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How I’m Healing

Healing
Healing

When we last left off on my health care drama, it seemed like we were headed face-first into a clear diagnosis—thyroid dysfunction. Every health care professional I saw was positive that was what was going on with me. In fact, after our first appointment, my new endocrinologist said to me, “I’d bet money your thyroid is going haywire.” Well, I should have taken the bet, because kids, my thyroid is AS NORMAL AS IT CAN BE.

And not “normal” like I’m at the top or bottom of a distorted range. Not “normal” as in they didn’t run the right tests. Not “normal” as in the lab messed something up. Multiple lab tests from multiple healthcare professionals over the course of weeks spanning the entire range of thyroid function—all normal. And not just normal, even optimal according to most thyroid disease advocates, my functional medicine MD, and even my two naturopaths. My thyroid is apparently rockin’ it, kids. Even my thyroid nodule that was so big I could see it in the mirror back in May, has shrunk to where I can’t even feel it without basically putting myself into a choke hold.

Which, in theory (and in actuality, I know) is great news. I mean, not having a chronic, incurable thyroid disorder? Awesome. Exceeppppptttttt, we still don’t know what’s going on with me. At least, before, we thought we had an idea. And with that diagnosis would have come a clear treatment plan and steps to improve my life. Now? Not so much.

Tinctures

Here is what we do know. My white blood cell count is bouncing between normal and high (but not off-the-charts high). I had an echocardiogram which discovered some mild damage to my heart muscle (they’re calling it “post-viral carditis”). And I tested positive for a virus called Parvovirus B19 (not the same Parvo that is so scary for us dog lovers). You’d think that was a slam dunk—it’s just a bad virus!

MY OTHER RECIPES

Except, Parvovirus is usually considered an incredibly mild virus. In fact, most adults don’t even show symptoms. In a young, healthy, non-immune-compromised person like myself, Parvovirus shouldn’t be more than a blip on the radar if it even shows up at all.

Right now, my medical doctor is working on the assumption that this is just a really nasty virus (maybe Parvovirus, maybe something else), and we are in a wait-and-see mode on the conventional medicine side of things.

On the other hand, my naturopath is pretty much convinced I’m fighting Lyme disease (although, legally, she can’t actually diagnose me in the state of Indiana), and has been giving me all kinds of treatments, supplements, and life-style changes to help boost my immune system to fight it.

I’ve had two Lyme tests come back negative, but apparently they are notoriously inaccurate—missing up to 55% of cases. I’ve been referred to what is called a “Lyme-literate” doctor (who I actually see this afternoon—woohoo!) who will hopefully dig into it a little bit further. I do have a history of tick bites (hellloooo, country livin’), and my neighbor was just diagnosed with Lyme this summer—so it’s plausible enough that it’s worth delving into more. If nothing else, I’ll feel better knowing I can rule it out as much as possible.

Probably the most important update is this: I’m feeling better. Not remarkably so. Honestly, not even to a fraction of the level I was 10 weeks ago, but definitely better than I was three weeks ago. And most importantly, I’m not feeling any worse which wasn’t the case for a month or more. Every day I felt worse. Every day brought some new, scary symptom. Now, I feel like I’m climbing back up the hill. It feels like I have 10,000 steps to climb to get back to where I was, but I’m at least out of the foam pit (those things are SO hard to get out of!) at the bottom of the hill.

And, I’m going to be honest, I’m giving myself almost all of the credit for climbing out of the foam pit.

Me Sauna

My wellness has been my career and hobby over the past six weeks, and I know that sounds decadent (and I’m extremely grateful to have the resources and support to pull that off), but it’s been a necessity. At some point along this journey, I decided I didn’t need a diagnosis to start healing, and it’s the best thing I ever did.

Would it be easier to know exactly what is going on and exactly how to fight it? Sure. But I’m pretty self-aware, and I know what things make my body happy—getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, getting out in the sunshine, eating a lot of vegetables, being creative, reading, laughing with my kid, talking to my husband. And those things are all just as important as getting a pill or other medical treatment to help me heal. So, I’ve been doing my own healing.

