journal/

on-going mostly unedited stream of thoughts

searching for an enough in health

I got sick again this week, so just paying attention to my cardiac data didn’t work. But the data did serve as data points to an ongoing mystery, and at the very least it eliminates some possibilities so it inevitably demonstrates some possible next steps.

by @launshae

What I do know is that my migraine started somewhen near or on my ovulation, so it seems there is something about the drop in estrogen that is causing me pain.

There was a time when I had a few pain-free months because I was regularly seeing my family’s traditional chinese medicine sinseh. Her explanation was that my liver was “heaty” and I don’t have enough qi. I know this sounds like hogwash to a lot of people, but TCM is the only thing in my life that has successfully relived my symptoms so far, so I would say that 5,000 years of wisdom is not something to be trifled with.

Why didn’t I stay on it since it worked for me? I really wanted to understand the roots of my issue, and everytime I had tried to go off the medicine the issue would return. Something in my biology, in the way my body is struggling to maintain homeostasis, is resulting in systemic biological pain for me. The herbs were balancing whatever deficiencies I was having, but it didn’t feel like a sustainable long-term solution.

That said, there may come a day when I have tried everything I can possibly think of and if nothing worked I would accept the lifelong reliance on TCM. I would love to have some quality of life. Perhaps sadly something inherently imbalanced in our biology is not something that we can recover from. I hope this is not the case, and this is why I’m fervently documenting this journey.

I do believe one day (if we don’t self-destruct so soon) we would be able to map the TCM system to Western science. Right now, my current hypothesis that what we think of as “heat” in TCM is actually chronic inflammation, and the lack of “qi” is the inability to metabolise energy efficiently. Only in recent years did medical science catch up with what TCM has known for thousands of years: that the health of the gut leads to the health of everything else.

I think there is something about my lifestyle and internal responses that are overworking my liver for some reason, causing some repercussions on my estrogen balance or perhaps it is the other way round. Do you know levels of estrogen is directly tied to fatty liver? I had no idea until yesterday when I was trying to research the effects of a low-carb diet on estrogen. So much I’ve learned on this journey.

I was exercising a lot and eating a pretty low-carb diet before this bout of pain, so in response I am going to tone both down a little. The relationship between carbs, insulin, serotonin and female hormones is complex – too much carbs and we can develop insulin resistance and PCOS, too little carbs and our reproductive system may shut down and we may become insomniac and depressed. But how much is enough?

I think what is “enough” is different for every individual. It would be nice if one day we can do some scans and bloodwork and it would automatically tell us the breakdown of the nutrients we need to maintain homeostasis. I would gladly pay for a service like this.

Meanwhile, I will be on this very long search for my enough.

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