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Inspiration from Meghan

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Can You Cure The Incurable?

 

This past summer I had a genetic test done which revealed that I am 10 times more likely, or have a 10 times greater risk based on my genetic make-up, to have Crohn's and Colitis than the average person of my demographic (taking age, sex, height, weight, ethnicity etc. into account).

Seven years and three months ago, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, an auto-immune, inflammatory bowel disease that can be life-threatening and is deemed "incurable" by conventional medicine.

I was so sick that I can't actually fully remember what it was like to feel that way. I was afraid to make plans with friends. I was afraid to eat. My hair was falling out and I kept losing weight. I felt hopeless as much from the prognosis as from the effect malnutrition was having on my thoughts and nervous system. My mom likely remembers this time better than I do, for in this extreme state of mind/body stress, my cognitive function was certainly impaired. I was living on rice cakes and margarine, the nutritional equivalent of eating nothing.

Doctors often tell patients upon diagnosis that this disease can't be cured. That's what I was told. Organizations that make their living off raising funds to find a cure (while selling processed meat at their events) will also tell us it can't be cured. Even now, my own doctor always asks very delicately if I am managing okay when I go in for a check-up.

Despite what I was told, a cure was my goal, and today it is here. 

Cancer patients are considered "survivors" when they reach the five year mark post-treatment. Most "incurable" diseases don't offer a survivor, or thriver, a time frame. They tell us we are in remission, and that the disease can come back at anytime- this is, it seems what their studies tell them and they don't want to give false-hope. Is it possible though that instead of false-hope they throw a little self-fulfilling prophecy our way? As patients, no matter what the disease, we often end up feeling like victims of bad luck as we are instilled with fear, helplessness, and hopelessness.

Maybe this is easier than having to hold some of the responsibility for our health. Taking responsibility has nothing to do with looking at our life until this point and asking what we should have done differently, or what we did to deserve this. It's simply about owning our current state and deciding how we want to proceed.

There are always options. But can you handle them?

The tricky bit is often that taking responsibility and exploring all of our options seems hard. This requires us to be honest about who we are, our priorities, our role in what we have and what we're dealing with. This can be daunting and scary. We are seldom asked to imagine what life would like without that pain, suffering, fear, and disease.  The simplest questions to ask are the hardest to answer:

    • Is it worth exchanging indulgence and the comfort of what I know for health? 
    • Am I ready to take responsibility for my current state of health?
    • What needs to happen in order to bring on that abundance?

The body's natural state is health. 

When we cut our skin, we feed it some helpful things to promote healing -- vitamin E, enzyme-rich honey, cocoa butter -- nutrient rich skin-foods that help the skin to heal so that fresh, undamaged cells will take their place.

We know that the cells of our body slough off, or are killed off, and will be replaced by new cells, right? The cells that line the digestive tract, for example, replace themselves every three to five days or so.

The same thing can happen throughout the body.

For Crohn's disease and most other immune related conditions, conventional medicine suppresses the symptoms. My goal was to determine the trigger for them. I did my best to feed my body and mind with what I thought would be healing, nutritive, cleansing, calming and above all, nourishing. I chose to work with what I was dealing with, not fight against the reality of it.

I healed dramatically quickly from Crohn's disease. Within about a month, I was symptom-free. That was seven years ago, and I continue to heal every single day.

Why then, am I considering myself cured NOW?

Every seven to 10 years (some sources say up to 15 years), every single cell of the body has been replaced, meaning that right now, we are completely different bodies, from the cells up, than we were seven to 15 years ago.

I am a completely different body than I was seven years ago when I was diagnosed with the disease, 10 years ago when I first developed serious symptoms, and 15 years ago when I first began noticing imbalances in my body. There is no cell in my body that existed when I got sick. It is possible to cure the incurable.

How does this all work?

Spontaneous remission could be one theory, but it doesn't explain how, being 10 times more likely to have the disease, I would remain healthy.

Maintaining a healing lifestyle is the key to both slowing and in some cases reversing the progression of disease, and maintaining the balance necessary for optimal health. Had I healed, and then reverted to old habits and patterns that had allowed my genetic predisposition to express itself, it very well would have.

This is why so many of these 'incurable' diseases can be hard to heal and even tougher to maintain optimal health ongoing. It's not a one-time thing, or single solution approach, and likely not anything that could ever be duplicated with double-blind studies in a lab setting. It's not popping a pill, or having a procedure and carrying on with boozey indulgent weekends, GMO-popcorn at the movies, letting sleep be a negotiable and carrying on in stressful dramatic relationships as if nothing has happened.

It's easy to slip back into old habits and patterns. My commitment to not letting that happen, to learning everything I could, and now making it my career to share this knowledge in the hopes of helping others reduce or potentially alleviate their own suffering, remains my motivation to stay on track. Waking up happy, feeling good, is something I would never want to squander away.

Genetic markers for disease are not a life sentence, just as a genetic predisposition to live a vibrant healthy life until you're 120 because your grandfather did is also not a given. How we live every single day, knowing that every choice counts, is ultimately what will have the greatest effect on our health today.

My book UnDiet opens with this quote:


A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.
- Hippocrates


A long life free of disease is not a certainty with the amount of chemicals and radiation in our environment.

I do know that should dis-ease come into our lives, we can choose to give in and give up, or let it be our messenger -- a call to wake up and explore what is in our capacity, without fear or excuse, to make some moves and find that balance once again.

Healing is different from curing in that healing may not mean you go back to the level of health you were before, or even have your desired outcome. Healing is about working with the mind, body and spirit to support what is needed in order to achieve a state of balance. When we are able to tune in and find these states of balance, whether that be through a combination of eating right, moving right, detoxing, resting, cleansing our thoughts and emotions, taking the right therapeutics and medicines when we need to, we begin to heal.