My Healing Protocol

A few weeks ago, I decided to take things in my own hands and craft my own self-treatment plan. Back then, I thought I was for sure headed on the path to a thyroid disorder, so all my plans started with that in mind, but as it turns out, most of the stuff you do for a healthy thyroid is what you do for a healthy body in general. So we’re keeping the course even though my thyroid is all good.

And I’m feeling better. Is it placebo effect? Is it a virus just running it’s course? Is my very own healing protocol actually working? Honestly, I don’t care. Not even a little. I’m feeling 10% more like myself, and I’m not questioning it.

Reclaiming the Sanctuary of Sleep

I haven’t slept through the night in four years. It started when I was pregnant (and so sick) and continued when we decided to be a cosleeping family. Cosleeping morphed and changed as our little nugget grew older (we night weaned, she got her own bed next to ours, etc.), but it still meant I was sleeping with a 95th percentile three year old kicking, snuggling, hitting, and calling out to me. I literally can’t even remember what it is like to fall asleep and then the next time you wake up, it’s morning. Do people actually do that?

Then, this whole health issue started, and it greatly impacted my sleep. I have bad heart palpitations that make it almost impossible to get to sleep, and so instead of being able to fall back asleep within a few minutes when I’d be hit or kicked in the middle of the night, I was stuck at 2am staring at the ceiling listening to my heart beat out of my chest for hours. I was maybe getting four or five hours of sleep total. Which, hello, is not the path to healing.

We talked it over as a family, and we decided that it was time for Mama’s sleep to become a priority. We moved Juni into her own little nook right off of our room and assigned Dada all nighttime parenting duties going forward.

Juni's Bed

It (obviously) hasn’t been totally seamless, but mostly, the kid has ROCKED the transition—she was ready for her own space as well—and I’m slowly, but surely, getting used to sleeping without a 35 pound projectile flying at my kidneys throughout the night. We loved cosleeping (and honestly, I still think what we are doing is a form of cosleeping—Juni is still very close to us), but it was time for us to all have a little more sleep independence, and so far, so good.

Another huge part of reclaiming sleep has been to bring myself back into a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine. It’s something we make sure to do with Juni, but I stopped giving myself the same time and attention (hello, that’s motherhood for you). I now am completely screen free after 7pm—no computer, no TV, no phone (more on that one in a sec). I spend my evenings knitting or coloring or reading or doing something else that brings me joy, but doesn’t stimulate. It is so tempting to zone out in front of my phone or TV after Juni is in bed, but I find I sleep better, and I’m a much happier person if I don’t.

I’m also working very hard to reset my circadian rhythms (AKA: getting my body used to idea that light=awake time and dark=sleep time). I get outside for at least 10 minutes as soon as the sun is up. I only use amber light bulbs after sunset, and like I said, no screens after 7pm. I’m also making sure I’m asleep by 9pm (and most nights closer to 8pm). It felt a little strange at first, but it has definitely been working. I can feel myself winding down almost the second the sun starts to set.

Learning How to Destress

When I first got sick, and I was talking to every health care professional I could find, most of them kept asking me the same question—what do you do to relieve stress? And my answer was always the same. I don’t have a particularly stressful life (I’m my own boss, I work from home, I have a great family, etc.). Most people I talked to were fine with that answer, until one wasn’t. Shout out to my therapist for this gem: “But good stress is still a kind of stress. And it still needs to be relieved.”

Mind. Blown. I mean, intellectually, I knew that some of the happiest events in your life are also some of the most stressful (babies, marriages, new homes, vacations, etc.), but I never really tied it to my day-to-day life. Just because I love my job and my family, that doesn’t make it UNstressful. And it’s just as important to find a way to relieve that positive stress as it is to relieve the stress from a crappy boss or frustrating commute or mean person on the street.

So, in that context, the answer to the question “what do you do to relieve stress?” is nothing. I used to garden, but I didn’t put a garden in this year. I used to do yoga regularly, but I don’t really anymore. I used to go to the gym, but I don’t. I used to knit and take dance classes and sew and craft and cook (that was a hobby before it was my job!) and hike and holy cow, I have absolutely nothing in my life that relieves stress anymore.

