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How Alternative Medicine Emptied My Heart and My Bank Account

Cupping. Acupuncture. Essential Oils. Plexus. These are just some of the things I tried to make my chronic illness and pain go away. None of them worked. Each of them cost me hundreds of dollars.

I went to an office where I lay on an electrified bed that was supposed to get rid of my back pain. I bought a mat with spikes on it to improve my circulation. I used infrared light projectors and took every supplement I was offered. Yet I was still sick.

I spent so much money on alternative medicine, because nothing the doctors did was working. Every person I went to pronounced confidently that my symptoms would improve. One salesperson, who was also my friend’s mom, said, “Don’t you want to get better?”

Well, yes, I did want to get better. So I bought her product, so I could say I tried it, so if there was a tiny chance it would help I’d know about it. It didn’t help me. I bought an anti-migraine acupressure clip. I tried a device that only works with a two-liter soda bottle.

You might think I’m foolish, naïve, gullible, for trying all these things. But really I’m just desperate. I’m in so much pain every day. I’m having seizures and migraines and extreme fatigue. My back and neck pain is almost unbearable. I knew most of those things wouldn’t help, but I sank my time, energy, and money into them anyway, on the very small off-chance that something, anything, would make me feel better.

I would type out a warning against pouring your life’s savings into alternative medicine, but the truth is, if you’re as desperate as I am, I don’t think anything’s going to stop you. So do it. Try the devices, see the naturopaths, drink the cacao, and get smudged by smoke. But don’t invest your hope in these things. You can try them, and maybe they’ll help. They must help someone, or they’d be out of business, right? But hope is more valuable than money, and the more hope you pour in, the more hopeless you will feel when it inevitably fails you. Like it did me.

If you’ve tried these things and it didn’t help you, I see you. I’m sorry that you are sick enough to risk everything just for a bit of relief. If you tried these and they did help you, that’s wonderful. Keep on going with what works.

For me, I’ve had to learn the hard way that my pain and illness are not going away any time soon. I just have to accept it as part of my life and try to live with it. I’m selling or giving away all my medical devices. I’m done spending all my time and money on being a guinea pig for alternative medicine. They may have my savings, but they don’t have my hope.

Getty image by Big Ryan.

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