This Time, I Win

On Christmas Day 2013, my usually clear head began to fog up. No, it wasn't writer's block, nor was I in a Tesla showroom (although I would happily fog up for Tesla Motors any day!).

It was the beginning of a tenacious demon of a sinus headache and cough. The fact that it's flu season, and that we're having a whooping cough epidemic here in California, immediately registered, but was instantly overridden by a determination to cure my body my way—i.e., naturally, without antibiotics.

Because last year, I ended up taking them.

Those first few days of a head cold are like some kind of weird honeymoon. Both you and your sickness are on your best behavior: you don't pull out your toughest cures, and it doesn't whack you over the head (literally, in this case). You go on walks together, listening to one another, sharing your most positive outlooks on the future. From my perspective, I had every intention to get better immediately; from the bacterias' perspective, they were just biding their time until they were numerous enough to knock me down.

And they almost did. This year they were orders of magnitude stronger, raiding my skull like a runaway cavalry: one day it was my forehead, the next my cheekbones, on the third day they tried to pry open my jaw—from the inside. I could feel it in my teeth. 

I wasn't alone: many of my friends and colleagues ended up in bed with a fever, and who knows, it could have been something worse in their case. Or I could just be all that much more stubborn.  But I take these kinds of infections very personally. My body is my kingdom, my temple, and these little bugs are personae non gratae. Talk to the hand, bacterium: NOT WELCOME. 

Plus, I have a novel to finish. Do these little pests think they can distract a writer from finishing a novel? And one about chocolate no less?

HELL NO. I kept writing, splitting headache be damned. (The dark chocolate helped... hey, it's research!)

I learned from last year's battle, which I'd lost. I upped the dosage of raw garlic, onions, oregano, eucalyptus and other essential oils. I took in more potent amounts, more frequently. Steam baths every day. Still they resisted. We pushed horn against horn, reaching a standstill, neither willing to give in.

The honeymoon was over. It was out and out war.

Then I brought out the citrus bomb. Grapefruit, tangerine, lemon. Peel, rind, pulp and all, ground up. Taken with raw garlic. And an ultimatum to boot: by Sunday night, January 5th, I want you OUT.

Sure enough—on Sunday night, it cleared. For the first time in twelve days, I could breathe freely.

This time, I won. 

Now, disclaimer.  I'm not a doctor or any sort of medical or health professional. I'm sharing a personal experience, based on significant amounts of research, discussions with countless doctors, and a familiarity with my body and immune system. It's much easier to take a round of antibiotics than to do all the work involved in preparing the natural substances that eventually cured me (and it was non stop work for 12 days).  Much easier, and much faster. But that's because antiobiotics will rip up all of the bacteria in your system: the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. The natural cures don't.  There's an ancient relationship between certain plants and certain bacteria in your gut.

But you know what? My microbiome is worth it. In my opinion, your health is the single greatest investment you can make.

You are free to make your own choices for your health, and you should. But you should be the first person to know the most about your body and medical history—don't leave that up to someone else.