“You need to listen to your body because your body is listening to you.”
There seem to be two general types of people when it comes to pain. Those who reach for the Tylenol bottle or other preferred pain treatment method when they have a bit of pain and those who resist it until they are barely able to function. I’m one of the latter.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is definitely some benefit to being too stubborn to treat your symptoms. Like pain tolerance. Mine is pretty awesome. Like had no idea I was in labor, 18mm kidney stone felt like a stomach bug kinda awesome.
I can get through just about anything. Of course, that is also a huge problem. Because I can get through just about anything. So I do.
Sometimes, for little things that will go away, this is a wonderful thing. Living with a chronic degenerative disease, it’s a godsend. Without it I would certainly spend much of my time as a puddle on the floor. Even with it, I sometimes do.
When the issue is something that won’t pass, like, say that massive kidney stone? Then it becomes a barrier that leads to so much more time spent suffering than necessary. It means months of suffering with bouts of “stomach aches” that sent me to bed when I just needed a stone removed. It means years of not pushing for proper diagnosis and treatment of chronic degenerative disease. It means living with remodeled joint structure because of delayed diagnosis and because even after diagnosis I did not take my symptoms serious enough to really throw all that I could into treating the disease nearly soon enough.
The moral of the story? Just because you CAN live with symptoms, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
Knowing what to ignore and what to treat comes from being in tune with your body. Seems simple enough, but really, few of us truly are aware of all the signals we are being sent everyday about the way we nourish and care for our being.
That heartburn after a meal, the nausea after a long night, feeling worn thin, frequent headaches, constant aches or pains, all of these can be signs of serious diseases or disorders on the horizon. It is your body’s way of saying, “hey, something isn’t right in here. Help!”
Learning to listen to those little symptoms as they start to pop up can delay or prevent the onset of things like ulcers, heart disease, and diabetes. Things that don’t make your body signal so much as scream, “HEY, SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG, SEND HELP!” Don’t let it get so bad that it has to shout to get your attention.
I got lucky. My wake-up call came in the form of an 18mm kidney stone. It was able to be broken up and removed, with no lasting damage. Had I continued to ignore it? I might be sitting here typing this with one less kidney. Worse, I could have gotten sepsis and died.
So I am learning to listen. And even more important, especially for the stubborn, I am learning to act. I don’t suffer with heartburn, I rest when I need to, and I try to avoid the things that make me feel bad. I seek testing and treatment for the things small changes in my behavior and diet don’t fix. I take new pain seriously, knowing for me, if it is large enough to have my attention, it is something I need to look into.
Listening gives me the opportunity to heal. Living with chronic degenerative disease, there is no greater gift than the chance to heal.