By Stephen Gammack, Fitness Instructor, Somerset,UK.
Back in 2000 as a fairly healthy – or so I thought – 22 year old, I started to develop a problem. When I went to the toilet I would notice blood in my stool. I did what most adult males would do and I ignored it, hoping it would go away. Later that year it became more of an issue as it was affecting my ability to play football – now that was a real problem, so I went to the doctor. I got tested and was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease – possibly Crohn’s Disease – at this stage in a mild form, but who knew how it might develop.
To deal with the symptoms I was put on medication, but in doing so I had a resolve, a determination within me. I accepted the need for the medication as this condition wasn’t going to clear on its own, but I also felt certain that I could regain my health in the long term through the choices I made, mainly with regards to changing my diet and managing my feelings of stress and anxiety.
Being diagnosed with this illness scared me; I didn’t want to end up in surgery or with an ileostomy bag, as I had read could occur. I was also embarrassed by the diagnosis, as it felt to me quite shameful, while also leaving me feeling weak and vulnerable. I prided myself on being fit and healthy and this left me feeling exposed, abnormal and far from invincible. The reason these feelings were so strong was due to how hard I was on myself, and my unwillingness to fully accept and value myself as a tender and gentle young man.
I had actually been fairly healthy with my diet up until that time, but I knew there were aspects that let me down and that I over-rode how I felt in my body with some of the foods I ate. I had always been someone with a low tolerance to certain foods like dairy and gluten, yet they had stayed as part of my diet as they were such normal everyday foods that everyone seemed to eat. Stress on my body was also a factor, and I found symptoms could occur if I changed my routine and didn’t properly care for myself – travelling would often bring symptoms up.
For the first four years I would have occasional flare ups, and I was thankful that the medication was working, but I also knew that I had to keep refining the way I was taking care of myself. This was where the balance between medical care and self-care became critical to me. A specialist at my year two review wanted me to take steroid medication, but I wasn’t keen. I chose to refuse this at the time while remaining open to it, but only if it was absolutely necessary. I was taking control of my health and that was crucially important to me.
After four years, because of the choices I had been making, I became symptom free and then got a bit casual with my health – I ate reasonably well, but would drink alcohol quite a lot and still ate foods that I knew didn’t support my body. I wasn’t living as well as I knew I potentially could be.
It was upon attending Universal Medicine courses that I grew to appreciate all the signs my body had been giving me, and through the presentations of Serge Benhayon I started to listen to the wisdom my body shared. What I have learnt is that the refining of how I eat and the care I have for my body is an on-going process and not one I can switch on and off.
Looking back, I feel I could have avoided the greater symptoms I suffered had I been willing to address how I felt in my body, both emotionally and physically. Whilst diet is a huge part of the lifestyle changes I needed to make, I have grown to understand how much my demeanour also impacts my health – how open and expressive I am plays a big part in how well I feel and that my health relates strongly to how accepting and caring of myself I am. I now realise the importance of valuing myself and appreciating me as a person. This in turn has allowed me to become more communicative and open, and less withdrawn from life.
I’ve been medication free for a while now, but never take it for granted. I still get the odd symptom, which I can feel is strongly related to my willingness to keep deepening how well I care for my body – within this I have to keep accepting I am worth caring for. I have found that if I pay close attention to how I feel and honour that, then the symptoms clear without the need for medication. This is not something I assume or expect will happen – it is an ongoing process and one I am committed to living and developing.
In this process Western Medicine was crucial to my recovery, but also only a part of the healing. Suffering ill health was a wake up call to consider my lifestyle and look after myself properly, and Universal Medicine has been a huge support in understanding and developing the self-medicine of lifestyle choices that is now my everyday living.