Magic Bullet 2: Wouldn’t it be cool if maintaining good health were easy?

by teresalaynebennett

photo of young women on edge of bed, holding head in hands, and feeling unwel

No magic bullets for health dilemmas

In The Point, I promised to expose myself to a boatload of embarrassment on this blog, in hopes of sparing you some of life’s common problems. This post is chock full of embarrassing info, so pay attention!

Sometime during my forties, I began having several little health problems, all seemingly unrelated. Up until that time, I’d been very healthy, so this new chain of events was irritating, to say the least. (Up till then I’d pretty much stomped my Type-A foot down on that accelerator and zoomed on down the road of life.) 

For years and years, I practiced magic-solution, vacuous thinking.

  • If the chiropractor can make the right adjustments, I’ll feel great.
  • No, wait: if the dentist can just make a few adjustments to my bite pattern, I’ll feel great.
  • If the neurologist will just do whatever it is that neurologists do, I’ll feel great.
  • If I can find the right meds, I’ll feel great.
  • If I can find the right supplements, I’ll feel great.

But the health incidents kept increasing and escalating in severity. My new normal was alarming. In desperation, I fired off the mother of all magic bullets – major sugery. Bad idea: it helped very little.

After surgery, I became unhealthily skinny. I slowed to a quarter of my usual speed. I was depressingly fatigued by the slightest of everyday stressors. All this necessitated a dramatic decrease in my client workload. I saw doctor after doctor, specialist after specialist, submitted to test after test, procedure after procedure – with practically no help from any of them. And on and on, until I faced the music: lots of problems all intermingled, no magic bullets to be found.

Now what?

It was time to throw out the magic bullets. It was time for serious research.

The more research I did, the more I learned about my body. That’s when I made the melancholy discovery that I’d definitely not been paying attention to my own body. It was embarrassing what I didn’t know about my body – and didn’t care that I didn’t know – until it no longer worked.

Along the way, I picked up a tidbit that helped this symptom, something else that helped with that symptom. I learned with much disappointment that I’d been living in very unhealthy ways on a number of fronts until one day – voilà. I struck the mother lode – a major piece of information about celiac. Once I adjusted my diet, life improved considerably, just four “short” years after my magic-bullet surgery.

Almost everything I’d learned along the way helped a little bit – and sometimes, though not often, a lot. I began to realize that there were several health problems all playing into each other. As I talked with others who’d gone through similar experiences, guess what? I wasn’t unique! Our health issues are complex because our bodies are complex. Duh.

Most doctors are short on time and short on knowledge of all modalities. They practice either conventional medicine or alternative medicine, but very rarely both. They prefer specialist income to GP income, so they specialize in one narrow field. Not overly concerned with how all the body parts work together, they either know ALL about the skin or ALL about the brain – but not both. (And the specialist to whom you’re referred is not the only sage on stage, just so you know.)

In short, very few docs are looking at the big picture: your body in all its complexity and all its parts. But let’s be fair: no doctor can know all about your daily physical and mental habits – the countless things you do every day that have a slow, steady impact on your health. There isn’t a medical/health questionnaire long enough or thorough enough to give a health professional all of this very necessary information.

Drop brainless magic-bullet thinking.
Adopt these intelligent-thinking concepts.

It’s what I should have been thinking all along – and how I hope you’ll think from this day forward.

  • The person who lives in your complex body is the person responsible for its care and feeding. Even though you’re the one who’s sick, YOU will need to pay meticulous attention to your health issues – because precious few in the medical community will. They’ll be looking for the one problem they can fix with their one magic bullet from their very specialized area of medicine.
  • Ask your close family members or spouse to pay attention to your health. Often, their feedback will be far more objective than yours.
  • Pay attention to The Big Picture and take note of all its little problems that may be interconnected or contributing to the seemingly isolated Big Problem.
  • Pay attention to all of you: your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical states and how they interact.

 And lastly, tattoo this on your brain: firing a magic bullet at a health problem is just folly gone to seed. Dooooon’t do it.

© 2013 Teresa Layne Bennett

red box with white text of a quote from Quentin Regestein, M.D. about the patient's job of taking charge of his own life.

A respected doc: there’s no magic health bullet