When is Enough, Enough?
One of my best friends lives out of state and struggles with very similar medical issues. Unlike me, she’s lived with some degree of chronic illness since she was a child. We chat on the phone frequently (sometimes multiple times per day!) and keep each other updated regarding the different things we’re trying in order to improve functionality and restore wellness.
Lately, we’ve both been incredibly frustrated at the lack of improvement– despite serious overhauls in diet and supplements. I have severely limited my carbohydrate intake in order to squelch the GI issues that my functional MD and nutritionist suspect are related to small bowel bacterial overgrowth. If the little buggers are in there, they aren’t dying fast enough!
I have achieved marked improvement with my diet overhauls and supplement regimens. Improving my digestion with enzymes, supplements, and HCl has been instrumental in working with my body to restore a state of wellness. Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut” (of course he said it in a much fancier way that certainly made the concept appear novel and sexy), so it boggles my mind that physicians are telling patients “changing your diet won’t help.” How can all of the processed chemicals and foreign substances be good for optimal health?
My friend has reached a point of decision in her healing journey
Food has always made her feel unwell so she has decided to just say “forget it.” To her, there is little point in dealing with the aggravation and frustration of being so limited in her diet when her health continues to decline. I completely understand where she’s coming from. When is enough, enough? When is it time to say, “This is how my body is, let’s accept the reality of the situation and move on”? For a recovering perfectionist, this is not an easy thing to do. Move on? Give up? Quit?
During the years I struggled with an eating disorder, one of the major hurdles I wrestled with was the fact that the combination of foods my doctors and dietician were telling me to eat made me feel worse–bloated, fatigued, heavy, and every anorexic’s worst nightmare–fat. Recently, my mitochondrial disease specialist said, “I doubt you ever truly had an eating disorder. I think there was more to it.”
In hindsight, I suspect he is right on the money. I remember having insatiable cravings for carbs and sweets as young as 12 years old. Not understanding why and feeling powerless to stop my body from this seemingly out-of-control cycle, I started dieting. Food intolerances and gut dysbiosis can cause a wide range of seemingly unrelated and unexplainable symptoms.
When you ignore these symptoms, all hell breaks loose. You start to feel out of control and your health deteriorates. A sick GI tract leads to malabsorption and nutrient deficiency which in turn lead to psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, worthlessness, and general malaise. Before you know it, you’re sitting in a doctor’s office being labeled as “depressed” or “bipolar” or “just-a-little-stressed-out.” The vicious cycle begins as you start popping the latest and greatest “wonder drug” (or combination of wonder drugs).
Will I ever truly be able to restore my body to wellness?
Today is one of those days where I’m not exactly sure. They say that disease races in on horseback, but trots out on foot. Maybe I just need to give it more time. Perhaps the lesson to take away from this aspect of healing is that patience is a virtue and putting life “on hold” until wellness is achieved would be quite a waste of an opportunity to enjoy all that is out there.
After spending years as the “problem patient” and struggling through the allopathic medical system with a slew of rare diagnoses, including mitochondrial myopathy, Erica became determined to do what the doctors couldn’t do – restore her body to health. Through her blog, she writes about her crazy experiences dealing with doctors and learning the ins and outs of advocating for oneself. She offer tips and educational resources encouraging patients to take a more “progressive” approach to their chronic illness.
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