Being Healed Versus Being Cured
A Thyroid Patient's Perspective
What do I mean by the cure? Because there is, after all, thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which, according to many doctors, may not be a cure but is all the "treatment" we need for hypothyroidism.
By cure, I really mean, returning to the way I used to feel. Feeling well. Losing the extra weight I still battle. Not being so easily fatigued. Having thick hair and healthy skin again. Periods that are normal. Arms and legs that don't tingle and ache.
So I started looking. On my journey, I've read hundreds of books, talked to hundreds of practitioners, read thousands of websites, answered thousands of emails, seen two endocrinologists, one internist, an infectious disease specialist, a naturopath, two holistic MDs, and a Reiki practitioner. I've tried herbs, supplements, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, yoga, meditation, and tai chi, among other alternative therapies.
I've talked to everyone, I've tried everything.
This certainty that the cure is out there somewhere is what spurred me to start this site, to write my book, to become a thyroid patient advocate.
And I know that almost everyone who visits this site is also on the same journey along with me.
Whether you're a thyroid cancer patient who is now hypothyroid after surgery, or a Graves' Disease patient trying to feel well after radioactive iodine to disable your thyroid, or a fellow warrior against Hashimoto's disease, we're all coping with the effects of hypothyroidism.
And we all have become very certain that somehow, somewhere, there are answers that will cure us, that will return us to "normal," that will return us to the way we "used to be" before we developed thyroid disease.
On our journey, we fill ourselves with information from websites like this one, we read books, scour newsletters, participate in support groups, exchange information on bulletin boards, and above all, see a never-ending string of endocrinologists, doctors, naturopaths, acupuncturists, herbalists, and other practitioners.
We ask questions. "Who is the best endo in Chicago?" "Does this tingling in my arms mean I have Multiple Sclerosis?" "What can I do about my hair that's falling out?" "Can I get pregnant?" "Are my dry eyes a sign of Sjogren's Syndrome?" There are always more questions than answers. It can become an obsession, this search for the one answer that will solve our problems.
But there's a question we really need to ask and don't: what if we can't be cured?
What if, as much as we want it, and work towards it, we can't find the answers.
What if we can't ever go back?
Maybe the only way we can move is forward?
I have a very dear friend who is one of the rare people with serious, recurring thyroid cancer that appears to be metastasizing.
This is a man who has turned his struggle into a wide-reaching effort to help other thyroid cancer patients, and who has never given up looking for the medical answers that may hold a key to treating him, or prolonging his life.
This man also has an amazing spirit and energy. He has a unique ability to live every moment in the moment, without bemoaning the past or worrying about the future. He reaches out to people, puts them together, creates amazing connections that are changing the world for thyroid patients. It's awe-inspiring to watch.
Watching how my friend has coped with adversity this past summer, I realized that there was an important lesson for me. I need to refocus my own efforts, and instead of simply trying to be cured, I should also focus on being healed.
And they are really two very separate things.
Being healed means:
As for my friend, his thyroid cancer may not be cured, but with his love of life and people and his refusal to focus on the negative, he is certainly healed in his spirit.
He is constantly moving forward, not looking back.
And he is truly so much happier than so many people I know who enjoy far better health than he does.
Ups and downs in health may always be there for those of us with lifelong hypothyroidism, but there's one thing that no pill or endocrinologist or herb can change, and that's how we choose to live our lives, and whether our health controls us, or vice versa.
For a greater understanding of how to incorporate healing into your life and health, please visit Phylameana Desy's excellent Healing site at About.com, and in particular, her article, "Hurdles to Wellness," which takes a look at what might be truly getting in way of feeling well.
All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician or health practitioner before starting a new treatment program. Please see our full disclaimer.