The bitter breeze stung my checks, causing my eyes to water, which in turn caused my nose to itch and run. I exhaled a deep breath, the steam freezing on my eyebrows. Everywhere I looked there was snow. A huge white blanket of the stuff was all around me. I had to keep moving. Each step sent muscle spasms up my legs. Trudging around in snow up to the knees was for the young. So, why was I here?
The circumstances we find ourselves in at any given moment can sometimes seem like a message. Overwhelming odds can become major life achievements once the obstacles are overcome. Many people choose natural means to help them through an obstacle that presents itself as an illness or disease process, many times when they feel that their medical doctor has “failed” them. I have read many stories about how people became “healed” through the use of natural health. This story isn’t about how I have healed my life through natural health. Instead, I am going to tell you about a little journey, and a little about myself along the way.
As my title notes, I am a Naturopathic Doctor and Registered Nurse. I seemed to be a compassionate and caring person throughout my youth, and wanted a career in which I could help people. At the time, becoming a nurse was the only way I knew to help people. I went to nursing school believing that I would be able to help people.
While still in nursing school, however, I reached my point in the crossroads. The asthma that I had since puberty was no longer under control, so I was forced to take prednisone—a steroid medication—daily. I knew this was not good to do for any length of time. Without going into boring details, I discovered that my recurrent sinus infections were contributing to the attacks, so I was scheduled for sinus surgery. The surgery was a success in that the asthma went back under control, but the sinuses were worse than before the surgery. A year later, I was back on the operating table for the surgery again. During my follow-up visit a week later, I asked the surgeon about my future with these sinuses. He said I would probably have to have surgery every year and be on antibiotics continuously until I died, indicating that I would have a much shorter life-span because of the infections. You see, the reason I had to have the second sinus surgery was that the organism causing the infection after the first surgery was introduced into my sinuses in the operating room—it was a hospital-based multi-drug resistant bacteria. The surgeon said the day would come when there wouldn’t be an antibiotic to kill the bacteria in my sinuses.
This was a pivotal time in my life. I instantly became fed-up with the medical system. I refused to believe or accept that there were no options, that my future was set as described by the surgeon. I therefore began studying about vitamins, minerals, and herbs, seeing a whole new world of healing that was untouched by medicine. I was a senior in nursing school, and realized I didn’t want to work in the medical system. I began to wonder if all my patients were going to be on medications for the rest of their lives, and if they would die because they were under medical care and believed what their MD or surgeon said. My friend said this was dangerous thinking, and figured I was just burned out because of all the studying and such. I decided to keep quiet; after all, graduation was only a couple of weeks away. But even after graduation, I didn’t want to work in the “disease industry,” as I came to call it. I applied for a job all over the area wherever I thought prevention was the focus. Unfortunately, there were very few places where prevention was practiced. So, I wound up working at a nursing home to pay the bills.
I began to increase my studying of natural health, and again began questioning medical decisions. I also learned that a nurse could not be caring and compassionate, two things that I was. Nurses were supposed to dispense pills and treatments to patients, and do paperwork. In the end, that was what I did. The supervisors and other staff actually discouraged me from talking to my patients other than to tell them something technical or routine, like “here’s your medication.” I felt like an automaton, doing the same routine day-after-day. I had to leave my heart at home.
Then one day one of my co-workers said that her doctor put her on a medication for her high blood pressure, and that she would be on it for the rest of her life now. I asked her why she needed to take it forever, why not just fix the problem and be done with it? Well, it made sense to me. But to her and the others that were nearby, it didn’t make sense, and from that point on I was ridiculed for my beliefs. In a way, it opened my eyes too. Medications did not fix anything.
Medications just covered up something that was wrong. And some of the medications that I was giving my patients were given to cover up the side effects of another medication. I looked through the drug book and found that medications inhibited natural processes in the body, thereby stopping a symptom. Did this mean the problem was fixed?
Working at a nursing home was not what I wanted for my career, so I went to work at the hospital, thinking that in acute care, medications and medical treatments were used as they were supposed to be—for life-threatening situations. I chose the cardiac floor over the cancer floor, as I felt that patients with heart problems were more acute than those with cancer. Soon, however, I found that most of my patients have been on medications for a good part of their lives, and that their conditions, aside from a new heart attack, were chronic (on-going and long term). Again I was seeing the use of medications to cover up symptoms of a person’s illness or disease process. And several of my patients were admitted either for the side effects of a medication, or the interactions between two or more medications. I found myself wondering what the source of their problem actually was, if it was something that could be corrected through the use of medications, or if there was something that could be corrected through other means. I began to think the latter, but lacked the knowledge about how to correct an underlying problem.
While working at the hospital, I was exposed to chiropractic care. A friend had long-term back pain, and began seeing a chiropractor. I went with for the first visit, and was very surprised about what I had learned. In nursing school, I had learned a little about chiropractic, when we discussed quackery, but had never listened to what a chiropractor had to say. Suddenly, my mind began to grow in its thinking. I too began chiropractic care after a while, and learned about how the body is designed to heal itself. Sometimes it requires tools to aid itself, as when the body becomes worn out and needs a little help—this is where natural means come into play, as natural care encourages the body’s natural healing abilities; it doesn’t suppress them. My learning grew immeasurably, and I found myself looking at illnesses and diseases in a different light.
