Lifestyle

Naturopathic medicine changed my life.

November 20, 2017

There is nothing more terrifying than losing control of your own body. I would know.

In my second year of University, I was making my way to class when I felt something I had never felt before.

It was a crisp fall morning, I hopped off of the subway and headed to campus. As I passed the school library the right side of my body went numb and I couldn’t move my right arm or leg.

I hobbled to a nearby building for support and I stood against the brick wall for 15 minutes. Finally, the symptoms subsided. I was scared and confused, I didn’t know what to make of what just happened. 

I wanted to pretend like this strange sensation was nothing to worry about but over the following weeks, the numbness and the loss of mobility intensified and I developed other symptoms as well. 

Sometimes the attacks were mild and would last for no more than a few minutes, other times I couldn’t move the right side of my body for hours. I had to stop driving because I never knew when I was going to feel weak or numb. My schooling took a back seat and I didn’t go out with friends because I was embarrassed I would have an attack in front of them. As I continued to slowly lose my independence I knew I had to address the issue because it wasn’t going away.

It was three months after the initial school incident that a clinic doctor said I was exhibiting the early signs of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), to this day, I still don’t know why this doctor would make such a severe assumption without conducting any formal testing.

Some of the early signs of MS include: 

  • Numbness.
  • Weakness in an arm or leg.
  • Clumsiness or a lack of coordination.
  • Loss of balance.
  • Tingling.

These were all symptoms I was feeling in my body. 

I sought out different opinions and while no one could guarantee I had MS, no one would dismiss it either.

Over the next few months, my family doctor sent me for a series of tests which included blood work, a CT scan, and an MRI. The scans were conducted to detect lesions on the brain – which is one of the warning signs of MS. The results were inconclusive. My doctor told me I would have to wait and see if I developed any more symptoms.

This was devastating. For almost a year I was living a nightmare, I had no idea what was wrong with me and no way of knowing if I was going to get better.

I came across an article, on the internet, about a woman who claimed she beat breast cancer with the help of naturopathic medicine.

I was always very skeptical about these sorts of claims because I had no faith in alternative medicine, but something inside of me told me to explore the naturopathy route. 

Naturopathy is rooted in treating a patient physically, psychologically and spiritually through diet and exercise. It has garnered great reviews from both supporters and non-believers like me. 

After doing some research I found a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga, whose qualifications and patient testimonials were comforting. I was still skeptical but I made my first appointment

There’s a misconception that holistic doctors aren’t qualified to treat patients like regular doctors but in Canada, anyone looking to practise naturopathy must study three years of pre-medical sciences at a university first, and then enrol in an accredited naturopathic college.

The initial consultation was something that really struck me. I remember walking into this bright and inviting office that smelled like lavender. There was calming music playing in the background and I was greeted by the administrator who actually looked pleased to see me. 

When I was called into the examination room and exchanged a few words with the doctor, I felt optimistic about the remainder of the appointment.

My initial assessment was an hour and a half long. The doctor was thorough with her questions and even reviewed my medical history. By the end of the appointment, she came up with an individual treatment plan based on my symptoms.

I was put on a whole-body cleanse which cut out gluten, sugar, dairy and red meat from my diet. I underwent supplement therapy and intravenous (IV) therapy which is when nutrients are delivered directly into the bloodstream. I was also encouraged to partake in physical activity at least three times a week -assuming I didn’t experience any numbness or loss of mobility- and practise meditation every day.

I know all of these recommendations sound a little crazy but within a month of seeing this naturopathic doctor and implementing all of these changes my symptoms disappeared. I was completely overwhelmed, for the first time in a long time I felt hopeful. 

The naturopath suspected that I had a build up of yeast or Candida in my body -from years and years of ingesting antibiotics to treat adolescent acne. This build-up was apparently making my immune system fight itself which resulted in the numbness. The prescribed treatment helped flush out the yeast and strengthen my immune system.

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) doesn’t cover visits to naturopathic doctors but some private insurance companies will pay for a substantial portion of the costs. These visits are expensive and if you have to invest in supplements or different treatments like I did, it becomes expensive. 

Unfortunately, those without private health insurance or those on a fixed income may feel discouraged from seeking alternative treatments because of the financial implications. Having reaped all of its benefits, I firmly believe that naturopathy should be available to everyone.

Naturopathy didn’t just cure my symptoms, it changed my life. I got into shape, I maintained a clean diet and became increasingly interested in learning about alternative medicine – things I never did before I developed my symptoms. 

