How I found the road to better health and wellness
Growing up, my health was very up and down. I remember being sick a lot, and one year in elementary school I nearly got held back because of how many days I missed. I remember having ear infections, lots of dental cavities (4 amalgams at age 5- thank goodness they were baby teeth and eventually fell out), lots of stomach bugs, chicken pox, and countless colds. Plus I was severely overweight at 7 years old. My diet consisted of McDonalds, Chinese food, and everything else that was common in the 90s: Hi-C, Tang, Dunkaroos, Oreo Cereal, and sugar galore.
There was a huge change in my life and some of this shifted. As I became a teen, I lost the weight I needed to lose, my environment became slightly more stable, and I was eating more “real” food. The damage seemed to be done though- I was still getting sick a lot, and eventually I started gaining weight back. Eventually, the environment I lived in became less stable though. Because of the situation I was in, I started starving myself just to stay thin (this lasted from middle school all the way to senior year of high school). I’d gain weight easily if I ever tried to eat normally for more than a week or 2. My face was always broken out and my cycles were REALLY painful from the start of them at age 11.
The Beginning of the Worst Years of my Life
When I was 17, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after almost a year of severe head-to-toe pain, digestive issues, depression, sleep issues, massive weight gain, and so much more. I went to so many doctors and specialists and got nowhere fast. Sleep studies, countless prescriptions, countless other tests- all just to be told it’s fibromyalgia, there wasn’t anything they could do other than try new prescription drugs until I found one that worked. Looking back, I now know what the big triggers were: I had moved out of my house and was very stressed about it (I was still in high school!) and I had also started using the birth control pill.
I rode that roller coaster for years with no real benefit (and honestly, no empathy or emotion from any of these doctors I came across- was it normal to be 17 and be in so much pain?! Why didn’t they seem to care?!). The merry-go-round of doctors just kept trying one drug after another- “come back in a month if it doesn’t help and we’ll try a new one”, they’d all say. I kept going back because what else was I going to do? I had no idea why this was happening and I’ve been trained to just trust doctors with my health, no questions asked.
My Wake-Up Call
I was 21 when things finally hit the fan and I started seeing things differently. I literally couldn’t eat anything without pain. So once again, I did the whole rigamarole with the doctors again- endoscopy, x-rays, more drugs, and even less empathy than I got before. I stayed on the PPI I was given for 3 months and developed even MORE symptoms.
Finally I seemed to “wake up” around this time. I ended up finding apple cider vinegar and aloe vera through a few online searches. I tried these and in the first week of using them, I was able to eat normally again. In a month, the rest of my symptoms start to decrease. It was my gateway into natural health, and since then I haven’t looked back!
My Natural Health Journey
It’s been about 7 years now since I got into natural health and I am such a different person now than I was back then. The biggest change was finding my purpose in life- helping others to heal! Once I started to peel back my own layers of poor health, I realized that there were so many others suffering that I could try to help. It’s not exactly an easy task to take on, but it is important to do! We CAN heal. We can do it naturally too!
Less than a year after I started healing myself, I got pregnant with my son. I was still having some symptoms of my previous issues, so I wasn’t able to fully heal. So between pregnancy, breastfeeding for a year, having no support or village to help us with our child, and trying to undo the damage I still had before I got pregnant, it’s been a long road. I’ve spent the last few years working more on emotional healing too as I have realized that a lot of my physical issues stemmed from the abuse I dealt with as a child and teen.
What I am Still Healing Now
About 3 years ago, we moved to a different state and I thought that I would be able to be able to finish my healing. However, we seemed to have moved into a place that has dealt with lots of mold damage. We didn’t even know how bad mold could be at that time. I started developing some more symptoms because of this: worse fatigue, insomnia issues, and a very sluggish detox system.
Because of this exposure, I’ve been set back and I’m still working on healing. The mold seems to have trigger old issues to pop up too: first, I dealt with 2-3 months of what felt like an EBV flare up. Then I finally had to realize that I had likely stirred up Bartonella. I didn’t want to admit that I had something so serious, but with the symptoms I was experiencing (blurry and painful eyes, sore feet, immune related symptoms, etc) I had to accept that it was an issue. I have a history of 3 severe cat bites too, one of which landed me in the ER with extreme cellulitis. Each time I had “cat scratch fever” and needed antibiotics. Since I was so poor in health, it makes sense that Bartonella dug its claws into me and became dormant.
Luckily, I am one that really can understand why things happen to me. I learn best when I deal with something first hand. I can sympathize more with others, and it forces me to learn, research, and try out solutions so I can further give insight to others that are dealing with similar issues.
I am still healing myself, but I am healing. My experiences have been priceless because they allow me to learn, grow, and help others. It has forced me to learn patience and it has made me understand what REAL healing is supposed to be about. It’s also made me realize how important the emotional healing aspect is, especially when it comes to undoing bad habits, poor boundaries, and horrible mindsets. My experiences have led me to realize how foundational care is truly the best way to look at healing too.
Looking back at my journey into natural health, I’ve realized how much I’ve truly learned in such a short amount of time. I’ve also realized how far I’ve truly come. When I think about everything I’ve dealt with, I can at least say that it has been for a reason- to learn how to heal so I can show others that they can also heal.
Symptoms I used to deal with (over the course of 6 years) that are gone now:
- Migraines, and chronic headaches (had a few month-long ones)
- fibromyalgia, aka muscle pain head to toe 24/7
- anxiety and paranoia
- Joint pain and lax joints (had to go to the chiropractor 3x a week at one point because joints would not stay put). I was always cracking joints!!
- baker’s cysts
- acne (pretty much everywhere)
- chronic colds (almost monthly)
- severe cramps and PMS, mood swings, bouts of anger
- esophageal spasms, GERD, heartburn, hiatal hernia ( you can read about my experience with this here, as well as how to heal!)
- sugar cravings, aversion to meat and protein
- hair falling out and not growing as quickly, and weak nails
- insomnia and just general sleep issues that varied over the years (which created a dependence on things to help me sleep- Nyquil, Tylenol PM, etc)
- severe detachment/derealization
- supposed infertility- I was told by several doctors that I would never have kids based on my blood work. I ended up getting pregnant less than a year after I started cleaning up my lifestyle (and we weren’t even trying!).
- severe fatigue (had to push myself through the day at my last job which was both physically and mentally exhausting. I worked at a high volume animal shelter that dealt with a lot of sadness, people not actually caring about the animals there, and a lot of physical work, as well as walking about ten miles each day). I got through the day with several cups of coffee, lots of sugary and caffeinated soda.