|Joan walking her dog|
Thank goodness for Modern Emergency Medicine: if I was to be run over by a bus, suffer a raging infection or collapse with a heart attack the odds are my life would be saved. However; when it comes to dealing with chronic ill health that is associated with ageing, stress, poor nutrition and over and under-exercising, Modern Medicine is an abject failure. It is impossible to poison a human being into good health. Nor does removing an organ like the gallbladder, or stapling the stomach improve health over the long term.
We are constantly seeking the “Cure” in the form of the next wonder drug or a miracle surgical procedure. This is about as ridiculous as Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail. It does not exist. The Holy Grail is to be found within ourselves. Diseases such as fibromyalgia, hyper and hypothyroidism are said to be of unknown causes and incurable. Medically, all that one can do is manage the symptoms of these diseases using patent drugs that are laden with potent and nasty side effects, or with surgery such as removing the thyroid. This is not true. There are healthy alternatives. These ailments can disappear completely as they often do. The cure lies within: targeted nutrition guided by scientific testing, stress management, moderate exercise, fresh air, sunshine and loving relationships.
Joan’s story, that follows, best illustrates, what I am saying. Her story is compelling reading and I urged her to allow me to share it with readers of Walking Magazine. Joan consented (thank you Joan) and it is reproduced in full below.
(This article was first published in the Sept 2014 issue of Walking Magasine, issue no 200)
I think this thing has been building up my whole life. You see, I virtually collapsed with what was eventually diagnosed as “chronic fatigue syndrome + fibromyalgia + hypothyroidism + anaemia” in 2009. I had struggled with anxiety, depression and tiredness for as many years as I can remember.
My GP had been prescribing various antidepressant/antianxiety drugs for the last 22 years. I would go on different brands if the current one stopped working or simply take more of the same. Did it solve anything? Not really. It just put a band-aid on the situation. That is until 2009 when I could barely move. The pain was indescribable and complete and total exhaustion which was unbearable!
My hair started falling out, my eyebrows virtually vanished and I just got fatter and fatter because I couldn't move! I used to watch my sons outside playing together – they used to shout through the window “come on mum – come outside!” That is probably the worst part - I couldn't play with my sons. I had to stop working. I stopped going out. I stopped meeting friends. I stopped people coming over. I had hit the wall. The body had given up.
I went to my GP and a battery of tests were done and nothing untoward was found, just a slightly underactive thyroid. The GP prescribed Venlafaxine + Nortriptyline which are both antidepressants/ anti anxiety drugs that seemed to help with chronic fatigue and fibro patients plus thyroxine for the hypothyroidism. I expressed concern about taking these powerful drugs and said I was worried about withdrawal symptoms. The GP simply waved a dismissive hand “Don’t worry about that. You will be on these for quite a long time”. Once she had finished tapping the prescriptions out on the computer, I looked up from my wringing hands and asked timidly “is that all we are going to do?” Her frustration was palpable. She waved her hands around and said “what do you want me to do, wave a magic wand!?” I was crestfallen. So basically, just more of the same rubbish I had been taking for the last 22 years. As I struggled to get up to leave, she handed me a list of psychologists and counsellors in my area and said “here take this”. The message was clear - get your head read while you are at it.
Well, I took the drugs and went to a counsellor for 8 months. Interesting, but it did not cure my pain at all. The drugs were moderately effective, but only for a while. Then the pain flared up again along with the exhaustion. It felt like trying to run through a swimming pool or walking through concrete and just as tiring. I went back to the GP. Her suggestion was to increase the dosage of everything. I asked if there was someone she could recommend I see to do further investigations, such as a nutritionist? Could it be a food allergy? The GP simply said that she didn't think it was food allergy but “look in the phonebook, there are lots of nutritionists”. Surely this can’t be it for me for the rest of my life? I knew there must be something else out there somewhere, but I didn't really know what to look for or where to find it.
I was tied to the GP by having to visit every 3 months for check up and prescription refill. I was enrolled in the “Care Plus” plan. The Care Plus plan is when a chronically ill patient needs medication for an extended length of time. These care plus appointments were a ridiculous waste of time. I was weighed each time (and was still fat) and the nurse would ask inane questions such as have you had a walk today? No. Why? Because I am in *&^T%)# PAIN! Well, try to set small goals and walk to the corner and then to the next corner the next day. Is anyone listening here? I couldn't believe the government was subsidising this rubbish. The nurse read out the next question on the list: “are you eating healthily?” No. I eat takeout because I am too exhausted to cook anything! Every 3 months the same questions, every 3 months no solutions.
My friend Sue had been seeing a guy who does health consultations. She kept telling me “go see Gary”. I had my doubts but it did work for Sue – she looked great. After a few months of fending off Sue’s enthusiasm, I had a discussion with my husband about whether I should go or not. The cost was an issue. I hadn't been working much since I had been ill. He said, that it worked for Sue, so I should go. Alright Sue, you win. Let’s go. My friend Sue walked me up the slight incline to Gary’s office. She had to hold my hand – I was in so much pain.
Gary was friendly and cheerful and superfit-looking! My gosh, what kind of vitamins is he on? The first question Gary asked me was “When was the last time you were in hospital. What was it for?” I was a bit taken back. No one had ever asked me that before. Well, I would have to say when I was 9 years old for a racing heart due to stress. And that is where we started. Gary said it was hardly a surprise that my adrenal glands had been in a state of exhaustion for many, many years and it is no wonder I am in the state I am in now. He was also of the opinion that I was over-medicated and that most of the drugs my doctor had me on were actually making matters worse, rather than better.
I realised that I had been suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome from childhood. Finally, someone could see that this is something real and we were actually going to do something about it! I couldn’t wait. He ordered a hair tissue mineral analysis test be done and in the meantime, started be on some vitamin and minerals for rectifying adrenal fatigue. I simply couldn't believe it but within 2 weeks I felt better! I have been going to Gary for 2 years now. It is a slow climb getting back to wellness with a few setbacks, but nothing like it was in the past. Last year I gathered up all my courage and came off all pharmaceutical drugs. I was terrified. What if I became crazy or depressed or so anxious that I couldn't leave the house? What if the world ended? It is hard to break away from what you know when that is all you know and when it is all you have been told.
My GP’s nurse called to arrange another “Care Plus” appointment last month. I told her that I am no longer taking any medication and don’t need those appointments anymore. There was silence on the other end of the phone. The nurse said “well, you really should see the Dr”. I told her that I don’t need to because I feel better. She said “you should come in for a chat anyways”. Over the past few years, I had told my GP about Gary and even brought in the vitamins and minerals he had given me. There was little interest and even less acknowledgement of their success.
Why didn't my GP tell me there are other treatments available? Why doesn't the government subsidise “natural” treatments such as vitamins and minerals? Why don't the insurance companies reimburse people who are under practitioners like Gary for their health care treatment? There is no information or support out there – only a wall of silence if you challenge the pharmaceutical system.
It makes me mad thinking about all those wasted years that I was on those dangerous drugs with all their scary side effects.
I politely declined my three month GP appointment. I think I know which way I am going now. This
includes a daily morning walk around the neighbourhood with my dog Sam, something that was once a tiring struggle; but a pleasure to do nowadays!