Monday, March 31, 2008

Our amazing bodies

After spending more than a year under the care of two excellent chiropractors, I now believe more strongly than ever that our bodies are made to heal most of their everyday maladies. Here's my latest example: while in Mexico, I came down with a cold. It started last Sunday night or Monday morning with they typical stuffy nose and congested sinuses. But then, it got worse. It turned into a sinus infection, complete with pounding sinuses, a hideous fever, headaches, neckaches, and backaches. By Thursday it hadn't really improved (Scott says that's because I wouldn't sleep all day long -- I was too busy reading Pillars of the Earth). I downed a few antihistamines (which I hate because they make me feel drunk) and headed to the airport. I tried to sleep the whole way to Denver, but was interrupted by the five year old sitting next to me who was keeping track of the flight attendant passing out the snacks. Oh, wait, that wasn't just any five year old, it was my kid. Go figure.

I went straight from our car to our bed and then spent most of Friday in bed, feeling no improvement. Saturday I forced myself out of bed to take Brynn to ballet class and tried to get a few things done around the house but didn't feel much better. Sunday I was back in bed again all day, feeling worse than before. Libbie, the definition of loyalty, spent the whole day on the floor next to my bed.

That brings us to today. I had to get up today to take the girls to school. By now the congestion in my nose was gone, but my head still felt like a balloon full of snot. Nasty, I know. Every touch hurt, every move felt stiff. Maybe this is what other people are talking about when they say they have a sinus headache. If so...woah to you people. I am so very sad for you. I don't experience things like this often. Please don't think me a sissy, either. I can put up with pain. Anyway, back to the point of the story...I still felt like crap this morning, but I took some ibuprofen, took a shower, and took my kids to school. Then I went to the chiropractor's office. I wanted to go on Friday but couldn't drag myself out of bed.

As I lay there on the table listening to the snot move around in my sinuses (not kidding...it crackles when it moves), I almost started crying. I really thought I might be sick for the rest of my life. Then Dr. Kurt, my new hero, came in and felt my back. He pushed in some places he doesn't normally push and then did what seemed like a normal adjustment. At least, it seemed normal until he got to my neck. He pushed on something on both sides of the top of my neck that hurt like having my neck squeezed in a vice. "Ooouuuuch," I growled. "That's the part that leads to your sinuses," he responded calmly. I'm assuming he meant that he was touching the part of my spine that protects the nerves that lead to my sinuses. He went on with the rest of the adjustment and told me to come back again this afternoon. I left, feeling mildly better, if for no reason other than the stiffness in my neck and back were gone. But, as I got into the car, singing happily to my furry passenger, Libbie, I realized, "This is the first time in a week I've sounded happy. I must be feeling better." I took a quick survey of my body...forehead, good. Under-eyes, good. Teeth, good. Bottom of my head, good. Neck, good. Back, good. Dizziness, still a little. Okay, so I walked into the office with seven problems and walked out with one small problem.

When I returned to the office this afternoon, Dr. Kurt said, "You look like you're feeling better." "I am, I am, it's a miracle," is what I wanted to shout. I think I said something more like, "You can tell?" "Your body rocks," or something like that was what he said. I really should carry a tape recorder with me. I came away from the experience truly believing that when our bodies are allowed to function to their full potential, they have the opportunity to heal themselves. When the nerves are allowed to move unobstructed to the parts of our bodies that need to be healed, they can send messages to those parts to tell them how to heal. Why would our bodies be made any other way? I mean, really, what kind of God would create bodies that don't have the ability to heal? When you cut your arm, it heals. Why should infected sinuses be any different?

For those of you who prefer to bow down to the altar of big pharma, let me just say that I am not 100% anti-drug. I'm anti not giving your body an opportunity to heal its self, free from side effects. I did take antihistamines, decongestants, and painkillers throughout this week. I would have killed myself if I hadn't -- I was too miserable. I was even willing to take antibiotics until I found out that only 5-10% of sinus infections are caused by bacteria, and of that percentage, some huge majority (I think I read 95%) of the bacteria living in our sinuses during an infection are drug resistant. Hence the finding in the British Journal of Medicine that antibiotics are no better than a placebo when it comes to healing a sinus infection.

The real test for me will be tomorrow morning. I always seem to feel the worst first thing in the morning. Consider no news, good news...

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