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Giving Up is Not an Option

EditingI embraced my full-time ability to write last year after regaining energy levels from my first bout with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. I quit my job months before because even with reduced hours and working on my ability to manage the mental and emotional stress, the physical stress of the work took its toll. I was in pain almost 24/7 and fighting off infection after infection. My sleep felt like it was non-existent even when I was lucky enough to get eight hours. I was so exhausted I wound up crashed out on the sofa after sitting down to watch TV.

I felt better enough after not pushing myself day in and day out that I realized it was time for me to start doing what I wanted to do. I focused on my blogs at first. Then, I returned to my first manuscript.

Next, Sjögren’s Syndrome struck. For those of you who haven’t followed me on Hunter’s Lyonesse, I was diagnosed with this autoimmune disease in 2008, months after my hypothyroidism diagnosis. I tested positive for antibodies, but never presented with symptoms. Until last year. This means my body attacks my own tear and saliva glands. My eyes were severely dry as was my mouth. I had to keep water with me wherever I went because my mouth was so dry; and sitting at the laptop too long dried out my eyes faster than if I was not staring at a screen.

At the same time, we discovered food allergies and intolerances that developed over years of not being diagnosed with Celiac sooner. It created gut permeability and while my body decided to attack some of the foods that were escaping through the gut lining, it was also reacting to other foods as if they were allergies (but no anaphylactic reactions). I had to deal with keeping my eyes and mouth moist while removing nine more foods from my diet on top of the gluten, dairy, and eggs. My body is on overdrive because it spent decades attacking gluten and once I took that away, it attacked other things.

After a year of focusing on treating ALL my allergies (not just the food) and getting acupuncture monthly to help with the Sjögren’s symptoms, I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago. But there are still problems. I still can’t sit at the laptop for long if I’m wearing my contacts. I can’t drink alcohol without feeling the dry eyes and dry mouth the next day. I can’t eat grains of any kind without my fingers being stiff and swollen the next day. Brain fog hits me when fatigue from any one of my illnesses strikes. There are days the brain fog is so bad I can’t form a single clear thought and have to walk away until it lifts. Right now, my brain is telling my body to attack Vitamin B so my body is pretty much killing it rather than using it like it should.

I work between the laptop and pen and paper because of my limitations. I try to be more aware of how long I’m at the laptop before I get up for a break. But we all know that when you’re in the middle of writing something to get it out of your head, you can’t be bothered to get up for a break. When I don’t do that, it comes back around the next day with more stiffness or more dryness.

The food reactions that get in the way: debilitating headaches, stomach pains, and non-stop itching to name a few. Plus, I developed a problem with my shoulders from sitting so long writing. It put me out one weekend because my right arm was nearly useless. Chaz had to finish chopping vegetables for me one Saturday for dinner. I went five days straight in pain and begrudgingly took ibuprofen on the fourth day (ibuprofen exacerbates gut permeability) to alleviate just a little of it. Thankfully, my doctors fixed me up on the fifth day.

You might think it’s no big deal and that I should be able to write with brain fog or a headache or stomach pains or non-stop itching or shoulder pain, but this assumption means you haven’t experienced any of these things. Unless you experience brain fog for yourself, it’s difficult to grasp. It’s like getting lost in a really thick fog in which you can’t see your outstretched hand in front of your face and you try to feel your way around while disoriented but you get stuck in a deep patch of mud instead and you just want to lie down and take a nap because all of that was so exhausting. Yes, that run-on was intentional. Writing is the ability to craft words. When brain fog takes over, you lose this ability and it’s like your IQ dropped a hundred points. Trying to tell Chaz what I want or what I need can be a trying experience…for both of us.

It’s frustrating when I sit and write using pen and paper and I can’t keep a handle on my pen. My grip loosens even as I tighten it…and there goes the pen thwacking on the desk. Sometimes it’s because of the inflammation in my fingers. Sometimes it’s the pain in my shoulder. It’s one thing to realize before you sit at the desk to write that something is off and writing isn’t a good idea. It’s completely different to be wrapped up in the process when your body turns on you and everything goes awry.

It took me a month to complete the first draft on my second manuscript, and that was with an insane week of banging out four to six thousand words a day. The ideas and words just flowed that week. I’ve been working on the second draft for two months. I feel like I should be done with it by now and I find myself getting frustrated with that. Then, I stop and remind myself that it’s okay, each day I work on it is one day closer to a finished second draft. I’m doing the best I can each day and that’s all I can do. The alternative is to give up and that is not an option.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Everyone Has An Opinion

Yes, we all have one.  We can all express them.  Most of us tend to express them in a more responsible and respectful manner than others.  The rest.  Well, they just have to drive their point home no matter how much it hurts or offends the person with whom they disagree. I have friends who can be quite militant about their opinions and I leave it at that without arguing over it because there is no point.  I will not sway their opinion and they will not sway mine.

