In an earlier post, I spoke as to how haven’t always been normal so here’s my chance to elaborate more for you to be better prepared if dealing with an autoimmune issue.
In the years since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease which attacks the thyroid I have learned about health from a holistic point of view too. Infrared saunas, chelation, metal testing, adrenal support, raw diets, liver cleansing, chlorophyll treatment with colonic irrigation, skin patch testing, leaky gut and essential oil therapy. Was all necessary or useful? Perhaps. Perhaps not. However when traditional doctors politely say in not so many words that your symptoms are psychosomatic then you explore all other options before you believe them. If I had a dollar for every time I as told to take up a calming hobby such as yoga as a “prescription” well I’d have a lot of dollars.
And if your experience with chronic illness is something that you know in your bones to be true, but no medical professional is seeing your experience as your truth let me say that I believe you. And I am so sorry for what you are experiencing. We think it’s the quantity of our days that matter most . . . until we become ill with no end in site, then suddenly quality becomes everything.
So here are a few things that helped me when I was on the path of decreased health to provide possible relief and encouragement.
Be your own health care advocate.
Stop right now and ask “does my doctor believe my symptoms?” If your answer is no or even just unsure, find a new doctor.
Yes insurance dictates a lot of what you can and can’t do, plus it seems you can never get in right away with a great doctor. Ask friends for referrals of doctors they like, but also ask specifically for names of internists, endocrinologists, immunologist, gastroenterologist, allergist and on and on to get directly to the root of your situation.
You can pinpoint so many things off of reliable sources from the internet (and also scare yourself to death in fair warning) that if it helps to drill down to what area of medicine you need then do your research. When you meet with a doctor ask questions, don’t let her or him run the appointment. Be respectful of other patients on the docket behind you while being firm that you are heard. Take notes if you need to stay on track or print out your symptoms as doctors are usually mentally juggling three thousand things. Having something in hand he or she can add to dictation notes later that might spark a lightbulb.
Do not discount alternative medicine.
Despite the name “alternative” it’s actually the older of the two when you realize how long Eastern medicine has been around versus Western medicine. And the statistics of longevity and health in Asian cultures blow our pharmaceutical pill-popping medical society out of the water. Like I said, I saw both a holistic doctor who had a medical degree so best of both worlds. He then referred me to other holistic specialists in my town as they network just like the medical field.
Is it costlier? Yes. Will insurance cover cost? Maybe a small portion if you’re lucky. But I would have leveraged anything to get my health back on track without being medicated for life on steroids which was the final prescription from my original practitioner. Not everyone is able to do this of course, but at the very least call the office and talk to staff about opportunities for meeting with a nurse practitioner or even about financial assistance. Don’t let cost stop you from thriving as you might be amazed as to how helpful the holistic community can be. And long term maintenance prescription meds cost even more over time.
Remember the acronym for “Fear”
Fear will not heal you and in fact, it will slow down the healing process as it’s another stress to your already overtaxed autoimmune system. Those worst case thoughts and “what if” conversations playing on a continuous loop like elevator music in the background of all of your thoughts need to go. Unfortunately, beyond hypnosis (and I never sampled that so no clue if that would work here) there is no magic snap of fingers to dissolve fear, but there is something greater. Prayer.
Prayer is a spiritual type of meditation and the power in the Word of God makes for excellent memory “chants” when you memorize verses. In the back of my Bible is a very ratty few pages that are marked up with different ink colors and various dates in my health journey. Two pages are well worn in that every morning and every evening – and sometimes in between – I would scan through the verses I had found that really spoke to my situation and my heart. They kept me going and reminded me that I wasn’t alone.
And the curious thing is when I review them now they are sweet memories without all of the emotion and passion I recall them being at one point in my life because their purpose was to console me then. Now they remind me of God’s faithfulness and that faith beats fear any day of the week. Find a few verses that speak to you and hold tight to their promise that you were fearfully and wonderfully made.
Don’t make light of where you are now.
God is always doing more through us and in us than we realize at the time. Even in sickness. I always like to remember that nothing surprises God and even when we think He’s silent He is still working behind the scenes. God doesn’t take naps or time to check Facebook. Start to view your well-being challenge as a significant time of learning, become a better person and grow your faith. It’s the total opposite of what the world tells you to do in having a pity party, shutting down or shutting out. Listen for God in all things – even doctor recommendations or prognosis reports. He will not fail you, and He knew that you would experience all of this which means He knows too when healing will come.