Episode 48: My Natural Path

So I wanted to chuck this bit in, because this was my life. Health, health, health. Sounds a bit bloody amazing I know but this is what I had to do to save my life. Without such a focus I’d have been a dead man for sure – so I’d always be searching. And not just for miracle cures but much rather for anything that could give me an edge. I was like the Lance Armstrong of healing. And yep I’d seen countless doctor’s, even specialists, but not one had any answers. Heck I’d even seen a couple of extreme whacko’s too; but no matter who it was, doors always slammed shut. So, my performance enhancing drugs were put on hold. In fact I was beginning to wonder if people believed in the western model because that’s what the ‘western model’ wanted us to think. Like flouride in our water is good, amalgams are safe, and doctors know best. Anyways without any answers I put my total faith in natural medicine. To me this seemed a much more common sense approach to healing – without just masking symptoms – and at least making an attempt to address the root cause. So as with everything I jumped in boots and all – and every morning I’d have my supplements; well morning, mid-morning, afternoon and evening. I even had two Naturopath’s on the go, which was costing a bloody fortune, still it was hard to put a price on hope. Furthermore, I did already have considerable experience with vegan dieting and commonplace quackery, so I ran with it all. And strangely enough treating illnesses with food (or plants) isn’t that uncommon. But why so extreme you’re probably thinking!? Well some would say triple bypass surgery is kinda extreme too – I know which one I’d prefer!?
Still, all my twigs and berries aside, I really wanted to learn the techniques used for centuries – well okay to obviously get better. So it was all about feeding the body what it needed, or in the case of homeopathics, stimulating specific systems to create an environment in which to heal. It’s just a pity beer wasn’t a superfood. I was also learning that the body always wants to heal, with the only real question being what is the environment in which to do so? But because of my physical condition, I also had various restrictions, like I couldn’t get away from the synthetic soy based food formula injected into my feeding tube. And truthfully I looked upon this as anti-health (and other things), but it kept me sustained. Even so, I was always trying this complimentary stuff to boost my healing capacity: alkaline drinks, high protein this, low carb that, hormone balancing supplements; but still nothing seemed to be working. Through all of this though, I found a real interest and amazement at how the body works. Actually through my ‘protocol’, I felt like I was reconnecting with nature. Plus I was surprised by how potent some of the minerals or herbs were. Anyhow, this all escalated my interest in health & nutrition, and in a way I was determined to heal on my terms. I also wanted to show people the power of natural healing. Not enough people are aware that there is an effective alternative. But I’ll say it again… I’m not against western medicine or a magic pill by no means, it’s just I never really had that option. This was just my path. And all of this was blind faith, particularly as nothing was working, which then subsequently resulted in a lot of confusion and perplexity.
Okay maybe, I think a lot of this confusion came from a shift in my belief systems. For instance, I no longer believed that western medicine could help me – and that natural medicine was the ducks nuts. Actually here’s a weird little bit of trivia for ya, I was not on one single medical drug – maybe that was my problem lol. Only (possibly to cover my bases) I’d still go to medical appointments, but I’d be almost cocky. You see no longer was a doctor seen as a saviour, and in some cases I knew more than them. But to stick with this whole shift thing, probably my biggest shift was that good health is a gift, so respect it. Or even feeling great for just one day, to cherish it. Then also, another big shift was my newfound importance of diet – eating real food – or hence food is like eating the earth. It’s the most intimate thing we can do as food literally becomes us. And shit have you ever read the ingredients on any regular cereal box? No wonder there’s an obesity crisis. But with dollars to be made, chemical stimulants and sugars outweigh health. Industry rules. Yeah I thought a lot about food, and in particular what elements I was being exposed to. Or specifically that the human body thrives on clean water, clean air and clean food. Then, not that I had much choice at this stage (as I was still stuck on the formula feeds), but I began to feel really strongly about antibiotics in the food supply. No wonder these ‘super bugs’ were starting to evolve. Yep the more I learnt, the more weary I became. And I guess this is where I became an organic advocate. OMG who was this person!? I was thinking about supplements, green juices and fairy dust.. But this also represented a huge changing belief and something I’d never thought about before. For example without health what do we really have?? And do we really know what we’re eating??
