Only people with chronic illnesses truly understand what it’s like to chase a cure. Often it’s not even a cure we expect, only something to manage the symptoms and keep the illness from progressing. For many of us, this is a lifelong process.
Over my 50 years on this planet, I have tried far too many medications, supplements and assorted treatments to count.
My medical debt would pay for my house in cash.
Are you asking, what about insurance? Please. You know that’s funny, right?
For most of my life, I haven’t had prescription coverage. Even when I have had it, insurance only covers a portion of tests. Sometimes it won’t pay at all. And what about the so-called ‘alternative’ stuff? Nope. They’d rather wait until I’m hospitalized, then pay that bill.
My life has been a vicious cycle of medical drama. I aggressively pursue answers, treatments, something to ease the symptoms and progression of the illness. I visit doctors, they run tests, decide on a treatment. I have high hopes, spend money, get no results at best and horrible side effects at worse. I get discouraged. Give up. Swear never to waste money like that again. Wait months. Get sicker. Start over.
My mainstream doctors get irritated when I mention that ‘alternative’ methods have worked best for me. They lecture me about FDA approval and the lack thereof. This makes me laugh. Or it irritates me. Sometimes both. Are they even aware of the side effects of the FDA-approved medications they hand out? The migraine medication one doctor put me on had the side effect of headaches. The antiviral my Lyme specialist had me on causes (and did cause) kidney damage. Don’t even get me started on the side effects of antidepressants or the addictive properties of pain medications.
I’ve never had a side effect more severe than mild nausea from supplements. I’m not saying I haven’t wasted money on alternative treatments that didn’t work. I’m just saying they aren’t nearly as dangerous as most of the mainstream world would like us to believe. The FDA and their ‘approval’ process is a rant I’ll save for another day. The thing is, when you’re chronically ill, you want all your options open. You don’t want doors slammed in your face because the insurance companies, FDA, mainstream medical care, and ‘alternative’ medical care can’t play nicely in the sandbox.
You know the Harry Nilsson song… Put the lime in the coconut, drink them both up…
If I thought drinking lime-flavored coconut milk would make me feel better, I’d do it. Every day. Every hour if necessary. And, really, that’s not so crazy. Coconuts have antibacterial properties. Limes are high in vitamin C, which boosts immune health. Both properties are important in the treatment of Lyme disease. Neither is addictive or has worrisome side effects. Yet, if my doctor decided this would be an effective treatment, can you imagine the reaction from the insurance executives? They’d pass the bill around the office for giggles.
They, of course, would never pay a dime of it. But they would pay the hospital bill when my white count crashes into the danger zone because mainstream medicine isn’t working.
For now, today, I’m in my sick of doctors and broke from failed treatments phase of my vicious cycle. Tomorrow, next week, next month or six months from now, that will change. Maybe then I’ll try the lime in the coconut. Who knows… Harry Nilsson could have been on to something.
I’ll leave you with a fun video to, hopefully, bring a smile to your day. Here’s Harry singing Lime in the Coconut on YouTube: