–I want to preface this post with the fact that this is not a cliche post about New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t get me wrong there might be some lifestyle change ideas, but it is all relative.–
I know I have not posted in a while, but I haven’t had such an inspiring time lately so to avoid being a “Debbie downer” I took a break. I know this blog is meant to help heal but I didn’t want it to become a vent session for me. This break has allowed me reflect, research, and–I’m not going to lie–have a pity party occasionally. Last year was full of adventure, learning curves, and your normal ups and downs in health. I know I haven’t given much background on myself due to the fact you all would be reading for days because with me it is not just one thing, it is a glorious domino effect.
Good news from 2013:
1) The very best news a person with multiple auto-immune diseases can hear is “NO-INFLAMMATION” and “REMISSION.” Now this the case for one of my auto-immune diseases (Ulcerative Colitis or UC) but I’ll take it. I had a procedure done on December 13th and I could have cried when my doctor told me that there was no inflammation found in my colon. Guys, this is a big deal for me. I have had 4 prior procedures before this recent one that were the entire colon was badly inflamed. The most important part of my remission is that I am not on any medications, I repeat NOT ON ANY medications for UC. My doctor was amazed and finally semi admitted that diet really can make a difference. So victory seemed close, right? Not quite.
*If you’d like to learn more about UC you can check out this website: http://www.ccfa.org/
2) I discovered the wonderful world of juicing or juice cleansing. I have been so grateful to have found this invigorating world. Some people cannot imagine “drinking your food” and some health professionals/trainers might not agree that it is the healthy way of doing things but I do not do it to lose a quick “X” amount of pounds, I do it for one reason and one reason only–I HAVE LESS PAIN WHEN I JUICE. That in itself is worth all the money I spend on an external company making my juice. I figure I would pay hundreds of dollars at the pharmacy for pain killers, why not spend it on something I love to do and makes me feel half way normal.
*In the effort of keeping my location unknown, I will state that my juicery is local and well crafted. The owner and starter of my juice shop was founded because she was experiencing all over bodily pain that could not be diagnosed by doctors. She too was diagnosed with Lupus (and I have been diagnosed with positive tests and future risk of developing it fully). She uses simple blends. She says she will never use more than 5 ingredients because juicing is all about its simplicity. And I will say I fully believe it simply by living it. I’m living proof, and so is the owner that medicines aren’t always the cure. You can be your own cure. Nourish your body and it will heal you. So when you look for possible juicing blends or a cleanse please be sure you look at the ingredients. There must be a healthy balance between vegetables with greens and proteins (kale, collard, almond, parsley etc.) and fruit juices. Research is key. Feel free to ask me questions, I will do my best to answer or help you find an answer!
3) For two months, I was close to being pain free. I was more active during the months of September and October this past year and no doctor can explain why I felt good for two months but feel crappy again now. But the beauty of it is–even among all the depressed thoughts of going backwards not forwards–I did feel “normal” for two months last year. That is a huge accomplishment even if it didn’t last very long.
4) I got to experience the joys and benefits of Tai Chi and yoga, both beautiful gentle exercises that help alleviate pain and stress. Who couldn’t use that in their life? I’ve been so blessed to be able to learn yoga from a wonderful and passionate instructor. She is so patient with me and practices. And Tai Chi, if you haven’t tried it for pain I highly suggest you try it today! I know people don’t think that you can accomplish much from such slow movements and some think it is a waste of time, especially Tai Chi. However, I have experienced more relief and more serenity in my life from doing both of these. I think every movement and every thing counts in the grand scene of no pain. I am eager to learn more about yoga and Tai Chi in 2014 because I know one thing and one thing only, I have less pain when I do these exercises.
