The Perseverance of Getting Well

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about illness and it’s opposite – health. Or vice versa.

When I first heard that I have Lyme, I didn’t believe it. (Was this denial, the first stage of grief?) Two blood tests came back equivocal, which means there’s something not right going on but they don’t know what. People more in the know told me this would happen, told me that blood tests almost never conclusively diagnose Lyme. The only way to diagnose it is the bullseye rash, which I did have.

Yet, I still held out some hope that I didn’t have it.

It wasn’t until my bloodwork came positive for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that I accepted the fact that I do have these illnesses. Herein lies a contradiction about myself that I find ironic. I had adamantly refused to continue antibiotics. They made me feel sicker than I did before. Everything I heard and read said they didn’t really kill the bacteria anyway, so I wasn’t going to continue wracking my body with poisons that weren’t even working.

I wanted an “alternative” nonwestern treatment, but I wouldn’t accept my illness until western medicine bloodwork told me it was true.

What’s going on????

I think a few things.

First, the western mindset kind of believes that modern medicine has it all figured out. We think doctors know everything about all illnesses and how to treat them. If one doctor doesn’t know, another one (a specialist) should. And if they don’t, they have access to the information if they only go and get it. Anyone who has gotten an illness more serious than a cold knows this isn’t true. The human body is complex and much of it still remains a mystery. Yet, some part of me still felt that they should be able test me accurately, and an inconclusive test meant results in my favor of not having it.

Second, I like definitive answers. I like an answer to a question or a problem. Getting a positive result on bloodwork is an answer. It’s not an answer I like, but it was an answer.

All this is part of the problem as to why so many illnesses are not diagnosed, misdiagnosed, or take years to diagnose. Many autoimmune diseases have the same symptoms. It takes time and perseverance on the part of doctors and patients to figure it out. And there isn’t one little pill that will fix it.

Getting well isn’t a quick fix. In part because getting sick wasn’t a quick event. Yes, a tick bite triggered it, but if I’d had a healthy immune system I might have been able to fight it off. I’ve known for months that my immune system was weak. It’s been weak for years, actually – ever since a long illness in Russia many years ago.

It’s going to take a lifestyle change to get well and stay well. It’s going to take work and commitment on my part. Once the arsenal of supplements and medications are used, I’ll still need to stay off gluten and dairy. Processed foods, additives, preservatives, and dyes will still be poison to my system. Because they were poison in the first place. I knew this, yet I continued to consume them.

I see Lyme/RMSF as a wake up call. I’m immensely blessed that I was diagnosed early, and there’s less damage to repair.  But it’s a reminder that my health is my responsibility and long term changes are the only way to lasting health.Seattle Umbrella 2

Having said all this, I don’t want to sound like eating the right foods will guarantee perfect health and anyone who gets sick just ate too many potato chips. We live in a fallen and diseased world, where sometimes everything feels upside down. We can’t escape the mass quantities of heavy metals, toxins, and synthetic hormones that are part of our daily lives. What we can do is make the best decision each day with the information available to us and continue to fight the fight.