the batteries slowly running down.
The downside with herbs and supplements is that they are not fast acting, unlike drugs. I took steroids and I was like Wonder Woman, I could do anything, and the pain went away. But drugs have side effects. All the rheumatologist wanted to do was treat the symptoms. If he made the pain go away then he had done his job. He wasn’t concerned with how I would be five years from now.
But each day I am noticing the difference in the way I feel and what I can do. Each day I focus on the improvement. When I look back at what I was able to do I the realize I am getting better each day.
Now I can pick up my youngest grandchild and change his nappy, something I couldn’t do for his three year old cousin. I can open jars that last year were impossible.
Each day I am wanting to do more, to embrace life rather than retreat and hide from it.
The moral to this story is:
If you feel there is something wrong with you, then you’d be right.
You know yourself better than anyone else. If the health care professionals you are seeing aren’t taking you seriously then keep searching until you find someone who will listen to everything you’re saying, not just bits of it.
Your intuition will always steer you in the right direction ~ all you need to do is tap in and listen.