We spend half of our lives immobile and unconscious on the top of a mattress, on a couch, in a chair, or maybe comfortably on the floor snuggling next to a pet. That part is obvious. The not so obvious part, though, is why?
In the past 21 years, I’ve seen probably 10-15 different specialists, gone to the doctor more than twice per year, had unexplainable symptoms, and had someone think I was a hypochondriac. It’s really a dreadful situation because I’m not the type of person to exaggerate things or make up stories for attention. Actually, the less attention I get, the better.
So why is it that after years and years of going to the doctor, I was no closer to the answers than the doctors were to believing me? Or to listening?
I’ve been on a journey this summer 2014 to learn what’s wrong with my body. In general, it was to cure my acne. But I’ve learned so much more than that. I’ve learned I love paleo, I’m allergic to nuts & seeds, I have celiac disease, and I’ve got carb-digestion problems. I know, it’s a lot of self-diagnoses. But I also waited for 21 years for doctors to be able to tell me something, and they never did. So there. Self-diagnoses.
Here are the books I’ve read along the way, and I want to share them with you so that you can go down the fun path of learning how to take care of yourself. Hopefully, if you can take care of yourself now, there will be less clean-up later. And you can help your family, too!
Like most people, I didn’t plan to figure out my illnesses. I thought I’d be stuck forever in a broken, albeit young, body. At 17, I broke out in acne all over my face. Previously, I only had it on my forehead. Other than that, my skin was like porcelain. My friends were jealous. I didn’t appreciate it until it was gone.
At 17, the stresses of my senior year of high school, a new relationship, and a changing diet pushed me over the edge. I had giant red sores on my face. I had scabs. I couldn’t stop itching. I cried to myself because it was so awful – all of a sudden, out of nowhere.
At the same time, I was experiencing migraines. I had to stop running so much and snowboarding because my joints were aching. I tried to tell my parents that I thought it was all connected. After specialists and doctors, birth control, topical treatments, and advil, my family started to think I was convincing myself I had problems because I wanted people to feel bad for me. I started to believe them. (To get a head start on what my future posts will be about and my “connected” illness, here’s a sneak peak.)
I went to dermatologists to ask for help – it was my final resort.
He said the same thing my doctors had said. That acne would require multiple topical solutions, birth control, and that diet was completely unrelated. Can I tell you a secret? Just a little one? For two years I bought into it. I bought the topical antibiotic lotions, the retinoids, the oral antibiotics, the birth control, the gentle face wash. On top of that, I tried natural and tar based shampoos to treat random dandruff that was both stubborn and unpredictable. I didn’t want to spend more money for foundation so I went out into the world with open sores.
And then I stopped listening to my dermatologist. I decided it was enough. I couldn’t take it, nor could my wallet. My next course of action was to listen to my friends and college roommates who said sugar made them break out. I tried to tell them, no no, my dermatologist says it’s not connected. But I watched their faces evolve. I’m 21. I had to listen to testimony over professional expertise. After all, the latter never got me anywhere.
That’s where I am right now. Listening to testimony. Experimenting with my body. I’ll leave with you this for now. This summer, I planned on writing some short stories, working on cleaning my house, and taking the summer off before returning for my senior year of college. Instead, I fell in love with a new lifestyle and learning about my body. Here was the first book I read: