The state of My Health Summer 2012.
This isn’t the greatest photo of me. My hair is doing something strange and the shadows are weird across my face. BUT this is also one of my favorite photos that I have taken recently. It is commemorating my victory over sickness. I am in the park near my house where I walked with my children to meet up with friends. I travel to this park every week to meet these same friends but for the past 2 years that weekly meeting has involved a car if I was able to make the trip at all. On this day I walked the half mile to the park and I felt good doing it for the first time since 2010. I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be able to make that trip on foot again and I had tears of gratitude in my eyes for most of the trip.
I am so excited to share this post with you!
First some background for those who have not read our whole story. My family started GAPS in November of 2009. While the crisis at the time was my younger daughters GI issues it was easy to see that the whole family needed GAPS. We used the desperate need to heal our youngest as an excuse to launch the whole family into GAPS. It was crazy and extremely difficult at times but it worked for us and her gut issues quickly improved as did my older daughters behavior issues. Then 3 months after we launched into GAPS my health crashed. I had health issues before this point but I could still function. Suddenly I felt like I had the flu all the time. My joints ached. I was falling asleep while driving in the middle of the day. I began to stammer. I nearly collapsed a couple of times while out with my children. I became afraid to leave the house especially with my young children. I worried about what would happen if I suddenly couldn’t care for them or myself out in public.
When I got so sick I tried everything! I called on all the practitioners who had helped me over the years leading up to this time. They were baffled. Their approaches sometimes helped some and sometimes did nothing. Our family Dr began to treat me like a hypochondriac. Finally I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, adrenal fatigue and reverse t3 sydrome. Treating each of those helped a bit but did not cure me. We talked about fibromyalgia, mitochondrial dysfunction and chronic fatigue syndrome. I fit those disease descriptions as well. I would be better for a while and then relapse again. The winter of 2010-2011 I had a healing vision and from that day in Mid November throughout the winter I felt nearly normal! It was great! But I found myself telling everyone that it might be temporary. And then, as the weather warmed, up my health went downhill once again. So I concluded that it was the heat I couldn’t tolerate. I limped through the summer of 2011 waiting for the cooler weather of winter. Last winter never got very cold here. Our only hard freeze happened in February! So I blamed my continued decline on the warmer winter and lack of truly cold weather. I did indeed feel better when outside on a cold day but I battled sickness after sickness. Pushing myself resulted in some of the worse sicknesses of my adult life. The first chest cold in recent memory. A puking sickness that went through the whole family (and lingered and lingered and lingered….) I was sick for Christmas, for Valentines day, and so many other times. I was sick more than I was well. I could tell that something was shifted and not in a good way but I couldn’t figure out how to get back to where I was (much less get truly well).
In April I went to get my routine tooth cleaning and the hygenist kept commenting that things just weren’t right. I share more about that experience in this post. Cavitations and my Dental Health. In early June I got surgery on my jaw to clean out the 3 cavitations that my dentist found there with his cavitat machine. You can read about my experience here in Cavitation Surgery: My experience. I found myself somewhat traumatized by the surgery and recovery was not quick and easy but by 2 weeks out I just had mild swelling by the biggest cavitation. I’m not completely certain when the swelling finally went away completely but it was probably at least a month. I have learned that it takes 9 months for bones to fully heal so a month of swelling seems about right.
We traveled a bunch in July starting about 4 weeks after my jaw surgery. That was very stressful. All of that travel meant that I was pushing myself constantly. I kept waiting for the crash and burn to happen and hoped it wouldn’t happen at too bad a time. I waited but it didn’t happen. Sure I was exhausted at times and I did turn down some activities because of it but the more time that passed the more I felt comfortable pushing myself to do more and more. Eventually I realized that I had pushed myself much harder than in years and yet I was not ill and in fact felt better than I had felt in ages. I had energy to walk all over the islands and parks at Niagra Falls when we were there. I stood for all of my uncles hour long graveside memorial service. It has become such a habit to not push myself for fear of collapsing that I didn’t at first but over time I found that I could! What a revelation! I was feeling better and better all the time! One little thing that brought me great joy was being able to stand at church when the congregation stood. I hadn’t done that in years. I spent some of my vacation with relatives who had heard of my sickness but hadn’t seen me. They told me how good I looked and I told them how good I felt. It was a wonderful thing to be able to do.
