Friday, November 4, 2016
It's not over really until it's really over.
Many of the people in the "alternative" health and wellness community use the phrase "health journey" when they discuss a story of illness and recovery. Ideally, this is an empowering narrative, where acquired knowledge leads to a cure, or at least some sort of mastery of the situation.
You want the story to have an ending, and a happy one at that.
I am still relatively new to all of this. I officially became a person with psoriasis at the beginning of the summer. The situation had no doubt been brewing for months, if not years beforehand, but I did not have a nationally recognized specialist examine me and then tell me that I would have psoriasis for the rest of my life until June of this year.
And then while I was still working through accepting my new lifelong need for long sleeves, sunglasses and a tasteful scarf, all the symptoms disappeared. At this point, I don't think my kids even remember that I had the problem. I still have a drawer full of arm sleeves and scarves to remind me, but even so, the visceral memory is fading quickly.
It might seem that I managed to fight off this supposedly incurable disease through a rather extreme regimen of fasting and dietary restriction (and by getting more sleep? and by trying to meditate? etc, etc)....
But who really knows? That is the story I would like to tell- that through force of will, and against the express advice of medical authorities- although with the kind assistance of several alternative health practicioners- I managed to fix myself.
The last dermatologist I saw told me with absolute certainty that if I did not immediately start taking a potent chemotherapy drug and a heavy dose of topical steroids that the psoriasis was going to spread all over my body and I was going to get a MRSA infection in my eyes. I did fill the prescriptions he gave me, but instead of taking the pills, I went home and didn't eat for a few days. This made no one happy at the time, but after the fast was over, my symptoms were half gone. After a second fast five weeks later, they were almost completely gone.
It could all be a coincidence.
...And my symptoms could come back.
I have spent enough time on the disease specific message boards- the one for the National Psoriasis Foundation emails me a link every day delightfully titled "Team Inspire"- to know that many cure stories have an unfortunate epilogue. A parent dies or another illness appears or some other sort of horribly stressful situation develops and the psoriasis finds a weak spot and returns in full flare.
So, I am not congratulating myself too much.
But it is nice to have a mostly happy ending for the moment.