I am a man who has spent my entire life trying to stay off of medicine. I began my quest for a healthy life as an elder early, thinking about everything from food to skin treatment to weight. In my twenties, I became a vegetarian, began exercising, doing yoga, and meditating. I always assumed that my desire to have a healthy, long-lasting body would be a reality. However, I never took into account how much a healthy body could be affected by bad genes and a pool of ancestral crap that changes everything. Thus, this is my story:
After many years of great health and no problems physically, I woke up one morning and could barely get out of bed because of so much back pain. This occurrence happened while I had been teaching 4 yoga classes a week and had been a vegetarian for 20 years. I thought maybe I had pulled a muscle. But, after nursing the pain for 2 months, I realized I should probably go to a physician.
At my initial visit the doctor specializing in sports injury told me in a gruff voice to get out of his office. He was convinced I wanted pain medication, I think.
After many tries at discovering what could be wrong, I found a compassionate nurse practitioner that helped get me to an endocrinologist who discovered I was severely low in testosterone. She also scheduled me to see a Rheumatologist, who diagnosed me with arthritis.
At 35 I felt as if I had heard a death sentence. How could this be so? I had done everything to protect myself from any such an occurrence, but in front of me was the evidence to indicate differently. As you may have guessed, I rejected the doctor’s advice and tried to find a holistic approach.
I tried everything on the market that promised to alleviate arthritic pain. After much pain and the start of one to two migraines a week, I was at my wit’s end. I had to do something that I didn’t want to do, begin take Western medicine.
I write this blog today because I know that there are many people who read my blog who also live very healthy lives and still have to take medication. Recently, my doctor also diagnosed me with high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol. Really?
I’m a vegan. But, at this point, I’m not sure that one issue isn’t stemming from taking another medication. Life can get confusing when you feel as if you eat right, exercise, meditate, and sleep 8 hours a night, only to find that you still attain more problems as you get older.
I’m now 57 and trying desperately to get off of the medication that I’m on, because one side effect that I never expected happened: severe itching—everywhere. After 4 weeks of steady titration from the medication, I couldn’t sleep at night. After 4 nights of painful withdrawal from these medications, I decided to take a bit more of the medicine I knew was causing the itching.
This story is not very different from many people who try desperately to live healthy lives, but must take medication to maintain a level of peace, calm, and painfree existence that keeps them sane. I am one and proudly wave this flag for you, my friend.
Medicine, despite the horrible rep it has, can often give you a Quality of Life that you need to simply be happy. I have decided to continue to take a small amount of the medicine that makes me itch, and endure the consequence of living life virtually pain free.
I want you to know that you should do your best to find a great balance between living a holistic life and a life where Western medicine can aid in keeping you from pain. This in no way keeps you from having to try to do your best to:
- eat right (low fat, low simple carbs, great plant proteins)
- exercise daily (swim, walk, life weights, do yoga, tai chi)
- meditate or find a silent way to allow your mind to rest
If you can do these three simple things, you can live a life that is full of quality moments, virtually pain free, and filled with joy.