The Promise of Radiant Health

19 Jul

This morning I went to get blood work done, where I always get it done, in the same place as my GI’s office.  I had not been there since the Great Ambien Incident of 2011, where I was prescribed ambien by mistake and crashed (well, rolled slowly) into a cement parking garage pillar (it then took me 2 more days to figure out I was acutally ON Ambien, no thanks to any of my doctors and without any assistance from the offending pharmacist.)  If you missed that charming story, you can get a recap of it below from when I retold it at CPCC’s Word of Mouth event during our Sensoria Festival this past Spring.  It’s actually kind of funny (now), and I’m not a bad storyteller.  Go ahead!  It’s only 8 minutes!  I guarantee you’ll laugh at least once.  Come on, look at that dumb face I’m making!

So yeah–weird to pass that parking pillar and remember that hazy day when I was so freaked out that I had some kind of brain tumor, only to find out my damn pharmacist switched my drugs with Ambien.  And no, I’m not still bitter.

This trip was much less eventful, thankfully, but I had a realization this week, a realization of the incredibly irony about my health.  I went to get my routine (4 times a year!) blood work because the immunosuppressant that I am on can affect my liver.  And cause cancer.  And all kinds of other delights.  I believe this same drug is making my hair fall out, slowly but surely, which is why I went to see a dermatologist this week because my hair loss is getting ridiculous, and I can’t keep sustaining the loss.  This drug was the reason my drug was switched for Ambien, because they look similar, and it is IRONIC that a drug I DON’T EVEN WANT TO BE ON was the direct cause for having me pass out and crash into a cement pillar.  And it is EQUALLY IRONIC that all of my GI health problems, the ulcerative colitis that I have had FOR YEARS, are most likely aggravated by the foods that I eat, and NEVER–NEVER EVER–did my PA or my GI suggest trying anything other than drugs, more drugs, biologic drugs, and colonoscopies to maintain my health.  They never suggested alternative medicine, never told me there might be a causal link between diet and gastrointestinal health.  I’ve done all of their work for them ON MY OWN.  I have figured it out, ON MY OWN.  It’s almost like they have no vested interest in me getting healthy.  That’s an awful thought, but they are part of the machine.  And you know what?

I’m done with it.

I’m done.

When I saw Laura and we talked about my values, what’s important to me, one of the first things I said (and I have the butcher paper with brightly colored writing to prove it) was “Robust Health.”  Not “Robust Health on Drugs”, but Robust Health.  To me that means drug-free, symptom free, in remission, eating good food, feeling effing GREAT.  A way that I haven’t felt, completely, in I don’t know how long, because I’m always taking some kind of drug, or my hair is falling out, or I’m all bloated, or I think “I shouldn’t have eaten that, bleh”, or I drank too much–the list goes on and on.  I think we are all so used to feeling sluggish, inflamed, slightly too fat, our clothes getting snug, our skin looking whatever, our hair looking whatever–it feels normal.  Or maybe that’s just me.  But I’m sick of it.

You know what I thought when I heard about the passing of Obama’s Health Care bill?  Not something political, because…whatever.  I have a pre-existing condition, so I get it, although I can’t even get IN to see my GI, I have to settle for the PA, and even seeing her requires an appointment a month down the road–Obamacare ain’t helping that.  But that’s not what I thought about it…my first thought was that I have to get myself in the best shape of my life because I can’t depend on anyone else to do it for me.  I certainly can’t depend on my doctors, because they are ridiculous.  In the last 10 years, since moving to Charlotte, I’ve had to fix almost all of my health issues independently.  I’ve had to research, and run trial and error experiments (n=1) by incorporating yoga retreats, acupuncture, probiotics, paleo diets, prayer…what else have you got?  I’ve tried it or I will try it.  I refuse to give up until I’m healthy, and I truly believe, especially the more research I do about eating paleo (and I’m probably all fueled up because I’m reading Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution book) that it is the key to my radiant health and I grow increasingly more aggravated at nutritionists and doctors who think it’s a load of BS.  It’s not.  Thousands of people with inflammatory diseases like mine are proof of its success, but it seems like you have to prove it over and over and over and over again.  I myself was in remission after a variety of (self) treatments, went to my GI for a check-up (when I was able to actually get in to see him) and he said “Yeah, you’re doing great!  But let’s talk about those scary biologic transfusion agents–those really work!  What do you think about getting on Remicade?”  DUDE.  WTF.  Should I get a new GI?  Probably.  But would it matter?  In the long run, I don’t think so.  I think that’s why I’ve been so militant about this Whole30–I want to not only see if I can do it, but if I can enact amazing change in my body based on things I’m taking out of my diet (and good things that I’m adding back into it).  And it can’t hurt that since I’ve been on this thing, I’m buying more local meats and veggies than I ever did on my SAD diet.   I’m a good local citizen!  I’m only on Day 15 (again!) so it’s too soon to tell how this will go, but my (healthier) gut and my lighter scale tells me I’m on the right path.

