My Healing Journey…If you’ve been following me on Instagram for any amount of time, you’ve heard me talk about “Healing”. I’m sure most of you have no idea what I’m talking about so I have decided to candidly share my story here. Let me preface this very long post by saying that I have always been a very physically and mentally strong person who doesn’t accept defeat…EVER! I’ve always felt that God has blessed me with a strong mind and body. I have always believed Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Believe me, I know I’m human and and age can take a toll on the human body but this seems ridiculous! Having been a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for 20+ years, I’ve always been extremely fit and have never let illness or injuries hold me back from a good workout. I’ve run half marathons with knee and feet issues, taught consecutive fitness classes with pneumonia and asthma and trained clients while on crutches…I can’t stand giving in to pain or illness…until now! If you know me well, you know I’ve suffered from horrible stomach issues since childhood. My mom tells me she doesn’t remember when I haven’t complained of stomach problems…my husband says the same! Around the time of the birth of my first child, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and became gluten free. That was a huge relief for me and helped tremendously with a lot of my issues, but didn’t solve everything. Over the years, I’ve had issues with hormones (especially Thyroid) and continued to have severe digestive issues. Specifically, bloating, swelling, distention and pain in the gut multiple times a day. Let me paint the picture more clearly…when I say bloating, I mean going from a normal stomach to looking 6 months pregnant in about 5 minutes…NO JOKE! There is no rhyme or reason as to what I eat, what I’m doing or where I am…I will swell incredibly. Have you ever seen the movie “Alien”? My kids equate my swelling to that scene in the movie when the alien plants an embryo in a human and when the baby alien is about to come out, the human’s stomach swells rapidly, suddenly bursts and out pops the alien!! Sorry to be so graphic but that’s what it feels like except, thankfully, no alien comes out!
Moving on, my gut issues haven’t been the only
problem. About 18 months ago, I started having chronic pain in both hands and arms. I assumed it was lifting too many weights and over training so I went to an Orthopedic Surgeon who told me I had Tendinitis. I laid off weights for months with no relief. Fast forward to 7 more doctors and I still don’t have an answer. I was told I have 4 bulging discs in my neck which turned out to have nothing to do with the pain. Then I was tested for arthritis and Lupus but got negative results. I was desperate for relief and answers!!! The chronic pain is exhausting and frustrating and it seems to radiate through my body at times. I also experience extreme fatigue. Many days I wake up in pain and find it hard to get out of bed. I’m a busy mom of 2 kids and don’t have time for that!! I knew I needed to keep seeking answers. I’m finally seeing a Functional Medicine Doctor and he seems confident he can find out what’s going on and is pretty sure the problem comes from my digestive system which is causing major inflammation in the body resulting in pain and swelling. As I’m typing this I’m still waiting on test results so I remain hopeful. I truly believe this doctor will be able to help me even if it takes months of running tests. I joke that I’ve felt sick for so long that I don't remember what it's like to feel "normal"!
The point of this ridiculously long post is to say that I believe you have to be your own advocate. I’ve had so many doctors dismiss me saying they can’t help me, making me feel like the problem is in my head and I’m going crazy. I feel they questioned my credibility. For someone who never admits to being sick or in pain, being questioned is demeaning. Who would make up an illness so I can go spend countless amounts of money on doctors only to get zero answers??? So, I encourage each of you to pursue good health, question your doctors, be persistent, and if you don’t get answers, find another practitioner. I’m not knocking Western medicine but doctors today are so busy and often don’t look outside the big picture with their patients because they simply are overloaded. Often, the answers are not obvious and you have to be your own advocate and have a voice. We have one body and it’s up to us to take care of it. I’m hoping to have answers soon from my doctor which I will share with you here. Healing is definitely a journey. It took me decades to get to this point and it will take a while to heal…I’m willing to endure the journey in order to achieve optimal health and hopefully I'll learn something along the way.