*Tai Chi for Arthritis (don’t necessarily have to have arthritis to do this) 12 lessons with Dr. Paul Lam, you can buy it off Amazon
5. I was also introduced to the powers of essential oils. I am in the process of trying to become an independent seller for doTerra essential oils. They have helped me tremendously. I’ve used them for all kinds of ailments. I use them for sinuses, upset stomach, joint pain, headaches, sore throats, etc. This again isn’t a miracle worker, it does take time and patience like all the things we realize when trying to find cures for our bodily issues. It is not an easy fix but I feel progress as I continue to use them. So my walking testament and other’s success stories are more than enough reason for me to spend the extra money to do these things. Juicing, oils, massages, and other treatments aren’t cheap but I see it as an opportunity to feel better in the future and for that I will do anything.
So what does that all mean for 2014?
Well so far the positive aspect is not out weighing the negativity but I’d like to think the glass is still half full. I say that before because 2013 carries over some baggage as well as its trophies. This is where my domino effect analogy comes into play. Like my friend Emma, I experience a lot of depressive symptoms due to a multitude of things but a lot of it stemming from pain or other medical issues. I think her post helps to define the feelings that come with being in pain as well as the struggles to maintain a social life or any life at all especially in regards to where she touched on her partner, fights, and no energy to do things that used to make you happy. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of myself over the past 5 years of becoming and trying to overcome being ill. And lets face it, it gets tiring to continue to fight something even after having successes like no inflammation in my colon. It can’t just be one victorious moment but a string of things to continue to battle. And spare me the “that’s life sweetie” bullshit because this I am aware. But depression, like all other illnesses and diseases is taxing and affects all parts of your body and life.
One of the biggest struggles I am having right now is coping with the loss of my therapist. I met my therapist shortly after my grandmother died and my therapist reminded me so much of her that I felt like my grandmother chose her for me to talk to. As I got to know and talk with my therapist I realized she was more like me than I could have ever imagined. We were a perfect fit and I could tell her anything. Now she, like me and most of her patients, experienced a number of medical hardships. She beat lung cancer, multiple staff infections, and more. The lady was my inspiration and my will to keep living because she was me or everything I wanted to be or what I used to think I had in me. She was the woman I used to think I could be before getting sick. She sadly passed away in December right before I left for my Christmas vacation. And well it has not been a walk in the park since then. I’ve struggled even more with my depression and my will to carry on with the pain–not to be any kind of morbid. But she wouldn’t want me to quit, she would have told me “Natalie, you need to do it.” So dammit, I am trying my hardest to do it.
But along with this on going depression, I am progressively experiencing worse pain and more so in my neck and head now. I guess sympathy pains for Emma! I am desperately trying to cater my diet to remove some pain. I firmly believe that diet has everything to do with it. If you don’t, I’m sorry but you will not change my mind. Again, juicing is my proof. I don’t care if I can’t eat most of the foods people enjoy, if I am pain free or feel less pain I will eat the most limited diet ever.
To continue the theme of finding a cure for pain without powerful western medicine, since I think that is what got me here in the first place, I want to mention my oils again. I am currently trying to do a yeast free diet. I will post more on this in another blog, but basically everyone has an appropriate amount of yeast in their body (and no it is not necessarily vaginal). If you have a yeast overgrowth, your body can experience so many kinds of effects, bad side effects. A yeast other growth can cause auto-immune diseases which western medical doctors say are incurable and most of them don’t know what causes them. So naturally if you kill the yeast overgrowth you will kill some of the symptoms, right? Well that is currently what I am trying to test out. So I will report back to you all when I know more on my situation.
I realize I didn’t really touch on all I wanted to explain in this piece, but I feel it covered the high points for me right now. I want to be more dedicated to this because I need you all to help me on this journey. I want to know what you have done and what has worked and what has not worked. I am currently working on trying to go to an acupuncturist, continuing to do massage therapy more regularly, eat better/kill yeast, juice more, do tai chi/yoga more, I plan to meditate, and actually read the books recommended by my therapist for mindfulness, practicing EMDR, and more. Even if I feel like this god awful pain will never go away and I will have it forever, I’d like to think there is a small glimpse of hope.
After all, that is all you need isn’t it? HOPE.