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?

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Because of following The Way of The Livingness in our daily choices, we are nurturing ourselves to a much higher level of good health than is so much greater than the average. Therefore it makes sense that we will still look pretty ok when we are unwell, because the marker of health is so much lower. What a different experience to show the medics in the medical system, The body may be unwell, but the spark inside is unaffected so we still shine out loud and clear.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

  21. When my body is overloaded from ill choices then I get really sick and suffer from the ill emotions of being ill as well as physically ill.
    When I am making loving choices and my body is ill to clear and make more space then the heavy emotional loading that is the characteristic ‘being ill’ isn’t there.

  22. When we consider our illness not as a failure but as a communication and indication for something to heal there is opportunity to reveal and understand the underlying issues.

    1. Yes, this perspective changes the way we look at and approach illness. Understanding there’s more going on, certainly makes you want to support the way we care for ourselves during this period.

  23. We can have so many pictures of how we should look and behave in certain situations in life and yet we can always be clearing what is not truly ours and deepening what is truly ours to be lived and expressed.

  24. I love that illness provides an opportunity to reset things we may have done in the past that were downright harmful to the body, for example when we overdo things we tend to get a cold or flu.

    1. This was my modus operandi when I was first at work. Every single holiday I would have a cold for the first 5 days as I rebalanced after pushing myself way too hard before I went on holiday in an ever-futile attempt to finish all my work.

  25. “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…” This gives indication of the possibility that the way a person lives their day has a direct correlation to the presentation of their illness..

  26. Today someone came to my house moaning and groaning about roadworks that had held her up…no one had told her that they were going to be there. Life is full of the unexpected – how about if we have cause to pause for a while in whatever we are doing we can see it as a gift…allowing us more space to deepen our connection with ourselves, to ponder more deeply on a matter, to prepare ourselves more fully for the purpose of our journey, whatever it may be, to see the silver lining rather than identifying a cloud that is getting in our way. This allows us to be free of aggravation and spreading that into our environment and the people we meet.

    1. “Life is full of the unexpected” and each one offers an opportunity for us to choose: to respond or react. So true what you say Elaine, we can use delays and obstructions to deepen and be with ourselves. Space is never waste, it is God and God is love.

  27. When we have understanding that to have illness and disease is a clearing of energy which no longer supports the body we accept the process as part of our evolution. Regardless of the time taken to heal we know the healing is to be experienced that will bring a greater amount of light into the body to be lived.

  28. This is a whole new way of living with an illness but not becoming the illness and identifying with it as if part of our being. Seeing the illness as a way to clear past ill momentum and to welcome the correction a healthier relationship to have with illness and disease.

  29. Your experience described in your blog shows how everything we do has an impact on our health and wellbeing… looking after ourselves, even if it seems small has a cumulative effect that makes a long term difference.

  30. I had a health check recently with a nurse and she was blown away how great my health appeared to be for my age, blood tests, blood pressure, weight, diet, exercise, all got a big tick. She got a real live example to see how our choices make such a difference to our health.

  31. ‘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.” Presenting a foundation of health to a doctor that expects to see something very different can be a surprise for them, but what a powerful surprise to get, one that breaks the stereotypes.

    1. Yes the offering to the medical professional by the choices we choose to live may not fit the norm but is offering others another way to read and connect to the patient.

  32. If we asked anyone to mimmick how someone looks when they are sick it would, I am sure, be a 99% if not 100% chance that they would put on a sad expression, with turned down corners of the mouth and dull droopy eyes…possibly a few children might see it differently…yet I have known many people now who are not identifying with their illness nor are they putting on a show with a stiff upper lip or fake smile. If we deny the truth of what is happening we can appear to be happy but cannot really fool anyone least of all ourselves, we soon get tired of putting on a mask. When we maintain a relationship with ourselves of honesty, allowing ourselves to feel but not reacting to those feelings we stay free of emotions and able to enjoy ourselves wherever we are at.

    1. We are the constant or rather we should be the constant, a constant terminal of connection to God. Sounds highfalutin I know but it is the way back for all of us, to shore up our connection with God and then to maintain it whatever situation or circumstance we find ourselves in. Gradually over time (hundreds of lifetimes) the turbulence will abate and we will be left in the stillness of God once again.

  33. It is beautiful to see people who continue to look fabulous during illness, as there remains the spark of who they are, their natural expression and light which continues to come through and shine. This says to me that illness is a part of life but it does not have to become your life and that you can simply be who you are and maintain amazing connections and relationships with those around you – who also do not have to live your illness but rather just make it part of what is already there.

      1. I agree Annelies, for making ourselves victims of illness and disease totally takes away our power of choice to live differently and make different choices.

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