Unfortunately, many people have been taught that only that which you can see and feel can hurt you, but when it comes to your health, nothing can be further from the truth. You can have something changing the functioning of your body and not be aware of it, and it can be hurting your health. I’ve taught this to people for years so I never dreamed that I would discover it for myself first-hand.
For 47 years, I had been walking around with something my whole life, literally from the time I was born, that I couldn’t see, couldn’t feel, and doctors couldn’t see or feel, and it was hurting me. I had a congenital anomaly in my heart.
One of my heart valves had developed as a bicuspid valve instead of a tricuspid valve, meaning it only had two flaps instead of the three flaps that a typical human tricuspid valve has. It was never discovered when I was a child, and over my lifetime, my body just adapted to the abnormality. I pushed myself in exercise, athletics, work, physical activity, and, because of my healthy lifestyle, chiropractic care, good nutrition, and focus on my well-being, my body adapted. That’s what bodies do when they’re strong and healthy. They adapt to the demands that are put on them.
The healthier your body is, especially your nervous system, the better you can adapt. I adapted really well. My blood pressure is completely normal, my pulse rate was that of an athlete, and I was a healthy weight. However, on the inside my aorta had enlarged significantly and my heart had enlarged significantly. Everybody always told me I had a big heart and they were right.
Abnormal bicuspid valves are 90% more susceptible to heart infection. So, once people know about the condition they monitor it every year, as would I if I had known. Mine wasn’t monitored and it wore out. My valve was getting frayed and damaged from the pressure it was under. For years it had been leaking blood back into my heart, which means that I was doing my activities, like hiking and crazy levels of exercise with blood improperly flowing back into my heart instead of out of my heart.
On July 3rd after work, I found myself in an unexplainable, crippling, abdominal crisis: I had extreme pain, nausea, and vomiting, and it wasn’t letting up. This was the kind of pain where you writhe around on the floor and scream so I rushed to the ER. As the emergency team examined me, they found a murmur in my heart. They then visualized my heart with ultrasound and finding it to be enlarged ordered an EKG. And the EKG showed that my heart was in failure.
Yes, you read that right. My heart was in failure, most likely for about a month. During that month, I did lots of things that heart patients shouldn’t be doing. I took three round-trip flights to teach, I rode roller coasters up in Glenwood Springs, I sat for two days in super high-temperature hot springs, and I exercised intensely five to six days a week. All the things they tell heart patients not to do, I was doing. Any one of them could have been fatal.
I was scheduled for immediate heart surgery to replace the valve. The surgeon who performed my surgery and saw the badly damaged valve told me that I had been literally days from death had it not been found.
What you don’t see and don’t feel can hurt you, so don’t mess with your most valuable asset — your health. Have things checked out. I hadn’t had an annual physical for the last five to ten years, where I probably produced a murmur that had increased. Tests are only information. You don’t have to react fearfully from them, and you don’t have to go down a path of dangerous drugs or invasive surgeries necessarily. However, when you find things long before they are critical you can take appropriate action and often extend your life. I hope this reminds you to monitor your health even when things appear to be healthy.
Which brings me to another important revelation….
What you don’t see and don’t feel can HELP you.
Commonly people will say to us: “I don’t feel anything, so I don’t know if I’m improving,” or, “I can’t see that I am improving. Am I getting better?”
Seeing and feeling can be deceiving when it comes to your health; sometimes what you do not feel and do not see can actually be helping you. For example, if you take a multivitamin, do you necessarily feel anything a half an hour after you take it? Can you see the results of taking the multivitamin? Most often, especially in the short-term, the answer is: no. However, people take multivitamins because they know that they need to have proper nutrients to stay healthy. The same thing goes for other dietary choices.
Can you really feel your heart getting stronger from the COQ10 and omega 3s? Do you SEE your heart strengthening each day immediately after taking supplements, or do you take them based on information and research, and continue to do so because you have confidence in that evidence?
Very frequently, when you’re exercising, you can’t see the benefits. For example, running on a treadmill three times and then saying: “I don’t really see anything changing,” would be ridiculous. You’re not going to see changes from being on a treadmill three times, nor should you expect to. But, you would continue to do it because you know that exercise is something that’s good for your health.
When I was in the hospital for my procedures, doctors were shocked.
“I can’t believe you didn’t have any symptoms.”
“I can’t believe you are even walking.”
“You have to be really healthy to be able to be doing this well with this going on on the inside.”
All those activities throughout my life from exercise to eating healthy to my consistent chiropractic care had built up a storehouse of well-being much like an investment growing. I did not see it every day but my adaptability and strength had increased over my lifetime and had kept me alive. What you don’t see and don’t feel can be helping you.
Your most valuable asset is your health. Counting on how you feel and how you look to measure your health is deceiving. Instead of going by your senses, get a mature, big picture of your health. Operate on research, knowledge, and expertise rather than deciding there’s nothing wrong because you don’t see it or guessing that what you’re doing isn’t helping because you can’t feel it. Those can be very costly mistakes – they can cost you your life. Don’t make them.
What you don’t see and don’t feel can hurt you: Monitor your health even when you feel good.
What you don’t see and don’t feel can HELP YOU: When you know something is the right thing to do for your health, stay the course and do it even when you aren’t immediately seeing or feeling the benefits.