Chronic Illnesses--A Sign of the Times

Taking the "Dis" out of Disease
Autoimmune disease occurs when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body, destroying healthy tissue. Scientists aren’t sure what triggers autoimmune diseases, but it often runs in families. We know that women are at greater risk of having an autoimmune disease than men, especially African-American, Native-American, and Hispanic women. The immune system normally and adequately works to protect the body from disease and infection, but when you have an autoimmune disease or deficiency, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake affecting different parts of the body.
In 2008, I was diagnosed with the multi-tissue diseases of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. My whole body ached and my joints swelled to disproportionate sizes in my knees and hands where I could barely stand or hold a fork or spoon. It hurt to lie down and hurt to walk, a conundrum of sorts. I could not go backwards or forward with the onslaught of this disease and then my world was shattered into fragments of disability, where a sort of madness took over. The doctors, after tests gave me the diagnosis citing they could not decide which of the two diseases I had. The symptoms for both are similar, but the rash and skin degenerative factors weighed on the side of Lupus. Plying me with pills (with tremendous side effects so that blood work must be done every 3 months to make sure my liver and kidneys are not affected), the journey began. However, it was not the journey to health. It was merely the journey to survival at all costs.
Flair-ups are the bane of this disease, but I generally had 3-6 a year. Then they started to be almost once a month for the last couple of years until February of this year, when I had 4 back-to-back attacks. The increase in severity was so overwhelming, I took to taking pain pills before I was in pain because chasing the pain was not an option if I wanted to continue to work. The last attack, however, after spending 8 days in San Francisco, and coming home on a too-crowded airline, sent me to the hospital where the doctor exclaimed, "You have Lupus and RA. You're going to have pain. You just need to manage it." Then he decided to up my dosage on pain medicine. It did not bode well for my future.
That afternoon, tired, discouraged, I asked my daughter to get me something from Sunshines, a health food grocery and deli. The founder of Sunshines was there that day and he told my daughter to stop giving me pain medicine and gave her some herbs that I now know are nature's own to counter what drugs had been doing to me. It wasn't instantaneous, as I wanted to down a whole bottle of pain pills the next day, but I committed myself to try because the next option was a morphine drip. It has been a month and a half since I've started this homeopathic method of cleansing the body and allowing my body time to find its healing. I can't turn from this, but it got me to thinking. Yes, I have another point to make.
Doctors say they don't know what causes or triggers autoimmune diseases, but I do. One particular trigger is stress, but stress can only do damage when it has a body that is wracked with bad eating habits and not resting enough. I've noticed that a lot of individuals, women, with autoimmune diseases are Type A personalities. They work themselves to exhaustion and in my case, ran to Wendy's or McDonald's for their pick-me-up. Since allowing my body to acclimate to better eating, drinking lots of water, and getting rest, my body feels different. My mind is sharper and I find myself wondering what took me so long. This is not an overnight fix. It's a lifetime change. I'm in love with myself again because I'm rested enough to appreciate myself, which leads me to the last point of today's blog.
Right now the world (our Earth), has an autoimmune deficiency where the healthy immune system (healthy relationships, conflict resolution, compassion, empathy, and caring) is compromised and attacking "good cells (people and good work)" on a daily basis. We see flair-ups more than ever before and it is crippling our societies. In America, especially (because this is where I live), I see the affects as we fight against injustices, which continue to attack across a plethora of issues (mass incarceration, domestic violence, poverty, etc.) and we are trying both placebos and bad medicine to cure it. It won't work. Today American needs to complete detox and it's coming whether we realize it or not. Make no mistakes, what goes in, must eventually come out or we're going to have a continuation of the clogged systems that make America a dumping ground for hate, ignorance, greed and more. We've got to stop our fast food-type solutions and restructure healthy living as the core and embodiment of a new America that is inclusive and welcoming to all. It takes hard work because we didn't get in this fix overnight. It took centuries to do this, but once the healing starts, there is a change that happens. The Earth remembers its goodness. The hearts of people begin to feel better about themselves so that they can be more generous to others. We can be better. It's not impossible. Some of us are already on the road to recovery. We just need to infect others with our recovery so that they, too, can recover.


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