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Why Can’t I Get Better? 7 Roadblocks to Healing & How to Overcome Them

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

Do you find yourself perpetually sick and unable to get well? Do you go from doctor to doctor with debilitating symptoms that seem to have no cause and no cure? Are you exhausted from never-ending diagnostic testing that suggests nothing is even wrong with you? Are you spending enormous amounts of money on doctor appointments that get you literally nowhere?


I know how you feel. I was once in your shoes. When I fell sick in 2012 with chronic Lyme and CFS, I felt like I had been abandoned on a deserted island. In a matter of 24 hours, I’d gone from a healthy and active young wife and mother to debilitated and unable to find any medical doctor to help me. I lost almost everything, as I could no longer work or care for my children. I ended up bedridden and had to move in with my parents. My symptoms included crushing fatigue, systemic joint pain, insomnia, skin rashes, flu-like aches, body tremors, muscle spasms, intense brain fog, and more. For a very long time, I simply got worse and worse. And for a very long time after that, I made very little to no progress whatsoever. I was in terrible shape, and I had no idea what I was going to do to get well.


After struggling for so long, but ultimately finding success, I’ve come to believe there are several key reasons many people with chronic disease fail to improve their symptoms. If you suffer from a chronic illness, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, CFS, Lyme, or any autoimmune disease, you want to ensure you are not falling into any of the following pitfalls. Falling into any one of these traps can be catastrophic to your recovery.


Roadblock #1: Placing All Your Faith in Medical Doctors


This is perhaps the easiest of all traps to fall into because we are indoctrinated, pardon the pun, to believe medical doctors have all the answers. I’m here to tell you, they do not. But regardless, most Americans rush to the doctor any time they fall sick, expecting a magical cure in the form of a pharmaceutical drug. If only healing a chronic illness was so easy!


Simply stated, doctors are not wizards. Unfortunately, when it comes to anything more complicated than a sinus infection, medical doctors may have no idea how to properly treat you, let alone cure you. And if they do treat you, rest assured, it will be with a toxic drug of some variety. Perhaps a drug is absolutely necessary, and you have no other choice. However, there is always a benefit and burden to be weighed, as all drugs are foreign and toxic to the body and have side effects.


Meanwhile, many chronic conditions are the end result of poor diet and lifestyle choices that have simply added up over time. To correct these conditions, it will take time and effort on your part—not a doctor’s. Your rheumatoid arthritis ("RA"), for example, did not manifest in your body from a deficiency in immunosuppressive drugs. RA, like many chronic illnesses, is a manifestation of poor diet, lifestyle, and maybe genetics. And it is absolutely reversible with proper diet and lifestyle changes. Yet, many people with this condition first look to immunosuppressive drugs offered by their doctor to shunt the immune response to relieve their symptoms rather than actually attempting to heal the body. The pharmaceutical drugs offered for many chronic conditions will not heal your body or reverse cellular dysfunction and inflammation—they will only cut off the immune response and artificially block inflammation (not a good thing!).


You want your body to naturally pump the breaks on inflammation and put out its own fire. To achieve this, you must first believe in your own abilities and stop placing all of your stock in a doctor or the latest and greatest toxic pill pushed by Pfizer. Get to work implementing a nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory diet, and you will reap the benefits.


Roadblock #2: Not Believing in the Power of Nutrition


Some of you reading this article are rolling your eyes right now at the very idea that diet alone could reverse your symptoms. And because of this doubt, you never fully adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet. You might eat “sort of" well, but to be honest, you often cheat, and rarely stick to the program.


I was once one of those people who did not believe in the amazing power of food. I did not believe that my diet had gotten me sick. After all, I had a tick bite to blame! What could diet have had to do with any of it? Turns out, it had everything to do with it.


As I continued to eat “well” by most Americans’ standards—a diet rich with whole grains, dairy products, low-fat deli sandwiches, and a salad or fruit every now and then—my health rapidly deteriorated. It was not until I hit a wall of zero returns, with no other viable option BUT to radically change my diet, that I truly realized the power of food.


Within six weeks of strictly and completely eliminating gluten, starchy carbs, added sugars, processed foods, and dairy from my diet, and instead opting for nutrient-dense green leafy vegetables and colorful, low-sugar fruits and vegetables, the chronic joint pain I’d suffered for nearly two years melted away. Wow! Finally, I knew I was on to something. I had a long way to go, but food instantly became my medicine.


Food needs to be your medicine, too. Get serious about your diet, because it is absolutely your most powerful tool. A few years after first starting this new way of living (it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle), and I am almost completely healed.


