Plagued by debilitating body pain, daily migraines, nausea, and chronic fatigue, Razi Berry felt her successful life unwinding. Bounced between different medical professionals she struggled to find the right treatment. Neither pain pills or antibiotics were producing results. Fortunately, Razi decided to take her health into her own hands, and began treatment with a licensed naturopathic doctor. Fast-forward fifteen years, and Razi is not only leading her best life, but has become an advocate for naturopathic care and medicine. Proud mom of two daughters, Razi is also the lead mind behind successful websites the NaturalPath, Naturopathic Doctor News and Review, and podcast Love is Medicine. Discover her journey to health here.
My Healing Journey
Fifteen years ago, I was young, single and had quite a lucrative career. I had the freedom to enjoy life. I was living the good life and was working towards even bigger dreams. For me, those dreams were of getting married, starting a family and setting off into the sunset to live happily ever after. I had my dreams. I had my health.
Until one day, I didn’t.
I began to experience debilitating body pain, daily migraines, nausea, and chronic fatigue. I felt like a windup doll that always needed winding. Despite the fatigue, I had a terrible time falling asleep and an even harder time staying asleep. I would become forgetful, and even anxious. Each time I went to my doctor he told me I had a “bug” and would prescribe antibiotics. I had to badger my doctor to look deeper, and he would just scratch his head and offer another prescription.
I went from specialist to specialist who would only look respectively at his or her area of practice. The neurologist, for example, would attempt to treat my migraines, which affected my vision and were accompanied by nausea and body pain. He explained that the headaches could in no way be related to my other symptoms. A GI specialist would attempt to treat my nausea but said my body pain and headaches were not related. An endocrinologist looked at my hormones and told me I would probably never conceive, but couldn’t say why I was so out of balance or what I could do to fix it. Finally, a rheumatologist suggested a cocktail of pain medication, and that I should fill out the necessary forms for disability insurance.
Sometimes the pain was so bad that I remember crawling across my bedroom floor to go to the bathroom. I looked at the prescriptions and just cried. I had a successful career as a realtor selling new construction, and I had to take a leave of absence from my job.
I made an appointment at a very large and very famous clinic that is known for its team approach to medicine. I was sure I would finally get the answers! But it was more of the same. Each specialist looked at their respective focus areas as if my body was a collection of disjointed parts (a brain, some ovaries, a thyroid…) without looking at how they worked together. They prescribed heart meds for my migraines, antidepressants for my pain, sleeping pills for my anxiety. None of this worked, and much of it I refused. I didn’t want to take pain medication; I wanted to heal the pain. To take something to sleep, something else to wake up and something else to get through the day was not what I wanted my life to look like. Then my hair started falling out. So when I refused most of the band-aids they offered, their suggestion was that I needed a psychiatrist. If they couldn’t help me, it must all be in my head.
I was distraught. No one was really looking at me, or listening to me.
I told my case manager and internist, “Okay, fine, I’ll take some pain medication if you promise to look deeper and find the cause.”
She looked at me wistfully and said, “You know, the pain medication won’t help because it’s in your head, not in your body.”
I was incensed.
That did it. I got up silently and I left to find my own answers. I waited until I got to my car to cry.
Some days I threw up every time I ate. Some days the pain made me walk with a limp. Some days the migraines felt like a train going through my left eye, taking my vision with it. They were so frequent, so crippling and so unexpected, that I could no longer even drive a car.
I was 25-years-old. This illness was affecting my job, my relationships, my very future. I had dreams. Disability wasn’t one of them.
I was resolved to take my health into my own hands.
Walking the Natural Path
My first visit to a naturopathic doctor was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. First, I was told that I wasn’t crazy. That my symptoms were real, and that it couldn’t be in my head because the mind and body are connected. My first visit lasted longer than an hour.
In addition to the regular health and family history, my naturopathic doctor asked me questions no other doctor had ever asked before:
Questions about my eating habits, exercise routines, places of work, any possible chemical exposures, use of pesticides, type of household and body care products, my relationships, my sleep patterns, my sources of stress… and more. In just that first visit, we had put together a plan to further discover the causative factors and remove the obstacles to cure.
This is where my healing began. And I want to share this healing with you.
Today I am healthy and thriving! My amazing recovery led me to create resources to promote the principles of naturopathic medicine so that more people can experience the healing power of nature. I overcame the pain of fibromyalgia, infertility, and chronic fatigue and now I have two healthy daughters. Without vibrant health, you cannot live your dreams.
This story was originally published on the Natural Path and has been reposted with permission.
Razi Ann Berry is the host of the Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and publisher of the award-winning journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, The International Journal of Naturopathic Medicine and preventive health resource NaturalPath. Her personal journey from illness to health was the catalyst to a career as an advocate in the field of naturopathic medicine. She has spent the last decade educating people to live healthier more purposeful lives through publications that bring together leaders in natural and preventive medicine, as well as empowering millions of people to embrace the philosophy that “Prevention is the Best Cure.”
INM's team is made up of naturopathic doctors and health journalists.