Health is a tricky thing. We are all human with the same basic construction, but the physical experience can be so different, body to body. Then there’s the weird things stress and emotions do to the body. I don’t know if I remember what it feels like to feel well, let alone good. And what might work to help you feel better might not work for me and vice versa.
I’ve been searching for better health for twenty years now. At the age of 38 I discovered I was pregnant. I thought: a. I had stomach or liver cancer (my stomach HURT and there was a reason for the liver), or b. I was having early menopause (I missed a monthly cycle – I was pretty regular). I read everything the local library had on stomach and liver cancer and early menopause before going to the doctor. I changed my research after the doctor visit and borrowed my sister’s “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”.
I developed gestational diabetes, and was determined to not get diabetes for real after the birth of my son. I’d always been challenged by controlling my weight, despite irregular attempts at exercise. During the pregnancy and after I learned about nutrition according to the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association and the party line of low-cal, no-fat food plans through a local wellness clinic and our community college. By following the recommended food plans, I continued to gradually gain weight.
Since my health has not improved – and the doctors I’ve seen blamed all my ailments on my body fat – I had to continue my research. Doctors could not explain it to me to my satisfaction. I just could not understand why fat could be blamed for every ache and pain I complained about. Fat causes muscles spasms? Fat causes ear aches? Fat causes week ankles? Since I was five? But I wasn’t fat then. Hmm. The medically recommended way of looking at disease was not working for me. Eating the way the doctor recommended didn’t work. Exercise didn’t work (I am not skilled at body moving).
I was aging, but suddenly my health was challenging me every day, with flu-like symptoms, migraines, digestive troubles, and chronic bronchitis when I was working so hard against them. A urinary tract infection sent me to the doctor for blood tests and she called me back with the “startling” news that I had hepatitis. I’ve told every doctor I’ve ever seen I had hepatitis three times when I was nineteen and twenty. Not one has believed me or bothered to write it in my medical records. Very professional. But my love of doctors is another post.
Today my list of ill health includes: chronic hepatitis; chronic bronchitis; migraines; daily headaches and body pain, varicose veins; arthritis; burning tongue syndrome; nerve pain in my face; unexplained swollen glands and swelling under my right ear; random pain and hearing loss in both ears; sleep problems including a nightly sinus congestion on one side only; random muscle spasms in all muscle groups including my scalp, my hands, feet, and toes; and the roof of my mouth blisters and peels on a cyclic basis. I am also “pre-diabetic”.
In my case this means, I had numbers high enough for my doctor to tell me I had diabetes and high blood pressure. I took medicine for six months. I made enough changes in my life to bring all my numbers to an acceptable level. It also means to me with all the other stuff going on, that at any time, those numbers can go too high if I don’t do something to control it. What am I controlling? My hormone levels, my metabolism, what I eat, how I move. Not my fat. I kinda like my fat and you can’t control fat. But the changes have made some of the fat go away, made my doctor happy with my numbers, and got me off medicine. I don’t like medicine. And I kinda like the changes.
My research has revealed the travesty and poverty of food choices Americans have; the party line of wrong medicine; the lack of support the small farmer has to produce quality local foods; the poison in our water cycle, and processed foods and in our mouths in the form of silver-mercury amalgam fillings; and the unavailability of truly home-produced and value-added farm produce. When I complain, I like to suggest resolutions, so as I go on to my next posts I will be telling how I got here and what I suggest we do to “fix” our society.