I’ve been waiting to write this post for a while. When I was at the peak of my symptoms, I promised myself that I would share my journey when I was on the other side of things. But healing is not linear, there are ups and downs, hills and valleys and while I’m mostly pain-free, there are definitely days when I have a flare and my symptoms return for a brief while. The difference is that I now have learned what I can do to heal my body and trust my intuition each and every time I go through it. Most people in real life aren’t even aware that I’ve been impacted by chronic illness, it’s one of those things I’ve felt like doesn’t really come up casually unless I’m really struggling to move and it’s super obvious. So, I’m excited to finally share my story.
It all began when I was recovering from a viral exposure in the Summer of 2021 and I found myself with a host of new and chronic symptoms. I had severe pain, stiffness and inflammation in my toes and foot and mysterious rashes all over my body. The stiffness and swelling began moving to other joints such as my ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and jaw. The pain would stay in one spot for up to a few weeks, subside and then take up residence in another joint. There was a day when I couldn’t open my jaw, another when I couldn’t lift my left arm, and lots of days when I couldn’t bear any weight on my ankle or knee and had to remain on the couch. Finally in January the pain and symptoms peaked and I needed a cane for assistance to walk even short distances from the couch to the kitchen. All the while caring for a 3 year old full time making it even more imperative that I find a way to heal. It was hard. There were lots of times when I would well up with tears of despair as my 3 year old would ask me again and again to play with him when I couldn’t lift my body off the couch. I remember crying when he needed help with his socks, and I couldn’t find a way to bend down to help him. Then there was the brain fog, headaches, word retrieval issues and fatigue. I vowed to heal, for both myself and for my family. I knew I would do whatever it took to get some semblance of a normal life back- one that involved me playing cars on the floor and running around outside with my little guy. I knew I would someday hike again, I just didn’t yet know how I would get there.
I presented with symptoms consistent with what traditional doctors would call Psoriatic Arthritis-characterized as an incurable autoimmune disease. It is believed that auto immune diseases occur when the body attacks itself and there is not much one can do to recover. However, as a long time follower of Medical Medium information I’ve come to learn that the body can heal with the right support, lifestyle changes and time. I began reaching out to multiple practitioners, researching every bit of information I could find, and joining healing groups that could guide me along this path in community. According to MM information, auto immune diseases are caused by viruses and viral debris that we all carry in our bodies- our viral load. I have learned that my initial viral exposure triggered this underlying viral load, which for me was caused by both Epstein Barr and Shingles viruses. This is where I began focusing my healing.
My treatment protocol consisted of a few key things; elimating any foods that would feed the virus, adding in foods that would support my liver to help me clear viral debris, taking supportive herbs and vitamins to boost my immune system, calm my adrenals, and alleviate pain. It took a while, but gradually the healing began. The pain subsided, inflammation calmed and stopped spreading, and I could walk unassisted just in time to enjoy the coming of Spring. Then finally, after being in significant pain for 7 months, I was pain free by the end of March!
Here are some of the key things that helped me turn the corner:
- Elimination Diet. I already don’t consume gluten, dairy, meat, corn, soy, or canola oil, but I also eliminated vinegar, citric acid, natural flavor, nutritional yeast, and refined sugar. I stopped all grains for a long time and gradually worked them back in little by little.
- Raw until 4. One of the best healing tips for me has been eating raw food all day and steamed food at dinner.
- No radical fat. I eliminated all fats-including healthy fats to allow my body to focus on cleansing.
- Celery Juice. An all around crucial part to healing. Taken first thing in the morning after lemon water on an empty stomach to flush and heal the gut. I started with 16 ounces and worked up to 40 ounces when I could.
- Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie. This was super important because of the psoriatic component to my symptoms. Dermatoxins release and react to the metals which caused the rashes. Clearing the metals helped clear up the rashes. Recipe is here
- Supplements. In consultation with my practitioners, I added in additional supplements to my existing protocol at much higher dosages. These vitamins and herbal tinctures consisted of antivirals, adrenal support and pain management. (B12, Zinc, Ashwagandha, Cat’s Claw, Eyebright, Goldenseal, Mullein, Licorice Root, Lemon Balm, Nettle, Olive Leaf, Vitamin C, Lysine, Curcumin, 5MTHF, Magnesium Glycinate, Chaga, Glutathione, NAC, MSM, and Silica)
- Slowing Down. One of the best things i could do for myself was to slow down and let my adrenals rest. I cleared the calendar, focused on simple living and just laid low for a while.
I’d like to say that life returned to “normal”, but there is now a new normal. I continue to eliminate the trouble maker foods from my diet, drink my CJ and HMDS every morning and take high dosages of herbs and supplements. Our meals are very intentionally created and I spend an enormous amount of time in the kitchen- which is not only the center of our home but is literally my pharmacy as well. But I can move! I can build train tracks on the floor and give airplane rides and run with my son as he peddles full speed down the block. I can go for walks and attend community festivals. I can bike to the farmers market and walk around the grocery store.
I will never take any of this for granted again.
Chronic illness has taught me to shift, to adapt and to listen. It has taught me to be humble, intuitive and to trust my body. It has taught me to make the most of the days when my energy feels good and I can move freely and easily- and to be patient on those days when I am in a flare and just don’t have the same physical capacity. It has taught me to appreciate every day.
It has been a long road, but my body is healing. We are all on our own healing journeys, and it is my sincere hope that this experience can help someone else with their journey too.
Peace to All. Life to All. Love to All. Sat Nam.