CC Image courtesy of jcbwalsh

CC Image courtesy of jcbwalsh

You’d think that by now, I would have this healing protocol thing down! I’d be able to breeze through it with no side effects, no changes. Yet, that is so silly because the whole point of doing the protocol is to make change. To get better!

Things have gotten better - way better than they used to be. But I'm still not 100%. I still have symptoms that I shouldn't have if I am a healthy human being. So my doc team and I started investigating even further. We decided to test to see if there were any parasites or bacterial imbalances in the gut. Sure enough, I have both. And though I joke about our bacterial colony that lives in our gut (the microbiome) as my “little friends”. But they seem to have moved in, over populated and are no longer friendly!

So in comes a new protocol. I have been through several of these with dietary changes, a few drops, or a few supplements that I take daily, but the list of stuff on this one was overwhelming. I now take 23 pills, 5 scoops of powders and 4 potions (gels) in a single day. If that was not enough, there is a whole slew of rules: some of them need to be taken at particular times of the day, some on an empty stomach, some with food and some can’t be taken at the same time as my thyroid medication. New dietary restrictions are also in play. I’m following a low FODMAP diet which you can read about - the whole premise is to not give my “little friends” a ton of incentive to stick around.

I turned to tech to help me get organized. I got a little app for my phone called Pillboxie. I'm so grateful because it helped me organize it all into 6 distinct times during the day that I can combine all 32 doses into logical groupings and still follow all the rules.

So the mechanics of the protocol are one thing, but the side effects are another. I know that changing a gut biome is not easy (1) (2) (3) But here’s the fun part, none of my reading included side effects. If it did, then I promptly skipped over them in denial, OB...viouslyyy! My days of not being able to get off the couch are back... Or, on the days that I am upright, my mood swings are wild and unjustified by life events... I have a plethora of migraine headaches... And whether or not I really caught the flu last week, not sure if I will ever be know - since I feel like I’m on the verge of flu a lot now. My new normal.

You know the saying, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better”? This is one of those times. Of all I have learned about healing through integrative approaches, I know it does work but it requires patience. I’m very grateful that this is not my first protocol as it's a rough one. But I have the experience behind me to know that in the long run, I will feel better and I am optimistic that I will feel step-wise better than I did before I started it.

For anyone else going through a healing protocol, here are my strategies to make what is clearly uncomfortable, better while the healing occurs.

Tips for Surviving Healing Protocols

  1. Be kind to yourself. Healing is hard work and your body needs extra rest and TLC. Take some baths, enjoy a book and make time for rest.
  2. Clear your calendar. Try if you can, to clear your calendar and not over-commit. That way, when you do find a day you can’t get off the couch, you will have less pressing deadlines and fewer commitments to re-arrange.
  3. Reach out to your friends. This is the hardest for me. When I feel bad, I just want to curl up and not “bother” anyone. But engaging with your friends and other loving people in your life can raise oxytocin (4) which helps your body balance hormones and heal.
  4. Bring the physical activity down a notch. Similar to your packed schedule, an over-active body can't heal. Perhaps take your workouts down to 60% or 80% while doing a protocol. And if its an adrenal protocol, consider just walking rather than specific workout sessions.
  5. Keep a gratitude journal. On the tough days, its easy to lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Writing down what you are grateful for can help you pull through on that day (or that moment). It’s what keeps me going when I get blue.

How do you cope when focusing on healing? Leave a comment below - I'd love to hear your strategies!