I think it may be easier to justify self-care when it feels like a necessity—I need this massage today after that terrible week at work. But when your life isn’t particularly (negatively) stressful, self-care can so seamlessly be put on the back burner.

Kale

I’ve been working on this from two angles—first are hobbies. Cooking and writing this blog used to be my hobbies, and then they became my job, and I never refilled that “hobby” spot. In fact, I started to strip away my other hobbies because I loved my job so much. Now, I’m bringing back in things that once brought me joy but have absolutely no ties to money—knitting, reading, coloring, and gardening (although, Fall is the worst time ever to get back into gardening). And I’m going to explore some new things that I think may or may not be a good fit.

The second front for this attack on stress is what I’m calling Radical Acts of Self-Care. This is the category for things that I never would have found the time or money for before or, more tellingly, never would have given myself the permission to do before even if I did find the time or money. I’m talking massages and acupuncture and floating and saunas and whatever other new-agey thing pops up and seems like it might help me destress. So far, acupuncture and the infrared sauna have been my favorites. I’m trying to do something new and “big” like this once a week—not only to just try it all out, but to try to get in the habit of it not feeling so “luxurious”.

Sauna

The financial investment is still a tough pill to swallow (these kinds of hippie-dippie, crunchy granola things run in the $50-$100 a pop range in our area), but I keep trying to remind myself that I just got a bill in the mail for $1600 for a 90 minute visit to the ER for a panic attack—so if I just avoid that once, I’ve already paid for 3-6 months worth of Radical Acts. I guess you gotta invest in your health at some point, and I’d much rather do it through massages and acupuncture (and good food!) at the front end than IVs and EKGs later.

Exploring What Foods Bring Me Wellness

It’s probably considered burying the lede to put the part about dietary changes 2000 words deep into a post on a food blog, but I have to be honest, even though the dietary changes I’ve made over the past few weeks sound dramatic, they really haven’t felt like that big of a deal at all.

I’m starting my fifth week of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP for short). The AIP diet is basically a temporary, supercharged version of an elimination diet. You strip away all the most common inflammation-causing foods for a period of time (I was originally planning on doing four weeks, but I feel so good, I don’t know if I’m ready to change things up yet), and then slowly reintroduce them to see if they bug your system.

AIP Coconut Porridge

I have to be honest, I shrugged off the idea that my diet needed tweaked for a long time while feeling sick. I run a healthy eating blog! I eat healthy! How can that be the problem!?

And while that might be true, that my diet is healthy in the relative sense, that thought process didn’t take into account my needs on a micro scale. And that’s what the AIP is. It’s basically stripping away your diet to mostly “safe” foods (that don’t cause an inflammatory response in most folks), and then challenging common triggers to see what works and doesn’t work for your body. Your body. Not the nutritionist who told you not to eat gluten. Not your sister who can’t eat eggs. Not the textbook that told you beans were good for you.

Doing an elimination style diet is pretty much as close as you can get to a scientific study on your own body. And I figured it was high-time I invested some research time into myself. (Do you sense a theme in this post? Investing in myself—and the various ways you can do that.)

Many health care practitioners even recognize an elimination diet as the gold-standard for identifying food intolerances. You can get food allergy testing done in a lab or doctor’s office. But often those only display true, dangerous allergies (not just a slight or even moderate intolerance or sensitivity). Basically, there is a whole continuum of how our bodies digest food, and just because you aren’t at one extreme (allergic reaction) doesn’t mean your body is happy you’re eating it.

Anywho, for now, following the AIP means I’m not eating grains (of any kind, not just gluten-containing ones), nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes), pulses (beans, lentils, peas), sugar or any kind of sweetener (natural or otherwise), nuts, chocolate, coffee, eggs, seeds, soy, or dairy (which I wasn’t eating before, so not a big deal to give up).

