My Health Journey

Strawberry PickingI’ve been battling intense allergies for the past two weeks, so I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last post.  I have to admit that I became a bit discouraged, starting to believe that this new healthy lifestyle wasn’t helping at all.  But I realized that I need to reflect a little and remember how far I really have come with my health. Since I haven’t shared my story with you yet, I thought this would be the perfect time…

For as long as I can remember, I have been sick or in pain most of the time.  While it’s never been anything super serious, I’ve definitely had a few debilitating days.  For the most part, it’s simply just kept me from enjoying life to the fullest.  Throughout my childhood, I got sick pretty often, mainly suffering from respiratory illnesses, and I’ve always had nearly constant back pain.  I moved to Austin at age 6 and developed allergies and asthma, often developing into a sinus infection, pneumonia, bronchitis, you name it, and then of course, taking lots of medicine. I always complained of back pain as a kid and my parents did everything they could to discover the cause: taking me to multiple doctors & specialists, having MRIs & xrays and doing physical therapy.  No one could figure it out. When I reached middle & high school, participation in sports only made it worse, and I started to have shoulder pain as well.  Doctors prescribed muscle relaxers, Advil or physical therapy to manage the pain.  Then, with the onset of puberty came acne (and other hormonal problems).  My dermatologist prescribed an antibiotic for the acne, which I proceeded to take for only the next 8 years.

In college, everything got even worse.  I was sick with bronchitis for the entire second semester of my Freshman year.  Then, winter of Sophomore year brought even more illness.  It started with my typical holiday seasonal allergies, developing into an apparent sinus infection compounded with bronchitis.  Over the course of a month and a half, I was prescribed 6 courses of antibiotics and 3 steroid packs.  Since I had a fever every day, the doctors also suggested Advil every 4-6 hours… for a whole month.  My back pain became so intense that one doctor even said I “probably” had ovarian cancer… I didn’t.  I saw 10 different doctors, trying to figure out what was actually wrong.  No one could diagnose me.  By March, my stomach became so inflamed from all those medications that I couldn’t keep any food down or sleep.  It eventually culminated in a trip to the ER and a week-long stay in the hospital for gastritis.

I was furious, depressed and hopeless…  I still didn’t have any answers and doctors were making me worse, not better.  This was my turning point.  As a last straw, I made an appointment to visit an “alternative doctor,” who immediately put me on probiotics to rebuild my immune system and my gut.  She gave me some vitamins and changed my diet from the bland, carb-heavy “sick diet” to lots of protein and vegetables.  Within a week, I was a different person, and continued to get better and better.  That experience made me realize that there had to be something to this alternative, holistic medicine thing.

Since that time, I’ve been healthier – staying away from fast food, eating more veggies and taking vitamins.  But, I still felt like my immune system just wasn’t performing up to par… it takes me awhile to get over being sick, I’ve suffered from hormonal issues (girls, you know) and I struggled with back pain daily.   After watching a couple of great documentaries and reading some surprising health articles, I realized that even this was not normal and that I didn’t have to live this way.  Providing even more motivation, after getting married a year ago, I inevitably began to think about my future children.  I certainly didn’t want my kids to be sick all the time, and, I was frightened by the epidemics of food allergies and autism in kids today, not to even mention the possible (again, epidemic) fertility problems I could face trying to get pregnant someday.  If you know me, you know I don’t accept “well, that’s just how things are” very easily.  I was going to find answers.

Now, I read books, watch lots of documentaries, and keep up with new research and articles.  I learn something new every day that I can put into practice immediately.  Now, my healing comes from food that I can buy from a local farmer, not from medication – it’s much more delicious and there’s no long list of terrible side effects! I know that it may take my body a while to recover from all the toxins I put in it for so many years, but I have complete confidence that it will rebuild itself.  God designed our bodies to heal themselves given the right nutrients. I’ve already seen a huge difference – pain and sickness are now in the minority in my life and I’m feeling better every day.  Plus, I’m giving my future children a real chance to be healthy, and that will be the most rewarding result of all.