Now I am home and recovered from our month of travel and it is really sinking in. I can do what normal people do. As you saw with my photo at the start of this blog post, I walked to the park the first week we were back from all of our travels. The entire walk felt like a victory dance. This park is just a few blocks from our home and it houses the homeschooling playgroup that we have participated in since my oldest was 3. It also is where we swim in the summer, play on the playground, meet friends and visit our farmers at the best farmers market in St. Louis. Despite this park being just a few blocks from my home I had not walked there in over 2 years. Prior to the time when my health crashed I had reveled in walking as many places as possible. If a destination was within a mile of our home I would walk to it if possible. It had been with deep sadness that I had driven to the park and sought out the closest parking places to minimize my exertion if I went at all. My bicycle that we got just before I collapsed has sat idle in our garage for 2 years (it might need a tune up before I ride it again) and now I find myself eager to use it. I especially look forward to riding side by side with my 8 year old daughter who could not ride without training wheels when I last rode with my family.
On that Friday when I walked up to our small group of homeschooling families they knew and saw the change in me and they rejoiced along with me. They have watched me struggle and have wondered I am sure about what the future might hold. They have chased my children and kept track of them in public places where I simply could not keep up. I have said no to so many field trips and other activities that I knew would require too much walking. Now I am eagerly looking forward to this fall and getting to participate in the normal life of a homeschooling parent. I am trying to not agree too eagerly to every opportunity that presents itself since I am still yet human and while I’m feeling invincible when I compare myself to who I was, I know that I need to pace myself and not get over extended.
It may be that this new energy and health I am feeling will make me blog less. In fact that is almost certainly the case. I have blogged the most when I couldn’t bear to stand and do anything else. It gave me an opportunity to contribute to life when I couldn’t do anything more physically demanding than to type. I’m working on finding a new normal and a new balance and time will tell what the future will bring to my blogging. But, the fact is that I am not perfectly healthy yet. I am so much better but now that I am out of the forest I can see the trees. There is more healing to be done. I have 4 amalgams to still remove and I am eager to see what that does for my health. In the meantive I am pacing myself and allowing my jaw to fully heal before I tax it further with more dental work. I’m having some gut symptoms that make it clear that healing still needs to happen but also that changes are taking place. Shortly before my jaw surgery I acquired some pickl-it jars and began fermenting in them. They are proving to be an investment I should have made long ago. I will have to write more about them in another post. It is too much for this one. I have also begun using a probiotic called Prescript-Assist. It was suggested as beneficial for healing broken bones (my jaw) and has proven to be effecting great shifts in my gut health. I ran out recently and noticed that I was missing it while I waited for more to arrive in the mail. It also helps me to stay regular.
For those who are wondering how I am eating throughout all of this. I’m continuing to generally eat according to the Leptin Reset principles. Very low carb, high protein for breakfast and no snacking. I got somewhat lax recently but am working my way back into it. The biggest “cheat” is I sometimes snack in the afternoon or late evening. Not every day and it is my habit now to never snack but especially on vacation I found myself snacking far more than I usually do. I am working on getting serious about the eating principles again. I always feel best and the most energetic when eating that way.
One more bit of good news is that I am finishing up my first ever T-Tapp Boot Camp. I have tried a few times to do this but always my health would prevent it. T-Tapp is a great exercise method for people who are ill or people who are very fit. It is extremely flexible and is zero impact. What makes this a boot camp is that I have committed to do the exercises every day for 2 weeks as a jump start on my exercising. I have some friends who did it with me and it has been great motivating each other through this discipline. I love being able to do an entire body workout in 15 minutes and then go on with my day. And it works! When I was doing it last fall I lost a couple of clothing sizes quite quickly (and then got too sick to continue). I am confident that I will have the same experience this time around again and I can already feel that my core muscles are getting stronger.
So that is my good news. I have been given a new chance at life and I am thrilled! I hope that for those of you who are stuck where I was 2 years ago that this gives you hope. My answers will not necessarilly be your answers but the answers are out there. Keep praying and searching for them and you will find them.
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Thank You! -PattyLA