Pesto Chicken Flatbread

What I am eating? Free-range meat, wild caught seafood, a little bit of fruit, and an obscene amount of vegetables. I know it sounds really limiting, but I’ve been surprised by how having restrictions on my food has made me feel more free in the kitchen. We’ve been eating things like Turmeric Chicken Zoodle Soup and Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Florentine Meatballs and Sweet Potato Clam Chowder. I’m definitely not hungry! It’s been delicious. 

The hope is that most of the foods on the no list can come back into my life at some point. For most people, they do after a period of healing. Some people even initially have an issue with a food, but then after a period of keeping it out of their diet, can bring it back in occasionally without any issues. The only foods I really miss are eggs and oats, but even those don’t feel insurmountable. I have to be honest, if you told me I had to eat chalk everyday for the rest of my life to feel better, I would. That’s how bad I was feeling, and how desperate I was to feel even a little bit like myself again.

Nurturing my Mind

Oh, my. Let’s get into some therapy now, shall we? As I said in my last post, I’m in therapy now (originally because I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder—which my therapist whole-heartedly disagrees with—now because I like therapy, and it’s helping me work through other issues). And a theme we keep coming back to is how uncomfortable I am with the gray areas in life. I’m uncomfortable sitting still in a waiting room. I’m uncomfortable waiting for someone to call me back. I’m uncomfortable not knowing the answer to a question RIGHTTHISSECOND. And while that trait can be a positive attribute sometimes, when it comes to a health crisis, where you are pretty much LIVING in the gray area for weeks (or months) at a time, it can be a real detriment.

Being unable to live in the gray area during an illness meant that I was Googling EVERY single symptom I had repeatedly looking for answers. It meant reading hundreds of forum posts of people who even sounded a little like they were going through the same thing I was going through. It got to the point where it was becoming a compulsion. I was Googling something about my condition every 5-10 minutes. I was glued to my phone. And I was convinced I was going to be like these “forum people” who had felt this sick for decades.

Gray Area

And, of course, doing research and educating yourself is important. But it’s also important to be able to set that side of your brain down and move onto other things (like insignificant tasks such as eating and drinking). I wasn’t able to do that. I was so uncomfortable with the gray area of not knowing what was going on with me, I was making myself even more miserable by trying to get out of the gray area.

This has been a theme throughout my life, but it’s become really problematic during this. So, I’m working on it.

First step has been to PUT DOWN MY DAMN PHONE. Literally. I’ve been keeping it not-within-arm’s-reach for the past few weeks, and it’s been so helpful. Just the physical act of having to get up and grab my phone instead of having it right near me has done a lot to break the muscle memory of the compulsion. It’s okay to not know the capital of Uruguay right now. It’s okay to not know who sang that song back in 1995. And it’s definitely okay not to know if hair loss is a sign of me dying of a mysterious illness.

I’ve also been journaling, writing, and drawing a lot. Instead of Googling and researching every damn thought that comes in my head, I take the “hot” ones and work them out on paper. The others, I try to visualize as a bubble popping hovering my head. It’s okay for the “what if I always feel this bad?” thought to pop in my head. It’s not okay to Google it for the 400th time and read sad stories about how other people never got healthy again. So I imagine they are bubbles that pop, and then I move on.

I’ve also been giving myself a clear 20 minute window of “Worry Time” everyday. Where I am allowed to freak out, research, and Google my information-loving heart out. When the timer goes off, I go take a walk or make dinner or move onto some other task and that’s it until tomorrow.

I’ve also been working very hard on my mindfulness. I’ve always wanted to have a regular meditation practice, but I never really seemed to figure out how to make it work with my life. Well, nothing like your thoughts running rampant and crushing anxiety to get you motivated to work on your mindfulness. I spend about an hour every morning, right after I wake up and while everyone else is still asleep, meditating. I use mostly guided meditations through the Headspace app and YouTube. It’s been a really awesome way to start my day. I’ve also been using knitting to help me work on mindfulness. I’m not a very skilled knitter (and don’t do anything complicated), so the repetitiveness of each stitch, row after row, really gives me a chance to work on calming my mind.

