BEAUTY + FITNESS + NUTRITION + WELLNESS
|Don't be a slave to your diagnosis|
So, apparently, blogging from the sandy beaches of the Riviera Maya isn’t as dreamily possible with two little ones in tow. So, hi. I’m Alicia, and it’s been more than a month since I’ve waxed complementary medicine–in blog form, at least.
Any opportunity that comes my way to help someone who’s languishing in the diagnostic limbo find answers, I’m there. And the opportunity has arisen on several occasions this month... the veritable pandemic that Lyme disease has become is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, I have had more requests from folks in the last few months for the name of the doctor who diagnosed me with Lyme disease than cumulatively since my diagnosis and treatment.
And, unfortunately, the medical industry doesn’t show too many signs of progress in its comprehensive understanding of the disease. Just recently, watching the well-done show on KCPT here in Kansas City, "Second Opinion," I noted a disappointingly low baseline level of knowledge on the disease compared to most any of us who’ve taking our health into our own hands and educated ourselves.
Of course, therein lies the rub: When it’s your own body, or that of someone you love (like your child), it’s only human nature that we, well, care... way more.
So, before we really delve into the myriad ways complementary and alternative health can work to positively influence your well being (fun!), if there’s one, critical take-it-home message I want to convey, it’s this:
Should you find yourself, one day, facing a doctor whose diagnosis isn’t completely irrefutable (like, yep, that’s a broken arm, all right), do not accept your fate at face value. While in the throes of the many facets of being diagnosed with an illness is not the best time, the sooner you begin searching for other possible answers, the better your chances of finding just that.
I know I’ve said it before, but as a society, we are in the midst of an extraordinary revolution in our ability to communicate. And, while many diminish the value of social media, message boards and the like, the power (and promise) of such simply cannot be overstated.
When millions of people, so compelled by their own health care experiences, take it into the public sphere for no other reason than hoping it will help others in their own road back to wellness, it becomes more than “purely anecdotal,” which serves as most doctors’ canned response almost anytime a patient opens a question with, “well, I was researching online, and..,” closely followed by something to the effect of, “You need to stop Googling your symptoms because you can diagnose yourself with almost anything if you try hard enough.”
Is that really what it’s about, Doc? Your cura personalis... and ever-faithful adherence to the Hippocratic oath?
Or does the idea of patients taking their health into their own hands have you running scared?
Scared that, should this revolution of information might knock you down a few proverbial feet from that golden pedestal? Or that maybe, in being able to educate ourselves on complementary or alternative modes of returning our bodies to a healthy state may take away some of the power of the prescription pad?
Perhaps you’ll notice how this scepter you’ve long used may not have such an omnipotent effect on the masses anymore, because so many of us have now found our own roads back to health, no longer falling into the category of “Patients for Life,” as Big Pharma has worked so long and hard to populate.
If you've thought about it for longer than a minute and possess any level of critical thinking ability, you've already realized the inherent conflict of interests in attaching profit to the treatment, but not cure, of illness.
There is no profit in the cure, but billions upon billions of dollars to be made from lifetime customers, most of whom have been convinced that, without every drug they've been prescribed, they would die. A pretty compelling sales pitch, I'd say.
It goes without saying that, in some cases, medicine is absolutely requisite for sustaining life. Yes, for all of the lives pharmaceuticals save, medicine is truly miraculous.
I, however, was told that if I didn't take drugs X, Y and Z, I would die a slow, miserable, debilitated, death. I was told these drugs were required, even though I was supposed to still come to terms with the fact that I would still be sick for life, but just well enough to keep me pharmaceutically faithful, but still pretty miserable.
Instead, I took another road–one that led to a cure rather than accepting my chronically ill fate.
I'll never forget what Dr. Crist said to me the last time I saw him:
"I hope to never see you again, Alicia." And with that, he sent me on my way a very different girl than I was when we first met.
Not only did I feel like a walking miracle, I was also exceedingly eager to share with the world all I had learned along the way (not to mention feeling pretty smug about removing myself from the pool of people padding Big Pharma’s pockets).
You see, even in the case of some of the scariest, most damning, diagnoses, there very well may be another way.
In this blog, I intend to explore as comprehensively as possible the many alternatives to Western orthodox medicine.
I hope you’ll consider allowing me join you on the journey to finding your road back.
Alicia McGarry's journalistic endeavors began at The Chicago Tribune before her passion for all things Kansas City called her back to her roots. She has written for KC Magazine, The Kansas City Star and LakehomesKC and offers her unique perspective on holistic wellness each month for the readers of Good Health KC.