Digestion, Gut Health, and Me: Healing (Part IV)

After the laryngopharyngeal reflux diagnosis, the doctor recommended a pill called Omeprazole, which lists lupus as one of its “rare” side effects. Rare or not, I refused to take it or the next prescription he provided. That’s how I ended up with a naturopath, Dr. Megan. Seeing a naturopath is one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Dr. Megan took a more integrative approach, meaning prescription drugs was not her first suggestion. She wanted me to heal on a metaphysical and physical level.

METAPHYSICAL

Third Chakra

The first thing that resonated with me was the importance of healing my third chakra, which is associated with personal power. I reflected on places where I felt stuck, such as my occupation. I thought about ways I currently give my power away, such as in conversations with family. Next, I did a guided meditation focused solely on the third chakra, and I used a mudra Dwight suggested. Immediately, I found myself speaking up in private, public, and professional settings.

The Artist’s Way

Dr. Megan also recommended a book called, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. Initially, I didn’t think I needed this book. I thought it was for wayward creatives. Even though I didn’t consider myself lost, I did have a tendency to downplay what I did create. So, I sat myself down, read a chapter each week, committed to writing Morning Pages, and took myself on Artist’s Dates. I kid you not, by chapter three, I felt lighter, more playful, and more creative than usual, which in some way helped to heal my body.

PHYSICAL*

Elimination Diet

Another thing Dr. Megan wanted me to do, against my will, was an elimination diet. She wanted to make sure I didn’t have a food sensitivity or food allergy. As much as I like to eat, this part stressed me out for a little while. But eventually, I saw the benefit of eliminating dairy, most meats, wheat, shellfish, soy, and specific spices. As much as I like to eat, the elimination diet gave my gut a much-needed rest. Think of it like a detox. It really made it easier for me to see how wheat and some dairy are problematic.

De-Stress

Even with all of these changes, my cough hasn’t gone completely away. However, it has subsided. During those times of little-to-no coughing, I’ve noticed something. When my stress increases, so does my cough. For example, if I have an editing client whose manuscript needs more work than I originally thought or students are pissing me off during finals week, the coughing begins and continues through the night. When life is easy going, there is almost no coughing.

This reaction is similar to when I was in Costa Rica. In that country, we had little access to “bad” foods, life was simple and free, and I didn’t have a care in the world. Panamá was the opposite. It was more like being in the States, especially with access to all the food I shouldn’t have been devouring.

So, in addition to yoga, meditation, a probiotic (with ashwagandha), and journaling, I have also begun taken longer breaks in between activities. For example, I used to go from grading college students’ work to editing a nurse’s dissertation with no visible break. Now, I sometimes sit and stare out of the window for five minutes. This has been one way to signal to my brain and body to calm down before we begin a new task.


When the ENT doctor first handed me the Omeprazole script, he said, “Don’t expect immediate changes. It took how long for you to develop this? It’s going to take time for it to go away, too.”

Although I opted not to take medicine, he’s still right. Healing is not linear, whether we’re talking about mental or physical health. I’m not at 100%, but I don’t feel bad about it. I feel better simply because I understand how I ignored how stress and anxiety affected my body over the years and now know what I can do to repair the damage. That’s what I continue to focus on each day.  

Thanks to you if you’ve read one or all of these. It’s appreciated!

*My physical health maintenance already included working out four times a week and decreased intake of sugar and carbs. What’s described here is in addition to that regimen.


Digestion: First Day of Senior Year (Part I)

Digestion: Undergrad (Part II)

Digestion: Adulthood (Part III)

59 thoughts on “Digestion, Gut Health, and Me: Healing (Part IV)

  1. This was an interesting series for me to read. I’m actually not someone prone to anxiety and physical effects of anxiety and stress. I’ve actually tended to think of myself as someone for whom the mind and body did not really seem connected. However, taking a step back, I can see how depression manifests in certain physical ways with me too. But anyway, even though I didn’t identify with everything, I enjoyed reading about your experience (I enjoy your narrative voice), and the introspection and steps you took towards healing that worked for you. Wishing you well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, JYP! I really appreciate this comment, because I want people to be able to relate to what I’m saying, even if they have no understanding of that thing itself. I think we should always be able to empathize on some level.

