There's a lot of bashing of Western medicine practices in these types of communities. MTHFRs, I get it! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and Western medicine often doesn't do a whole lot in the way of preventing chronic disease. This is especially true for those with an MTHFR variant. When you discover the wonders of a holistic approach towards healing, it's easy to get excited and want to throw the Western medicine baby out with the bathwater! Or you may become so frustrated with medical doctors' refusal to adequately address your health concerns that you just want to turn your back on them altogether.
However, let's just slow down there for a second and think about some other factors you may not have considered. What if you haven't been taking the proper preventative measures and years of uninformed decisions led to an acute health event? Or what if you have been focusing on preventative healthcare, but you've still found yourself in a health crisis despite your best efforts? Now, you're in a life or death situation and strong action needs to be taken immediately. That's where Western medicine shines and we must not forget to honor the good that they do.
Think of Western medicine like firefighters. If you wake up in the middle of the night to your home ablaze, these brave men and women will charge in with the "big guns," even putting their own lives on the line, to extinguish the fire that has grown out of control. That's who you need to call during such a time. That is not the moment to bust down your walls to reconfigure the electrical wiring. That is not the moment to browse this blog for solutions to your crisis. That is not the time to hire a health coach. You need to be evacuated from the fiery blaze in any way possible. That's what Western medicine does and they do it the best.
However, if you are on the other side of your health crisis and are trying to prevent a relapse, if you are seeking to avoid such a crisis in the first place, and if you desire to prevent/manage chronic disease symptoms and live your healthiest life possible, that's where other types of health professionals come into play. Functional medicine physicians, naturopathic doctors, naturopaths, Eastern medicine practitioners, and integrative health coaches shine in the arena of prevention, wellness, and taking a holistic approach to healing.
Think of these types of professionals as electricians and guides in your decision making. They will identify the root problem that caused the fire in the first place. If it was electrical, they will find exactly where the wires crossed in a dangerous way and reconfigure them to prevent another disaster. If it was due to a decision like leaving the stove on overnight, they will guide you in making better decisions. We all know that something like leaving the stove on can cause a house fire, yet many of us leave the stove of our bodies on for years and are never warned by Western medicine practitioners that it may result in disaster.
In my own personal life, I experienced a life-threatening MRSA infection that manifested in my eye socket. The official diagnosis was orbital cellulitis. If I were not hospitalized and treated with copious amounts of intravenous antibiotics, I may have lost my vision, experienced brain damage, or died. In that moment, Western medicine did its job and it did it well. However, when the infection became recurrent, they were clueless as to how to break the cycle. The only advice they could give me was to disinfect more and more and to expect to be in and out of the hospital until the antibiotics were no longer effective and I croaked. I may be paraphrasing a bit, but this really was the essence of the message I was given!
Naturally, I was very disturbed and somewhat hopeless. Thankfully, I didn't accept that advice and sought other sources of medical wisdom. That's when I discovered that I'm homozygous for the MTHFR C677T variant and my immune system was likely failing due to not making the right lifestyle choices for my genetics. It's impossible to completely avoid coming into contact with MRSA. What alternative medicine helped me to do was to heal holistically so that my immune system could do its job when these situations arise. Western medicine was necessary to treat the life-threatening infection once I already had it, but holistic healing addressed the problems within that allowed me to stop becoming infected in the first place.
So yes, MTHFRs, I understand your frustration with Western medicine. I really do! However, let us not forget that these practitioners save lives in the way that they are trained to. We need them. We also need professionals in the arena of preventative medicine and holistic health. They save lives in an entirely different way. Let's honor and celebrate both for what they provide!
The key is to know which type of professional you need in a given situation.
To take a deeper, guided dive into how to thrive with an MTHFR variant, check out Hey MTHFR Academy. This 16-week online course will give you the tools you need to harness the power of epigenetics and befriend your MTHFR gene.