Illness and Disease – How Should You Look?

By Nicole Serafin, Tintenbar, NSW

How should we look when we are ill, sick and or in disease? Is there a specific way we should be, or is it that as a society we have become so used to living in a quality that is less than vital on a daily basis that when we do become sick, ill or in disease, our health often plummets considerably and we have nothing left in reserve to sustain or support us?

I recently experienced an illness and made an appointment to see my local GP, presenting with body aches and pains, cold shivers, sweats and a piercing pain in my right lung, which at the time was diagnosed as a viral infection. It was suggested I get some blood tests done in a few days once the acute infection had passed, as I had had similar symptoms a few months before, and the doctor wanted to make sure there was no other underlying disease.

So off I went on my family holiday with my supply of Nurofen and Panadol, thinking the infection would pass in a few days, as it was supposedly just viral – but boy was I wrong.

My aches got worse, the pain in my lung intensified; lying down, bending over to pick anything up or put on a shoe was out of the question. Sleeping upright was the only way I could sleep, that’s when the piercing pain in my lung wasn’t having some fun with me, and then it developed in my left lung as well.

When I returned a few days later, not feeling any better, I returned to my usual GP, who had been away when I first went to see the doctor. She also felt at first that it was viral, but decided to do some blood tests and a chest X-ray to see what the pain was about.

Within 20 minutes of having my X-rays taken, I was called back to the doctor and told I had a severe case of Pneumonia; my right lung was completely shadowed and my lower left lung was also shadowed and I would need a strong course of antibiotics and lots of rest.

On my follow-up visit I was shown my blood test results and was told with my inflammatory markers reading as high as they were, I should have been in hospital; that she was amazed how well I had looked and presented and she was surprised the markers were so high.

I did not present with the usual symptoms most people had with such severe pneumonia: no cough, no temperature, no major wheezing and I did not look sick.

It was quite a shock for her because she is so used to seeing “sick” people, who are obviously sick, but when someone presents looking healthy, vital and fit and says they are sick, it makes no sense; it creates a sense of confusion as it doesn’t fit their picture of how you should look when you are sick.

But no matter how well I may have looked, I knew that I was sick. To me it made sense that my body was ill, as I had made choices in the past that were very different to the way I was living now, and the illness offered a stop moment to reset, you could say, and to clear that which no longer belonged in my body, the sadness and grief of not living all of me.

I used to live forever avoiding being all of me, holding back, lessening the quality I lived in fear of what others may feel, say or think. I lived the way I thought I should be or the way others wanted me to be, a lesser dulled down version of me to avoid standing out or gaining too much attention.

Now that I was making changes, choosing to express what I felt, letting go of pictures I had around myself and others, how life should be or look, and most of all not holding back any of me, my body needed to make room, to clear out what was not me and make way for greater truth and love, allowing me to live in my fullness.

On a practical level the disease supported my body to make way for more of me to be lived, it cleared what was no longer needed, not supportive of me.

With the support of both Western Medicine and antibiotics, and energetic practitioners at Universal Medicine my body recovered and my being healed.

For me this illness is not a failure, but is yet another confirmation of the choices I make in my life and how I choose to live. I know that if my diet was different, if I drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes, took drugs, and that my sleep patterns and daily rhythms were not what they are, then my body would most definitely have presented very differently when I first walked into the doctor’s surgery.

The doctor did a wonderful job, she is not used to seeing someone fit, vital and looking well, and yet be so ill. It is here where we have a responsibility to express what we are feeling, to not take anything for granted, and it is the fact that I listened to my body and knew there was more going on than first diagnosed, that I was able to support the doctor to in turn support me.

Through this disease and my previous disease, I have built an incredible relationship with my GP, I am able to work with her and be supported each step of the way, no different to how I am supported with the Esoteric Modalities, they both offered my body everything it needed in that instance of clearing and healing.

The Way of The Livingness has made a huge impact on the way I live, the choices I make and how these choices affect and support my body.

It is now offering my doctor an opportunity to see that being sick, ill or in disease does not always look a specific way, that a body can be unwell but a person can present on the outside as well, due to the quality of daily choices that provide a strong foundation of vitality and wellbeing.

Read more:

  1. What is the Way of The Livingness? 
  2. What are illness and disease?

508 thoughts on “Illness and Disease – How Should You Look?

  1. How many of us can admit to living in a way that we think we should be, or living in a way that others want us to be so that we fit their picture of what we should be. So many of us have made ourselves lesser to avoid standing out. And interestingly when we do decide to come out of the shadows and start to live life in the fullness that we are it can create such a reaction within family and friends because they do not want to feel the changes that have been made. They feel uncomfortable, so pressure is applied to not stand out and be joyful. It’s as though there is an unwritten rule in life that you cannot be joyful.

