When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I had no idea where to turn. The internet was NOT my friend; every click left me with more questions than answers! And it seemed like I was sent home from the hospital with a prescription and a “good luck”.
I first followed up with a rheumatologist the hospital had referred me to and as you know, he and I didn’t click. I have been very happy with the rheumatologist I sought out after that and I feel like she really cares and listens to my concerns. She stays on top of my blood work and encourages me to live as “normal” a life as possible, while still recognizing and supporting me in my limitations. BUT the only thing that I couldn’t get past was that while she is super great for managing my symptoms (I was on Prednisone and Imuran for almost a year and have been instructed to take Plaquenil for the rest of my life), it is not her job to find the root cause of the development of my lupus.
So in addition to my rheumatologist, I found an amazing naturopath. He’s the doctor that changed everything.
In case you think I’m a hippy now, let me just say that I have a degree in cell and molecular biology (BSc) and I teach secondary senior biology (BEd). I would never do anything that wasn’t supported scientifically or believe any research that wasn’t peer reviewed and published in accredited journals. My naturopath is extremely well educated, holding a N.D. from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine’s four year post graduate medical program and stays up to date with the most recent scientific research. He is ridiculously knowledgable, a leader in his field, and I have the upmost respect for him. He’s changed my life!
How, you ask?
First of all, he’s the first one to say that if the combination of genes for Lupus can be turned on, then they are able to be turned off again. This was the first moment I let myself get excited that I could be well again. I mean, I’ve heard of people living the rest of their lives in a state of remission so maybe I could be one of them?
Second, he had a plan. He wrote me out a treatment plan that we could go through in a step-wise fashion to help alleviate symptoms and look at long term management of my lupus (SLE).
I’ve had some pushback from people asking why I wouldn’t just be content with the medications my specialist has given me, I mean, my appointments and prescriptions are all covered by my medical service plan. I still do and always will seek the medical advice of my rheumatologist because I believe she has a lot of knowledge and resources to offer me. What she cannot offer me, however, is any more than a bandaid for my symptoms. What I really want is to be made well again.
In the bible, when Jesus healed people, he healed them holistically. You may have seen more articles coming out recently that our bodies aren’t simply made up of separate parts; everything works together and our bodies function as a whole. We definitely see this with Lupus - when you have one autoimmune disease, you are at much higher risk to develop another autoimmune disease because these aren’t diseases kept tucked away in the thyroid or kidneys or lymph nodes; autoimmune disease means that something is not functioning well that affects your whole body.
We can and we should seek to manage our symptoms so that we can function during the day, while also searching to discover what could be the root cause of our illness and work towards eliminating the problems which causes the symptoms.
Some of the things I’ve done to help promote healing for my body include:
praying, reading my bible, breathing exercises, listening to that cool anxiety song, conversations with friends, exercise, diffusing essential oils, baths, date night, trail walking (pictured) — anything that helps me relax for at least 15min a day
Eliminate Toxic Food & Storage
no more gluten & allergens, limited grains & legumes, choosing organic/grass fed food, glass food storage (no more plastic), ceramic pans (no more non-stick), stainless steel water bottle (I love my swell bottle!), avoiding added chemicals in processed food
Eliminate Environmental Toxins
choosing makeup/self care free from cancer causing chemicals (choose level 1-2 on the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database), home water filtration system (coming soon!), updated air filter & duct cleaning
Repair/Heal the Gut
solid nutrition & supplements, avoiding foods that cause leaky gut, consuming prebiotics & probiotics
Identifying and Treating Chronic Infections
special tests recently done and new treatment plan coming
So basically, these things help decrease the stress and toxic burden on my body and decrease my state of inflammation so that my lupus antibody activity is not triggered or enhanced.
I pray every day for physical healing. I wrestle with God about it and I do a lot of reflecting on how to live life abundantly in the face of chronic illness. I would LOVE for God to stretch out his hand and just heal me in an instant. I would also love if God could use our medical system to heal me. And while this is what my dreams are made of, I know I will still love God and I’ll still be okay if the rest of my earthly life is spent living with a broken body. But in the meantime, I wont stop. I will continue to move in the direction of self-care and continue to pray that God steers me to the correct treatments, and that he grants my doctors the wisdom to heal me.