That’s one of the main reasons why my faith is intrinsic, not only to my life, but to my work, my professional life as a career health care provider. How could one possibly hope to live a life worth living without being anchored to the Source of Life, Jesus Christ?
There are so many lost souls I meet each week, often in my office, but sometimes away from the office. They are everywhere you look and it just reinforces my commitment and my passion to lend a helping hand and a prayer whenever I have the opportunity.
Oddly enough, this time it’s about myself, and not a particular patient. I was the patient and my experience in American allopathic medical care, although it is recent, could have happened decades ago, many decades, and still have come out the same as it just did.
I’ll make it simple because the point I’m driving at is simple, the details don’t matter that much this time. I had an injury, a very strange one. I was taking broken down boxes from our UPS delivery of natural medicines out to the dumpster.
I was holding these flattened boxes in my arms across my chest. As I stepped off the sidewalk to the surface of the parking lot where the dumpster is, I slipped on some ice I could not see because of holding the boxes. Immediately, and violently, the boxes went flying and so did I, the boxes flew up and I flew down, into the ground and into the dumpster. The ground and the dumpster won, not me. I had some cuts on my hands, arms and face, but that was all -- or so I thought, no big deal, but . . .
Two days later I could hardly walk, my right hip was killing me. The pain was incredibly sharp, like a screw driver being driven into my hip. I could not stand or walk normally. I consulted with a friend of mine, a sports medicine physician. He examined me and took x-rays and he diagnosed me with “piriformis syndrome,” an injury to a part of the larger muscle group which stabilizes the hip.
I did research on this and it seemed to be right. I started chiropractic care and physical therapy. The physical therapy was once weekly for several months. We did stretching exercises, hot packs and ultrasound. Unfortunately it did not help much.
The chiropractic helped more but the problem persisted. I tried acupuncture and was very hopeful that would turn the tide. It helped some, but the problems persisted. I declined offers of pain medications because I am not one to use drugs and because I didn’t want to just mask the pain, I wanted to find the answer, what would directly address the problem and promote resolution and healing, not just living with it and taking drugs to falsely control or suppress the pain.
In my office we are here to help people find answers -- causes -- not just treat symptoms. I am a German-trained health care provider and as such, a major role and responsibility for me with every patient (this time including myself!) is teaching, investigating tirelessly until I find all the parts of the puzzle and putting the puzzle together so it makes sense.
Then and only then can healing proceed because you can’t fix what you don’t understand. Treating symptoms is crazy, it ignores the cause of the problem and misleads you to think you can or should “live with it” and control “it” with drugs or, God forbid, if that fails, then cut the offending part out with surgery.
Please don’t misunderstand, there are medical emergencies and crises when heroic, life saving measures like powerful drugs and surgery are absolutely the right decision to save a life. I’m not talking about that, which makes up (at most) about 5% of all medical situations. No, I’m taking about the other 95% of health problems which are the result of years of poor lifestyle, bad eating and exercise habits, uncontrolled stress, overuse of prescription drugs, and ore self-defeating factors.
I then consulted further, as the results I wanted, and truly in my heart knew could come, were still elusive. I was seen by a very capable orthopaedic specialist, but unfortunately this provider could not think outside the box and was adamant that this was just piriformis muscle damage and nothing more, but I knew inside this was not the answer.
Finally, after spending many days meditating on this and asking in prayer for the answer, it came: there was piriformis muscle involvement but that was secondary to an undiagnosed, and as yet, untreated deeper original cause -- damaged ligaments which heal ultra slowly.
BINGO! THIS made sense, perfect sense and when I tweaked my treatment plan it began to be confirmed. It was still frustratingly slow, and because I’m a very healthy guy and had never had an injury like this, I must admit I probably wasn’t the best patient about it, I was wanting it to come quicker, which really just means I’m human, very human.
My point here, however, is this: if I had been passive, if I had settled for the first diagnosis as the whole answer, if I just shrugged and gave up and “lived with it,” and took pain meds, what then?
I would have been living a lie. I would have poisoned myself with the toxic side effects from the drugs and never found the answer. Often, very often, this kind of talk comes up in my office because many people seek my help not only because of my training and expertise with so many years in practice as a German-trained doctor, but also because I am a Christian and that perspective is part of who I am and what I do, what we offer to people who want that.
The crux: never give up what you know in your heart of hearts to be the right thing to do, the right answer. Literally, often in this office, this subject comes up and the discussion focuses on the fact that, for Christians, we become the holy, sacred place where Christ indwells us. If that is so, and I believe it is, then how in the world could one ever compromise that and offer a toxic broken dump to Him instead of the best possible dwelling place we can create?
I believe this sacred, precious, priceless gift of life we are given is to be respected and protected, no matter what. That is how we acknowledge this gift and show thanks and reverence for it. Therefore taking the best care of ourselves is NOT selfish or wrong, it is exactly what we are mandated to do, what He expects from us and what He wants for us: to be the best because that’s what we are created for and that’s what enables us to do the best for others. If you are so broken, you can’t help anyone else. We are here to help each other, to honor this gift of life, but in order to do that we must be able to do it, and our physical and emotional health are the keys to making that happen.
So how am I progressing? Doing OK. It takes time, some days are better than others, but I know I am on the right track, doing the right thing the right way for the right reasons and that is plenty good enough for me. This also teaches me the lesson of patience and faith. Funny how those lessons come along unexpectedly but turn out to be exactly what we needed in the first place.
God bless you,. I mean that with all my heart. God be with you and make His face to shine upon you, uplift, encourage and strengthen you, in Jesus’ precious name. AMEN.
James R. Bowman, ND, DiHOM
Naturopathic European Medicine Centre, LLC
Stevens Point, WI. 54481
END NOTE: I did attend a German medical university where I studied for my MD degree, but in Wisconsin they have a rule that if you have more than one doctoral level degree (I have three), you must choose one and only one under which to practice. As I intentionally choose to practice natural medicine, I am not licensed, nor do I seek to be licensed as a MD, but I am allowed to share with you my academic training for explanatory and educational purposes so you understand my background, my training and my services.