I went back to the books and began to study how the body is supposed to work, when all is right. Diseases and illnesses occur when something is wrong. Therefore, if the imbalance could be corrected, then there would be no need for medications, as there would be nothing wrong. These thoughts caused great conflict within; working in the medical profession was causing, in a way, a moral dilemma. I began to struggle with giving medications to my patients, feeling like I was hurting them by doing so. After working in the hospital 1 ½ years, I had to quit. Deep inside, I felt I could no longer hurt them (patients). There was a time for medications and surgery—they were both necessary; but I felt I needed to first consider natural means to assist the body in its healing if it was possible.
Two months before I gave my notice to my supervisor at the hospital, I enrolled in a Doctorate Program for natural health. I had made my choice for my future career. Since in my heart I wanted to help people, I felt that going after the source of their complaints was the best way, and to assist their bodies with that healing. I had learned the value of medicine; it was now time to learn about natural health and natural medicines.
It was kind of odd that at this point, I had not looked at healing myself with natural health. I hated being on medications, but didn’t think about myself, aside from being under chiropractic care. I sought the care of a Naturopathic Doctor, and began to heal the deep wounds within. I had always suspected a link between my sinus infection, my sex hormones, and my asthma despite the number of physicians who had told me there was no connection. With the decline in my health status since puberty, I knew I had to find a way to turn things around or there would be no tomorrow for me someday.
Through chiropractic care, I was able to stop using oral medications for asthma, and my asthma had been under better control than it had with oral medication. As my knowledge grew, I began to look first towards natural means for any imbalance, then medical second.
Then I hit a major bump in my path—more like a mountain—about four years ago. Despite chiropractic care and natural supplements, I developed and continued to have mid-back pain to the point where I was unable to function. Soon, the pain over-shadowed everything. I turned to my medical doctor, who prescribed pain medications. I was so pleased to have had this option (to cover up the pain), as I could not function with the amount of pain I was in. However, despite this care, I continued to have too many times of too much pain. Deep inside, I knew I was not healing because of an imbalance somewhere. So, I looked to my medical doctor again, and more tests to find the culprit. My pain was just a symptom, and would not go away until the imbalance was found. When no answers were found with her, I went to a special medical doctor who specialized in natural health. He performed his own tests, some that I never had done before; tests that attempted to find the source of the problem. For once, I felt like I was being heard.
Through all the tests, this new doctor could find no cause for the pain, but did find the damages caused by having too much pain all the time and the increases of life’s stresses: my adrenal glands were on the brink of failing, and my sex hormones were almost absent. The doctor was able to describe the link between my tests and the list of symptoms I was having. But the pain, the reason I sought such intensive care in the first place, would still remain for a time.
But I was lucky, in a way. Because I refused to believe that there was nothing that could be done for me (that I was to live with the pain and not have much of a life), I was able to find the answers to the imbalance within. Had I continued to take pain medications and attempted to live to the highest degree possible with that pain, my life would not have been productive or fun. I learned a valuable lesson: there are things that natural health can do that medical care cannot, and there are things that medical care can do that natural cannot.
In all the presentations I give on natural health, I always leave my audience with this message: if you want to change something about yourself, never stop looking until you find that one person, or that one thing, that can help you. You don’t have to suffer for the rest of your life. If you aren’t getting the care you need from the person you are seeing, then continue your search. I believe deeply that there is someone who can help everyone with whatever they need help with; all you have to do is believe and never give up. I have to remind myself of this as well.
Although my journey began about 11 years ago, seven years ago I followed my heart by dedicating my life to helping others through the use of and teaching about natural forms of healing. Had I not taken that first step on that path 11 years ago, the healing that has taken place within, and all those I have assisted today would not have been. I have seen the benefits of what medical science has done for people on an individual basis. There are times when the medical route is the only way to go—for a time. I sought the care of my medical doctor despite all that I have learned, and how deeply I believe in natural health. Sometimes there is no choice. My core belief however, is that natural health is a key to heal the underlying causes of illnesses and disease. Not every illness or disease can be healed, but I do believe that all can be prevented, or if caught early enough, can be stopped and healed. Illnesses cannot occur if the body is in balance.
Therefore, if you haven’t accepted that you have to live with the condition you have, continue your search for the person who can assist you with your healing. Keep an open mind, and an open heart, and the possibilities can be found at your crossroads in life.
The information provided in this article is for is teaching only, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any health condition. Should you have a health concern, please consult a health care practitioner for diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Ronda Behnke is a distinguished practitioner of Classical Homeopathy and Natural Healing methods. Amongst her clients, she is known for her exceptional insight and non-judgmental presence. You can contact Dr. Ronda via her website at http://www.DoctorRonda.com/ or by calling 920-321-0008. For a FREE healing guide, visit my website and select the “free articles and books” tab. When it’s time to heal, call me…I will listen to you.