Living with an Autoimmune Disorder
I have been living with two different immune issues since I was a teenager ,vitiligo and Raynaud's Disorder. The Western trained physicians that I have seen over the last 30 years haven't have much to offer me in how and why I developed them and what I could expect in the future. I was told there wasn't a lot of knowledge pertaining to the why and not much I could do about either of disorders. When I was first diagnosed back in 1985, I was 15 years old and wasn't phased by either. I thought it was just strange that when I went out in the cold , I would lose feeling in my fingers and toes but I grew up in Buffalo, NY and thought that was normal for our cold arctic winters. As I got older, a white patch of skin that developed under my left armpit started to get bigger and then spread to under my right armpit. As active as I was, a dancer all through high school and college, I just ignored the spots until someone asked if I put sunscreen on to thick or if my deodorant left a mark.
When I became pregnant with my first son in 1998, my OBGYN was the first doctor to explain that stress played a part in managing the disorders and that pregnancy was a huge stress on the body! He explained that there was a 50/50 chance the vitiligo would get worse or go away. I was so surprised to see how fast it spread during and after my pregnancy and again when I had my second son, just 3 years later. Today, if you see me in a bathing suit, you will see spots under both armpits, on my hips and spots that stick out of my bathing suit. I have a spot on my left foot and spots starting to form around my neck.
In addition to these immune disorders, I have had a lot of digestive issues since I was in young: problems with constipation, inflammation in joints, problems with my skin that would keep me up at night and bleed after the intense itch I could not scratch, bloating, weight gain, postpartum depression and anxiety attacks. Then, after a long winter in Syracuse, NY with two small kids and lots of sickness ( I was on 8 rounds of antibiotics in less than 1 year), my body went into over drive and I developed the inability to fight off bacterial and yeast infections.
It has been 13 years, a lot of Doctors: Western, Chinese Practitioner, Chiropractors and I am still battling to create balance in my body.
If you are close to me and see how I eat, you know that I am 95-99% compliant with the removal of grains, refined sugar, fruit, potatoes, starchy veggies, dairy, alcohol of any kind and legumes. If you know me over social media and watch what I make you see the fun and joy in what I create. But that doesn't mean it is fun!
Now, I share all this with you not to sound like it is easy and I enjoy giving all of these foods up! It is hard work- mentally and physically. It is challenging when friends and family are celebrating with treats and I choose to participate. For them they may feel too full for awhile, for me it will wreck havoc in my digestive system for at least 3 days and there will be other symptoms that I have to deal with for longer.
I have lost friends and acquaintances over the fact that I no longer drink alcohol. I worked in the wine business for a few years and developed an allergy to all forms of alcohol. I am not asked to "go out for a drink" or attend a happy hour. On one hand, it hurts to lose those acquaintances but on the other hand, it is hard when I see friends and family go to far because of alcohol consumption. I basically tell myself that it isn't me that is uncomfortable, it is I who make them uncomfortable because I am sober.
I am sharing all of this with my audience because we all have something in our lives that is a challenge or obstacle. I feel like I haven't learned the lesson that I am suppose to learn by dealing with these health challenges.
I now have a wonderful Naturopathic Doctor in the Leawood area, Dr. Michael Brown. He tells me that I have a lot of knowledge about the digestive system, compassion for those who are dealing with Immune Issues, Digestive Issues, the drive to calm my system down and heal my body.
Thank you for reading about my journey, and if you are interested in exploring how my experience and training can help to guide you, please click on the programs page and schedule your free 30 minute call or book a session.