Knitting

The latest big mental health hurdle for me has been learning to protect myself emotionally. I always felt guilty or selfish if I didn’t know the latest scary news or get involved with the latest cause, and I really think there is value in having deep, lifelong compassion for others. I don’t think my empathy is a negative trait, but I do think I have to learn to control it. And I just have never done a good job of that.

In my current emotional state, reading horrible news stories sends me into such a state, I can’t help anyone. I’ve had to learn to release my guilt over being disconnected—if I’m locked in my bedroom in the middle of a panic attack, I can’t help anyone. What I can do—work really hard to heal my mind, body, and spirit right now, and then come back feeling stronger, more empowered, and more ready to fight for the causes that matter to me. Disconnecting from the news and social media may seem cowardly to some, but I’m choosing to see it as a sign of strength. This is what I have to do right now to be a contributing citizen of our beautiful planet in the future.

So, there you go. That’s what I’m doing right now to heal my body, mind, and spirit (even though I don’t know what’s wrong with me). I also have some other ideas for healing, but my therapist and I are trying to work on me not getting so cart-before-horse with planning (guilty)—so I’m sticking to what feels doable for now, and we’ll revisit those later down the road.

As always, thank you so much for your kind words, support, and love. I can feel it. All of it. I feel your email messages. I feel your Instagram messages. I feel your comments. I feel your letters, cards, and packages. I feel your love. And I think it’s a huge part of my healing. Knowing you guys are out there cheering me on is just…everything. This community we have built is just remarkable, and I’m so honored to be part of it. <3

I’ll keep you updated as I can! Most days, I share on Instagram stories the latest tidbits of information—so make sure to follow me over there if you haven’t already.

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23 comments

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  • Yael H. SAYS

    Your healing journey is absolutely amazing. To be able to focus your energy this way, is something few people are able to do, and you are truly an inspiration.
    I’m sending you love and healing (and sunshine!), From Tel-Aviv, Israel.

  • Kerrie SAYS

    You are such a smart cookie and an inspiration! I totally got ‘stuck’ when my health disappeared without explanation. I’m a nurse, and was lost without a diagnosis. For months and years (until I found a naturopath to help me), I spun my wheels and, no doubt, made myself worse. I’m in my 5th year of my mystery illness, currently waiting for results of more reliable Lyme/co-infection/virus testing through a lab in Germany. I had to learn to go on without a diagnosis too, I just didn’t catch on quite as quickly as you though! Thank you for updating. Hoping for continued healing – for us all!

    • Dawn SAYS

      wow what an amazing and inspiring woman you are Cassie! Love this article, so much valuable advise and insight into dealing with the ‘grays’ of life…thank you so much for sharing this! I hope you continue to feel better Cassie! and I love the shift to healing! you go girl!

  • Jill SAYS

    I am so sorry that you are going through a health crisis, I think about you everyday and am relieved to know that you are doing even the slightest bit better…every bit counts! I also just started the AIP (day 10 for me!) so following along with you has been inspiring. YOU are inspiring in everything you do and I hope that you will get yourself back to optimal health very soon!

  • jodi SAYS

    Cassie – Cheers to focusing on yourself & living “Wholefully” & I love that you share your learnings with your followers!

  • Julie SAYS

    Hi there, I just wanted to share some info with you that may help: there is a genetic defect that inhibits the methylation of folic acid called Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (or MTHFR). And yes, I’m aware what this acronym brings to mind. ;) It’s something easily tested, just a DNA test, and there are several types of mutation. Basically, your body doesn’t absorb folate properly so it can cause weight gain, thyroid issues, fibromyalgia, depression, stroke, dementia, etc. ALL Kinds of things can stem from this one little thing. Because the mutations are different, treatment varies, but essentially all you need is methylated folate and avoid regular folic acid. But I recommend finding a doctor who knows a bit about it. Here’s one of my favorite sites for more info: https://draxe.com/mthfr-mutation/

    All I know is ever since I hit 30 and discovered this issue starting to affect my health, taking the right supplements, eating the right food (and avoiding the wrong ones) has helped me with a lot of the above mentioned issues. :) Wishing you the best!

