When I was a small child I was obsessed with berries, especially strawberries. I could eat dozens of them, to the point of making myself sick. Did I instinctively know that I needed all that extra natural folate? Was I self-medicating? I wasn’t thinking about these things at the time, of course; I just knew I loved strawberries and I wanted to eat as many as anyone would give me. They must have made me feel really good.
As I first began my investigations into my health this year, all the doctors were telling me that nothing was wrong with me. I couldn’t rely on that. Deep down I knew something wasn’t right. I was paying attention to my own symptoms, keeping track of indicators and sensitive to the changes I was feeling. Eventually I paid for my own testing, leading to the MTHFR diagnosis and eventually finding doctors who knew what was going on and could help me.
Dr. Constantine Hering’s Law of Cure states that “all cure starts from within out, from the head down and in the reverse order as the symptoms appeared.” With regards to the head down part, I believe that part of this includes self-awareness. One must be aware of the challenges they face within their bodies before healing can begin. Nobody knows more about your body than you do. After all, you spend every second inhabiting it. You need only call upon your memory for detailed background information or a history of symptoms, allergies and reactions. You are and have to be the expert on you. While most medical doctors today follow standard protocols for each patient, the reality is that each of us are different. We are all composed of different cocktails of genetics and prior exposure to toxins. What works for one person may not work, or even be detrimental for the next. What we need is personalized medical care, which is so difficult to obtain these days.
So when you’re trying to solve your health problems I recommend being meticulous about it and taking time every day to meditate on how you are feeling and what your body is telling you. If you are using supplements or medications in your treatment, keep a diary of your symptoms and what you are taking. Record your reactions and non-reactions to things, recognizing that it may take some time for certain supplements and drugs to take effect. Keep track of what you are eating as well because sometimes your negative reactions may be caused by food or drink rather than supplementation. Or perhaps certain foods will have negative interactions with your regimen.
When you go to the doctor (armed with knowledge from your research, of course), if something doesn’t feel right about what he or she is telling you, don’t go ahead with it immediately. Get a second opinion and then go and get a third one from someone who is an expert about your problem but has a different way of approaching it. This may be a holistic doctor if you’ve been seeing only standard medical doctors, for example. Do your own reading, talk to other people with the same illness and ask questions constantly. Don’t accept everything someone says without proof, even a doctor, especially if what he or she is saying sounds outdated. It is important to question the testing that is being ordered (or not ordered for you) and the procedures and protocols being followed, especially if something doesn’t feel right. The best thing to do is to find a doctor you trust. Even then, you may find you can’t get everything you need in one place.
Of course, sometimes your body will let you down. You won’t run a fever when you have a virus or your body will tell you it wants sugary snacks and junk food when in reality it is just feeding a carbohydrate addiction. This is where your education backs you up. But often your body is going to tell you just what it needs, or at least that it needs something. If I’m feeling tired during the day, for example, I have a nap. Just a short one, mind you: fifteen minutes and I set the clock. Hey, I have an excuse: I have diagnosed adrenal fatigue. But this actually can make a person more productive. Instead of working hard to fight against an impending head nod at my computer for hours, I give my body what it needs. After that little nap I end up with much more energy. Afternoon saved.
I believe firmly in being your own health advocate. If I listened to everything the doctors had told me I would still be on T4 only thyroid medication and consuming folic acid as we kept trying to get pregnant. Perhaps we would have succeeded, but I doubt it. I wouldn’t know that I had MTHFR and my homocysteine would still be elevated. I would be deficient in vitamins and minerals and would be eating a crappy diet. I would believe that there was nothing I could do about my elevated FSH hormone test, when I am actually noticing improvements to my menstrual cycles after three months of changing my diet and supplements. I would still suffer from fibrocystic breast pain from ovulation to menses every month. I would not be eliminating the toxins in my body.
We have to be our own doctors in a way. The lives we save will be our own.