How I Found a Balance Between Conventional and Natural Treatment

I was newly diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and still celebrating freedom from pain when I noticed the first signs something affecting my stomach. Over the weeks and months that followed it worsened. The honeymoon with NSAIDS was over. My digestion was a mess, I felt foggy and depressed, and my back pain returned.

At that point I lost faith in my doctor and what he had to offer

On a return visit he wasn’t interested in my digestive issues or my brain fog, just progressing to the next level of medication. When I wasn’t on board the message was clear - take it or leave it.

I left feeling unheard and alone. I read through the potential side effects. What if these became my reality? What if I worked my way through all the drugs and just got sicker? There had to be something else.

So began my exploration into natural health

I connected with people who had promising stories to share. I read books, searched articles and trawled through forums. I began experimenting and although my pain would still come and go, some things really helped.

I became passionate about natural approaches to healing and cynical about conventional medicine.

I made it my mission to get free of all medication. I felt angry at doctors who had told me lifestyle made no difference. They seemed stubborn and stuck in an old fashioned way of doing things. I felt they had nothing to offer me.

Over time I would still experience painful flare ups

I endured these with gritted teeth and a steely determination to get through without medication.

I now regret putting myself through such misery and distress. Not only did I put my health at risk, I was sleep deprived and unhappy, a different version of myself than I wanted to be. At the time I was doing what I thought was right, but in hindsight it was a damaging and risky approach to take.

As I continued to learn about my health I began to feel the pendulum swinging back to a place somewhere in the middle.

A balanced approach

I came to the end of a particularly grueling protocol and realized I had pushed to hard for too long. I was underweight and depressed. Around the same time I discovered a rheumatologist who treated me with genuine care and respect. He offered me conventional solutions while honoring my autonomy. He commended my efforts to find a lifestyle that supported my health and contributed his own valuable insights.

I began to see the possibility of a more balanced approach. What if I was to combine the best of both worlds and just choose what worked for me?
Fast forward to my current life and that’s where I’m at. I follow lifestyle habits that support my general health. I also use medication without hesitation when a flare happens, and I’m open to the possibility one day I’ll need something stronger.

Rather than putting things into boxes of “right and wrong” I now work at being my own best advocate and protecting my total wellbeing; mind, body and soul.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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