Even with these new considerations, life went on. And now I just had to squeeze all this stuff into my everyday happenings. Supplements, sunshine, exercises and whatever weirdo therapy I was on to at the time. So no matter if I was out and about, my routines rolled on. I’d often find myself in a dunny somewhere (or some other private space) topping up on food or whatever. I was never all that comfortable busting out my feeding tube in public. So I suppose that’s how I did it, I tried to keep all my health stuff more in private whereas while all the world would just see is a semi normal looking dude in a wheelchair. I hadn’t quite overcome other people’s opinions as yet. I mean with this whole health undercurrent going on, I even felt a bit weird seeing friends. Sometimes it was even straight up hard work, especially when I’d disappear to a dunny for half an hour. Absolutely everything took so long. Like I remember I went to a party at one of my best mates houses (I’ll never forget the boobs birthday cake), but I found it so difficult to explain what was going on for me – specifically my treatment path. People sometimes didn’t understand the natural thing. And with some other outings alike, I felt like such a spectacle. The responses were all loving but I felt like such a failure. Seeing old friends or family brought up so many mixed responses. It was quite weird actually, or on that rare moment I had confidence, I’d even play with some people. I was amazed by some of the ignorance to disability. Especially in public (and mainly shop staff), they would talk to my Carer before me. And in my immaturity, my philosophy became fake it before I can make it – new outlook – or living like I might die tomorrow, as that was my reality.
But through this I was learning lessons. Personal growth. Confusion. That chocolate and brussel sprouts do go together. Blah, blah, blah. Only no matter where my dreams were leading me, and no matter how strong my belief in natural medicine was, every night I lay in bed completely unable to move – and every morning I woke up in exactly the same position. So I can talk about my dreams and aspirations all day, or natural healing fantasies, but it was the acceptance of this reality that would prove to be my biggest hurdle. And living in this swamp daily, again it drove my exploration of ‘crack-pot’ health theories further. Once more I found myself taking handfuls of random natural supplements and whatnots in pursuit of more. This notion, of ’more’ was my nemesis. Still, amidst all this one Naturopath diagnosed me (through faecal specimen) with leaky gut syndrome. This was treated with glutamine to seemingly no avail. Then I’m not sure who or how this was diagnosed (quite possibly through the same naturopath), I also found out that I had a chronic candida infection. I tried to treat this with various supplements only I still don’t know if it ever resolved. Then I once again pursued Chinese Medicine, only for about 6 months this time. Started Bowen therapy again, dabbled in a bit of acupuncture, yes-siree I was always on the lookout for the next new thing. And with every one, I was hoping that it might be my magic bullet. For this reason, and maybe because of my erratic and excessive use of supplements, I found myself luckily only deteriorating slowly over the next four year period. It could even be said that I chose living life in exchange for health. But believe me there were costly losses too.
I was beginning to realise this was not a game.
Now this became most real chatting to someone living in the next house. This man had truly lived. He’d done the Everest Base Camp walk, connected with his guru in India, had a successful career, married with children. Truly he was such a lovely man. But now, blimey he was dying of Motor Neuron Disease, and he did it with the heart of a bull. He was bed bound, chained to a ventilator yet he’d find task upon task to fill his life with joy. Watching his demise was heart-breaking. For instance, in his last few months, he obtained a copy of the top hundred movies of all time and endeavored to watch every single one before the end – he did it too. But along the way he ended up in a terrible state; unable to swallow (and being too late to put in a feeding tube) he got to the point where he could no longer eat or drink water – apparently inducing a really slow and painful death. Plus, from the ventilator, he kept swallowing air, so his stomach was about the size of a 7 month pregnant lady – which was causing a lot of pain too. No wonder he ended up on a constant syringe driver of morphine and medazalam. In these last weeks I visited him a number of times (as we always got on really well), and his wife never left his side. A couple of times (when I was there) she would pray over this now still lifeless body, in histerics and tears, for God to take him. Eventually God did, but only after the decision was made to withdraw ventilation – so basically euthanasia. Yup, one day this absolute champion died just like a fish out of water. Apparently it took a few hours, I can’t even begin to imagine what that family went through.
But seeing this type of thing, it had a two-fold effect on me. Firstly I began to wonder if my natural medicine escapades would cut it. Could it fix me? Self doubt crept in. Like this dude was on a path not too dissimilar to my own, and his family would have done anything to save him (so would have I as a matter of fact), so why wasn’t he on the natural path? This made me feel like such a sham – but my gut kept telling me nature was my path so I stuck to it. Srriously though, this man’s death did have a big impact on me (like who was I to beat the odds). Then secondly, taking a bit of a cue from these people in their last days, man I learnt a lot, and strangely (for a quadriplegic anyways) I started to pursue a fulfilling and active lifestyle of my own, I was sick of sitting idle and letting my life slip away from me. Yep very reminissent of that whole ‘top five regrets of the dying’ notion. So who was I to beat the odds, well I was still alive!
I began to make some good choices, and some really bad ones too.

About Mark

For all things a day-dreamer, a larrikin and an undeniable fighter. Mark advocates for both Adversity and Lyme Disease; and boasts a real passion for green living, nutrition and organic foods. Oh and he's a quadriplegic too. This spirited life coach, with prior background in marketing & advertising, now has more recent aspirations that include becoming a published author, and a business owner too. And when well enough, Mark’s also ticking off his bucket list, and he also volunteers with the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Mark is an ACIM student, an adventurer, and a sneaker collector. His dream is to one day get better and ride a bicycle around Australia.

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