When Does Illness Really Start EP015

When does illness really start? You might say that it starts with the first symptoms. A cold starts with the first sniffle. Arthritis starts with the first pain. But that’s not always true. Most illnesses start long before the first symptoms. Unless we know how to recognize the earlier signs using visual diagnosis.

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When does illness really start? When I think about the arthritis in my knees, I feel like I can go back to a certain day, or a narrow window of time, when I first noticed the pain. Or if I think about my aortic stenosis that required open heart surgery, I go back to that day in a doctor’s office when they heard a strange heart murmur.

In either case, that’s not really when it started. That was when the illness had progressed to a point of needing serious attention. They had both been there for a long time. Marcel Proust said, “Illness is the most heeded of doctors: to goodness and wisdom we only make promises; but we obey pain.” And that is very true. You might even say it was painfully true.

It was pain that finally got my attention with my knees. It was also the knees that drew attention to the fact that my aortic valve was opening at only 25% of what it should be. Which meant that it was 75% closed. In both cases, there were signs that there were problems. But those signs were neither noted nor heeded. With the heart valve, there was shortness of breath and swelling in the feet and ankles. A keen observer might have seen signs of both months or even years earlier.

There are always signs and signals — subtle changes in our energy. And if we pay attention to them, notice those changes and make appropriate changes – self powered healing changes, we could save ourselves a lot of pain and suffering.

What sort of changes do I mean? You might have changes in your skin and complexion. Or in your digestion, your mood or energy levels or other minor symptoms. They’re subtle changes for the most part.

A year after my surgery, I enrolled in a health coaching course that focused on natural approaches to health and healing, especially on alternatives such as Chinese medicine. I was particularly intrigued by the module on visual diagnosis. Health challenges and illness can first show up on the face and even the tongue. These changes can alert you to an issue in a particular part of the body long before any signs or symptoms of illness are recognized.

Can you imagine if your doctor were trained in visual diagnosis? What would healthcare be like if we could always be aware of the energy in our system and be able to recognize when it goes out of balance? And make course corrections along the way, instead of a system that looks only at numbers coming from a lab? Would we then make those changes?

I’m not sure I always would have made the changes. In our youth. We seem to have that attitude that we’re invincible. I like to say we think we’re nine feet tall and bulletproof. But we never are. And that type of thinking over time is what gets us into pain. Today I strive to pay attention to the subtle changes as they show up, asking what it’s might mean wondering if it could be a future problem. That’s actually a big part of self powered healing, catching little issues, and course correcting so that they don’t become big issues.

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