I won’t sugarcoat these past two months. While my husband has finally recovered, I have been overwhelmed by a virus that is unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my body before. Whether it remains like an unwelcome guest when the pantry has been raided bare or the specter of some mutation that has found my bodily hospitality irresistible, I have been made aware of its presence every day for weeks, often incapacitating me for days at a time.
I had falsely presumed that I was pretty healthy and protected going into the infection, but apparently my longstanding autoimmune issues and poor digestion that I’d been skirting around for years provided the perfect playground for viral monsters to enjoy. Women over sixty seem to be the likely age group that the virus likes to target for the long haul. Nearly all my symptoms are reported by others in the same boat, and there doesn’t seem to be anything that western medicine can do for us except treat the symptoms. Inflammation that moves around constantly, multiple infections, anxiety attacks, environmental sensitivities, neurological issues, insomnia and depression are all part of the welcome package, unfortunately.
There have been days when I want to give up as OTC meds and prescriptions fail or cause bad side effects. I have always been very sensitive to chemicals so this health journey has been an exercise in frustration. But not treating symptoms wasn’t an option, either. On the other hand, I am lucky because all my tests have come back normal with the exception of high blood sugar, which I was probably on the way to developing anyway but the virus kicked the pre-diabetes up a notch.
In fact, all the symptoms are issues I’ve dealt with at some time in my life, from very young (ear infection) to recent (food intolerances). My immune system has gone haywire from overreacting to innocent foods and environmental conditions, only making the symptoms worse. In eliminating the histamine triggers to buy some time for recovery, I’ve had to drastically remove many products from my life, eat a very restricted clean diet, and restrict activities including work in my beloved garden. In essence, I’m basically starting over and this is an opportunity for rebirth. I really have no choice in the matter because I can’t return to the old habits and diet. My body won’t let me.
But even on my darkest days, I’ve finally recognized the need to address the trauma from my past so that it does not dictate my future. Part of what is holding my healing back is the extreme flight-or-fight response of an inner child who never felt safe and can override any of my adult reasoning. Until I acknowledge the emotional and psychological steps in my recovery, the progress will be very slow. I’ve learned the hard way that relying on medicine alone to address my illness is just a bandaid to the underlying conditions that led me to this dramatic shift in my life. Wholistic treatments and counseling need to be a part of my recovery plan as well because building back my whole health is more important than almost anything else, and well worth my time and resources.
Seeing this situation as a lesson rather than punishment is a good first step as we enter September and the cooler breezes of autumn. May I be able to reap a healthy harvest in my efforts to heal.