Years ago scientists told us that we only use 10 percent of our brain. Today they tell us that we only use 5 percent! We have so much power that we either neglect to use or just give away! In previous blogs I’ve mentioned some of my experiences that have pushed me to rely more on myself. I’m continuing to use my mind and believe in my own abilities.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’ll tell you what has happened to me, and what led me to do things for myself. Everyone has a different body, has different experiences and reactions. It is extremely important that you learn what your own body requires, what is normal for you. What works for me may not work for you. Get advice from your own medical adviser as to what is normal for your health.
It has taken me many years to learn that a lot of what I don’t know, I can learn from others—especially with the aid of the Internet! My goal is to expand on that 5% experts say we only use by increasing my knowledge. However, as I’ve said before, it is vital that we learn to believe in ourselves, to love our selves, to trust our inner voices—those same voices that we’ve conditioned ourselves to ignore! (Think back. Don’t you remember saying to yourself at some time or other: “I knew that!” Or “I should have followed my feelings…”) Our bodies talk to us. (Some call it the voice of GOD, or the voice of an Angel.) If we keep ignoring those little signals/voices, the end result is usually pain!
All my life I’ve suffered from side effects of medications. For example, more Prednisone (a prescription steroid) than my body could handle caused my eyes to develop full blown cataracts that ended up with my being blind in one eye. This resulted in the need for surgical implants of new lenses to regain my sight. Another medication caused severe diarrhea. I could not leave my house before 2:00 pm on any day. A tiny piece of lettuce or a few green peas would result in green diarrhea! Pain medication would only work once or twice before having no effect at all! My experiences taught me that I had to work on discovering the cause of my ailments. Simply treating the symptoms was not good enough! Taking medications for the symptoms only caused other problems for me. I also learned that taking “natural” isn’t always good enough either. After all, there are some natural poisons too!
My Eyes: During a routine eye exam, my doctor told me that the pressure in my eyes was rising. He was concerned that if it got much higher it would increase the chances of my developing glaucoma! As a writer and devout reader, there was no way that I could accept becoming blind! When I asked what would cause the pressure in my eyes to increase, he told me that one main reason was steroids. I was not taking any medication with steroids at that time. However, suffering with a condition that caused me to often scratch my skin, I was using an over-the-counter anti-itch cream. I reasoned that the cortisone in the cream (a steroid) was entering my blood stream through the cracks in my skin. I decreased my use of this cream, and switched to other anti-itch lotions that didn’t contain steroids. Three months later the pressure in my eyes was normal!
Hypertension (high blood pressure): My blood pressure was rising, and my doctor felt I should start taking medication to avoid a heart attack or stroke. He went into great detail to explain what happens when the body ages: that blood vessels become clogged, the heart becomes stressed, etc. Most of my life I’ve eaten a low (at least moderately low) fat diet. I don’t use a lot of salt. The stresses in my life are normal. Surely, I felt, there must be other causes. Too many of my friends and relatives have told me about the side effects of drugs for lowering one’s blood pressure—side effects I refused to accept to be a part of my life! I asked another doctor what would cause a body’s blood pressure to rise. “Ugh!” he said, “There are so many things.” He rattled off a number of causes, one of which was decreased kidney function. For some reason (my inner voice), that rang a bell in my mind! I had an abnormally low output of urine.
A few years ago I had a terrible accident, when I almost lost my foot and broke my back in two places. After each of two surgeries, I was wheelchair bound for a while. Since going to the bathroom to empty my bladder was a major project in a wheelchair, I stopped drinking a lot of fluids. After much consideration of how my body works, I thought the substantial decrease in drinking fluids may have affected my kidneys. So I tried an experiment. One day I forced myself to drink 64 ounces of water. (I used a measuring cup and counted each ounce!) At the end of the day, I asked a friend in the medical field to take my blood pressure. It was normal! That was my solution. There are other solutions for people who suffer from hypertension, such as eating beets or drinking beet juice. However, before you experiment and try different things, PLEASE check with your health professional!
