What’s the Root Cause?
I’ve found myself asking this question a lot lately. Do you ever stop and ask yourself this question? And if you don’t, then WHY NOT?
Oops, sorry about yelling there.
I have had a lot of discussions over the past few weeks with people that are experiencing a variety of symptoms. Whenever they start to describe their situation, I find myself dying to jump in with the question “what do you think the root cause is?”, and often I do. Some people respond with potential answers, indicating clearly that they’ve thought about the question before, while others blindly stare with a look of “what you talkin’ ‘bout Willis?” (that’s only funny if you remember Gary Coleman from Different Strokes, a sitcom from the 80’s), and still others say something along the lines of “I asked my doctor and he said that we don’t know what causes the particular condition.”
Personally, I believe that there’s a root cause behind almost everything, and if we take the time to figure it out, we can deal with it once and for all. Admittedly, it can take a lot of effort and use of your best problem solving skills, but in the end it’s worth the effort. Anyone who’s ever figured out the real reason why their roof is leaking, or why their grass seems to die every year knows exactly what I’m talking about.
I’ve been asking this question of myself for over five years, and I really hope you’ll start asking this question on a regular basis yourself. When I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2008, I asked the question “what’s the root cause?” The answer I got from my rheumatologist was simply “we don’t know”, followed by “what we do know is that we need to treat it aggressively with a drug cocktail to prevent the spread of the condition”. I asked if diet was a contributor, and was told that it was not.
I actually accepted that for a while, but after a few ups and downs with treatment, I started asking myself the question over and over again. And I also started talking about it and doing a lot of research. I found research linking diet to various conditions. I found research linking genetically modified food to conditions. I found research linking our spiritual and emotional state of mind to various conditions. I found tons of research linking various types of stress to many conditions. And that’s just a small sampling of what I uncovered.
Part of me got frustrated with my doctor, but another part of me took a compassionate side as well. When I asked my doctor about the root cause, the truth from her perspective is that we simply don’t know what the clearly defined root causes of many conditions are. Even though symptoms show up somewhat similarly across many patients, the backgrounds of the patients aren’t consistent, and there isn’t an obvious conclusion to what causes the condition. Given this conundrum, doctors are left with the approach of masking the symptoms, and this is usually handled with prescription medications.
While I understand the doctor’s perspective, I no longer accept the point that we don’t know what the root causes of conditions are. As I said, I believe that there’s a root cause (or combination of causes) for everything, and the challenge is to put on the detective hat and figure out what the root cause is …. for YOU! It’s not the same for everyone. I have been treated a few different ways for my condition of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), including prescription drugs and alternative methods of treatment. What I have noticed over the years is that the symptoms have changed. The symptoms are presenting themselves differently now from when I was first diagnosed, but the diagnosis is the same.
Personally, I’m continuing my journey and I’m continuing my detective work. I have made great progress in many areas and my condition is improving. I have discovered a few contributors to the root cause of my condition, and my sleuth hat is still sitting firmly atop my bald head.
About a month ago, I shared part of my story on the LinkedIn social network, publicly admitting to my business network that I was working through a healing journey from an RA diagnosis. Within 3 days, four people responded asking if I had checked out the book “Wheat Belly” as it talked about the link between wheat and arthritis. When signs like that come at me, I sit back and listen. I had heard about this book a few years ago, but at the time I considered this a diet book and resisted buying it. What I found when I read the book was that there were a whole bunch of anecdotal stories of people healing from a plethora of conditions by simply eliminating wheat from their diet (and replacing it with good alternatives). There were also lots of references to scientific studies to support the beliefs being represented in the book.
While I have often believed that diet is a huge contributor to our health and wellness, this book caused a subtle shift in my beliefs and I came away with “what have I got to lose?” So I’m following the recommendations from the book for 3 months and monitoring the results. This may end up making a really big difference for me, and it may not. I’m okay with the results either way, because the point is I will have taken action and decided if this makes a difference …. for ME. I’m not going to put my sleuth hat away, I believe that there is a root cause and I believe that I will find it. I won’t give up hope.
My wish is that you don’t ever give up hope either, and my wish is that you step back and ask yourself this question whenever something in your life gets just a bit out of balance. Will you do it? If not, WHY NOT! Oops, yelling again, sorry about that.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section below.
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