HEALED AT LAST! (My Autoimmune Healing Story)

Perfect!”

This word seems to be the word of the day.

This day was January 30th, 2018 – the day of my last specialist visit at the Autoimmunity and Rheumatology Clinic (ARC) in Singapore General Hospital, before I left for New Zealand for further studies.

It first started when I was taking the regular height and weight checkup and I saw that my weight had come back to my ‘healthy’ range (>52kg). Recently, close friends and family have been noticing and commenting that I’ve put on some weight and looked healthier.

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I thought to myself, “This is perfect!”

Next was the routine blood pressure and pulse check at the nurse station nearby.

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“Wow, your blood pressure is perfect!”

That set some alarm bells ringing in my mind. Not just from the second repetition of the word perfect, but rather because my blood pressure has been consistently low ever since I was stricken with an autoimmune disorder 3 years ago.

It has always been in the 100/50 range and I was even once hospitalized for too low blood pressure! So that was a pleasant surprise.

But wait, the best was yet to come.

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Because of this autoimmune disease, I am part of a group of patients who regularly donate our blood for a medical research study titled Spondylo-Arthritis Cohort in singaporE (SPACE). So I have this long list of questionnaires to fill in every time I come for an appointment with my Rheumatologist.

This visit, for the first time ever, I was answering questions and ticking boxes in the other extreme end of the spectrum. The “I feel excellent!” or “I experience very little or insignificant pain from my autoimmune disease” range!

Questions like,
“In the past week, how often have you been emotionally troubled by your disease?”
Usually my answer would be in the “Often” or “Sometimes” range but today, all my answers were in the “Not at all” range!

I thought to myself, “I feel perfect!”

Finally, the grand “perfect” finale came when I sat down with my Spondyloarthritis specialist moments later and he took a look at the most recent blood panel I just took a week ago.

Blood test 2018, 25 Jan

“Wow, John … your blood test is perfect!”

At this point I was already half-expecting the good news. My body felt “normal” again and I was certainly symptom and pain-free.

Next he used the available data on my inflammation markers (CRP and ESR) and plotted a line graph to show me how drastically I’ve improved. It was an up and down with the peaks really high up and the lows really low. At the moment, my inflammation levels were at their lowest. That made me beam from ear to ear. 😊

Unfortunately (or maybe not), I forgot to ask him to help me print out that graph as I would normally do for all my blood tests. So upon arriving home, I took out my big medical file of blood tests, reports and doctors’ letters and began sieving out all my previous blood reports to plot my own graph on excel.

Blood tests
3 years’ worth of blood reports!
Autoimmune Inflammation Chart
Graph I plotted of my markers of inflammation (CRP & ESR) against time (2015 – 2018)

In a sense, this graph is also a reflection of all the suffering I’ve gone through these past 3 years. 

The high points coincide with the “high times of suffering’ – the times where I was experiencing a flare up of my autoimmune disorder and pretty extreme pain and depression.

The low points were mostly when I got momentary relief by injecting myself with unbelievably strong (and expensive!) immunosuppressive drugs like SIMPONI and HUMIRA or by taking similarly strong Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and pills.

At its worse, the pain in the joints of my body was so bad that I could not fall sleep at night. Despite a new “posturepedic” bed that my parents bought for me.

Additionally, there were 2 episodes in separate school terms where I missed 4 weeks of school because of the pain in my feet (plantar fascia). It was too painful to walk and would not get better until I took the load off. So I was ‘bedridden’ at home and confined to a rollable computer chair.

Foot inflammation progress
Inflammation in my foot across the years and its recovery! (top left, taken 21st Mar 2018)

Together with my ankle joint pains, this was and still is my Achilles Heel and will be the first symptom of indication to alert me of a possible autoimmune recurrence.

Here is the excel data breakdown and some brief details of my treatment at that point in time.

Excel inflammation data
The normal human levels of CRP and ESR should be <10. The closer to 0 the better as it means you have low inflammation in your system. Blank data = doctor did not think it necessary to order the test.