  • Mairna SAYS

    You sound like a wonderful person and I wish you luck on your journey. I too am having health issues that drain me and keep me in bed unable to get involved in the things ‘I think” I want to do. I know that this is a process and some thing big is on the other side. For now, being in it, is tough. I really think you should check out a lovely friend of mine ‘jill ennis’ – http://www.jillennis.com. We met online when I was studying animal communication and she has been a great source of wisdom and support.. She is a coach and animal communicator and is also adjunct faculty at a university near her in Syracuse. More importantly, she has been on her own journey with lyme and is coming out the other side stronger and wiser. I think you will find some common issues with her.

  • Lisa DiMauro SAYS

    I went through something sort of similar about 20 years ago after my first son was born. I went six weeks back and forth to doctors who couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I NEVER get sick so to all of the sudden be experiencing so many symptoms all at once was beyond scary and nerve-wracking. The last part of my illness (which I didn’t realize would be the last part at the time) before I got completely better was a terrible rash accompanied by almost unbearable joint pain. I was only 21 years old and had just gone back to work after being on maternity leave and ended up out of work for another 3 weeks due to all of the symptoms I was experiencing. It was so scary. Anyway, I got off track. It wasn’t until the rash and joint pain started and a constant fever I’d had had finally subsided that they finally diagnosed me with human parvovirus. The rash and joint pain lasted about 2 weeks and then it was if I’d never been ill at all. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever been through.

    I hope you are on downhill side of all this and have some more definitive answers soon!

  • Jeannie SAYS

    Dear Cassie, I have all the signs of hypo-thyroidism, esp no energy for quite some time. Convinced my thyroid was the culprit, I asked my doc to check it out. Well… My TSH is normal. I’m only slightly anemic but not low enough to cause such a dragging feeling. The health mystery search is on! I do hope you get a workable diagnosis soon so the treatments and healing can begin. Prayers are with you. Jeannie…your blog follower

  • sam SAYS

    follow up on the lyme all my tests came back negative

  • sunny SAYS

    Thank you for the update :) So glad you mentioned self care. I bet there are many of us who also need to work on self care. When I read about relieving good stress and hobbies, I realized I don’t have any hobbies anymore apart from reading sometimes. (I used to read hours every week and now, not so much.) I also used to crochet so I think I’ll try those two things this week and save up for a massage :)

    (I”m the one who wrote you about the fight-or-flight response I was having and couldn’t take showers when in that mode… and when I’m fragile emotionally like that, I can’t hear bad news or I absorb it like a sponge.)

  • Katie SAYS

    Glad you are making some progress in this journey! Thanks for sharing with us. I’ll be keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  • Luann SAYS

    Oh Cassie – I have been following your blog forever. Even though we have never met I feel like you are my best friend. Know that you are loved by many who deeply care about you and wish you nothing but the best on this journey. I know that you will succeed for you have the support of thousands behind you rooting for you every step of the way! Much love and peacefulness, my friend…

  • debbie in alaska SAYS

    Would love to read a post focused on the “hippie” treatments you’re trying such as infrared, floating, acupuncture, oils, etc. You are so thorough in your writing it would be super informative and interesting. So happy you are healing!

  • Thank you SO much for this post. I’m a toddler mom too and have been struggling with my own health. I’ve had mono twice and my body just can’t seem to kick it. I’m doing a lot of research and thinking holistically like you. Please keep sharing, it’s inspiring!

  • Jenny SAYS

    Wow. I SO relate to this. I have what my husband calls “insatiable curiousity”. I’m constantly researching something, anything. I need to know the answer asap, and this is especially true with my health. I’m also an artist and knitter.
    So thank you for sharing this. I really needed to read this. I’m going to use your ideas to start spending less time on my phone. I’m going to put it down right now. ?

  • Truth SAYS

    You are a rock star.

  • Ingunn SAYS

    You rock for taking charge of your own health and doing everything in your power to heal. Thank you for always being an inspiration, even while you’re going through something like this!

