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Joanne Pizzino, MD, MPH, is board-certified in both Preventive Medicine and Integrative Medicine. She is currently transitioning to telemedicine to allow you to be seen via video conference from the comfort of your home or workplace. Visit https://www.  for a free consultation to learn more about our functional medicine and telemedicine services to help you heal chronic disease. To learn more about functionalmMedicine healing visit our YouTube videos by typing: Whole Health Solutions Cary into the YouTube search engine

Why Do You Want to Be Well?

By Joanne Pizzino, MD, MPH
Medical Editor of Health&Healing

Dr. Pizzino

When it comes to acute injury or illness, the Western scientific model practiced by allopathic physicians (MDs) and osteopathic physicians (DOs) excels. If you are in a car wreck or are having chest pain, get thee to a hospital where teams highly skilled in applying heroic technology can minimize loss of life or limb. Unfortunately, these same techniques, originating in battlefield triage, won’t necessarily help you thrive when chronic pain, or long-term diseases of aging and poor lifestyle choices rear their ugly heads..

While that same magnificent Western science may be able to label what is wrong with you, or describe what chemical pathway causes your condition according to the doctrines of their science, it is not so sharp at educating you on the how of getting well, nor providing the implementation and support to help you achieve your desired wellness. And, almost by definition, for any chronic condition—from acne to Alzheimer’s, from cancer to coronary artery disease—you must apply long-term efforts to prevent and reverse these devastating diseases, which kill more people than any acute injury or illness. So, to find it within yourself to persevere through to thriving, not just surviving, you must know your why.

  • Why do you want to be well?
  • What do you want to do with your life that the illness is preventing you from doing?
  • Why does a particular treatment approach resonate with your health philosophy?

Most of us are very good a pushing ourselves through many obstacles, including physical discomforts, to do what we have to do. We often ignore, distract from, or simply put up with all kinds of pain and inconvenience. But this is not thriving. We drag ourselves through each day, or use all kinds of prescription medications to minimize symptoms, but are often not willing to adjust our lifestyles to correct root causes that could allow us to flourish. In order to be all we can be, to bloom into our fullest selves, we need to know why we want to do it. What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life when you get past these nagging or life-threatening symptoms? Here are some ideas from some of my patients:

    • Really participate in my children’s or grandchildren’s lives
    • Take a college/training program so I can get the job of my dreams
    • Feel comfortable enough to sit on a long plane ride to do something on my bucket list
    • Help change the world in the way my Higher Power urges me

Sometimes, the why can simply be that the approach paid for by our insurance company is not getting the results we desire. Valuing yourself enough to keep seeking answers from complementary and alternative health systems can open doors to whole new ways of being of which you were previously unaware. Or, perhaps your own philosophy of health needs to be more meaningful for you. You want to interact with a health care provider who really listens, who gives you the detailed steps you need to understand how to get well. Do you have a proactive bent, preferring to empower yourself to prevent illness before it can be diagnosed? Perhaps you don’t want to take strong drugs with many side effects. In my own case, knowing the potential devastating effects of surgery stirred a terror in my heart that simply drove me to find a better way.

Take a quiet moment to ask yourself:

    • What is the real reason I need to get past these symptoms/medications/treatments, etc.?
    • If this illness had a message for me, what would it be?
    • What am I no longer willing to tolerate so that I can really be who I truly am?

    When you know these answers, you will be led to miracles.