      And thank you for the writing compliment ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Healing is not linear. Kudos on the great steps you are taking improve your health, including adding a naturopath to your team. Stress and burnout affect so many systems that I make relaxation and self-care priorities. There are also some wonderful lessons in trusting your intuition and unraveling habits and eating that hinder health (physical, mental, emotional). Wishing you a full recovery…and radiant health in general.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so thrilled to read your post, as I am very much in agreement of all your perspectives and experiences. The metaphysical is so significan to address in my experience too and -“Now, I sometimes sit and stare out of the window for five minutes.” – I feel should go out as prescriptions. I absolutely love the book ‘The Artists Way’.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely, Pragalbha! We should all be ordered to sit down and think for a minute 😉

      The Artist’s Way has changed how I do life. I was really skeptical, but now I’m telling everyone I know about it lol

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve noticed a definite relationship between my stress level and my health. I still need to work on what I eat and drink, though, and your post is a good reminder about that. Thanks so much for sharing this, it is truly helpful!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Ann. I think, ultimately, when it comes to food and diet, we’re ingesting quite a few things that we shouldn’t, not always knowingly. Foods are processed more than we care to admit, and that’s bound to impact something, I guess.

      Like

  5. Once again, thank you so much for these eye-opening and educational posts. I think you’ve got the right attitude and ability to heal your gut with the holistic approach you take. Understanding your triggers is half the battle, and physical exercise an important piece of the puzzle, I think. I hope your gut and health in general continue to improve.

    For me, your metaphysical part just affirmed that I’m on the right track with some of the changes I’m working on:

    – Speaking up. Check. I’m slowly learning that silence like speed kills.
    – Acknowledging my creations. Check. I’m also learning to be my biggest fan.

    I’ll be checking your book recommendation, even though I don’t think I’m a wayward creative, myself. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome, and thank you for reading these. I appreciate your engagement…always ❤

      I'm telling every creative I know about this book. I think for it to "work" you do have to be fully committed. It revealed a few things that I really didn't know I believed about myself and my work, like who I blame for blocking my creativity. Surprise answer…it's not myself lol

      Let me know if you decide to read and do the activities. I did it over 12 weeks (a chapter a week). Others have done it over a year (a chapter a month).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, in part, McHapus. I think some of it is also human beings not being honest about when their bodies are in need of repair or “breakdown.” We cover up so much to present a facade, that when it happens to us, we’re kind of like huh? Where’d this come from. It would be nice if we’d be honest when we encounter things, so that we won’t be in such shock when it does happen.

      I don’t mean people have to do like I’m doing and blog about it, but kind of like I mentioned on the other blog, if we’d even do something like stop dying our hair, then maybe it wouldn’t be such a major deal for others when the time comes to have gray hair.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have followed your whole series. I had a long time with run to the loo before I knew my food allergies: gluten, dairy, and the nightshades (especially tomato and hot chile). Glad your naturopath has helped you so much, mine has for me too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome, and thank you for reading and for this comment!

      That book is super useful, and I suspect some of what she writes about and suggests are things you already do, but I look forward to hearing what you think.

      Like

    1. That’s a good question. I think de-stressing overall, because I noticed that even if I have something okay to eat, if something stressful comes up, then the cough comes back almost immediately.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your information and openness is so appreciated, Katherin! Once again, our lives parallel. I found the greatest benefits from a naturapathic doctor, as well. Still, the tips you’ve shared sound helpful and I will look into them.
    I know what you mean about accepting our “health imperfections.” My throat tickle is never truly gone either. And I still have dry eyes, though they don’t torment me the way they used to. Acceptance plays a big part in that.
    Thank you again for your excellent series.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Yes traditional doctors usually want to prescribe a med to help with symptoms. I, too, prefer natural doctors, including chiropractors. I have found that whoever I see concerning my medical issues, all doctors have limitations. Often, I can find 1 or 2 treatments that help, but I must go to many different doctors before I find the answers I need. Sometimes, even a natural doctor says a prescription is needed, as with SIBO, which is best treated with the antibiotic Xifaxan (which got rid of SIBO for me). Often a diagnosis from a regular medical doctor is needed before going to a natural doctor. And as you point out, healing is rarely 100%. It’s an ongoing process. I’m glad you have found some improvement. I was greatly helped doing an elimination diet — I no longer eat dairy, gluten, or corn.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for this affirmation, Janet! Thanks also for adding this, because it’s what I’ve suspected. No one doctor can do everything, and sometimes we have to find the “right” doc for what we’re talking about.