Contents

  1. The Turning Point
  2. My Healing Interventions
    1. Diet/Nutrition
    2. Naturopathy & Herbal Medicine
    3. Biohacking & Lifestyle Modification
      1. Sunlight
      2. Sleep
      3. Earthing
      4. Physical Activity
      5. Going Natural
      6. Journaling
      7. Meditation
    4. A Spiritual Awakening and Healing
  3. Conclusion

The Turning Point

Besides giving me these drugs to suppress the symptoms of inflammation, there was nothing else conventional medicine could do to stop the symptoms from coming back.

In other words, they simply weren’t doing anything to treat the root cause of the problem.

I have had 3 Rheumatologists so far and I have been questioning them about anything I could do to address the root cause. When I asked about diet, the replies were pretty alarming:

“Oh, don’t worry about your diet. You can eat whatever you want.” 🤨

or

“Hmm, you can try that diet but I don’t think it is going to do much …”

I guess nutritional advice and knowledge was not included in their intensive medical degree and training.

It’s a pity and shame because I feel that if our conventional doctors had such training and could give detailed advice, many chronic diseases could be alleviated or even prevented without the need for synthetic, expensive drugs which have long-term potentially damaging and even fatal effects sometimes.

Furthermore, I was acutely aware of some foods which I had to avoid at all costs as it would make my pains up to 50% worse the next day! Spicy and deep fried food especially.

Regarding medication (pretty much the only solution they could offer me), my rheumatologists gave me the impression that I’d have to continue taking these ‘miracle drugs’ for many more months (possibly years) until the inflammation calmed down. Only then would I be able to slowly wean off them.

I call them ‘miracle drugs’ because they truly are like a miracle.

After injecting or ingesting, my pain would go away! I felt like a normal person again! However, the effects never lasted long. Also, some of these drugs like SIMPONI and HUMIRA costs thousands just for one dose!

From the start, the specialists told me that there were some side effects but assured me that they would monitor me to prevent too much damage. Particularly of note was the lowering of my immune system and damage to my liver.

In fact, I was hospitalized once for a serious case of food poisoning which made me lose so much water that my blood pressure went way low!

Because I was concerned about the side effects, from the start I was doing more research and googling ways to reduce my inflammation naturally.

I started reading about diet and nutrition, started listening to all kinds of health-related podcasts, subscribed to a whole bunch of YouTube channels to watch documentaries and lectures on the latest research, even started reading journal articles voluntarily for the first time in my Uni days!

All this lead me to start experimenting with ‘controllable factors’ in my recovery such as changing my diet and biohacking every aspect of my life.

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Healing Interventions

 A. Diet/Nutrition

“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” 
Ayurvedic Proverb

Before all this I was a sportsmen for almost a decade.

Since the age of 13, I lived, breathed and even dreamed about Sprint Kayaking. So most of my dietary knowledge was geared towards an athlete’s requirements and I was basically another ‘sheep’ following the latest dietary trends and fads and hearsay from my friends and coaches.

canoeing

I only really cared about getting enough protein and energy to fuel my athletic needs. My diet wasn’t that bad as I knew to avoid eating the dangerous stuff like deep-fried foods or too much deserts and processed foods too often. I wasn’t really eating because I enjoyed food but rather stuffing my face with lots of rice and meat and vegetables because there wasn’t any other choice.

Still, I was also taking a lot of supplements such as mass gainers, casein, protein powders, amino acids and recovery drinks. (The Naturopaths I’ve seen all agree that those supplements may have played a major role in the development of my autoimmune disorder)

However, that all changed when I was forced to retire from my sport as the injuries kept building up (see My Story 1992-2015).

With more than 3 hours of free time each day because I did not have anymore training commitments, I started doing a lot of research on nutrition, reading journals and even buying books. Consequently, I began experimenting on various diets to try and reduce the inflammation in my system.