Roadblock #3: Failure to Address Underlying Chronic Infections


If you are sick, your gut is in rough shape and the bad bugs have overtaken the good bugs. This has to be reversed. You may also have unidentified parasitic infections or viral infections, such as Epstein Barre, quietly outsmarting your immune system and keeping you chronically sick. Working with a functional medicine practitioner can help you identify which infections you are likely hosting.


Whatever your diagnosis, it is important that you begin an herbal anti-microbial protocol and adhere to a low-sugar, low-carb diet to combat infection. The goal is to make your body inhospitable to infections and parasites. A low-sugar diet and proper herbal protocol will not only knock out infections, but will also keep them from coming back. This is a benefit you will not receive with antibiotics or pharmaceutical drugs, as you cannot take these medicines indefinitely.


Roadblock #4: Failure to Re-inoculate the Gut


Killing the bad bugs is great, but you must also re-inoculate the gut with beneficial bacteria. You can do this by eating a low-sugar diet rich in green leafy vegetables, fermented foods, and by also adding probiotic and prebiotic supplements to your regimen. Probiotic supplements provide actual living beneficial bacteria to your gut, while prebiotic supplements provide food for the beneficial bugs to enable them to thrive and multiply.


Roadblock #5: Failure to Address Hormonal Imbalances


Hormonal imbalances, especially in women, can cause a laundry list of symptoms from fatigue, joint pain, anxiety, and depression to insomnia and thyroid disorders. Improving your overall gut health will surely help to curb some of these hormonal imbalances, but so too can a targeted herbal protocol. It is critical to work with a functional medicine practitioner so you can gauge your hormonal problems diagnostically. When it comes to hormones, guessing is not effective.


When I was sick with Lyme disease, I suffered very severe insomnia as well as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Testing showed that my cortisol (the hormone that helps to regulate sleep patterns) was elevated significantly at times when it should be low to induce sleep. By implementing an appropriate herbal protocol, I was able to reverse this problem and restore my sleep cycle. I’ve also had tremendous success healing my autoimmune thyroid with herbal supplements.


I want to emphasize that hormonal issues can be tricky, and it’s optimal to work with a trained functional medicine practitioner to tackle them.


Roadblock #6: Failure to Exercise


Your body was designed to move, period. No matter what shape you are in, you must exercise. This can be tricky when suffering from CFS or a severely debilitating illness that zaps your energy. However, when you are sick and do not exercise, your mitochondria become damaged. If you continue to never move and simply give in to your exhaustion at every turn, you will never regain your energy.


Each and every time you exercise, you create mitochondria. If you are exhausted, your mitochondria are in rough shape, and although it feels counter-intuitive, exercise may be exactly what you need. I am not suggesting that you go for a run, work up a sweat, or do anything dangerous or beyond what you are comfortable doing. It’s a fine line when you are sick between helping your body and hurting it. If you are bedridden, do simple leg lifts or light stretching. Keep light hand-weights near your bed and lift them whenever you feel capable. Whatever you can do, do it. There were many days when I felt like lying in bed, but I forced myself to get moving and exercise. And my body always felt better afterward. As you improve, you will gain momentum and your routine will become more advanced.


Roadblock #7: Failure to Stick With It


People give up on themselves far too soon and far too easily. Your body did not get sick overnight; it was a culmination of many things over a long period of time that resulted in illness. Getting well will take a lot of time, patience, and effort. I frequently hear from people who began to eat better, but because they did not reap immediate benefits, reverted back to their old eating habits within a few weeks. That’s the wrong attitude.


This is a war of attrition. It may take months for you to notice the difference after you change your diet. Certainly, it will take you a long time to hone your skills and get “good” at eating properly. This is not a 6 month program, this is a lifestyle. Eating properly is not a punishment, and frankly, it is not even difficult. It’s change itself that is so terribly hard for most people. If you are accustomed to eating bread, cheese, pizza, and cookies with any regularity, it will feel painful to let these things go. With time, however, it will not be so difficult. Trust me, after you acclimate yourself to a smarter way of living, you will not regret or miss toxic, inflammatory, and very sorry excuses for food. To the contrary, you will look back in disgust and wonder how and why you ever ate them!


Don’t give up, and don’t give in. Stay with your regimen and expect to get well. Nothing will stop you if you don’t stop you! I’ve written much more extensively about each of these topics and more in my book, The Healer Within – My Recovery From Chronic Lyme, CFS, And Autoimmune Disease, now available on Amazon. You can check it out at the link below.


Like what you read? Check out Holly’s new book, "The Healer Within – My Recovery From Chronic Lyme, CFS, and Autoimmune Disease" NOW ON AMAZON!

And LIKE her on Facebook at “The Healer Within You” https://www.facebook.com/thehealerwithinyou/

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