      Healthcare is expensive.

      That elimination diet is brutal, but it is super useful!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It seems like the cure will be internal. I believe it’s due to the fact that the cause is not always medically based as you seem to be proving. Living in this modern world has suppressed our body’s innate ability to heal itself… our ability to intuitively assist in the process. I truly believe that. I’ve challenged my doctors to agree to natural, alternative, and common sense solutions when they wanted to prescribe medications that I research and find, like you did, that the contraindications can be even more harmful. Fortunately, I have a woman doctor, an internist, who listens and understands that I want to approach issues without the drugs.

    Our partnership has been successful. We both determine what will be best. Not having any medications for me is the goal. To date, I have been able to do just that. As Medicare begins rolling up to my door, I don’t want to claim “lagniappe” medications that I have to own and pay for the rest of my life.

    And they still may not help!

    You are on your way to a cure. Hang in there. 🖖🏾

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Exactly, Shirley! I was raised in an older family, and I’ve seen people carrying those little pill boxes filled with all kinds of things. I made a vow for that never to be me!

      Anywho, thanks for this affirming comment. I already feel much better, and I think you’re right about the modern world. We have to make the space that we’ve allowed the 21st century to take 😉

      Like

  10. I love your multi-disciplinary approach to this. MDs who have a hammer (the ability to Rx meds) tend to treat every problem like a nail (something that can be beaten into submission by meds). I wasn’t crazy about taking meds either. My chiropractor, who was seeing me for neck pain, was able to suggest effective non-pharmaceutical remedies for many of my health issues. A probiotic and Lactaid (enzyme) have helped with indigestion and bloating from age and menopause. Stress is a bigger contributor to other problems than we realize. I journal regularly and see a therapist. I was delighted to hear about a medical professional prescribing The Artist’s Way. I read and did the exercises a few years ago and found it immensely helpful in my writing life (and life in general). Thanks for another great column. You’ve got your finger on the pulse of us older women, KE.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Awww thank you for saying this, Joan! And thank you for that Artist’s Way comment! It really has changed so much for me (my thinking and how I do life).

      Anywho, I appreciate this comment ❤

      Like

  11. Wow you are speaking my language! And no one talks enough about how problematic the medical world is. I love that you went to a naturopath, and if I am ever struggling with an ailment, you’ve inspired me to do the same! I think I’ve commented before about experiencing the cough as well and thinking it was acid reflux. A new discovery I’ve had in the last month is alkaline water! Maybe check with Dr. Megan but my cough is like barely there now, if at all, and I’ve been drinking this in moderation, usually in the mornings. I recommend Essentia bc the brands definitely vary in quality. Thanks so much for sharing this journey! I’m so glad I’m following you ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so thankful for these words, Libbby ❤

      The medical field is a mess, in my humble opinion. Kind of like politicians, I'm not sure anyone is really out for our best interests, but I digress lol

      So, the alkaline water helps you? You only drink it once in the AM, and then you go about your day?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah so I kinda drink it whenever, but I don’t wanna overdo it. So I’ll get two large (33 oz) bottles for the week. And will pour myself a glass when I first wake up, and then just drink regular water the rest of the day. And I’ve just noticed my cough is like gone, no matter what I eat now, I’d had dairy the night before, or tomato sauce, and it would make me cough, but now, the cough stays gone. I think when I first started I drank more, and maybe that cleared some stuff out. So definitely you can prob drink more at first, and then maybe less if you notice it’s helping. I don’t think it can cause harm drinking too much. But I’m just even skeptical because it’s like a product made in a factory somewhere, so I don’t want to like live off of it. But yeah. Let me know if you want to know more, and DEF lemme know if you try it and if this helps! 😘

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ana. I appreciate you reading and commenting!

      I recommend doing it before you have to do it. Know what I mean? I also think you should only do it, if you can commit to it. It’s a lot more cooking than I originally thought, and I cook already about 4-5 xs a week.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for sharing this story, so deeply personal. I’ve taken the medication you were prescribed when symptoms get problematic but now I see the need to explore some alternative life style adjustments. Wishing continued good health to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Marjorie! I’m very interested in how the medication worked for you. I’m guessing it alleviate your symptoms?

      I do think lifestyle adjustments are the way to go (if you can do that first).

      Like

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