As far as I can remember, this is a list of the ‘diets’ I’ve tried listed chronologically:

  1. The Bulletproof Diet (end 2015)
    • learnt a great deal about the ‘science’ of eating, about choosing quality food and questioning where the food came from, what the animal ate and how the animal lived
    • started going organic, cutting out processed ‘convenience’ foods, eating less refined ‘white’ foods, choosing free-range, grass-fed, pasture-raised and wild-caught meat and seafood
  2. Ketogenic Diet (early 2016)
    • heard about this from the Bulletproof Radio podcast and its anti-inflammatory effects and started trying this together with medication to help ‘boost’ my healing
  3. Cyclic-ketogenic (mid 2016)
    • Stuck with a version of this for about 2+ years as I felt really good on this.
    • Like taking the best of the first 2 diets and tweaking it to suit me. It did reduce inflammation to a certain extent but not enough to make a big difference. Improved energy, mental performance and body composition certainly.
  4. Elimination Diet (end 2016, early 2017)
    • AutoImmune Protocol (AIP) – tried this for quite some time (>6 months)
    • Good to eliminate and reintroduce foods one by one but after awhile it was so restrictive that I gave up
    • Went back to cyclic-keto but took the lessons I learnt from this
  5. The Wise Traditions Diet (Weston A. Price) (mid 2017)
    • Shortly after, I found out about the Weston A. Price foundation and delved very deep into the nutritional information according to the traditional practices of our ancestors
    • I still continue to learn from them and truly believe that hundreds and thousands of years of traditional dietary wisdom (from generations of experience) should not be ignored and that there is still much we can learn from our ancestors.
    • I learned to make sourdough, kombucha, sauerkraut, bone broth and started eating more organ meats as well as lots of veggies and I felt great on this way of eating!
    • But then I went off my meds and had multiple flare ups. This diet did not do much for pain/inflammation relief
  6. Fasting (mid 2017)
    • Going cold turkey off my meds, I  was pretty much bedridden from the extreme joint pain in my foot
    • I decided to try fasting after reading about its amazing anti-inflammatory abilities
    • I started gradually and slowly built-up the days with days of rest in-between
      • In total I did 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 14 and a 16 day fast
      • Most were water-fasts, one juice fast and a couple of bone broth fasts
    • Fasting was really effective! By the second day, my pain would be 50% lesser! However it was very stressful for the body too and I lost a lot of weight and muscle.
    • My goal was to build up to 21 days as I read a study of how people with autoimmune disorders achieved remission with an average of 21 days of water fasting.
    • However by the 14th day, my stomach was growling. On the 15th, it growled non-stop the whole day! So I broke fast on the 16th and have not done any more long fasts like that since.
    • My inflammation went down a little but at the end of it all, was still in the 80s range.
    • I went back to the Wise Traditions diet (2017) and for two-weeks also followed the Wahl’s Protocol
  7. Vegan / Vegetarian (since Nov 2017)
      • This is still my current diet and apparently the most potent one to date for reducing inflammation
      • This was the only diet I did not try. I certainly did not think that reducing my meat intake would lead to significant improvements with inflammation!
      • In 3 months, this diet, together with herbal supplements from my Naturopath and a spiritual transformation (details below) has ‘healed’ me! 😁 
      • When I find the time, I will be writing a more detailed post on my current diet!

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B. Naturopathy & Herbal Medicine

One of the most significant aspects of my healing is my decision to consult an experienced Naturopath and Medical Herbalist in Singapore – Dr. Sebastian Liew.

It started as a need to fulfil a prerequisite of shadowing an ND for my Naturopathic degree I wanted to pursue. I thought I might as well consult him for my condition since I would be seeing him very regularly. This has been the best healthcare decision I’ve ever made.

Dr. Sebastian has been instrumental in my healing.

Firstly, he convinced me to go off my painkillers, taking them only when it was absolutely unbearable. I soon realized that it was my fear of the pain that kept me taking those painkillers. That it was never really unbearable.

I have never taken those painkillers since!

Secondly, his healing protocol was an eye-opening experience. It was as personalized as can be and as gentle as possible such that the main goal of healing was always prioritized. For example, to start off, I was instructed to fast. However, it was a new way of fasting that was much less stressful on my body as compared to the water fasts I had been on previously!

The medication he prescribed for me consisted mostly of herbal tincture and supplements from whole food sources such as freeze-dried powder extracts. I believe they were instrumental in healing my ‘leaky gut’ and reducing my inflammation overall too.

