When Medicine Doesn’t Work

Those closest to me well are aware that¬†I’ve been complaining about pain and numbness for years.¬†¬†¬† I’ve treated the pain like I’ve treated all my health problems.¬† I saw doctors, read articles, and researched all the latest cures.¬† Then I¬†went back to work.¬†¬†But as time passed, my symptoms increased.¬† Often, the increase was due to¬†side effects¬†from medication.¬†¬†Over a number of years, I formed the¬†opinion that treatments based on conventional medicine were hurting, not helping, my health.
In December of 2011, my¬†pain¬†reached an¬†intensity¬†that could no longer be ignored while I went to work each day.¬† The pain was simply making¬†it impossible to do my job.¬† As I watched the career I’d spent decades developing start crashing to the ground,¬†I realized I¬†no longer had time to¬†rely on others for answers.¬†¬†I needed to find a cure, and I needed to find it fast.¬† ¬†In March, I¬†was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and I was told by the doctors that there was no cure.¬†¬†The doctors did not even know what caused fibromyalgia.¬† I was offered some medication to reduce symptoms.¬† But after a 48 hour trial, I’d had all the medication I was willing to take.¬† I needed a different approach.
Throughout my adult life,¬†I’ve¬†observed that my most fruitful efforts were always prompted by¬† intuition.¬†¬†So as¬†the pain associated with my fibromyalgia increased, I was also increasingly¬†willing to listen to the growing¬†intuitive knowledge¬†that I needed to spend more time outdoors.¬† I needed to eat home grown food.¬†¬†I needed to surround myself with friends and family, and I needed to ride horses.¬† Because my past instincts had a better track record than the doctors I’d relied on in the past, I¬†accepted that my recovery would depend on my ability to listen to my intuition.
Now, living by instinct may sound fresh and inviting to some, new age and esoteric to others, and downright¬†flaky to¬†the¬†conservative scientific community I live and work in.¬† But to most of us plagued with work deadlines, bills to pay, and children to raise, living by instinct presents practical challenges.¬†¬† Employers want deliverables.¬† Families¬†need reliable¬†incomes.¬†¬†¬†Even instinct has warned me to move slowly when it comes to telling my husband that I am too sick to work, I don’t trust the doctors, and I plan to get well by planting a garden and riding a horse.
Two thousand and twelve¬†has been a year of moving slowly.¬† Yet I can see that I am exiting the year with some permanent changes in place.¬† I have filed for retirement.¬†¬† I’ve completed or transitioned projects I was responsible for at work.¬†¬† I have a bigger garden than I had last year.¬† I’m communicating better with my family.¬† My pain is a little less today than it was four months ago.
Fibromyalgia is a disease of multiple symptoms.  Finding a cure will require multidimensional approaches that vary across space and time.  Perhaps I trust my instinct because instinct does not give black and white, one-size-fits-all answers.  Instinct, like the disease itself and like the complex world we live in, varies.

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