I just watched “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”, which I highly recommend (my juicing-loving grandmother would have adored it) and Joe Cross’s doctor says something like “Our enemies could not have come up with a better way of getting us to slowly kill ourselves than with the diet we voluntarily consume.”  YES.  The movie and I differ on diet because Cross is basically promoting a meat free, whole foods diet, and I think meat (and lots and lots of vegetables) is awesome, but still–take out 80% of the processed foods we consume and we’d be immediately healthier.

So yeah, I’m over it.  I’m over the hair loss.  I’m over the $70 co-pays (to not even see the guy with the MD!)  I’m over the negligent caregivers who have no idea how I’m feeling from one year to the next (I guess if I’m healthy they don’t get paid, so why bother??)  I’m over the needles and the lab tests.  I’m over the ridiculous pharmacy costs.  I’m over the fear of something (oh no!  What could it be??) happening to me that will throw me out of remission and into active disease because my colon is apparently ready to revolt at any minute.  He cannot be controlled!  Screw that.  I’m taking charge of this situation, I’m being proactive, I’m my own doctor.  I will be RADIANTLY healthy.  And I won’t stop until I get there.  And once I’m there, I won’t stop keeping at it.  It’s time.

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6 Responses to “The Promise of Radiant Health”

  1. Tina Venus July 19, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Erin, good for you. I’m rooting for you and your health. And good storytelling. I’d never seen that video and, scary incident aside, it was very amusing.

  2. thirtystory July 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    AMEN sista! Love this post and so excited to see you take control and do something about it. As I read my third book centered around all these issues (reading Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint now but Robb Wolf’s book was fantastic, too!) – it really gets me steamed about how many correlations there are between disease, obesity and the general “i feel bads” and what people are putting into their mouths – yet, so few people are willing to listen – particularly doctors! UGH.

    Looking forward to our healthy lunch date tomorrow!

    • erinpayton July 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

      Halfway through Robb Wolf’s book, and I’m loving it! I think the dude is on the right track.

      Loved seeing you for lunch last week! It’s good to hang with like-minded people…and extra good that I didn’t leave the restaurant to find my car towed. Whew!!

      • thirtystory July 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

        Totally! Also recommending to you Mark Sisson – The Primal Blueprint (sure you’ve already seen him on marksdailyapple.com – very good so far!

        I saw that exchange about the car towing – that was a close call!!! TTYS 🙂

  3. Jim SQ July 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    I read the whole thing…had some extra time on my hands at work. It can be incredibly frustrating to deal with a chronic health problem that just won’t go away. Good for you for not giving up. I’ve been in the EXACT same position researching on my own for my doctor(s) what alternatives are available when the checklist runs out of check items. In fact, I found a procedure that in experiments had a 90% success rate with zero side effects, but no doctor in Charlotte had heard of it, and when I explained, they refused to take on the liability of trying.

    Ended up going to the Mayo Clinic for treatment. Anyway, I thought you might should factor in what happened to Steve Jobs. He had a very treatable form of cancer, but would only consider alternative options like diet before it got so serious that nothing could be done. I like your blog too much for that to happen to you!

    I’ve heard of this Paleo Diet thing, but never took it seriously. I thought people back then only lived to be 20 yrs old?

    • erinpayton July 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

      Jim! I’ve been meaning to reply and then I kept forgetting. Bad blogger! Not to worry–if I had something catastrophic happen (like cancer, or a car accident, or whatever), I would definitely see specialists because I truly believe they can help (with me still “partnering” in my healing…that’s where I think the biggest problem is, that we are too passive in our own health care, two words.) I don’t want to become Steve Jobs or like one of the fanatics who think prayer and prayer alone can fix them when something much simpler can work. But when you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you start to be very wary of different docs/treatments/professionals who pretend to know what’s going on, but really don’t. Because they haven’t lived with me. And maybe it’s because it’s a GI disorder, which has lots of emotional components and is related to food (I believe) that makes it a little different from other chronic disorders.

      Mayo Clinic is awesome, that’s where I used to go when I was first diagnosed, and I believe they gave me the best care.

      In answer to your last question–I did some research about an anthropological study looking at someone from a hunter gatherer society and one from an agrarian society, and the HG person had next to no evidence of disease, was taller, had better bones, etc. while the agrarian person did. I think they died earlier because they were eaten by mountain lions or were exposed to blizzards. But that I’m not worried about! 😀

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