  2. This has been a life changing blog for me so since I first read this, it’s completely changed how I view my body and alerted me to the fact that I, and others around me, may not present as very ill but still need medical attention, and to support the doctor to do quite thorough tests. Quite often when I am feeling very unwell people say to me “You look so well”, so I’m in a similar category Nicole to what you have shared.

  3. I love that this is what you got from your illness ‘On a practical level the disease supported my body to make way for more of me to be lived, it cleared what was no longer needed, not supportive of me.’ allowing yourself to be real with what you were feeling and also allowing yourself the awareness of what this was truly showing you.

  4. Nicole you presented something really interesting here about illness and diseases, most people would have been hospitalised with cases like yourself. With people who change the way they live, as in the many who have received sessions with Universal Medicine and their practitioners, their perspective on illness and disease is different.

    I once upon a time couldn’t stand being unwell, and found it an hindrance and now since 2013 having sessions with Universal Medicine practitioners, I see illness and diseases as my body’s way of clearing things that don’t belong to me.

    I also agree we need the support of both of Western and Universal Medicine to support our bodies whilst it is going through what ever is going through for it, and I loved combining the two. There is another way to healing illness and diseases, if you are open to it.

  5. I walked into a doctor’s surgery with a diagnosed and painful skin condition. When the doctor examined me she was surprised and said ‘You are blessed, many with this same condition are severely scarred.” I feel lifestyle choices made over almost twenty years contributed to the foundational health I hold in my body.

    1. kehinde2012 Surely there should be a study of those people who have decided to change the way they live and instead live The way of The livingness to discover what is it about the way they live that they are so healthy and vital, so many people are missing out on the opportunity to live in a way that is healthy, more vital and joyful. Surely this would be something we would want to aspire to?

  6. Someone I know who in her own words describes herself as ‘glam’ never leaves the house without a fully made up face and perfectly coordinated clothes, sought medical help for a persistent condition. She was mis-diagnosed for years because doctors and nurses said – she looked too well! One doctor who went beyond appearances, listened, recognised her symptoms and discovered she had a life threatening illness affecting a vital organ. Looks can be deceiving.

  7. Oh gosh I had a flashback reading this, when I was younger either at primary school or secondary school and was not well, I used to bring a bit of drama into it as I thought people might not think I was ill … so turned up lip and quite wobbly voice etc… hilarious. I think this is really important what you have shared ‘It is here where we have a responsibility to express what we are feeling, to not take anything for granted, and it is the fact that I listened to my body and knew there was more going on than first diagnosed, that I was able to support the doctor to in turn support me.’ To not use drama! but instead really express exactly what is going on for us from a place of truth within our body. Simple.

    1. Vicky your comment brought to mind the expectation that when we call up work and tell them that we’re not coming in because we’re sick, that we have to sound really sick. It would be nye on impossible for most of us to ring up sick and sound well even though we might genuinely be sick.

      1. Alexis years ago the Senior manager had the opinion that even if you were sick you still showed up for work. The joke was you could only miss a meeting if you had a certified death certificate. In other words, you were not allowed to be sick on his watch, and this applied to himself as well. He went to see a client the day after being released from hospital having just had major back surgery! Why do we treat ourselves in such abusive ways?

      2. Because we’re driven by ideals and beliefs and many of us see staying at home when we’re sick as being weak or we worry that our work will pile up while we’re away or we worry what others will think of us or we worry that someone else will get ‘ahead’ of us, we all have thousands of reasons why we behave the way that we do and most of them are completely false, fuelled by these beliefs we have taken on.

    2. Is it also possible that we use drama because we are simply not met in the delicacy that we are and feel? With the common attitude to harden up, toughen up and put up with it, we perceive that we won’t get listened to and cared for unless we bring in an emotion to put the rubber stamp on it? If this is the case, it is a sad incitement of society that we feel we have to play these games or feel that we can’t express honestly in the first place.

    3. Vicky I would be consumed with guilt when I had to ring in sick at work, I needed them to hear that I was unwell to justify the time off. I felt otherwise judged, when I was only judging myself. There are times when our bodies need nurturing and it begins with you first. It is sometimes a stop moment to go within and rethink how we are living, whilst the body is recovering.

  8. Because we can present so differently it’s really up to us to ensure our doctor understands our symptoms and how ill we may be.

