How I Found a Balance Between Conventional and Natural Treatment

I was newly diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and still celebrating freedom from pain when I noticed the first signs something affecting my stomach. Over the weeks and months that followed it worsened. The honeymoon with NSAIDS was over. My digestion was a mess, I felt foggy and depressed, and my back pain returned.

At that point I lost faith in my doctor and what he had to offer

On a return visit he wasn’t interested in my digestive issues or my brain fog, just progressing to the next level of medication. When I wasn’t on board the message was clear - take it or leave it.

I left feeling unheard and alone. I read through the potential side effects. What if these became my reality? What if I worked my way through all the drugs and just got sicker? There had to be something else.

So began my exploration into natural health

I connected with people who had promising stories to share. I read books, searched articles and trawled through forums. I began experimenting and although my pain would still come and go, some things really helped.

I became passionate about natural approaches to healing and cynical about conventional medicine.

I made it my mission to get free of all medication. I felt angry at doctors who had told me lifestyle made no difference. They seemed stubborn and stuck in an old fashioned way of doing things. I felt they had nothing to offer me.

Over time I would still experience painful flare ups

I endured these with gritted teeth and a steely determination to get through without medication.

I now regret putting myself through such misery and distress. Not only did I put my health at risk, I was sleep deprived and unhappy, a different version of myself than I wanted to be. At the time I was doing what I thought was right, but in hindsight it was a damaging and risky approach to take.

As I continued to learn about my health I began to feel the pendulum swinging back to a place somewhere in the middle.

A balanced approach

I came to the end of a particularly grueling protocol and realized I had pushed to hard for too long. I was underweight and depressed. Around the same time I discovered a rheumatologist who treated me with genuine care and respect. He offered me conventional solutions while honoring my autonomy. He commended my efforts to find a lifestyle that supported my health and contributed his own valuable insights.

I began to see the possibility of a more balanced approach. What if I was to combine the best of both worlds and just choose what worked for me?
Fast forward to my current life and that’s where I’m at. I follow lifestyle habits that support my general health. I also use medication without hesitation when a flare happens, and I’m open to the possibility one day I’ll need something stronger.

Rather than putting things into boxes of “right and wrong” I now work at being my own best advocate and protecting my total wellbeing; mind, body and soul.

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