Regarding diet, he was convinced me to try a vegan diet for the first 6 weeks before slowly transitioning to the vegetarian diet I am on today. At first, I thought it would be hard giving up animal products but I soon realized I did not have a craving or need for it. In fact, my body felt cleaner and healthier with each week that passed.

Lastly, he has been a huge influence spiritually as well. It was a nice coincidence to find out he is a catholic and since meeting him, I have learnt a great deal more about my faith. So much so that I eventually requested to be his Godson because my past Godfathers have never fulfilled their roles.

To sum it up, the naturopathic approach to healing is very holistic and aims to address the root cause of the problem. Every aspect of life and healing is addressed from one’s diet to lifestyle, emotional and mental state, relationships and environment. This is a stark contrast from specialists and general practitioners who may just focus on relieving symptoms of pain but do not address the causes of the pain to prevent it from recurring.

I highly recommend seeing an experienced Naturopath like Dr. Sebastian, not just for when you are sick but also when you are healthy. One of the naturopathic principles is a focus on prevention and education so you will definitely take away a lot of useful, healthful and practical knowledge!

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C. Biohacking and Lifestyle Modification

Besides upheaving my diet and educating myself about nutrition, I also learnt a great deal about the new ‘biohacking’ movement and implemented many lifestyle changes into my life.

I have to attribute this to the discovery of Dave Asprey and his Bulletproof Diet brand and company. He was my first influence on biohacking. Today, I still listen to his podcasts and practice many of his biohacks for improving mental and physical performance.

Detailed below are the major ones that have made an impact and which I still practice daily.

1. Sunlight

  • 1st thing in the morning. I almost never fail to catch the sun rise.
  • I try to get as much as possible, of course never to the point of getting sun burnt
  • this habit has improved my circadian rhythm tremendously and I feel much more energized on days I get the sun

2. Sleep

  • along with the sunlight routine, I try to create a sleep sanctuary in my room and practice sleep hygiene
  • blackout curtains so that the room is pitch black
  • pin-drop silence
  • low temperatures
  • minimal electromagnetic radiation (emf), minimal switches on
  • still working on being disciplined enough to sleep by 9pm

3. Earthing

  • pretty much the only footwear I wear are Earth Runners!
  • they allow me to “ground” or “earth” wherever I go. This is akin to walking barefoot on the ground where the negative ions from the earth’s surface can be transmitted to your body
  • I also stand barefoot on the dew-soaked grass every morning while savouring the sunrise
  • learn more about the healing benefits of Earthing here

4. Physical Activity

  • I strive to stay as active and mobile as possible throughout the day
  • right from the moment I wake up, I do some yogic stretching and active mobility
  • during the day, I incorporate more movement by standing while doing my work (at home), taking ‘movement study breaks’ in school, jogging to school instead of taking the bus, etc
  • I will write more about this ancestral approach to exercise but I highly recommend checking out Ido Portal and the whole “movement culture” his has started

5. Going Natural

    • this is just a broad category of biohacks or lifestyle modifications
    • eating freshly prepared and cooked foods rather than artificial ‘processed convenience foods’ as much as possible
    • reading labels and avoiding preservatives and additives
    • using a stainless steel bottle instead of a plastic one
    • avoiding plastic utensils and containers, especially when liquids and heat is involved like plastic kettles
    • avoiding nonstick pans, mostly cooking in stainless steel
    • being wary of what I put on my skin as the chemicals are absorbed directly into our blood underneath the skin. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) consumer guides for product safety is very useful for discerning

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6. Journaling

This has been an important avenue helping me cope with my darkest of days. I find that when I take time to put my thoughts on paper, I tend to slow my overactive monkey mind down and think clearer. I gain insights from the reflective journaling process and there is something magical about it.

Additionally, I use the journal to record important daily events, track and quantify data I want to remember as well as make plans for the future.

This invaluable habit has become an indispensable part of my life and I strongly recommend you start one as well.

Journalling can be very simple! The 5-minute journal and The Bullet Journal are some good places to start.

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7. Meditation

These days almost everyone will tell you of the benefits of meditation.

“It calms your monkey mind!”

“It’s like going to the gym for your brain.”

