Over the years my thoughts on alternative health and western medicine have changed, but for the most part, I have always leaned towards alternative health whenever possible and thought of traditional contemporary medicine as a necessary evil.
I tried healing my migraines on my own, with books, herbs, miracle cures, elimination diets, hormone therapy, vegetarianism, expensive naturalist doctors. I tried to cure my arthritis with alternative therapies, glutton free, nightshade free, Chinese herbalists, more calcium, no calcium, a dozen different suppliments, fun fasts of only vinegar and lemon, and weird combos like a liter of mixed olive oil, stale soda, apple cider vinegar and citrus, advice form native american healers, advice for childhood friends who tried something that worked for them. What I found out its that somethings helped. Somethings helped more. But nothing helped a lot.
Finally I was walking with a cane and could no longer use my hands to create my art and my rheumatologist, whom I had been avoiding, told me my illness was acting very aggressively and she was concerned if I didn’t start aggressive treatment I would be permanently disabled or even possibly blind within months. She suggested if I wasn’t happy with her (and I wasn’t, she seemed to always want to throw pain pills at the problem) to go get another doctor. I started meds with her and eventually went to go see another doctor. Just a couple of months after taking the meds my cane went in the closet for good, and I soon started knitting and crocheting with my before useless hands. There were side effects, and slip backs and I wound up changing my medication thrice and my doctor once before finding a combo of doctor and medicine that worked for me. I found finding the right doctor made all the difference. I needed a doctor that understood I wanted to take the last possible medicine with the least possible effect to my personality and brain. Communication was so important here. It was my job to let my doctor know I would rather be able to think as clearly as possible than to be pain free, and my new doctor shared my goals of living with pain pills if possible. I take one main Medicine for my arthritis now, and have for years. Its a serious one. Its a hassle, its a long drive, takes all day, and its an IV that makes me panicky when I get it. But with it, I can hike, and dance, and paint. I don’t live without pain. I have pain every day. But this is where the alternative treatment helps. Nothing is better on the pain that massage. I take turmeric and bee pollen every day. Neither alone did much, but working with the Remicade they both seem to help.
I am just recovering from a severe episode of asthma I treated both medically and holistically, and now I am focusing on my migraines. I have had migraines since I was a child. I have had 2-6 a week for the last 15 years, in which time I have tried every alternative medicine, and treatment you can imagine. I have come to the conclusion that my head doesn’t hurt do to my bodies lack of apple cider vinegar, or salutations to the sun, nor am I eating too many bagels (maybe I am, but thats not what is causing the migraines) or too much diet soda (I am not saying these things aren’t causing or might help with your headaches, just not mine). I went to the doctor. She put me on a pretty strong preventative medication with the possibility of nasty side effects but also the possibility of working. Here again, communication is so important. It seemed to start working right away. In the last three weeks I have had three mild migraines and still not taking the full dose, but also I seemed to have horrible horrible side effects. Unbearable pain in my torso.
It turns out the pain in my torso is not a side effect at all, but something new, kidney stones. In the past two days I have found out that ionized water, apple cider vinegar cocktail, lemon juice, a rare herb tea, a raw foods diet, an expensive lecture series can all get rid of my kidney stones. But I have a plane to catch, so I will take the pill the doctor gave me. And a shot of apple cider vinegar on the side, if you will.