My Healing Journey
My purpose in sharing some of my personal story is to hopefully be a bit of inspiration and encouragement to you, and to instill confidence in you that holistic healing and alternative medicine do work! We live in a time with a multitude of choices for our health care, and the freedom to follow our own path. My belief is that embracing health and psychological challenges as lessons and gifts can open whole new doorways of insight, wisdom, strength and peace. Disclosing my personal recovery journey is also for the benefit of those whom I may never meet in person and will work with only by phone.
I have overcome a variety of chronic conditions and ailments since I was a child, with a poor immune system and even worse diet. The prolonged stress of abuse since I was a newborn, and living in a household with alcoholism and severe dysfunction didn't help, either. I grew up always being tired and lethargic (I did everything to get out of gym in school and could hardly stay awake studying in college). I rarely did not have a bad cold that turned into bronchitis from age 5 to my 20's, until I moved out a smoking household and quit smoking, myself.
Living with untreated clinical depression and anxiety since a young child led to some pretty obsessive-compulsive behaviors and drug abuse by the time I hit my teens. I got cervical cancer at 20, and after 7 years of successfully reversing my abnormal cells, totally naturally, I finally had a partial hysterectomy (out of fear and medical pressure). Then I began a very long journey of fibromyalgia, before it even had that name or was understood. Complicated by a lumbar scoliosis (curvature of the spine since a child), it was 12 years of constant pain before I finally got a grip on it through nutrition, body and energy work, lifestyle changes, natural healing remedies and practices, and psychotherapy. For the following 22 years since, it has steadily improved and most of the former symptoms (of which there are many) have been eliminated with a high-maintenance, self-care program. The biggest impact was uncovering and clearing my childhood abuse- it has been reported even in medical journals that there is a very high incidence of childhood abuse in women who have fibromyalgia.
In my 20's I was diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis C, probably picked up as a teenager (those wild drug years of the 60's), a potentially debilitating and life threatening disease. I accomplished returning my lab findings to normal every time they were high, through diet and liver cleansers and have lived with it into my 60's without being terribly ill or impaired. In 2005 I had my only acute flair-up after being in Mexico for 3 months and tested for abnormal labs that were hundreds of times higher than normal levels! I was drained for a year and had the diagnostic biopsy, but refused the toxic, exorbitantly priced drug treatment that can last up to a year with severe side-effects. I chose to work with it through diet, supplements, herbs, energy healing and clearing anger and some deep existential issues I'd been holding onto my whole life. In Chinese medicine, the liver represents the emotion and energy of anger, and an inflammatory condition (a word ending in "itis" or "algia", such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, both of which I had) can be related to an inflammatory emotion such as frustration and irritation. Making the commitment and taking the time to deal with this really seemed to be the turning point, and now I've been symptom free and back to my high energy self ever since.
Throughout my adult life I also took on long-term anemia, hypoglycemia, insomnia, TMJ dysfunction and bouts of acne, food allergies, excess candida and parasites, all without medication or conventional medical treatment. I'm happy to report they are all cleared up and I am healthier now than all my younger years, even with the ravages of time and wear and tear, and I am very indebted to my acupuncturists, naturopaths, chiropractors and bodyworkers. After 35 years of chronic muscular tension and the tightly wired nervous system of fibromyalgia, I've ended up with the diagnoses of osteo-arthritis and disk degeneration disease. I don't let that term "disease" intimidate me any more, nor the verdict of "incurable". I continue to take dance classes and perform, work out at the gym, hike and lead a fairly active life style. It is precisely because of this, and all the other maintenance I do, that I have sustained my health, within the limitations of some of this history.
It's worth mentioning that throughout my long history of mild to severe depression, I have only taken anti-depressants for a total of 6 months. I never felt comfortable with the side-effects and was philosophically opposed to medications, in general. So I've managed to substitute the pharmaceuticals with natural remedies and supplements such as St. John's Wort herb, 5 HTP, Sam-E, and amino acids with great success. While I am not against others taking anti-depressants temporarily, or if necessary to function, I feel it is better to find a natural alternative, along with uncovering and resolving the other factors, besides chemical, contributing to one's depressed state. We all know that anti-depressants, and other pharmaceuticals, are far too over prescribed and used, and all have serious side-effects and tax the liver and kidneys. With hepatitis, I also did not want to burden my liver any further. Remember, however, always decrease your medication slowly and in gradual amounts under a doctor's supervision, and consult with your health care professional about any natural support you are wanting to add to your prescribed meds. I've seen too many people flip out badly and have serious melt downs from suddenly quitting their depression or anxiety meds. Since MD's don't generally know much about these alternatives, it is best to also get advice from a seasoned and reputable Naturopathic Physician or Acupuncturist/Chinese Medicine Practitioner.
The latest health experiment has been through the enormous and profound changing of a women's life cycle called menopause. I never feared this, for some reason (probably because I figure I already had enough initiations of "awakening" through health challenges!), but it still imparted its share of annoying physical and psychological symptoms upon me. However, it was nothing like the horror stories I'd heard of women's health and lives being ruined for up to 10 years! My sluggish thyroid gland, sleep difficulty, focusing and memory problems, mood swings and decreased sexual function have all been improved or eliminated by simply using natural progesterone cream and intermittent herbs, along with my usual high doses of nutritional supplements. Attitude has everything to do with how much a woman makes peace with her body and psyche during this powerful transition in life. Menopause requires us to take a final assessment of where we are and where we want to be for the remaining years of our aging cycle, and it can be fuel for a deeper spiritual and emotional maturity.
We now live in an era of anti-aging advances and increasing knowledge of how to heal and protect ourselves, but it's also an unprecedented time for high stress, pollution, depleted soil and a bombardment of electro-magnetic disturbance from our technology and modern lifestyle. My studies and personal experiences have convinced me that we have amazing innate healing mechanisms and just need the right tools and, sometimes, the substances to activate or strengthen them, as well as getting our emotional, psychological and spiritual beings aligned. I prefer an approach that is non-invasive and will not produce side-effects that are equal to or worse than the health problem! Prevention is really the key, and if you didn't start off with good genes or circumstances, as I didn't, health is never something you can take for granted, even in your youth. It's often said, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything." Or at least, it's harder to enjoy...