I wouldn't trade my wake-up call for anything.

Seven years later, I am blessed to have the honour of doing the work I do, which is to offer you options and opportunities to learn, and heal, and hopefully spark that fire in you that invites you to question convention, and find your own path, no matter what that looks like, feeling confident and supported.

With love and great health,

XOXO

Meghan Telpner Signature

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about how the foods we eat and the lifestyle choices we make affect our health, please check out the online courses now available for home study, allowing you to learn and play at your convenience. Details are here and registration closes tomorrow.

21 Responses to “Can You Cure The Incurable?”

  1. Marianne said…
    Meghan, you brought tears to my eyes.. I seem to take one step forward and 5 steps back. I have things to deal with and clouds overshadowing my life, but you and Josh have brought me closer to seeing the possibilities. I've learned a lot from you and I am trying to accept myself as the person I am.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      You are well on you way- heading in the right direction.
      • Amaleen said…
        Please you have to help me. What did you exactly do? I'm 19, I've had Crohns for 11 years, and I'm so tired. I can't go on anymore.
        • Meghan Telpner said…
          I am so sorry to hear you are suffering. Please have a listen to this interview. It's a good place to start: http://undergroundwellness.com/347/
  2. PicklesnHoney said…
    This is such a beautiful and inspiring post. I love that you differentiated between healing and curing, and noted that "healing may not mean you go back to the level of health you were before." That's a potentially tough reality, but it's also a reminder to think of our situation (whatever that may be) as an opportunity to re-evaluate and try new things. Congrats on taking back your health and all that you've accomplished in the last seven years!
  3. Anthony said…
    It would be very helpful if you provide evidence to support this thesis. You are a great case study of one and your journey is highly commendable. I hope you hold your own disclosure to the same level that you ask of large organizations when investigating their health claims.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Hi Anthony, Thank you for your comment. I am not completely clear on what you mean by "I hope you hold your own disclosure to the same level that you ask of large organizations when investigating their health claims." I am very transparent and open about the path that I took. The best evidence I have to support this thesis is me, and hundreds of others that have taken an alternative approach. To my knowledge there are studies that have tested single elements of what I took on (probiotics as beneficial, meditation to mediate an inflammatory response, yoga to increase detoxification physically and emotionally, elimination of gluten to support gut health, exposure to sunshine/vitamin D for healing mucosal membranes). There were so many elements to my healing which makes it very challenging, as I mentioned, to prove using the standard scientific method of studies. Unfortunately, currently the research being done around diet is adding in specific "therapeutic" nutrients, however they are in the form of highly allergenic foods (ie. testing the effectiveness of omega 3's in omega 6 rich vegetable oils, or probiotics in pasteurized yogurt)- which are set up to fail from the start. There is no "one" approach for everyone as the disease can be triggered by different paths of disease in every individual, part of what makes it challenging to heal.
  4. kg002g said…
    Meghan, Thank you so much for posting this. I too cured myself from an 'incurable' auto-immune disease, multiple sclerosis. I've been on this healing journey for 6 years. What worked for me was confronting the 'demons' from my past, confronting and changing the unhealthy ways in which I was repeating the past (engaged to an abusive person similiar to my upbringing), changing my diet and learning about the mind-body connection. I stopped identifying myself with the dis-ease and started seeing and believing in myself as a healthy person. Along the way I've had the help of many spiritual teachers who taught me that life is supposed to be good for me and that I create my future. So I'm creating a healthy, vibrant future. Thanks again for sharing and I hope your journey is everything you want it to be!! I look forward to ready more on your website. Best, Kate
    • Maria said…
      Hi Kate, Just read this post and I am in a stage of my life where I am feeling somewhat hopeless in regards to my health and life in general. You mentioned spiritual healers, I was hoping you could give a little more insight/information on that as that is something I am very interested in. Thanks, Maria
  5. Dear Meghan, This is a real inspiration! I was diagnosed with a rare type of hormonal cancer a few months back and have since then made huge life-style changes. Eating holistic, clean foods. Yoga, breathing, going to the gym, no alcohol. My doctors told me only to expect very small and slow changes to the big tumors in my body after chemo and that this would be a long process. After my 4 month scans, the tumors have already shrunk dramatically! I am more than certain that my life-style changes are to thank for these great news. I still have a long way to go and am so happy to find your story to keep me inspired! Thanks again for telling your story. /Catherine (from Sweden)
    • Maria said…
      Hi Catherine, hope this finds you well. Any updates on your health?
  6. […] see, Ashley follows a gluten-free and vegan lifestyle (which, as Meghan is fond of saying, has cured an incurable disease – Crohn’s). And when you are vegan and gluten-free, you can have some challenges around […]
  7. […] have experienced this several times, first when I healed from an incurable disease, and I am reminded of it again as we are welcoming students to the Academy of Culinary Nutrition […]
  8. […] well and taking care of my lifestyle habits is what healed me from an incurable disease. I didn’t want to slide back, but knew if I didn’t continue to make eating well a […]
  9. Donna O. said…
    Hi Meghan. It's so great to hear that you beat Crohn's disease! I was wondering if you took any medications while making your lifestyle and diet changes, or if you put yourself into remission without them? Thanks!
  10. Andrea said…
    Hi Meghan! I so appreciate everything that you do, and I visit your site often for information and recipes. I had a question about your initial journey to heal from Crohn's Disease. Did you do any food sensitivity (IgG/IgE ) testing? I know that everyone is different and different foods cause different reactions in our bodies, so I was curious as to how you found out what worked best for you. Thanks so much!

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