Every day is a new day
It was August 2016, I had just returned from an awesome adventure in Gunnison National Park, CO when my world was turned upside down. I began to experience aches and pains quickly dismissed as battle wounds from my recent mountain adventure.
After a couple weeks had passed the pain and swelling spread throughout the left side of my body, traveling from lower back to wrist and foot. I couldn’t grasp a teacup, was having trouble opening doors, operating zippers and buttons. I hadn’t connected the pains I was having at that time nor did I understand what I was up against.
I no longer felt like the same person that I was just a month prior nor was I capable of putting a brave face to what was happening. I began to feel scared. Really scared. And, for the first time in my life, I went from playing the role of helping others to the one always seeming to need help. My husband, children and mother turned into caregivers. I felt tremendous guilt over all of the help required by others just to get through a day. I feared the worst wondering if I would ever be able to function again.
I was misdiagnosed twice before landing in a hospital bed unable to walk. I underwent every imaginable test and scan. I was treated by several specialists via a series of the strongest antibiotic cocktails administered intravenously. I lost hair due to reaction of all of the hard core drugs. I was laid up missing my kiddos field hockey and baseball games, weddings, girls nights, day hikes . . . well, you get the picture. I missed my mobility, independence and life as I knew it.
While hospitalized with the condition now traveling from left to right side of my body, I was introduced to a Rheumatologist who ran additional bloods and quickly connected the physical pain, swelling & presentation to chronic inflammation resulting in the diagnosis of Psoriatic Arthritis.
It took three months for the prescribed biological to kick in. After six months, and some orthopedic shoes, I started feeling semi-normal again. Eight months later, I became obsessed with reading about autoimmune diseases convinced that what was happening to me was a condition that I could conquer. I hung on to hope that the trigger was bacterial and after a year passed, I could discontinue my dependency on the biological that kept my immune system from attacking my body.
Fast forward to today and no such luck . . . .I still rely upon the biological, but have not given up the fight. I have come a long way. I can function and my inflammation levels are down. And, while I accept that I am genetically predisposed (HLA B27), I continue to research and experiment with my diet being mindful of triggers.
Two years ago, if you asked me what an autominnue disease was…I couldn’t tell you. Instead, I may have simply replied “you are what you eat” not fully realizing the depth of this truth. At that time in my life I felt fantastic. Never looked better and was loving life having fully committed to a plant based whole food diet. The daily menu read fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes & quinoa ( and plenty of them). I had replaced flour bread with Ezekiel sprouted grain products. I even replaced traditional flour pastas with lentil and chick pea versions. It was all about how much I had gained instead of lost. I was far down a path of wellness, or so I thought.
I was operating under some very basic rules: If it was plant based, unprocessed and did not contain additives such as oil, sugar, meat, or salt – the more the merrier! I had established some go to favorites not realizing that the combination was a perfect storm for leaky gut and chronic inflammation.
Since then I have limited some foods consumed prior, and in abundance, such as; evening shades, legumes & quinoa that were later proven to aggravate my condition. I have also introduced healthy omegas from sources such a fish, coconut, olive and hemp oils.
And, while I still believe today that “you are what you eat”, I have learned that a diet is not a one size fits all solution. It is instead a personalized and delicate balance.
Listen to your body and find your own balance