I remember the first couple months I spent learning about integrative medicine. I’m was SO hooked on the approach, especially the food portion of it.
I had been struggling with my health for years and all the answers to my problems seemed to be right there in what I was learning.
I was especially intrigued by the success stories I read.
Years of autoimmunity were apparently reversible with the right diet.
Fertility was restored by cutting out hormone mimicking chemicals from your life.
Acne and weight gain and hair loss could be a thing of the past with the right amount of rest and sleep.
I threw myself in the deep end and loved every minute of it.
I watched my own health struggles lighten and disappear as I dug into my health through functional lab work, protocols, lifestyle changes, and healthy food.
I had drank the Kool-aid and it was paying off.
Here’s where the story turns a little bit.
There were some health things that just wouldn’t go away in my life. After several rounds of doubling down on my efforts, I began to realize that there was still a place from conventional medicine in my life.
Sure, I had been burned by conventional medicine in my past (read my story here for a glimpse into my battle with endometriosis mis-diagnosis)
I was a physician and a business woman who taught people how to take back there health. How could I be the one failing to do that same thing??
Maybe you’re relating to this story so far. Or maybe, you feel like I’m a fraud who really is doing it wrong.
But here’s the real honest-to-god truth: sometimes people have too much damage to their bodies to completely reverse the processes that have been going on.
While that sounds pretty demoralizing, it’s actually a helpful and empowering thought.
There is a chance that your inability to completely reverse a disease process through whole food and lifestyle changes isn’t something that you’re failing at. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should “Paleo harder”. And it doesn’t mean that that gluten-free pizza that you enjoyed last weekend is why you’re not enjoying the health you want.
Yes, food is a powerful tool. Yes, lifestyle changes are necessary. And yes, multiple rounds of functional lab work and protocols are often needed to get to the root cause of your health symptoms.
But truth be told, I’m never getting back the ovarian tissue that was destroyed by uncontrolled endometriosis for years before I found integrative medicine. And some women with autoimmune thyroid issues may need supplemental thyroid hormones despite finding a better way to sleep and eat. Or you may need prescription anti-depressants to get you out up and about enough to do the lifestyle recommendations.
“Failing” to be a success story isn’t always a reflection of your laziness or effort.
The beautiful thing about this is that you can choose the best of both the conventional and functional medicine worlds. Just because you may need a certain medication to feel your best, isn’t a reason to abandon trying to fuel yourself with whole food or go back to sleeping 4 hours a night.
There’s a lot of bad mouthing of conventional medicine in the alternative community. Sometimes for really good reason.
And yet, there’s beauty to having many different options available to you and I see no reason to limit the things that are helping you live the life you want.
I guess I’m writing this as much for myself as for others. But it’s time that we stop rebelling against reality and accepting it for what it is. I’ll need some medication help from time to time in my life. Maybe you will as well.
And that’s ok.