Please understand that I’m not trying to dismiss the importance of our health care system or conventional doctors. I think both practices can work together. I still see my family doctor regularly for my checkups but I believe naturopathy can serve as a preventative measure. 

When I went back to see my family doctor he was wary about the treatment plan I had undergone with the naturopathic doctor. He believed it had no effect on me feeling better but none the less he was happy I was. 

It’s thanks to an unpleasant health experience that prompted me to acknowledge naturopathic medicine as a viable treatment option.

Conventional medicine didn’t help when my body started going numb but naturopathy did. To this day, the symptoms have never returned and I think that’s attributed to the lifestyle I now lead. I don’t know if I’ll ever have to think about the words Multiple Sclerosis again but right now I am happy and healthy.

There is still a stigma surrounding alternative medicine and treatments but I hope that this blog can answer some of your questions or teach you something you didn’t know.

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17 Comments

  • Reply Bethany November 20, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Fascinating, I have eczema and always wondered if this route may help, I may give it a go!

    • Reply angelahoyos November 22, 2017 at 1:34 am

      You know, I have a friend who suffered from eczema and I referred here to my naturopathic doctor. She was skeptical but the naturopath was able to help my friend treat the eczema naturally. Maybe do a little research to see if this is an avenue that you may benefit from. Wishing you all the best 🙂

  • Reply Kathryn Van Prooyen November 21, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Thanks for the great post. I really enjoyed it. I’m glad it wasn’t ms.

    • Reply angelahoyos November 22, 2017 at 1:30 am

      Aw thank you so much! Me too 🙂

  • Reply Teresa November 21, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Very interesting! I think I may have to look into this a little. Thanks for the information.

    • Reply angelahoyos November 22, 2017 at 1:30 am

      Thanks for reading! And if you have any questions let me know 🙂

  • Reply Feira November 22, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Sometimes non traditional means of treating a condition is the answer. I’m glad you found the help you needed. Great blog post, doll.
    Feira recently posted…48 Hours in Boone, NC.My Profile

    • Reply angelahoyos November 22, 2017 at 1:29 am

      Thank you for your kind words! This experience certainly changed my view on alternative medicine.

  • Reply Daneen November 22, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    I’m so glad this worked for you! I use some homeopathic remedies to treat certain things myself. Hope you are feeling well!

    • Reply angelahoyos November 22, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Thank you Daneen! I’m sure some ailments can be treated naturally without a prescription. I know both practices can work together. I am feeling much better! Life is beautiful 🙂

  • Reply crisly November 22, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, it is great to come across something that will give value and you have something new to learn and your blog just give me that something new 🙂 I am glad that you are better now, and you look great.

    • Reply angelahoyos November 22, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you Crisly 🙂 your words of encouragement are so humbling. All we can do is learn something new and share our experiences in the hopes of maybe helping someone else.

  • Reply Nichola November 22, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, a really great post and very informative. I am a firm believer and practise natural medicines and healing on a daily basis. It was something my parents passed on but as I got older I followed the crowd so to speak with using standard generic medicines and treatments. I also have a degree in Pharmaceutics and a PhD in Chemistry so they both firmly steered me towards the synthetic medicine route. Since having my own children I’ve reverted back to natural therapies as I want the absolute best for them. You know what the natural therapies for me work much better than anything else, its what our bodies need and can easily work with. Have you managed to reintroduce the foods you were told initially to eliminate?

    • Reply angelahoyos November 22, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      What a great comment 🙂 I appreciate you being so candid! I’m sure it’s been very beneficial in your life and your children’s lives to understand both treatment realms. I believe, and this is my personal opinion, that treating things naturally really does get to the root of a problem. Of course ther are instances where we will need the help of a doctor but if we start with healthy habits maybe we will see our conventional doctors less? I decided for personal reasons to cut out gluten and dairy completely but I was able to re-introduce proteins, fruits and vegetables that I was not allowed to eat when I first started my cleanse. Thank you again for reading and sharing.

  • Reply Anissa November 22, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Very insightful. I’m glad that you found something that helped with the condition. It makes me wonder what did our ancestors do to survive with no doctors or meds. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply angelahoyos November 23, 2017 at 12:05 am

      Thank you for your kind words! And it’s so true, how did they ever survive?!?! Thank you for reading 🙂

  • Reply Anoop Kumar November 24, 2017 at 3:36 am

    Such an amazing post. Insightful.

    Thank you for sharing it with us.

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