Friday, November 4, 2016

"Health Journey"

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.

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