I was raised to believe in doctors and their wisdom. Never did I dream of a time in my life where I would start questioning the ability of doctors or pharmaceutical drugs to cure me. The road to a semblance of normalcy was one fraught with much pain and obstacles. Despite that, it is one I would gladly endure again, because it drove me to a place where I had to decide what I was willing to accept and what I wasn’t.
In the early years of my illness, I was often bed bound and even wheel chair bound for a period. I remember longs stretches of time where I would be unable to do anything but lie in bed – and even that was painful – wondering how … or better yet … if…
God could use me with a body that was so completely broken. Even then, I thought the doctors could at least get me back on my feet. I knew there was no cure, but that didn’t have to mean that I couldn’t regain some semblance of normalcy in my life.
Unfortunately, what I discovered, for me anyway, was more oft than not, doctors were only able to treat my symptoms and often they did so without listening to any input from me. No matter how many times I told them that I was highly sensitive to drugs, they continued to pump them into me.
Instead of just having to deal with the incredible challenges of living with the devastating affects of CFIDS/FMS, I also had to endure the horrendous – and I do mean horrendous – side affects of the drugs that were being administered to me.
I can recall a time when I was wheel chair bound for a short period after I had pushed way beyond my energy envelope. The doctors at that time had me so over-medicated I was unable to communicate. I was drooling. I was in such a drug induced fog I could barely sit up by myself. I still remember a voice inside me, screaming that this could not be my life. It just couldn’t. And how could doctors make it so much worse? Did they not know what they were doing to me? Did they not care?
During another time, with another doctor whom I repeatedly begged to give me the smallest dose he could of anti-depression medication (for sleep problems), he ignored my pleas and went ahead with his protocol. It was a decision that I would pay dearly for.
At an office visit with him a few weeks later, he got to witness one of my new side-affects from said drugs as I fell off the table during a full blown seizure. Having seizures is a humbling experience, let me tell you. The reaction of those around you, to you, while you are having a seizure is interesting to say the least.
Even though my doctor witnessed the seizure, it would be years and many doctors later before any medical personnel would be able to capture one, and thus, definitively confirm the diagnosis of a seizure disorder. All the while I had to endure doctor after doctor telling me I was faking the seizures for attention! There was even a point that I came to believe that perhaps they were right and I was truly going mad.
Once I was diagnosed with a true seizure disorder, another doctor decided to treat the Gran-Mal seizures with seizure medication, which of course was appropriate. Again, I asked for the smallest possible dose and was ignored. You can probably guess what happened next, right? Yup. I developed a second type of seizure as a side-affect to the new medication. Fortunately, I was quickly taken off the drug, but the episode became a defining moment for me.
You see, at the worst point of the 5 or so years that I had seizures, I was having upwards of over a dozen seizures a day. That’s in conjunction with the CFIDS/FMS. I have no doubt that some of those episodes were directly tied to drugs I was given. Having seizures and CFIDS is utterly exhausting. Having upwards of twelve in a day is beyond exhausting. The only word I can think of to describe how utterly wiped I was, is ‘comatose’. There was nothing left.
In another episode, I was having testing done where IVP Dye was being administered. Again, I was told not to worry, because no one has a reaction to IVP Dye. Uh huh. Well…I did. My throat swelled shut, I had hives everywhere and I was having difficulty breathing. The technician happen to pop to quickly check on me and freaked out when he saw the shape I was in! As a matter of fact, he informed me later, to NEVER have IVP Dye again because the next time it would most assuredly “kill me.”
In the past year-and-a-half, I have had two more episodes which sealed my fate, if you will, when it comes to pharmaceutical drugs. One was a dental appointment in which the dentist spilled novacain down my throat. That memory is deeply etched in my mind’s eye. There was this window that was open and the sky was this clear, brilliant blue. I could see the sun and the trees and remember thinking that view was a great way to calm someone who might be stressed from a dental visit.
When my throat went numb, I suddenly realized I could not swallow, breath, talk, move anything in my throat at all. I was looking out that window and remember thinking, “Okay God, I’m coming home.”
After a mass influx of doctors, nurses, and technicians, I was stabilized. The dentist, however, seemed to think it was funny. I didn’t. Still don’t. And I have never been back despite the fact I have an unfinished tooth with a hole in it.
Several months after that scary episode, I was given an antibiotic for an upper-respiratory infection. A few hours later, I ended up in the emergency room having serious side affects from the antibiotic. What shocked me this time was the ER doctor asked me how the prescribing doctor had determined I had an infection. I said I didn’t know. He then asked if they had run any blood work. I said no.
He became frustrated and angry as he told me that not only would he not have prescribed this particular antibiotic for me with my history of sensitivity to drugs, but that I actually didn’t even need it as I did not have an infection.
That was the final straw for me. It is what propelled me to say enough. It was the mitigating incident that motivated me to find a better and safer way.
And that road has lead me to the discovery of some wonderful herbal remedies. I have spent the past several years trying out different herbal products and studying how I can use herbs to support my body so it can heal itself. I’m a long way from being ‘cured’, but I got my life back and I do have a semblance of normalcy I never had while taking drugs.
If you come back on Tuesday, I will share with you what herbal products I take for what symptoms and how they work for me. BTW, you can all thank Renee for this multi-part post. She was curious as to what herbal remedies I use and asked if I would share them. I felt it would be more beneficial if you understood how I got to the place where I decided to leave the drugs behind and move forward with herbs.
I’m sure I don’t have to say this, but this is my ‘journey’ and yours might be totally different, and that’s okay. In addition, I am not trying to sell anyone on drugs or on herbs. I’m just sharing the process that I have been through and the results of the journey.