This happened on my friends Facebook status after she posted her opinion on the medical system as a whole.  An opinion I happen to share with her.  A friend of hers insisted that her opinions were leading to “false information” and that her distrust of the system would lead people to going outside the system and that we should all work within the system.

I worked within the system. It is horribly broken and fails so many people who rely on it.  Western medicine as a whole is famous for the prescribe-a-pill-to-mask-the-symptoms and be done with it. There are some doctors out there who dig deeper for the cause and a true recovery for the patient.  But there are so many who slap the band-aid on and send the patient out the revolving door.

I chalked my lifelong migraines up to genetics since my dad has them, too.  I was always told by health care providers my constant low blood pressure and body temperature was “normal.”  My neurologist had me on a revolving list of medications to prevent daily migraines and caused weight gain.  I had a doctor who didn’t even take the time to go through my file before trying to send me out for tests…that he had already run and come back negative.  My podiatrist and pain management doctor had me on heavy medication that had me slogging through life like a zombie without an appetite (more weight gain!).  Friends even commented that I didn’t look like myself.  Cortisone shots to the elbow were more painful than the constant pain I experienced.  Physical therapy did nothing.  Let me restate that. The physical therapists did nothing.  They stood around their counter chatting while I did all manner of tasks unsupervised that provided no help.  I dubbed those sessions my exercise in futility.

This is the kind of medical care we settle for because we don’t know any better.  We learn as we grow up that you go to the doctor, he/she gives you a pill, you feel better.  We are herded like mindless cattle.  And the system counts on us being mindless.  Heaven forbid we start questioning the system and holding them accountable.

I had enough.

I fired my doctor and got a new one.  One that would look me in the eye and have a real conversation with me.  He talked with me, not at me.  I ditched the neurologist and medication for a chiropractor, much to the neurologist’s chagrin and warnings that it was not a good idea.  I ditched the podiatrist (who was a great doctor, just couldn’t think outside the box with the idiopathic neuropathy), pain management doctor, physical therapy, and heavy medications for a Naturopath, his acupuncture needles, and aromatherapy.

My cousin, a doctor, will even encourage and remind me to think outside the Western medicine bag.  When I was not getting better with Synthroid for my Hypothyroidism and the multitude of doctors I was seeing could not find answers, she’s the one who reminded me to go to my Naturopath.  And guess what.  He’s the one that figured out the medication that was supposed to make me better was really making me worse.  I have a friend who was diagnosed with Celiac by a dietitian after nearly 20 years of test after test run by the best medical doctors in the country, including those at Johns Hopkins.

Western medicine is not the end all be all.  Alternative medicine was around a long time before Western medicine was invented.  My friend’s friend seems to think that since Western medicine is based on science (therefore it is fact) it is the cat’s meow.  She would call everything else, anecdotal.  Well of course it’s anecdotal.  Who is going to furnish a grant for research into alternative medicine?  Big pharma pays for the other grants because they have the money for it.  If they provided money for alternative medicine grants, they’d put themselves out of business.  I will take thousands of years of anecdotal evidence, along with my own personal experience and that of my friends who have also gone the same route as myself, over science that just serves to mask the rotting root of the problem.

I discovered that gluten was the rotting root of all my problems.  It caused my migraines, my vertigo, chest pains, heart palpitation, low blood pressure, low body temperature, idiopathic neuropathy, IBS.  Everything that has plagued me is traced back to gluten because everything is gone now that it is out of my diet.  Gone.  No migraines unless TMJ triggers one, which is extremely rare.  So rare that where I used to have several migraines a month, I can go several months without a migraine.  No vertigo.  No chest pains or heart palpitations.  Normal blood pressure and body temp.  No more tingling, burning, or pain in my left foot.  Normal thyroid levels without the use of medications or supplements.  I actually gained health I never had before when I went gluten-free.  An added benefit of being gluten-free, as well as following a whole foods diet, I’m dropping weight and keeping it off.  My co-workers tell me all the time that I eat so healthy.  I have to.  It’s the only way to maintain my health.

I had to replace my doctor and my Naturopath since we moved last Fall.  I found an integrative doctor.  She focuses on whole health.  Mind.  Body.  Spirit.  She does acupuncture.  There are chiropractors in her practice that I see.  She has people who do energy work on me.  She keeps an eye on my thyroid, iron, and Vitamin D levels.  She uses more alternative medicine than Western.  Why?  Because it works.

It just plain works.  I have a list of friend who will tell you the same.

My opinion?  Do what works for you and gets you the results you desire.  I choose the path that keeps me healthy and not relying on medications that can ultimately do damage to our bodies because everyone is different and no medication is going to work the same on every single person who takes it.  I choose a system that has proven itself over and over again over a system that is deeply flawed and uses duct tape to cover the problems.

If you choose differently, so be it.  Just don’t rub my face in and tell me your opinion is better than mine or that I’m wrong.  It is an opinion.  A preference.  If you get rude and disrespectful, I will tell you off in my own special way.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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