I had a girl in the clinic today that has been fighting obscure weird pain for the last year. In May she found out the source – She has Lyme Disease.
By the way, That’s not why she came into the clinic, this isn’t a story about me treating Lyme. I don’t.
But it came up and it stinks and we discussed it for some time. Long bouts of fogginess, lack of motivation, extreme fatigue, pain, and just weird sensations. I don’t have this so I won’t even try to describe it to you but I know it sucks.
Her answer was, “Yeah, but at least I know what it is now.”
As in the diagnosis. She now has a name.
I get it, it’s nice to have a name to a mystery problem and I have been in that position before – lots of lab work and no one has a reason…you just want a name, a diagnosis.
But why? I mean really, I hear this daily…”Hey, doc, I finally found out what that shoulder deal was, that’s why I didn’t come back. I have tendonitis…” What? That’s why you stopped fixing it??
How does having the diagnosis change a thing? The answer is brutal. It doesn’t. She felt the exact same before she had the named diagnosis. It’s no help. UNLESS you use this as a first step, to make a change.
We ended up talking a lot and it boiled down to me telling her, “I’m ok with you using specialists, doctors, and support groups for this disease but ultimately, your job is to be a world-class Lyme professional. Yes, YOU. You need to run 1000’s experiments on yourself to see what works and what doesn’t. Diet would be my first step and when I mentioned this she agreed, going gluten-free has helped her. OK, that’s a start but there’s too much more. Gluten. Does it make a difference in the way she feels, yes? Now what? And after that…and then…? Forever. An ongoing experiment for the remainder of your life.
It’s overwhelming. This idea that a girl with basically no medical experience is supposed to become an expert. I could tell I pushed too hard. “I can’t do it,” she said. Well, she’s been feeling terrible for a year now. A YEAR! So I flipped it. It’s only overwhelming because she needs to feel fixed right now. But what if she had a year to get better? An entire year?
In a year I don’t want to recognize this girl. She has a year to make her life better. If she honestly gives herself the time, the pressure is off, and she can run countless experiments and gain insight into experiences. If she just wants to feel better tomorrow that’s tough. That’s very Low odds of success and the probability is too high for failure and just giving up.
I told her one of my clinical advice fallbacks. “If I had a year, I could get a deep tan, change my physical appearance and clothing, and grow a beard all while learning a new language complete with an authentic accent. I could be virtually unrecognizable to you if we met face to face.”
That’s how much can change when you give it time.
It’s true and this brings me to the Amazing story of Tommy T. His story is even better, he carved out of his life, 2 years! For Himself. He took the plunge and gave himself the time to make a gigantic impact.
Tom is a buddy of mine and a few years ago he dropped 400 pounds.
Yeah, you read that right. This dude lost 400 freaking pounds!!! He started at 630# and we ran a TOUGH MUDDER 2 years later. I’ve met a lot of people who have dropped weight – lots of yo-yos, up and downs, and a few that have kept it off. I’ve even met some that have kept 100# off. But 400? That’s world-class, elite 1%-ish incredible.
He quit his job, quit school, and focused on getting his life back. It has had the most amazing transformation on him and he is unrecognizable not just physically but as a man, His emotions, his brainpower, his positivity. He went from not getting off the couch to a tough mudder.
Insanity? No, quite the opposite in fact. He took the pressure off by becoming world-class in his own body. What exercise worked, what diet worked (“the slow carb diet” by Tim Ferriss for those of you wondering), mindsets, determination, and sheer willpower of just plain getting his ass out of bed and making something happen.
He had the help of course. Trainers, fellow weight loss guys, and guys like me found some level of motivation for him but in the end, it was 100% about him. If something sounded good he tried it, but if it didn’t work he threw it to the curb. He gave himself time AND became the expert.
Tommy T averaged 23 lbs a month weight loss every month for nearly 2 years. It never slowed down or became tougher, it just kept on going and going. Can you imagine if he would have listened to his doctors who told him one pound a week is standard and healthy…400 weeks! It’s way too daunting of a task. There has to be an easier way. There was and he had to take the Quixotesque task of finding his own way. The girl with Lyme…it’s the same thing. What works for you?
Please, I’m not telling you not to listen to your doctor, therapist, trainer, etc…just know that what they will share is advice for the masses and is a FIRST STEP, not the solution. Solutions don’t come in one-sentence answers.
In fact, even knowing the answer isn’t even the fix. No! The fix is in doing it.
Do you have something that would make you better? Make yourself world-class in what works for you. Pay attention, your body and brain are remarkable at speaking to you, they just don’t do it in plain English and one-sentence quips.
You can change everything!