The New Year greets us unblemished, fresh and uncharted. It is time to take stock of what did and didn’t work in the old year, shake it up and turn it around for the impending 12 months.
For almost 8 years I have greeted the New Year – asleep. New Years Eve always seemed overrated – my husband and I call it Amateur Night. People get dressed up, spend a fortune or get in a tizzy because they have to have a good time. Kind of like a Wedding – the focus is high for one day – when the focus should really be on “What Happens After”.
This year I stayed up until Midnight. I was with very good friends, my husband and my children. I drank a few sips of Champagne (first drink in a long, long time) and went to bed around 1am. Why do you ask – did I choose this year to greet it in personally – because this year I am going to get somewhere with my pain.
As some of you know, I have been doing a new course of treatment with a Naturopath – in concert with my Pain Dr., a Rheumatoid Specialist, a GP – possibly a Neurologist and whoever else comes my way. However, for the first time I believe I might have an answer; which may provide a solution.
I did a Health Assessment at a private clinic – That one day (5.5 hours to be exact) I had tests that would have taken over 2 years to get if I went through the usual channels. Maybe even longer as I have been in pain for 8 years and many of those tests I had never done. It cost alot in dollars – but it was worth it. It gave me concrete evidence that I was getting sicker.
These results would never have come to light if I didn’t do the full assessment – as they are not regular tests performed by Dr.s. The results for many of the tests like Glucose, Cholesterol, Eye Exam – were read as normal – however they were just on the inside of Normal and closer to Abnormal. If one or two of the tests had shown this – not a big deal – but the combination of the tests/results from all aspects of my body – showed I was getting Cushings. I have believed this for 4 years and noone would listen to me. An Endocrinologist said “You don’t want Cushings.” I agree – but if a patient is telling you it is happening why not try to stop it from getting worse? I now had actual medical data to back me up.
These results were sent to my Pain Dr. and he gave them to the Naturopath in his Pain Clinic. He believed me; I had Cushingoid symptoms and I wasn’t losing my mind or making it up.
After I met with him and shared my story – he was silent for a moment and then said. “Kathleen, you didn’t have any control over your weight. It wasn’t a question of calories but of your body. You do have Cushingoid symptoms and we can get a plan of attack together to make you better.” I wanted to turn around and say “OK, where is the camera? I am being Punk’d right?” For those of us Veterens of the system – that is not the usual answer….
Here is what he said and it made sense to me. My system has been in pain for almost 8 years. I had a basic injury – that presented weird symptoms – but over the years the symptoms became varied….different…confusing. I didn’t present properly to specialists so they dismissed me and passed me back to my GP or to another Dr.; where – and I know you are all familiar with this – I had to start from scratch and explain my case again. By the time I get to the next Dr. things had changed and new symptoms came up and mostly, I think I was just too complex for many of them to bother.
It seems because my body had suffered such a horrible injury and in pain for so long – my body compensated for that. It produced Cortisol at a high rate for a very long time. Cortisol is meant to be excreted in short quick doses as the “fight/flight” response of the body. Producing it naturally for so long affected other parts of my body- creating a viscious loop. Voila – Cushingoid symptoms – normally Cushings comes from a tumour or from prolonged use of a steroid. A body producing it naturally for an extended period of time, is not a normal occurance – so it seems not registered by many specialists. Plus, unless the test results are reading “off the charts” they won’t take it seriously. I guess, you have to be really sick for someone to help you?
We also determined, I am a “High Metabolizer” for medications – which means my body genetically requires more medication than the average person. Coupled with that; I am also super sensitive to medication which also had an impact on my healing process. As my body does not process medications like the average person – my side effects, responses and tolerance was abnormal. This baffled Dr.s’ because I don’t respond like I should and it freaked them out. I never wanted medications as a solution – they are a stop gap measure until there is a resolution to my pain. Most of you know narcotics are the big red flashing sign – but why can’t they see that it isn’t what we want – we want an answer and a final solution. We want to stop the Pain.
When asking my Naturopath why Chronic Patients get passed around; he said this; and it makes perfect sense – say you have high blood pressure- you are referred to a Cardiologist – he/she knows the Heart – as a patient you are looked at as a heart not a whole. If there is nothing clearly evident in any diagnostics for the heart – then he/she has no answer – in his/her opinion there is nothing wrong with your heart – so back you go. Western Medicine is not geared to look at the whole body but simply the parts of their specialty.
Here is my question: Can’t you have something wrong with your heart because something else in your body is wrong? We are a sum of all our parts not the parts individually and as patients we should be seen that way. Why aren’t we given a full Health Assessment when we go to a Pain Clinic? This might be of the utmost value to those of us diagnosed with Fibromyalgia – a blanket diagnosis that doesn’t seem to have a root cause, reason or cure.
DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND ME; I am not trying to dimiss traditional treatments – but for centuries all over the world – medicine is a communion of the soul and the body. I do not discount Western Medicine – I believe it has it’s place – but with Chronic Illness – it makes sense the pain is invading all aspects of our person and needs to be addressed. We need to combine Western and Eastern philosophies, we need to attack this invisible demon from all angles.
Since I have started this program, the following has happened:
- eliminated 3 medications
- reduction of pain medication by 25%
- reduced migraines
- reduced unexplained biological reactions – like the wind blowing and hurting my hair – skin pricklies when noises are too loud – unexplained and uncontrollable sweats
- calmer outlook
- reduced anxiety about pain, medications, Dr.s’ visits
- weight loss
- skin colour becoming less red and more normal
So, all in all – not a bad start to actually fulfilling my New Years Resolution. I will be sharing my experiences on this Blog – what treatments, tests, information etc. that I have come across. I am serious – I am going to beat this pain!! Whose with me?