I figured it there was no harm trying so I jumped onto the meditation bandwagon 3 years ago and have not stopped ever since!

Here are a few of the more impactful meditation methods I’ve tried and still practice as well as the benefits I’ve accrued:

  • Simple breath-focused meditation
    I started with just closing my eyes and focusing my attention on my breathing. Kinda like what yoga instructors would do at the end of each yoga session to help you relax. I found that focusing on my exhales and imagining my “shoulders slump” and every muscle in my body going limp really helped with calming me down and to a small extent, helped with pain management.
    I still do this to fall asleep every night and it works like magic!
  • Mantra Meditation
    This involves repeating a word(s) of your choice with the rhythm of your breaths. It can be words like “ॐ” (om) or “Love” or “wisdom” or any other virtue you’d like to express more in your life.
    Personally, enjoyed the Christian Contemplative ones and repeating virtues I needed most at that point of my life such as “patience”.
  • Wim Hof breath-hold meditation
    I was introduced to this form of meditation after listening to a podcast on this fascinating man. He truly is superhuman!
    I was mainly interested in Wim Hof’s claims that anyone can learn to control their Immune system through conscious control of their autonomic nervous system via his meditation method.
    So for quite a number of months, I was practicing this daily.
    I find it is also very good as a form of meditation for the mind because as you focus on your breathing and breath-holds, you naturally tend to calm your mind down. Mentally, after 3 or 4 cycles, it feels as if I’ve been meditation for an hour using the previous methods!
  • The Rosary
    This is a form of Christian meditation where you repeat prayers and meditate on the life events of Jesus Christ and Mary.
    It is like a combination of the Mantra and Visualization methods above and one would use Rosary beads to help keep track of the prayers you’ve said.
    Each round of the beads takes an average of 15 minutes if I say it in my head.
    It consists of 4 Mysteries (4 rounds of the beads).
    The Joyful mysteries help us recall the mysterious events surrounding the birth of Jesus and his childhood.
    The Sorrowful mysteries recall the suffering, passion and death of Jesus.
    The Glorious mysteries focus on the events after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, as well as Mary’s assumption to heaven and coronation.
    The Luminous mysteries focus on the ministry of Jesus during his 3 years of preaching.
    I used to say one Rosary lying in bed each night to help me fall asleep. It keeps my mind off the distracting thoughts that would otherwise keep me awake.
    However, after a spiritual experience (detailed below), I became very devoted to this practice and now say it 3 times a day, whenever I can find the time, such as during my commute to school.
    I guess you could call it a form of ‘moving meditation’ because I would normally say it in my head as I walk or jog.
    Benefits wise, besides those mentioned above, there has been an extremely surprising side effect from saying the Rosary – my heart is filled with pure Joy, bliss, contentment and satisfaction!
    Its as if my new normal baseline state of being is akin to this “Heaven on Earth” feeling.
    Of course, life still throws you all kinds of challenges and setbacks and being human, I still get worried, fearful and/or stressed.
    However, all I need to do to “reset” is to retreat into prayer, go to church or say the rosary and I am quickly free of the chains of these tormenting emotions!

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D. A Spiritual Awakening and Healing

As much as I like to attribute my healing to nutrition, biohacking, lifestyle changes and herbal supplements, I also have to acknowledge that there was a spiritual side of it all.

In fact, I think my spiritual healing was the main driving force and that the physical healing was a ‘side-effect’ of my spiritual healing. 

It kinda feels like I was healed spiritually first,
then emotionally and mentally,
and finally … physically!

The events that led up to my very first true Spiritual experience are too numerous for me to include in this post and I’m already finding it hard to keep this one condensed. So I will just focus on the “BIG BANG” that catalysed my rapid and somewhat miraculous healing!

face of God

On 9th December 2017, after the 1st reading of the sunset mass, I saw a ‘face’ on the projector screen. It wasn’t a full face but rather like half of it and it was as if the shadows cast on the blank screen formed the face.

I was staring at it for quite some time and trying to figure out where and what was causing these shadows for it really was a very distinct face! Eventually it disappeared though.

The next and probably most significant event that happened during that mass happened after receiving holy communion. In my mind, I could not think of any words to pray!

