sometimes you have to reach the bottom

As I mentioned in my decade of pain post, I had reached my wit’s end, I had reached my “rock bottom” when I finally found my way to a holistic doctor. Or should I say, when the Lord directed me towards a holistic doctor?

Isn’t the Lord always directing our path, whether we know it or not? Isn’t he always putting people and events in our lives that will help shape us for the better?

I believe so. And I believe he can redeem any situation, no matter how dire the circumstances may seem.

I still don’t know why I had to experience ten years of back pain before I finally started my road to recovery. That seems like an awful long time to have to learn a lesson. But ultimately, I trust the Lord. I know that His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and there is no way we can even comprehend the love He has for us.

I took this photo of this rainbow. The most incredible rainbow I have ever seen. I was on a road trip. And I can’t help but think of the metaphor this is for life. We are on this road in life – we can only see a little ways ahead, we can’t see the ultimate destination, but despite all the twists and turns, ups and downs, sunshine or rain, the Lord never leaves us. He is always guiding us. He is always keeping his promise of faithfulness.
“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” – Genesis 9:13

It was an overwhelming first appointment with Dr. Byrnes to say the least. It was pretty clear that I had a lot of emotion to deal with that I had repressed over the last ten years.

While I may have known I tend to repress emotion, especially such serious emotion such as the grief of losing a loved one, what I did not know was that my repressing of this emotion was the cause of so many other physical problems I was having. And it was also the root of a lot of emotional stress and anxiety I had been carrying around.

I’ll start with the physical. During the week before I lost my friend, I developed acid reflux. I had never had any sort of digestive problems up to that point in my life. My mom told me acid reflux is hereditary and that it runs in my family, so I just figured that’s what it was. To her credit she also mentioned it can be onset by a stressful event in your life, so she was definitely onto something there.

What I wished I had known was that this problem wasn’t going to just go away. I hadn’t dealt with the root of it. And I didn’t for ten years.

Instead, the doctors I saw basically recommended that I “put a bandaid on it” it by taking all sorts of over the counter drugs – zantac, prilosec, tums, etc. – for years.

My acid reflux was just the beginning of all sorts of digestive problems. In the months leading up to the time I found Dr. Byrnes, I had experience more digestive pain and problems than I ever had in the past. Almost every day I was in pain. It seemed no matter what I ate, even the healthiest of foods, my stomach was still upset.

So not only was my back hurting every day, now my stomach was hurting every day as well. But like I said, sometimes you have to reach rock bottom.

In fact, just after writing my first draft of this post, just after writing “I had reached my wit’s end” in the first paragraph, I happened to read a Psalm that so clearly spoke to this exact state I was in, I can’t help but be 100% certain it’s the Lord telling me He is redeeming this journey:

“They were at their wit’s end. 
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, 
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper; 
the waves of the sea were hushed. 
They were glad when it grew calm, 
and he guided them to their desired haven.”
– Psalm 107:27-30

“Glad” is an understatement. “Haven” couldn’t be more appropriate.

So it took reaching my wit’e end, reaching rock bottom, to see a holistic doctor and want to do literally anything he suggested. I was out of options. So he talked. And I listened…

If you had told me I would be some gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free hippie a year ago, I would never have believed you. But I couldn’t be happier that I am. I feel happier, healthier, and lighter than I ever have before. My back pain is almost gone. My stomach is healing quickly. But most importantly, I have hope. The hope of healing. The hope of health.

Apparently all the dairy I was consuming was completely depleting my immune system. I was consuming a ton of whey protein (in smoothies and protein bars), and apparently my body does not process it well. I would have never known, as I never had problems right after consuming such products. But this was more of a gradual wear and tear on my digestive system and immune system as a whole.

Also, turns out I am highly sensitive to gluten and soy. And not just gluten – but other grain products as well. I can’t even eat quinoa. The only grain I can have as of now is brown rice. Who knew?

Here I was thinking I ate so healthy. But just because some foods are healthy, doesn’t mean they are necessarily healthy for you.

Dr. Byrnes put me on a 6-week “cleanse” of sorts where I ate only low-glycemic fruits, vegetables, and coconut products (coconut flakes, coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut milk). During this time I had to make two smoothies a day with this powder called “RepairVite” to help restore my stomach.

And I had to do this over Thanksgiving, my birthday, and Christmas. Which was not easy.

I say “had” to. At this point, in my mind there was no other option. Why would I want to continue eating things that were not only going to cause me pain daily, but have a long-term negative effect on my immune system? So as difficult as it was to not be able to eat the food everyone else was eating over the holidays and to have to travel with all these supplements and powders, for me there was no other option. I had to do what I had to do.

If I had changed my diet and improved my immune system sooner, I might not have gotten so many sinus infections every few months like clockwork my senior year of college and might not have had to have my tonsils taken out.

Hindsight’s 20/20, of course. And while I can’t go back and change my past and am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason… I can write about my experiences, what I learned, and in turn, hopefully help others be aware of the options that are available to them.

My greatest desire is to share this “good news” so that others might not have to go through years of pain, so that others might not have to have surgeries, so that others might be inspired to choose holistic – to better their minds and their bodies and to achieve optimal health in the natural way our bodies were created to be.

Our bodies have an incredible ability to heal themselves. The human body is a truly miraculous creation. But we have to do our part. We have to provide our bodies with the fuel they need in order to stave off disease by eating the right foods – and the right foods for our bodies, in particular – to boost our immune systems to their full potential… to ultimately give our bodies the chance to be all that God created them to be… which in turn, will help us be all that God created us to be.

ranch path 2

Stay tuned for more on my journey of healing. I can’t wait to share even more of what I have learned and am continuing to learn.

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