July 22, 2023
When I had cancer I had to make some hard choices. It all comes at you pretty fast. I agreed to the hysterectomy. When my results came back as stage IIIC1 cancer, it was a shock. That cancer had overtaken my entire reproductive system. My right ovary was nothing but tumor. Ugh. I didn’t expect the cancer would be so advanced and it scared me. I agreed to the chemo and refused the radiation. I did a lot of research before I made this decision and I was confident and unafraid going into chemotherapy. I made the decision then that I would never second guess myself on the choices I made, no matter the outcome.
The cancer has been in remission for 33 months. I’ve said it before, my cancer is known for coming back with a vengeance within two years. Making it past the two year mark felt like that five year mark that most doctors label the great milestone in cancer survival. Victory is mine. I know that my cancer is gone for good. What I didn’t know is how many other problems would come from having chosen chemotherapy. I had some gum recession in my mouth that my dental team was keeping an eye on. That recession stayed steady for seven years.
The minute I got done with chemo, the receding gum took a dive for the much worse.
My body was so tired from the chemo after I was done that I felt more tired after it ended than I ever felt during it.
All of my work to heal my gut was lost.
My weight was at an all-time low.
My Rheumatoid Arthritis was in check during the immunosuppressing treatments but skyrocketed out of control after they ended.
I was back at ground zero in October of 2020.
The good news is that I worked really hard during my treatment to maintain my muscle. I ate extremely well and maintained normal bloodwork throughout the entirety of my chemo. But all of my diet and lifestyle changes that had brought my RA into check before the cancer couldn’t stand up to the poison I had allowed into my body. My mouth fell apart in the form of most of my tooth being exposed. My gut was a mess. My energy was gone. It hurt to sit down because there was no fat on my butt.
I have been working my ass off to get my health back since then. It has felt like spinning my wheels. My RA has been causing a lot of pain and need for adapting how I operate in my daily chores. I cringe when I have to shake someone’s hand, hoping they don’t have a firm grip because it’s going to send pain through my hand, wrist, arm. I open pet food cans with my left hand because my right hand cannot do it. I’ve learned to let my smart right hand guide while my stronger left hand does the work. The struggles that come from a chronic attacking disease are demeaning. It’s easy to feel like a weakling. I refuse to take medications because I know my body wants to heal and is always working for me. I drove myself up a wall trying to get my supplements right, my food right, my rest right. Deep down, I knew that most of my health issues were winning because I was letting stress consume me. But. I also knew that there was a recipe in the other areas of my life that could help me tame this health crisis. I had to take a step back from promoting my business so I could heal myself. I had to take my own advice and remember that I can’t pour from an empty cup.
I have been refilling myself these last few months. I won’t go into the stress that has allowed my body to falter, but I will say that I have had to do some outside of the box thinking to alleviate that stress. It’s working! I’ve also reassessed my supplements mostly thanks to doing the HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis). I did the test, made some changes, retested. I got the same results. What?? Swing and a miss! This is really disappointing when you are a health professional. What did I misinterpret and do wrong? After pouting about it, I looked again at what my results were telling me. I won’t go into the exact supplements and food I rearranged because knowing that won’t help YOU. What I will share is that my thyroid is sluggish. Not Hashimoto sluggish, but trending that way. I knew from testing my blood sugar daily that it was wildly irregular and too high. I knew that my energy was sporadic. I knew that I could do better with my 8-10 cups of vegetables daily. I knew that I had fallen into a real depression from the stress, and the poor physical results I got from my primary care wellness check.
I set about making some better choices. I’m lucky to be a practitioner with many high quality supplement companies at my disposal. I titrated in new supplements that would help regulate some of the misfires going on in my body. I’m doing a cleanse to make sure my gut is getting back to a healthy microbiome state. This became even more important since I just had my third gum graft attempt. My periodontist had never required antibiotics with the other surgeries, but wanted me to take them this time. Since I really want this one to be successful (third try is a charm?) I agreed to take them. I am currently in the process of restoring the flora in my gut. I am doing smoothies every day to ensure I meet my expected amount of fruits and vegetables each day. I am doing castor oil packs, not just on my liver, but directly on my hand and foot. I am wearing my custom orthotics to keep my feet in balance. I am a whole lot more conscious about how I am proactively going about curing my autoimmune disease. I don’t need to be in clinical remission to be happy. My body will tell me when I am okay. I do want my next blood test to not be “higher than it’s ever been.” This is a trend that is not okay with me.
Over the past few months with these new protocols in place, here is what is happening. My blood sugar is leveling out. I haven’t seen a 100 in a long time. My 28 day average is 91. Most days I am at an 83 or 85. I predict in a month, my average will be in the mid-80s. I know that getting the metabolic activity in my thyroid more normal is normalizing the other processes in my body. My body is starting to work the way it’s supposed to work!! My ankle, which has always been the gauge for my RA health, has little to no heat or redness. The synovial fluid in both my ankle and hands/wrist is disappearing. My fingers don’t snap, crackle, or pop when I get up in the morning. I can do more and more with my right hand. I’m not depressed anymore. My life isn’t perfect, but I’m not mopey. My health is improving because I didn’t give up! I had to recalibrate. My stress isn’t gone. I’m just taking a better approach to managing it.
The greatest part about being a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner is that I know the five areas of DRESS! Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress Reduction, and Supplementation. I’ve addressed all of these in different ways on my journey. I am going to continue to work on them, and I AM going to heal this autoimmune monster. I will find out on Tuesday if this last gum graft took, but I can report that this one looks much better than the previous ones!! I am super hopeful that this will be one part of my healing that I can say I achieved. I know that having an exposed tooth root can’t be good for bacteria and toxins getting into my blood. Praying for this to be healed after two years of trying. I believe the last piece of my healing is that I am moving far enough away from the trauma that surrounded my cancer (a divorce) that my body is letting go of that. Being sick hasn’t been fun. I know that most of you understand how hard it is to navigate the daily demands while trying to hide your pain. It’s disheartening. I want to encourage you not to give up. Sometimes it takes years.
Not being able to heal myself has been discouraging. Imposter Syndrome is real. Forging a new life as a healer is amazing, though. There is nothing else I want to be doing. Finally being able to heal myself is part of my story, and a living testimony to the power that I truly do have. Finding the healing path and seeing results has been so positive for my mindset! I think I’m my toughest client, but this health coach is happy that her client is seeing results from her knowledge and guidance. I’m ready for another client!
*The picture is from November, 2020 when my hair and eyelashes were coming back.