The question this week has been, how do I give others the maintenance perspective. I came from the same mind frame of traditional medicine. Once a year is enough. Get the physical, and whatever checkups are required. No need to do anything not covered by insurance, especially since I was healthy. Now that I am on the other side of the fence with my health maintenance, I can’t imagine climbing back over that fence.
Imagine if you lived in a house or an apartment for several years. In that time, you never vacuumed or dusted. You never made an effort to put anything away. Maybe occasionally you cleaned a toilet or washed a few dishes. What would that house look like? With the passing of time, that house would look pretty bad. Aren’t our bodies more important than a house? We can’t buy another one or move out of the one we have. A maintenance or improvement perspective is what we should have about our bodies. Just like an oil change or servicing your car, your body needs to be serviced. If we don’t do the maintenance, over time, we will experience the cost exponentially.
For years, I thought, why spend the money? If I am “healthy,” why go to the doctor? In the “health culture” that we live in today, it is imperative to fight against those thoughts. The excuse of “I am getting older, that’s why my health is declining” has to stop. I thought the same thing at 40. “Am I now old?” Is that why I am in so much pain? If I stopped at that mindset, I would be unemployed and in bed by now. Much of my life would have changed if I would have stopped there. I was not only in a lot of pain, but my mental health was fragile. Candida overgrowth would have taken over my life. If you read my older blogs, you can see all the health issues I was dealing with and the challenges I faced.
Instead, I was desperate for answers. I started with my primary doctor which led to a bunch of tests. All the tests came back normal. I was put on prescription antifungals with the only diagnosis of potentially having fibromyalgia. The antifungals were losing their potency over time. My vaginal yeast infection frequency was increasing. I was exhausted, in pain, and losing hope. I went on a Candida diet with the help of a friend even though my primary doctor didn’t recommend it. I was getting positive results but stopped too early.
When the Candida symptoms started coming back, I reached out to a chiropractor/nutritionist who wasn’t going to band-aid my symptoms. I found someone who was going to search for the root problem and continue treating any other problems that came up. She was going to help me manage a diet that would heal me, and give me nutritional supplements based on whole foods that would help my body support healing itself. This is much different than being put on a prescription drug for life that leads to terrible side effects. You know what I am talking about…. the fine print on your prescription medications. How about those commercials where at the end, they say they might cause death, explosive diarrhea, or heart problems? What!? Tell me, which path would you rather travel? Sometimes prescriptions are necessary, don’t get me wrong. As a culture, though, are we reaching for those as a last resource or as a quick fix to our problem? There are many health ramifications for this that we don’t consider because it is so widely accepted. I was no exception to this until I was terribly sick with Candida. I learned that everything we take in, will either encourage good health or bad health. It starts with the balance of our gut bacteria. If we eat poorly and medicate regularly, our good bacteria in our gut will diminish. In the absence of that good bacteria, the bad bacteria will multiply and take up the space our good bacteria left behind. The longer this problem gets ignored, the more inflammation our bodies endure. Soon, we experience all kinds of symptoms, leading to the decline of our immune system and opening the gateway for all kinds of illnesses. The foundation of good or bad health is built in the gut. It all starts there. We can change it for the better or worse every day. Two great books about this topic that I highly recommend are Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe and The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long Term Health by Erica Sonnenburg and Justin Sonnenburg
Whether or not you are suffering from chronic pain or an illness, body maintenance is required for better health. Depending on the person, maintenance may be weekly, bimonthly, or monthly. In addition to exercising 5 days per week at a level that is appropriate to how I am feeling, I visit my chiropractor/nutritionist for an adjustment once per month to keep my body and immune system functioning optimally. When I was at the height of my sickness, I went every two weeks for nutrition only, focusing on muscle testing. This helped to see if I was battling parasites, bacteria, viruses, food sensitivities, or toxic overload. It also showed me what organs were being temporarily weakened. I spent many months doing that before I started chiropractic treatments. If new issues come up now, I do muscle testing to help discover what’s going on and how to solve those problems. This has made a huge difference in my life. If I would have had that maintenance perspective sooner, I would not have had to endure all this. Prevention is the best medicine. Regular maintenance prevents the bigger problems from occurring. On the contrary, the longer you let illnesses take hold, the more drastic your treatments may be and consequently, more expensive.
I hope you will consider seeing a functional medicine doctor to keep your health in check. One that will encourage your body to heal itself. One that will treat your root problems, not just symptoms. Someone you trust and build a relationship with is best, so you both come up with a healthy unique maintenance plan that changes as you do.