My winding road to recovery: healing begins on the inside.

I love the word ‘healing‘. I guess I’ve always been drawn to the idea that someone or something has the power of ability to make something wrong…..right again. Finding a ‘solution’ has been my passion and driver for as long as I can remember. Over the years, many clients have stood up from my treatment table and exhalted how much better they felt. With their jaw pain gone, they could  chew without discomfort. Their stress headaches gone after a few treatments meant they could enjoy life again.  The satisfaction of helping a client feel better has never been lost on me. To this day, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to see the relief in someones face who has suffered with acne for years and is now blemish free and medication free. These moments of my career have instilled a certain belief in me. When we can  find the underlying cause the healing can begin.

For those who know me, friends and clients alike, they know I have certain ‘beliefs’ about health and wellness. I believe  treating the ‘whole person’ is vital to long term health. If the habit is to drink cola or numerous  coffee’s  every day and expect good  health…well… I’ll  usually have something to say to the contrary.   Under most circumstances, I will also have something to say about food additives, the importance of anti-biotic and hormone free meat, GMO’s, white death (oops I meant refined sugar) the overuse of pharmaceuticals  and how we need to take better responsibility for our own wellbeing.  On the other side, I’m  also in awe of  this amazing wonderous body we call our home. The physiology of how our bodies work is truly a miracle and I  believe wholeheartedly that we have the possibility  to heal ourselves to some or all degree’s of health when given the right tools.

Being a single mom and having my own business here in The Netherlands has awarded me the benefits of freedom and choice while raising my daughter. However, since no work equals no pay, financial stability depends on the ability to work. After my divorce, staying healthy was something I took very seriously. Not withstanding the stress of suddenly being single parent in a ‘foreign country”, I never took my health for granted. What I didn’t bargain on was getting the wrong antibiotics for an otherwise minor infection and developing an extremely painful and debilitating chronic illness in 2014.

images (9)Life upside down

After visiting numerous doctors and specialists, undergoing painful procedures, travelling to different cities and desperate to find out why I was suffering from such pain, I finally, out of desperation diagnosed myself with a form of Interstitial cystitis. It seemed to fit the symptoms and since every doctor here just shrugged their shoulders and repeated the same mantra  “Ik weet het niet”.. ( “I don’t know”) I was on my own.  I discovered  little was known here  about this condition and worse doctors seemed uninterested. Interstitial cystitis is an extremely painful and sometimes unrelenting feeling of pressure and searing pain in the bladder. It has become an umbrella term for anything besides an active infection  that causes chronic bladder pain. A complex condition , many women and men  suffer for years and since there is supposedly no cure, most people live on pain medication and other dangerous drugs. It’s safe to say that the pain is enough to make you want to jump off a cliff…and in what seemed like a blink of an eye…my life turned upside down and I was dangerously close to that cliff.

I found myself suddenly immersed in finding any possible reason for why I was suffering. Researching became my own form of relief to keep my mind off the pain, desperately searching for any information  I could find to heal my broken body. Since I had to stop working, fear of how I was going to take care for myself and my daughter kept me awake nightly. I had floating thoughts of how I would be just fine to take one last breath and be done with it all. I became glued  to my computer, praying and trusting that God would make something good out of my misery.

What God did provide me with, was a network of amazing friends. If it weren’t for this amazing group of people,  I’m not sure where I would be today.  They cooked, cleaned, took care for my daughter, paid bills etc, supported and cheered me on. If it weren’t for one friend  with contacts to a clinic in London,  I would have never discovered,  I had in fact,  developed an  antibiotic resistent bacterial infection, due to the original damage from the antibiotics. Never properly diagnosed meant I had it  for almost a year. While antibiotics have the ability to  kill bad bacteria, they  also kill the healthy bacteria that our bodies needs to keep our  immune systems healthy.

If it weren’t for another friend, sitting on my couch, holding my hand and saying…”You are so dear to me, come and stay with me until you are better”, I would not have a safe, loving home where I could finally focus on recovery instead of the worry around paying mounting  bills. The help force of healing hands and friendships that raised my daughter and I during that time is still a miracle to me.

Time has passed, it’s almost 2 years now and I feel normal and healthy once again.  In my quest to heal my own body, my need to understand pain and get to the core of the issue, I found myself immersed in the scientific frontier of Gut health.  Wow!! A new paradigm of healing was opening up in front of me. One thing that grabbed my attention was a quote of Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine.

“All disease begins in the gut”. images (5)

Since I personally experienced the compartmentalized approach to standard medicine and it’s disconnection  to the whole body approach to healing, reading that quote changed my thinking and my life.

Could this be the missing link I had been searching for?

What I have now come to learn is that we have trillions of friends called ‘Good bacteria’ and  without them, good health is simply impossible. The use of  medications, antibiotics, fast food diets and most importantly stress, all  have detrimental effects on this delicate ecosystem. Since more than 70% of our immune system is located in the gut, it becomes very obvious how important it is to keep it healthy

The question is…. how do we do that?

Well, I have found the best way starts right in the kitchen. Since introducing  immune building,   fermented foods to my diet I have experience a progressive healing that I feel has changed my life. In my next blog I will explain how these fermented foods, rich in good bacteria, improve  the immune system, help with weight loss, skin issues and much more.  These life giving foods helped heal me and my hope is they may help you as well!