  9. What you share here is there is a ‘picture of health’ and how ill we are can be benchmarked against that picture. By supporting ourselves in our day to day, away from any illness we offer our body a foundation from which to do the clearing it needs to do.

  10. It supports us to walk free of preconceptions. At a recent visit to my GP surgery, I became aware of an inner reaction towards the doctor, assigned to see me. As soon as I saw this, I reflected more on why before clearing it. I met her, stayed open and realised I almost denied myself the opportunity to meet this lovely woman, all because of a picture I had in my mind. She was understanding, sensitive, examined me before accurately and quickly diagnosing the painful condition I had. Working with medical practitioners is a two way thing, as much about what we bring and how we relate to them as how they are.

    1. “Working with medical practitioners is a two way thing, as much about what we bring and how we relate to them as how they are” Kehinde this is very true but it has taken me quite a while to let go of the subservient attitude that I have had most of my life towards anyone in the medical profession. I used to sit meekly and at times almost apologetically in consultations and accept what was being said without question, I would also accept lateness and rudeness from specialists as par for the course. I offered nothing of me in the consultation. The way that I am now with medical professionals is much more honest, much more real and much more me, which I acknowledge is much better for my health and the health of my relationships with those whom I have contact with. Being myself in consultations also influences the outcome because if I am not being me then the doctor/specialist has much less information to base their diagnosis and treatment plan on.

      1. Alexis, the way you were with medical practitioners is very common and I can relate to what you share.
        A totally different feeling to walk into a consultation room with honesty and as an equal. When we do, not only do we provide doctors/specialist with more information to work with, we offer a reflection which they can also learn from. The quality of our being-ness takes the expectation and load off medical practitioners to fix us, instead we enter into a respectful dialogue with them.

  11. Love the way you worked with your GP – not dependent or giving away your power but as an equal partner in the healing relationship. This shows that GPs can be great support, if we are willing to work with and meet them without any pre-conceptions.

  12. Being able to understand why you had pneumonia and what it was clearing helps in the healing process, because with greater awareness we don’t fall in to the trap of victim and identifying with the illness, and are able to see it as something the body has to discard and let go of.

  13. On a recent doctor’s visit, she sent me to see her nurse for some tests and we got to talking about maintaining your health when you are getting older. She was filling out a form with the answers I was giving her and when I answered ‘none’ to what medications I was taking, she stopped and looked at me rather strangely, so I asked her if this was unusual for someone of 69. And the answer was, ‘very unusual’. It was a great confirmation of the commitment I have made to care for myself more deeply than I have ever done; it is obviously worth it.

    1. I’ve experienced the same thing from a specialist a few years ago, I would have been 45. When I answered I was not on medication it was considered as very unusual.

  14. The consequences of our negligence towards health in past is why we are unhappy with our health. Because of all this illness has become part of our life.

  15. Having a foundation of loving choices doesn’t make us impervious to illness. But it does support us in the healing process as we are more likely to take the needed rest and deeper care required.

  16. A great reflection of feeling what is going on for our selves and others and not just the presentation and looks. Offering a vital body and the knowing of a sickness within is something not seen in the world today but with a way of living that supports us so much this is something that can offer in life for others and take away a lot of the identifications and debilitations and of much illness and disease.

  17. We have made life so much about the outer looks and appearance that we have neglected our sense of feeling and sensing what is really going.

    1. It is so true that it is our sense of feeling that gives us the true picture of what is happening not just the outward appearances and looks.

  18. To be ill and to decide not to be identified with it, depressed or weighed down by it, can only assist in a speedier recovery.

  19. We have got used to seeing the symptoms of illness being presented in a dire way, but what you demonstrate here is ‘not to judge a book by its cover’ because the way a person lives appears to have quite a bearing on the severity of what an illness looks like… if you live well, that is with awareness of self-care, this seems to adjust how the body responds, deals and copes with illness.

  20. I love the question you ask here Nicole – how should you look with illness and disease? And the real answer is that there is no answer for though there is a text book presentation, very few fall into that text book category and so we must always be open to realising that the body is as it is and does as it does and it is doing exactly as it needs to be doing.

  21. The sense I get from your sharing here is how empowering it is to know our own body so well and feel confident in what we are feeling, our own very personal, direct experience as the authority. From that place, we become more open to taking responsibility, making adjustments, appreciating our deepening relationship with the body, ant that’s very beautiful and liberating.

  22. This shows how important it is to know our body and how it feels so that we know when something is going on even though it might not look the same as it does for others.

  23. Such a great testament to the fact that function is not the marker of health or illness that it is made out to be.

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