Does the Silver Bullet Exist?

A few years ago, I gave up on finding a cure for Crohn’s.

I distinctly remember the conversation I had with a friend. We ate at Little Big Burger, where she had a cheeseburger and crispy fries drizzled with truffle oil…and I had a plain burger on a lettuce wrap.

I was jealous of her fries.

It was in the middle days of my SIBO adventures, so I was learning that it really was necessary to take small steps every day toward my goal. I had to re-train myself into new daily habits centered around purging bacteria from my insides and my outsides.

Because of my increased focus on the daily grind, I had finally reached the (painful) conclusion that what I wanted–one simple trick!–simply didn’t exist.

Admitting it out loud, that hurt.

And I truly believed it. I still do. When it comes to dealing with long-term disorders that involve multiple bodily systems and a whole cornucopia of external factors, you have to chip away piece by piece so that each layer has a chance to recover and rebuild. Sometimes there’s so much “static interference” from inflammation across multiple systems that it is impossible to even know how bad the problem is.

Taming a chronic disease takes work. There is no silver bullet. That’s a fact.

However.

It’s still surprising to me how quickly my body can start to heal when I finally stumble on the “missing piece.” I do all this work to support various health systems, but it looks like there’s one cornerstone that is the light by which you see everything else.

In my case, I’m back fighting SIBO regrowth and ran out of a supplement that combines three different herbal antibiotics. Instead of buying the same blend again, I decided to see what would happen if I tried each component separately.

And guess what? One worked much, much better than the others.

The turnaround has been spectacular. Saturday I had to make an emergency pit stop for Immodium. Today I went 10 whole hours without needing to run to the bathroom.

Truly, it’s not a silver bullet–there’s still a lot of work I have to do, and I’m not magically cured all of a sudden–but it is like a switch has been flipped. I’m pointed toward health again.

There are no easy cures, but there are smart ones.

Real Talk

Yesterday I sat down with a friend of my mom’s and talked about living with a gut disease. She has Crohn’s, her daughter has Ulcerative Colitis, and like many people she’s stuck in the middle of “regular” doctors and all of the weirdo alternative stuff. And like many of us, she knew what her next decision was, but needed some time to talk herself into it. Some encouragement.

We ended up talking for two and a half hours, way longer than either of us expected.

One thing that’s always held me back from writing on this blog is the fact that I don’t know everything. I’m not omniscient, I’m not medically trained as a doctor or a naturopath, and there’s no professional credential after my name. Who am I to tell anyone what to do with their health? What could I possibly provide that could make their lives better?

But then again, I talked with this lady for a long time. We had a good conversation. She even took notes, and there was a clear “next step” for her to take.

Because we spent time talking about what I’ve learned taking care of my own gut monster, and because I shared my story, she was able to get some clarity about how to treat her own disease–and some confidence to step out and take action.

She knew what she needed to do, but needed a little nudge to go after it. Some external validation. A person to talk to who didn’t try to push some weird herbal supplement on her, or make her feel like she was crazy for wanting to try a dietary approach. That’s me – I can be that person!

 

If I can’t provide expertise on WHAT to do, I can talk about my perspective on HOW and WHY to do it, and serve as a walking talking living example that it is absolutely possible to break out of the death spiral that is modern long-haul medical care.

I got off Remicade after 13 years.

She is going to go grain-free for the first time.

What are YOU thinking about doing?

You can do it, too.

That Wonky, In-Between Stage

It's moving day every day

You know that itch you get to rearrange your furniture at 9 o’clock at night?

When you have this vision of how–let’s say your bed–can better fit your space. How it, if you’d only just rearrange a teeny little bit, would give you better sleep and more rest and everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

The rest of your to-do list fades into the background. Nothing can outshine that idea, that glimpse of a bright new future that has become your bed.

Your bed stands out, gleaming, a tantalizing promise of a WHOLE NEW WORLD!

So of course–oh wait, you don’t get that itch? Luck you.

Walk with me, then.

Pretend.

You rearrange your bed. It doesn’t take long, just a few minutes of pushing and shoving.

Maybe you find a few dust bunnies. Nothing you can’t handle.

Eventually you get the bed where you envisioned it, maybe nestled against a curtain of iridescent fringe you put up a few weeks ago.

Then of course you have to change up your bedside table too.

As you’re moving it, you imagine the beautiful tableau it will make with your bed. You imagine how it will look, all pieces neatly fitting into place, a beautiful spot to sleep and wake up.

And then you step back to admire your work.

Needle scratch.

It doesn’t quite look like you had envisioned.

It’s too crowded.

The bedside table is wonky and feels too big for the space. The end of the bed buts up awkwardly against your wardrobe. There’s a really weird empty space that just…looks weird.

There’s still potential–you can see a glimmer of what you were imagining.

But it’s not there yet.

There’s more work to be done.

But–it’s time to cash in for the night and go to sleep.

That’s the peril of rearranging your furniture at 9 o’clock at night. There’s a hard deadline, and you’ll have to live with wonky, half-arranged furniture for the next few hours (or let’s be honest, days).

Sometimes, you can turn that to your advantage. You can use that in-between time to look at what’s happening and formulate a better plan.

But you still have to live in the in-between.

You have to spend some time in the wonky, half-finished room.

Sometimes, I get the urge to rearrange my health.

I do my research, talk with my doctors, envision a plan for my health, start dreaming of a WHOLE NEW WORLD! of healthy poops and a less restrictive diet.

I put my plan into motion, and…

…end up in that wonky, in-between time.

In my experience, especially with naturopathic and alternative treatments, nothing good comes quickly. Bouncing from one extreme to the other is stressful on my body, and rarely happens when all my organs are  working together in harmony.

I get that itch, wanting to rearrange everything right away, hoping to make everything work together right now.

I’ll handle the dust bunnies, I just want to see results.

I want to go from the vision to a perfect bedside tableau in one night, forgetting that it takes time, and consideration, and tweaking, and rest, and for everything to settle back into place.

I have to learn how to live with the wonkiness, understanding that there are things that my body has to go through before it can realize that vision of good health.

My body has to go through the process of rearranging itself.

I just need to calm down, back off and let my body do some interior redecoration of its own.

And in the meantime, make peace with the wonkiness.