I Could Have Missed This
My husband woke up this morning in the mood to dance. So naturally, I joined in. I offered some pathetic scat singing for him to dance to: “waba dala de zoop doo de la da da.”
He came over and hugged me a little too hard, and I squeaked, “Ouch, ouch, ouch!”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Sweets! Your rib!”
(I’m just on the tail end of a respiratory virus and seem to have really injured my rib from coughing so much.)
He made his hug more gentle; then he pulled back to look me in my eyes. His pupils dilated, betraying – as they always do – how over the moon this amazing man is for me. I am so over the moon for him, too.
We continued dancing and laughing, and I continued on with my truly terrible scat singing: “Zaba lah-dee zippa rip rawp rawp.”
Then he said, “Remember how waking up in the morning used to be so hard for you? How you’d drag yourself into the kitchen, desperate for coffee, grumpy and exhausted? Remember when your back got so bad you had to quit dancing, even in the kitchen?”
“Yeah. It’s amazing isn’t it how close I came to missing this. I didn’t think I’d ever again feel such joy just from being alive.”
I could have missed this. I could have so easily missed this.
It’s weird, but this terrible respiratory virus has been a real eye-opener for me. Symptom-wise, it has been objectively hard. Fever. Tenacious cough. Nosebleeds. Severe muscle aches. And it’s been two weeks long.
But the feeling I have had the whole time has been: This is so easy!
It’s the first viral or bacterial infection I’ve had since 2006 that didn’t bring with it a secondary fungal rash that I also had to treat. That suggests to me that my underlying biotoxin illness is FINALLY really well-managed.
As I’ve gone through this virus, I’ve been comparing my energy levels to how I felt before my biotoxin illness was well-managed, and there is no comparison. Compared to how I felt before, this virus has been a tea party. A TEA PARTY! No wonder the healthy people of the world do not understand those of us who have struggled with chronic illness. If this is what they think sick feels like, they could never truly understand us.
I had no idea how much I was running on nothing more than purpose for ten years of my life. I didn’t want to be a victim. I wanted a great life. If I had to FORCE a rewarding life into existence, well, then, so be it.
This observation has brought up some grief for me. Because not only could I have so easily missed this newfound health that I have now, but if I had found my genius doctor in 2006, I could have missed so much of that suffering.
This line of thinking has also brought me back to my childhood, to my 15-year-old self, who was already experiencing so much back pain that she decided she would set as her life’s greatest wish this simple mantra-like request: I want to be healthy and happy. I want to be healthy and happy. I want to be healthy and happy.
I think about that girl – about me – and the years of tenacious back pain and depression that followed. I think about the entire second semester of my sophomore year of college when I had to stand at the back of my classes leaning on a small pillow because to sit at a desk was too excruciating. I think about how many careers I knew I could not do because my back was far too fragile. I think about the fact that by the time I was 30, I had already spent over a year of my waking life in bed because of pain.
My whole life up until now was designed to care for my back. I taught Pilates because I couldn’t have a sitting job or a standing job. I needed to be able to move during my workday. My incredibly fragile back was always concern number one, because if I wasn’t painstakingly careful with my biomechanics, I’d wind up spending a month or more in bed every year. I had no delusions of being pain-free. I only wanted to be able keep moving. But is it any wonder that sometimes the pain would wear me down? Is it any wonder that sometimes I’d get blue from how my fragile back constricted my life as it did?
I believe now that I could have missed all that. Psychiatrist Mary Ackerly, in this article, explains that pain followed by treatment-resistant depression is often not really depression. It is “sickness behavior” caused by untreated biotoxin illness and the inflammation-induced pain it causes.
It is easy to see in hindsight that my struggles with arthritis, herniated discs, and crippling back pain were being driven by runaway inflammation. When the doctors said chronic pain was something I would just have to learn to live with, they were just operating on a hunch.
But here I am at age 41, and my back is finally well. I can really push my back now, and it is very resilient. I fell very hard a month ago while cross-country skiing and didn’t have a single repercussion from that. What a difference from all those times I ended up pinned to the floor in pain because I picked up a pencil in the wrong way!
Medicine is an art. It is a practice. This is a truth. It is not hard science. It is not supposed to be held to the same standards to which the physicists at The Large Hadron Collider must hold their work. There is enough evidence now that people like me are being set up for a lifetime of health problems because of biotoxin illness. I’m getting FED UP with how much modern medicine is dragging their feet with this.
Because there is a 15-year old girl out there right now who is in bed – in pain – saying to herself, saying to LIFE, “I want to be healthy and happy. I want to be healthy and happy. I want to be healthy and happy.” Doesn’t she deserve the option to see if her runaway inflammation is being caused by an underlying susceptibility to biotoxin illness?
So the treatment is difficult. So what? Doesn’t she deserve a chance to have the best life she can have? What if catching this really early means that the treatment is much easier and more effective? We don’t know because we are forcing people to get to the point of devastating illness before we diagnose and treat it.
She could miss this. She could miss all of this. Not just the back problems, but the migraines, gastritis, anxiety, depression, Hashimoto’s thyroidits, insomnia, chronic rashes, arthritis, exhaustion, neuropathy, severe allergies, and PTSD. I want her to. I want her to have a chance to catch this when it is still so much easier to treat. I don’t want her happiness in life to be a grit-your-teeth, willpower-based accomplishment.
I want happiness and joy to flow out of her as easily as breathing, just as it does for me so often now.
We know better now. Let’s do better. For her and all those like her.
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