Finding Out I Had an Autoimmune Disease
It took years, and countless doctors, for me to find out that I had an autoimmune disease. I remember the days of waking up and dreading having to place my feet on the ground because the pain was excruciating, it was like walking on glass, sharp, piercing pains with every step. I would go to urgent care thinking that I had to have a fracture or a broken toe, or something! They would do x-rays and find nothing. I would be prescribed some over the counter painkillers and sent on my way. One doctor even put me on steroids even though she couldn’t tell me exactly what they were for!
Then the pain would travel somewhere else. It would end up in my fingers or my shoulder, even my back. Again, I would go to the doctors only for them to find “nothing wrong” with me. They thought I was a pill seeker, even though every time they tried to prescribe me narcotics I turned them down. I thought I was going crazy, at one point I thought “Maybe I really am just making all of this up. Maybe this pain is all in my head.”
Then I started to get headaches. Headaches that would have me crying out in pain, seeing nothing but black before me. So, another trip to the doctor’s office. Apparently, this time I got their attention. They sent me to a rheumatologist, who sent me to a neurologist, who sent me back to the rheumatologist, who sent me back to the neurologist. And if that wasn’t enough, they had me do 2 MRI’s and a spinal tap. And guess what? They still didn’t know what was wrong!
To say I had enough was an understatement. I’m not against the biomedical model that we have today, but it also doesn’t take the whole picture, the whole person into account sometimes. I decided to go to a functional medicine doctor and within one week, due to simple blood testing, she told me I had an autoimmune disease. Undifferentiated peripheral spondyloarthritis. Essentially a type of arthritis that attacks the spine, and joints in the arms and legs.
Boom! There is was! The answer to what had been happening! Within one week I got the answer that I had spent the last 3 years looking for. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the headaches ending up being nothing more than exercise-induced headaches. Countless doctor appointments, lab testing, MRI’s, and hours of pain.
What was different about this doctor? She took the time to listen to me. She took the time to hear my history, my whole history, which took a good 45 minutes. She asked me about my family, my nutrition, my occupation, my fitness level, my spiritual health. She took it all into account. She looked at the WHOLE picture and was able to connect some of the dots.
When people ask me why I’m studying holistic health and nutrition, this is why. I don’t want other people to have to go through all the hoops I went through to get answers. I want people to know that there is a better way to care for themselves and actually PREVENT some of this issues and diseases from affecting their lives and the lives of those they love. There are so many aspects that go into our health. And if we don’t have people looking at ALL those factors, then something is going to get missed, often something really important.
This is my story. May it never have to be yours!