It was as if my mind became a ‘blank screen’ like a handphone screen when it has run out of battery.

Then the tears came. 

At first it was just a trickle. I was shocked and wondered why I was crying?? I certainly did not feel any sadness or any other emotion for that matter. In embarrassment, I hastily wiped those tears away.

Soon that trickle started to flow like a spring.

Then a fountain.

Then a river.

And eventually it felt like a waterfall of tears and snort!

It was utterly uncontrollable and despite 3 years of meditation practice, all the deep breathing and calming techniques I learnt and tried was useless!

In embarrassment, I could only cover my face with my hands and follow the rest of the mass. Standing when everyone stood and sitting when they sat. All the while sobbing and weeping and shaking uncontrollably… I dared not open my eyes too, for fear of a tsunami of tears pouring out!

It must have looked like a nervous breakdown and my mother even had her arm around my shoulder!

Eventually, after 20 or 30 minutes, the tears started to subside and I could breathe normally again. When I finally managed to open my eyes and look around, the church hall was empty!

After some reflection, I realized what might have caused those tears.

As I was queuing up to receive the Body of Christ, I remember subconsciously thinking to myself, “Jesus, come into me. Jesus, come into me”.

And when I sat down and tried to pray, even though I could not think of any words to say in my head, I felt like the tears were a form of prayer. Like I was praying with my emotions.

Also, I think the real reason why I weeped was because I felt a tiny bit of a tiny bit of Jesus’ suffering. Even this tiny bit was too much for my soul to handle and it manifested as those tears and uncontrollable weeping.

Since then, there have been numerous occasions when I started to cry and weep due to ‘holy’ reasons or places or when I just get randomly “touched” by the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, it does not happen in every mass as I’d prefer to avoid creating a scene.

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The Effects

I have consulted with a number of people and most have come to the conclusion that what happened that day was the work of the Holy Spirit. And truly, it does feel like I have been ‘touched’ by this Holy Spirit.

It sort of feels like a “second Baptism”, except without water but by the Holy Spirit.

Since then, I have begun to experience certain phenomena both within myself and around me, of which I cannot explain why I feel/act the way I do now other than that it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

1. Spiritually – Zeal for God

Ever since that experience, for no reason in particular, I feel like praying all the time!

I pray for everyone and everything, even seemingly inanimate objects like a door which was spoiled. (Interestingly, the next day someone decided to fix it! Felix and I were overjoyed that our prayer worked and in such funny ways as the guy who fixed it was the last person in our minds who would do such a thing!😂)

Most of the time my prayers are thanksgiving prayers. However, I also enjoy praying for every single person on the streets that I pass. Especially those who look troubled.

Its remarkable how I suddenly felt so much fervor to pray.

I even started saying the Rosary 3 times a day. (a form of christian meditation that utilizes repeated prayers and visualization of the events revolving Christ’s life and Mary’s involvement)

At the start, I would say all 3 Mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious) at one go in the morning. This would take me 3 hours as I said it out loud and on my knees! These days I still say all 3 but on my walks to school and back.

I also find myself especially drawn-to and attracted to Churches and Holy Places. In fact, I started being able to feel how ‘holy’ a place is and there have been places like St. Peter’s church in Melaka which felt so holy that I just felt compelled to make the sign of the cross the moment I stepped into the church compounds! (and this was outside the church hall at the carpark of all places!)

St. Peter's Church Melaka
St. Peter’s Church in Melaka, Malaysia – the oldest functioning Roman Catholic Church in Malaysia!

Sometimes, I also kinda feel the Holy Spirit working in some people. Or see its works in the actions of others. They just seem blessed. There is a kind of sparkle to their eyes. A special crease in their smiles. A soft skip in their steps and tune to their voice.

Conversely, there are others who seem lost and overwhelmed by the darkness within their hearts. I often feel helpless and pray for them all the more.

