Last winter I was diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory disease called Ankolosing Spondylosis (AS). It was a harrowing experience for me, going through all the tests, pokes, and prods to find out what was wrong. I was prescribed one of the strongest immune suppressants to control and hopefully stop the progression of the condition. After months of disturbing reactions and a traumatic parting of the ways with my rheumatologist (who suggested the side effects were in my head), my only choice was to listen to a wisdom deep inside. I don’t know about you but I’ve been living in my body for my entire life and I know when it’s telling me something is wrong.
Eventually, I was able to convey my perceptions to a different rheumatologist; this one listened to me and sent me to a neurologist who agreed that the medication was damaging the nerves in my hands and feet. What is strange is my inner being knew it all along. I can’t tell you how important hope becomes when your favourite doctor says there is nothing more she can do, either take the immune suppressants or suffer with AS for the rest of your life. I had to ask myself a hard question. What is the best thing for Kelly?
Consulting Dr. Google might be the worst thing you can do when faced with a debilitating illness. The risk of seeking advice from the internet is that people tend to post the worst-case scenarios and there is a great deal of fear mongering regarding medications and treatments. Also, there are many “snake oil” sellers promising to cure what ails you. Still, I wanted information, and mostly I needed hope.
I searched for and found a group of people with AS who are having success treating themselves with holistic medicine and nutrition on a website called KickAS.org. I was interested to find many stories about a carbohydrate specific diet that not only put the writers’ AS into remission it consequently gave them their lives back. The diet is not a cure, rather it is a specific way of eating that decreases inflammation and in my case stops my immune system from attacking my healthy cells. This website provided me with my first glimmer of hope.
By adhering to the diet for these last many months I am learning what triggers flare-ups of the AS symptoms, stress being number one. But I am now able to hope for a long and active life. A year after the initial diagnosis I realize that the most important aspect of my healing has been listening to my inner being, opening my mind to the part I play in my overall healing and health.
What is your inner being telling you?