  • Christine Norris SAYS

    Your blog is very inspirational I feel for you and I like your PMA (positive mental attitude). I have been diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer and am struggling to swollow. I have been in hospital a couple of times because I am not eating or drinking enough. If you have any receipes that can be liquidised as a total meal can you point me in the right direction. Thanks.

  • Oh Cassie, thank you for sharing in this journey. I was encouraged by two things in particular: 1) that you’re doing AIP, and 2) that you’re seeing a therapist. As an AIPer AND therapist in training (grad school), I’m always thrilled to hear of the two being normalized.

    AIP is the most incredible healing protocol I know of. It is radical, but it changes lives. I know countless people personally who have reversed their autoimmune conditions and healed their bodies from all manner of illnesses, both mental and physical. I implore you to keep at it. The fact that you’re already feeling improvement is a clear signal that it’s working, and the fact that you’re going to continue bodes well for your AIP journey. Many people assume the diet has done its trick once they feel an ounce of improvement, but they underestimate what the protocol can do. I have ambiguous immune system issues, and it took a SOLID 4-6 months before I felt “well.” Truly well. And for me, AIP was a lifestyle more than a diet. Those 4-6 months included STRICT adherence to the elimination phase of the diet, intense sleep prioritization, moderate exercise/movement, getting sun every day/fostering circadian rhythms, and increased awareness and management of stress, such as breathing techniques, Epsom salt baths, and essential oils. Radical, but life changing. I look forward to hearing more about your journey. I think you’ve set yourself up for success. You’ve got amazing tools, and more than that, an amazing attitude and willingness to advocate for YOURSELF and your health. That’s where I’ve found health begins. When you take ownership and say “hell yes, my body is mine and it is powerful and I have the capacity to help it heal.” I see you doing that and it makes me proud, and I don’t even know you! :)

    Secondly, THANK YOU for participating in therapy and for speaking about it! I’m in MFT grad school and currently in clinicals, seeing the incredible ways it can help people, and it breaks my heart that it’s still so stigmatized and misunderstood. Everyone assumes that if you’re in therapy you must have a major mental disorder, or you’re “crazy,” or, almost worst of all, “too weak to handle your own problems.” UGH literally not what therapy is people. Everybody, literally everybody, needs outside perspective sometimes. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of maturity and an ability to be vulnerable. We are relational beings. We are hurt through people and healed through people. We need people. To deny that is to your own detriment. Again, you are on an incredible track to wellness, and I commend you for your vulnerability and courage, both in participating in therapy and in speaking about it on such a public platform.

    And overall, thank you for sharing this painful place you now find yourself. You could have easily just disappeared. It might have been easier. But instead you’re sharing your story, and there is something powerful in humans sharing their dark times with each other. You are very brave.

    -Anna Kate

  • Sarah SAYS

    Thank you for sharing your story. As always, your writing is so beautiful, even when you’re writing about such a difficult and personal subject. I wish you good health.

  • Stephanie Quackenbush SAYS

    Thank you for sharing your struggle! My husband is of the opinion that if our (4 year old) daughter isn’t actually ALLERGIC to a food, we’ll just feed it to her….she’s outgrown most of her food ALLERGIES, but I feel she’s still SENSITIVE to said items (wheat, egg, cow dairy, peas, and brassicas, like kale) and so when we go out to eat, we end up feeding her such things as pizza, and Mac ‘n cheese. And, well, she’s not actually reacting to any of it, I still feel it doesn’t make her feel very good.

  • Sharon SAYS

    Hi, just stumbled here after seeking pumpkin seed recipes. Wanted to make sure you have your heart FULLY checked out. When my niece was a baby, she turned blue and a week of tests couldn’t pinpoint the prob until they did an X-ray and saw her heart was triple normal size. After many more tests, prior to a transplant, it turned out (best the docs could guess) is that a virus had attacked her heart, leaving it squishy and unable to properly function. The others in the family had been sick but for some reason it attacked her heart and BAD. Please take care.

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