Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ready, Set, Go!

Over the years, I have grown more and more skeptical of doctors! Seriously, they pay these people to give me crazy drugs that don't work and just make me feel more sick?!

Ok... so that's not always the case, but sometimes it feels like it :P. Those of you who've followed this and other blogs of mine know that I've had issues with my gut since who knows when. Things got progressively worse as I got older, but I've learned how to 'manage' the symptoms to the point where I just have a mild stomach ache every day, instead of a gut-wrenching one. Every now and then I do have my flair-ups, like now, but why be in pain at all?!

The doctors want to poke and prod me even more than they already have, make me drink a couple pints of gag-inducing laxative to undergo a nasty test, and diagnose me with ibs, crohn's or some other ugly digestive autoimmune disease. Why? Because of the gut pain; because of results that came back in a blood test I had done years ago. What's that? A high white blood cell count and the annoying presence of antinuclear antibodies in my body. What do I have to say to this? NO!

Yes, I am a stubborn patient. I don't like to take medicine unless I have an infection. But steroids? No, thank you. I already had to take them nearly every month for my asthma when I was little and I don't like how they make me feel.

So what's left? The holistic approach: The healing of the mind and body! I used to be very skeptical of this shady type of 'medicine' (back when I had faith in doctors) but when it comes right down to it, I just want to feel better. Steroids aren't going to cut it for me anymore.

I'm writing this on here to keep it real, not to whine--that'll just make it worse. I hate pretending like everything's perfect, that makes it worse too. I'm also writing this to better hold myself accountable. So here it goes, "Self, I'm going to treat you well. I'm going to be disciplined and actually take this program seriously because it's helped many people and it can help me. Plus, there are no nasty side-effects."

I don't know how many times I've heard it said that most illnesses are caused by stress. It's been drilled into my stubborn head over and over. Though I feel quite happy with my life at the moment, I will admit that my digestive system is still recovering from previous periods of grief and hell.

You see, the digestive system is like the serotonin powerhouse. In fact, it holds most of the serotonin in our body. Check this out:

A recent study published found that people with IBS have significantly lower levels of serotonin in cells lining the stomach. Although serotonin is best known for its role as a mood-boosting brain chemical, it is also involved in many digestive functions and in the perception of pain. In fact, more serotonin is found in the stomach than in the brain, and the GI tract is very sensitive to changes in its serotonin level. The researchers concluded that IBS may arise from abnormalities in serotonin levels responsible for digestive functions.

For more, see this article

According to an old child development textbook I used in school, if you experience long periods of low serotonin levels as a child, your body struggles to maintain a normal level as an adult. Basically, you never reach the healthy peak--your levels are always low, which just exacerbates things.

Though crohn's disease and IBS are not one in the same, since IBS does not cause physical damage to the intestines, it's possible to have both. (Also, doctors are beginning to think that IBS is an autoimmune disease.) What triggers an autoimmune disease? Not only genetics but stress. When your body's defenses are on overdrive, it's hard for them to go back to normal; your body can start attacking itself--which is pretty much what happens in an autoimmune disease. Just take a look:

Does stress cause autoimmune disease?

Stress is definitely a factor. Researchers have identified hormonal and cellular changes that occur in our bodies when we are under stress. Chronic stress is thought to be worse for our immune systems. When our body perceives an attack, we go into attack mode, often referred to as the "fight or flight" syndrome. This response to acute stress could be a lifesaver. However, after a period of chronic stress, our bodies can't keep up the fight and may produce less of these hormones leaving our tissues vulnerable to inflammation and disease.

and read this

Childhood traumatic stress increased the likelihood of hospitalization with a diagnosed autoimmune disease decades into adulthood. These findings are consistent with recent biological studies on the impact of early life stress on subsequent inflammatory responses.

Taken from here

So why share this with you? Well, sometimes we forget how much power we have over our own suffering. (Points finger at self.) Life isn't fair, that's why there's prayer and plenty of wisdom to be given by God who gives you the strength to act. Remember the sparrow? Always be your own advocate! Even though it may not be in your gut, you could still be carrying around something debilitating that's taking a physical, mental, or emotional toll on you, especially during these rough times.

I don't blame anyone or anything from my past for this, even if my 'illness' is a result of unpleasant experiences. Why? Because I can do something about it now and because it's been a blessing in disguise; it's made me who I am. I don't give up easily. My stubbornness can be a very good thing :).

Side note: I am not getting paid to promote the site I linked to earlier on. I am seriously going to try that program by Jini Patel. It is definitely a much safer approach than anything the doctors want me to try. I will try it out and post back with results later, it might be awhile; it'll be a long journey! I pray it works...


Emma said...

Go you! Fantastic post, Sophie. I'm super impressed and have total faith that you can do this. Interesting, too--I notice on the site that one of the freebies is a session with an EFT practitioner. I just had a session myself with one, believe it or not. Give me a call if you want to chat! xo

Sophie said...

Hey! Thanks for the words of encouragement :).

You know, another thing that's supposed to be really helpful is hypnotherapy. I met with the gastro yesterday and he said that in a study, 60% of people with IBS (or any other pain issue) noticed an improvement. Apparently, it works a lot better than any other medication out there! I just started the program about 3 nights ago. :)

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