My Mountain

I debated whether to post this publicly, but I decided to go ahead because I want to be a beacon of hope to anyone who needs it. A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with Lupus. For almost 3 years I have been struggling with chronic pain throughout my entire body, EXTREME fatigue, brain fog, swelling of my face and body, weight gain despite my impeccable diet and consistent exercise, and many other various symptoms. (although I’ve had other symptoms that didn’t seem to be related for decades)

When I was at my worst 2 years ago I sought treatment from holistic doctors whom I knew personally and I trusted, and I’m so glad I did. Receiving care from them changed my perspective on nutrition, fitness, health, and life. Although my formal education is in nutrition and biomedical sciences, it left something to be desired in teaching me how the body works together as a whole. With the guidance of my doctors I have regained my life back. Yes, I still deal with pain, fatigue, and brain fog sometimes, and I’m still struggling with my weight… I’m not going to lie – some days are REALLY fucking hard… but because of the changes in diet, lifestyle, and mindset I’ve made the past 2 years, I continue to improve. This allows me to lead an active and healthy life I love, despite having a chronic disease which I have been told is incurable.

Am I happy that I have Lupus? No. But, my hope is to use this knowledge to inspire and help others. If anything, this will become just one more pillar to my platform of health.

The reality is I’ve had this for a long time, now it simply has a name. Nothing has changed. I was soooooooooo sick 2 years ago when it was at its worst. I actually took out a disability insurance policy because I wasn’t sure how much longer I could work and provide for my daughter. I had people tell me that these things – joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, etc – were just part of getting older, and I needed to accept that it’s a part of life. I had people tell me that I was probably just depressed, and needed an antidepressant. I had people think that I was a crazy hypochondriac (I did too tbh), or that I was exaggerating how bad I felt. I had doctors tell me I was probably just eating too much, and that’s why my weight kept going up. NO. I refused to accept any of these things. NONE of this is true. Pain is not normal. Fatigue is not normal. Chronic skin conditions are not normal. GI discomfort is not normal. Brain fog is not normal…. NONE of these things are a “normal” part of getting older. These are signals your body is sending you that something is “off” and needs to be addressed. Do NOT just live with it, or take a medication to mask the symptoms… find the root cause, and fix it. Just because you alleviate a symptom with a medication does not mean you fixed the problem. Whatever is causing that root problem is still causing damage to your DNA even if you’ve lessened the symptom with medication… that underlying damage that is occurring is what will lead to diseases such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease, dementia, and everything else. I may have been able to prevent the development of this autoimmune disease if I had listened to the signals my body was telling me decades ago… who knows. It doesn’t matter now… what’s done is done, and I can’t dwell on what I “could’ve done” differently. I was doing the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time… I’m just hoping others can learn from my experience.

Find a functional medicine doctor who listens to you, and works with you on lifestyle changes to restore your health. You may have to pay out of pocket, but there isn’t a price tag on living a long, healthy life. Your life and your health are worth this expense. I have restored my health myself, with the guidance of my team of functional medicine doctors, with the diet, lifestyle and mindset changes I adopted. I do not take any medications. Each year I get better and better. You can too.

I am not opposed to medications btw… I worked in conventional healthcare for 18+ years, but what I’ve learned from that time and going through this experience is… our “healthcare” system is not actually “ health care”… it is sick care. It’s about managing symptoms with medications, but not actually fixing the problem. Lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, stress management, supplementation, etc. are seen as “alternative” treatments. THAT IS SO WRONG. Disease is caused by underlying inflammation in the body – all disease. Genetics actually have very little to do with it… yes, you may be more susceptible to certain diseases because of gene variants, but just because you have those genes does not mean you are doomed to a life with disease. Those defective genes are “turned on” by our environment- food, external environment, lifestyle, etc. We have the power to control whether we stay healthy or we get sick by what we eat, what we think, and how we live our lives. To truly HEAL you HAVE to stop doing the things that are hurting you. Nutrition and lifestyle should be FIRST LINE treatment for ANY symptom… IF that isn’t enough, THEN other treatments such as supplements should be looked at… then FINALLY medications. *end rant* 😉 lol

Throughout this whole experience the past couple of years, my relationship with God deepened. On my worst days I would sit in my car and pray to God to give me the strength to walk up the stairs to my apartment so I could be “mom” to my kiddo… and He did. God is good. God never leaves us. He is always there… honestly, in my weakest times is when I feel his presence the most, because it forces me to let go of my “stuff” and I allow Him to carry me through, and it gives me peace. I knew He would bring the people into my life that could help me… and He did. I’ve learned so much from them. All along I knew that there was purpose for this. God didn’t give me Lupus… it was many different factors throughout my lifetime that caused it, but God has always used me and my struggles to help others. I know He will continue to do so with this. My hope is that I can inspire others heal. I want to show those who are suffering that they can take their power back. Quit looking outside of yourself for healing. It’s not in a pill. It’s not your doctor that will heal you… it’s you. That’s not to say you don’t need a doctor, but, if your doctor is not listening to you or telling you it’s “all in your head” or nothing can be done – find a new doctor. Be your own health advocate. Research all options. Question everything. Learn. Face the scary things. Do the work necessary to heal. You are worthy of health. You are worthy of feeling well. You are worthy.

If you are in good health – don’t waste it! You never know when it could be taken away. Get off your butt, and move your body. Whatever crazy, wild dream you want to accomplish- DO IT. Now. I’m so thankful that I didn’t choose to waste my health and be sedentary. I’m so thankful I had the courage to take on challenges I was fearful to do for many years – like competing… nothing and no one can ever take those experiences from me. I get to live with the knowledge that I am tough – physically and mentally. These physical and mental challenges I chose to take on over the years have tested my strength, endurance, and resiliency. They have given me confidence to tackle this challenge too. I’m not scared. I know I can do it.

If you are facing a health problem – you CAN overcome it. A diagnosis is not a death sentence. It is possible to live a happy, healthy, and thriving life even if you’re facing this type of challenge… I know, because I am doing it. I still do Tough Mudders. I still exercise regularly. I still do all the things I want to do. My competing days are probably over because I don’t think I can get that lean, and still be healthy… it’s not worth the risk to me… but, I don’t focus on the things that may not be exactly the way I like them. Where you focus your energy is what will flourish in your life. I choose to focus on the good in my life. I choose to focus on every little progress I make in the right direction. I choose take advantage of every capability God has given me to the fullest. I choose be grateful for it all – good and bad. I choose to live my purpose. I choose to thrive.

You can too. ❤️

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