Without getting too lengthy, below is a summary of the rest of these ‘Spiritual Effects’

  • composing poems and songs when I could not sleep
  • inspired to write spirituality-related blog posts
  • feeling like going for daily mass, novenas, station of the cross, confessions
  • listening to catholic hymns and christian songs and just getting back to the habit of listening to music really.
    For many years I’ve stopped enjoying music, preferring to listen to podcasts instead as I thought it was a more productive use of time.
    I might have become too “intellectualized” and neglected the ‘human’ side of my brain for the past 3 years! Music is one of those areas.
  • feeling like collecting and wearing christian artifacts like the cross and rosaries
  • favourite place to shop for christmas gifts was at the church bookstore
  • feel like shouting and singing the Lord’s praises all the time! Wish I was like an “Angel on Earth” and able to do that all day haha. But I am rather shy.
  • collecting impactful quotes from the bible in a mini book of quotes my God father gave me
  • finding a new Godfather!
  • Social circle: it feels as if my social circle has expanded exponentially since that event. I’ve made more friends in the last 3 months than I have in the last 3 years!  And I feel like most of these new friends will be lifelong ones too.
    Part of it is also due to me suddenly becoming very sociable and open as opposed to my former introverted and reserved self!
  • Volunteering: I finally decided to volunteer my time at church and joined the wardens. Soon, I decided to join the Willing Hands church cleaning group too because I was free. Now in Auckland, I volunteer for whatever group I can, whenever I can!
  • Visions: sometimes I get visions. It’s hard to explain but they come in different forms and sometimes I wonder if it is just my own imagination!
  • Signs from God: More and more I realize things happen for a reason. And that I don’t believe in coincidence or luck anymore. It is as if it was all pre-planned and so I just have faith and trust in wherever that leads me. I guess this is more of being intune with what happens to you and always asking yourself if it was meant to be or did this happen for a reason?

2. Emotionally – “Heaven on Earth”

Most days I feel worry-free, burdenless, blissful, joyful and content. As if I am already in “heaven on earth”! I attribute this to the rosaries I say each day. Or maybe it is just a mindset that you can think yourself into believing? 🤔

3. Socially

After that spiritual experience, I felt an urge to meet up with ‘long lost friends’ and an even greater urge to reconcile with past friendships that did not end very well. To “tie up loose-strings” and “mend broken bridges” so to speak.

I guess the biggest factor that this ‘spiritual awakening’ has had on me is the change in mindset or mental state. Being ‘liberated’ from all worry, stress or fear and feeling like ‘heaven on earth’ might have been the trigger that spurred on the accelerated healing of my body.

We all know how powerful our minds and thoughts can be. To the extent that they affect our physiology (the way our bodies work). Thus this spiritual healing could have been the missing component of my healing process throughout my three years of agony. 

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Conclusion

It has been a long 3 years of suffering and agony and in a matter of 3 months, things have taken such a dramatic turn that I am still ‘stunned’ by it all. From being bedridden to barely being able to walk without painkillers to finally being completely pain-free and now running 2.5km to and from school everyday! Not forgetting a transformative spiritual awakening and discovering my passion, calling and purpose in life!

I have had lots of time to reflect on this whole experience and here are my biggest takeaways:

  1. All my health problems wouldn’t have happened if I had just listened to my body and given it the rest it needed to recover in the first place (see My Story for details)
  2. Often in life, everything happens for a reason and I believe all my past experiences have brought me to where I am today; made me who I am today.
    It has blessed me with my current passion for natural therapies, made me pursue it formally as a degree, allowed me to really empathize with those still suffering and given me a calling to pursue professionally for the future.
  3. True healing is so multifactorial and really requires a holistic approach to treatment where every aspect and influence on the individual is considered. Including spiritual.

This further reinforces my motivation to study hard and be the best Naturopathic doctor I can be as I truly believe in the principles of Naturopathy and holistic healing now that I’ve personally gone through it.

Presently, I would not say I am completely cured, just in remission.

I know if I stray from this path of a balanced healthy lifestyle, my symptoms will return. Having said that, I am truly grateful for all that has happened to me and I guess I wouldn’t have had it any other way – I wouldn’t appreciate the vibrance of health I have now as much had I not experienced the depths of disease.

I hope my story inspires you to take care of your health.

For health truly is one of our greatest wealth.

To your health,

Jahn

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One thought on “HEALED AT LAST! (My Autoimmune Healing Story)

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