About two years ago, I was given an incredible opportunity to serve as a subject matter expert with a class of new hires at my job. During that class, I found myself in immeasurable pain, every day. I was eating boxes of Goody’s powder like candy and still hurting. Finally, one day, driving down the interstate, I decided enough was enough. By then, even sitting and driving was painful. I kept thinking to myself, ‘you’re not even 30 yet! This is ridiculous! Get to a doctor and figure this out!’ My neck, back, and shoulders would hurt so bad the pain would radiate to the front of my face and cause a pounding migraine. I would become so nauseous and dizzy I couldn’t focus on anything.
I went to a massage place first, thinking maybe I just needed a good massage. It was wonderful while the massage was happening, but an hour later, I was back in pain. My headaches became so regular and out of control I finally made an appointment with my PCP. He told me it was probably PMS. Take some Ibuprofen, drink more water, exercise a little more regularly, eat a little better, and it would all be better. I fired him two weeks later and met Dr. Reigel.
Dr. Reigel is amazing to me because he’s kind of a jerk. He doesn’t really like giving medications and he listens to me. He doesn’t treat me like I’m losing it. I call him a jerk, because he’s a straight shot and slightly abrasive. My husband thought he was being mean to me, but he was telling me things I already knew, but didn’t want to admit, and demanding I fix it because he sure as hell wasn’t giving me another pill. We started physical therapy, it didn’t help. We tried chiropractic, no luck. We tried massage, no improvement. He recommended a nutritionist and some major lifestyle changes, and that’s where we are now.
I currently take several medications and it’s getting out of control. I feel like I’m taking one to treat side effects caused by another to treat an underlying issue that no one can identify. What’s worse, is in the last year, I’ve had major episcleritis/iritis flares on 9 different occasions, which is not normal. These flares, occurring so consistently, is indicative of an autoimmune disorder, but after $900 in bloodwork, all we have is ‘borderline this or that’ results. So while we don’t know what’s wrong or why it’s happening, we do know the steroid eye drops I take to make it better will eventually cause cataracts, macular degeneration, and could eventually take my sight. I could lose my vision. I’m a mom, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a daughter, a grand daughter, a call center supervisor, a runner, and a truck driver in the Army Reserve. I need my sight! I would rather lose a limb than lose my sight or vision. Take my sense of smell. That would be better. We tried a few oral medications, but methotrexate made me so sick, I am terrified of the rheumatologist and I don’t want to go back. Everything he gave me made me progressively worse, and then I was treating side effects with more pills, I just don’t want it anymore. I’m almost 30. That means I’m NOT 30 yet. This is unacceptable!
So this morning, I watched Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead, and it sparked some research. There have been a lot of studies proving that our nutrition has a lot to do with our health problems. I am a perfect example of doing it all wrong, but believing I’m right. I work in a Call Center, but I’m pretty active. I run all over the center all day long. I don’t eat big, fast food lunches, I normally go to subway and eat something I’ve been told is ‘relatively healthy.’ I don’t drink soda. I drink very little tea. I treat myself to Starbucks maybe once very 1-2 weeks. Yet, I still hurt. When I come home, I have no energy. No stamina. I give so much at work by the end of my work day, I have nothing left. My son begs me to play, but I hurt. When I get migraines, I get dizzy, weak, nauseous, and the only answer is to sleep them off. I sleep 10-20 hours at a time at least once a week. When I do this, I don’t wake up refreshed, I wake up exhausted. I wake up in pain. I wake up with a headache. I wake up sad because I’m missing time with my son and my family. My brain says ‘go,’ my body says, ‘hell no.’ So now, I’m treating the pain, depression, anxiety, an inability to focus labeled adult ADHD, migraines, iritis flares, and iron deficiency. There’s a pill for each one, some have more than one.
I’m taking control of my life and my future. I’m not going to go 100% vegan because I like meat. I am going to try to find a way to fit healthier eating in my busy lifestyle. If I can’t, then I’m going to find a way to fit my life into my health, even if that means dramatic changes. My absolutes are God, my health, my family, my job, and then everything else, in that order and going forward, my time will be where my priorities are. I will improve my health. I will take control of my body. I am going to incorporate juice because I do not care much for green vegetables, so if this is a way I can get them without feeling like I’m eating grass, then I’m in. I want to cut out as much processed food as possible and see if it improves any other areas of my life. If it doesn’t work, then I’ll go back to eating what I was before. I have to do it for at least 3 months for it to have a real impact, so I’m going to give it 90 days.
My first week starts tomorrow… it’s the ‘pre-fast’ week. I’ll be making small changes every day in preparation of the actual 10 day fast. Then, for 10 days, all I will consume is water and juice. I have several different juice recipes and a vegan protein supplement that has no additives so I can keep my protein levels at a healthy range. I’ll check in with my doctor at the end to see what changes happened. As of today, I weigh 200lbs. I’ve actually lost 8 pounds in the last three weeks doing weight watchers, which is great, but weight watchers doesn’t change my nutritional intake, it just limits it. Then, I’m eating ‘more’ processed foods trying to stay under my point value. It’s a cycle, and it must be broken. If I don’t, it’s going to come to a point where I might not see you… for real.