My doctor was willing to work with me! He gave me a prescription for a very low dose of pills for hypertension that he wanted me to have on hand if I needed it. Per his instructions, I purchased a blood pressure cuff from the pharmacy that uses the upper arm. He took my blood pressure with a cuff I already had that used the wrist—not good enough. He took my pressure with a portable cuff in his office, as well as one mounted on his office wall. All measurements were compared, including the reading from the cuff I had just purchased that used the upper arm (above the elbow). He watched me take my own blood pressure with my new cuff to make sure I was using it properly. After one week, I returned to the office to check my progress on lowering my blood pressure.
During the week before my next check-up, I increased my intake of water. Each morning I drank a cup of natural detox tea (purchased from a health food store) to cleanse my kidneys. I kept a record of my blood pressure readings (upon rising in the mornings, in the afternoons, and in the evenings before bed). My doctor was pleasantly surprised to realize that my blood pressure has now returned to normal levels! However, I am still having to remind myself to drink water. When I relapse and forget to drink water, my blood pressure starts creeping back up!
Blood Sugar: After repeated elevated blood sugar readings, my doctor wanted me to start taking a weekly medication. Not wanting to be dependent on this prescription drug to force my body to regulate my blood sugar, I asked for time to do some research. Another doctor suggested I research “islet cells,” which I did. Islet cells help the body regulate the body’s blood sugar. If there’s a deficiency in folic acid, a B vitamin, islet cells cannot operate properly.
I’d learned in the past that my body needs vitamin B supplements. This may be due to damage to my digestive system from years of bouts with diarrhea (caused by a side effect of prescription drugs) or to massive doses of antibiotics required for treating pneumonia that I’d contracted when I was hospitalized. After several years of taking probiotics and digestive enzymes, my bouts with diarrhea have decreased dramatically!
Note: There are different types of probiotics. I highly recommend consulting a health care professional as to what kind would be best for you if you plan to take any of them.
(Although I still have to watch what I eat, and when I eat it! Sometimes I forget I am not yet normal, and then suffer the consequences! I can’t always go to someone’s home for dinner, and ask to see the ingredients of the products they used to prepare their meal! It’s much easier to ask a restaurant’s waiter to check if milk, corn, or MSG is in any of the foods. Due to another disorder of mine, some years ago I was also advised by a doctor to increase my folic acid on a regular basis.)
On my follow-up visit to my doctor, he was pleased and surprised to see my recorded blood sugar levels were normalizing. My A1C (blood test for sugar averaging levels over a few month’s time) was still elevated, as I was just getting my blood sugar under control. The finger-stick test on the day I was in the doctor’s office showed that I had a normal blood sugar reading! We’ll take another A1C test three months from that office visit. Meantime, I’ve experimented with having dessert after dinner, drinking a glass of wine in the evening, or taking and not taking my vitamins. I know my body, and I know what is required of me for my body to perform normally. It is up to me. I take full responsibility. Whenever possible, I will NOT give that power over to a pharmaceutical drug that’ll cause side effects requiring even more pills.
Note: I once lived in a community with a woman whose doctor gave her six months to live. After her doctor’s prognosis, she went around to apologize to anyone who she felt she had offended. My neighbor went to her sister, who she had not spoken with in two years, to make up with her. She wanted her sister to raise her six-year-old son after she passed away. Six months later she was hospitalized—and died.
I give you examples from my life to demonstrate another side to the mind-body connection. The first really big lesson I learned was that I felt I had a choice. It was a major choice NOT to accept the doctor’s prediction that I would be in and out of the hospital and dead within two years if I did not follow his advice and take the pharmaceutical prescriptions he thought would keep me alive. That was in 1997—19 years ago! I consulted holistic practitioners. And I am healthier now than I was at that time! Instead of being too sick to go to school, I went back and earned another Associates Degree (I already had one.), A Bachelor’s Degree, A Master’s Degree, and then completed half the course work toward earning a Ph.D. Instead of being too sick to work (as the doctor said I would be), I worked very demanding and challenging jobs helping single mothers learn how to empower themselves. They sometimes returned to school, got jobs, learned of services to assist them, and sometimes went on to become home owners! One of the things I learned and passed on to my clients was to say to myself, “I don’t have YET!” Adding that “YET” to whatever you don’t have changes how you see it, how you feel about it. It put things in the realm of possibilities! I still look in the mirror and say to myself: “I love you Beth!” I’m still in the process of believing in myself. And sometimes, after achieving another goal, I actually amaze me!