A little different blog today - here are some random thoughts I’ve been having about my recovery journey.
“It’s worth the money.” Being sick in America is expensive. Medications, doctors appointments, supplements and then the “other” category. Clean food, clean (organic) clothes and household cleaners, and a myriad of other equipment. My body couldn’t handle the classic detox medications and supplements that most people could. I needed to get creative and detox with food and infrared sauna, along with other modalities. Both of these were expensive and stretched our budget. And when we finally decided to buy the sauna, rather than my using valuable time and energy trying to fit it into a schedule, it was worth every penny. Ditto buying unusual foods so I could comfortably eat. In the end, I believe spending the money on healing essentials cut months off of my healing process.
Working while recovering. Yes, I worked the entire time of my recovery. I woke up at 5:45am, and started my day praising God. Then I moved right into a DNRS round (think meditation if you aren’t familiar with DNRS) while still lying in bed. I would shower, and either do a round in the shower or if I had a bit more energy, do a round after I showered. Then I started making my incredibly elaborate smoothie. 10 different greens, along with other foods and MCT oil to add calories. I’d quietly read the paper and have my quiet time with God. Then I would drive to work. It took me that long in the morning to move. At work, my desk space was covered with affirmations and pictures that made me (and my co-workers) smile. I worked in a fast-paced, deadline driven environment. I started taking lunch every day, by myself, to recharge. People started to know “my table” in the company cafeteria, and people respected the space and time I needed. When I got home at the end of the day, I would rest. I tried to cook on the weekends, or my husband would prepare something. He had to pretty much do everything around the house. My limited energy went to healing and working. After dinner I would do another round and then usually sit some more or go to bed. Rest was imperative. I lost a lot of friends, as I couldn’t do anything other than work and heal. Did I mention I traveled for work as well? I would travel to the city a day before, rest, go to the meetings the next day and then come home and rest. It took a toll. A year into my healing process I was able to change positions in the company to a role where I didn’t travel, which helped tremendously. I discovered you can find time to do what you need to to heal, but it takes a lot of commitment, creativity and maybe stubbornness? I knew in my heart I wanted to get well, and the insurance I had at my job would allow me to continue the treatments I needed in order to get well. My doctors wanted me to take a leave, but I didn’t think I’d ever get back to work if I did that. I was very open with my direct manager, who was very open with me. As long as I performed (I was in a client-facing position) she could be flexible. It was a tough conversation to have with her, but very worth it. If you are working, I strongly recommend you get to know your HR department and your options. I was hospitalized a couple of times and knowing what rights I had was very helpful. Looking back, I’m glad I worked throughout the healing process.
A “why not” attitude. I tried a lot of different things on my path to healing. Some conventional, some very unconventional. I researched things as if my life depended on it, because it simply did. I followed threads in Facebook to find books and articles and tracked down authors. I consulted with doctors across the country. As I reexplained my case to each new doctor, I was pointed in a slightly different direction. A (not exhaustive) list of things I did: Functional medicine, acupuncture, tapping, DNRS, meditation (including a one-day Dispenza retreat and multiple one-hour seminars), energy healing, diet, exercise, FSM, supplements, breathing, laying of hands, prayer, medication, infrared sauna and much more. While some of this strained my Midwest sensibilities, I found the quicker I got to “why not try it” the faster I received benefits. Some things I tried and discarded, while other things are my go-to tools still today. What I wish someone had told me was to set my own judgements aside if something was outside my comfort zone and give it a try. By the time I got to DNRS I had hit rock bottom. I wish I had started it when I first heard of it. If someone you trust is recommending something, I’d recommend giving it a try. Listen to your gut, if your gut says no, then don’t! But if your gut says, “maybe” then perhaps you should give it a “why not?”
Food: You will eat again! I am here to say it will happen, and it’s wonderful. I was on so many diets my entire life for various medical reasons. By the time I was diagnosed with the perfect storm, dietitians were part of my team. I was on several different restricted diets when I was healing. While I never got down to 3 foods as many people do, the foods I was able to tolerate were limited to very clean and very few. Eating out was practically impossible. But as I healed, and as my limbic system got more comfortable and I moved out of fight/flight responses, I was able to tolerate more foods. Now I can order whatever I want from restaurants without even asking what’s in the dish being served. Ever. Eating out with me used to look like the scene from “When Harry Met Sally”. My work colleagues knew my diet better than me, and would grill the servers before I could order or about what was put in front of me if it even looked “off.” One time, my husband and I went to visit friends for two days, and my husband e-mailed my current diet down to them. They were so accommodating - they made special food for me, and didn’t make a big deal of it. Friends like that are what helps the healing process move forward. Now, while I watch what I eat (no one can eat ice cream for all 3 meals, right?) I no longer think about it. Being able to eat again is one of the best gifts of healing. The best! And you will get here, too!
“Rest is not immoral. Rest is healthy.” Huh? Type A personality here, resting wasn’t even in my vocabulary. I was busy, and busy is good, right? Wrong! There is no moral value attached to a to-do list. What I accomplish isn’t who I am. And once I started really understanding how much rest I needed, and the commitment I had to make to rest, that’s when healing started. Not just saying no and setting boundaries, but allowing myself to completely rest without guilt or pressure. I’m still working on this, and I can say that the more I understand this, the more I can commit myself when I say yes to things. I know it’s “in” right now - self care and rest - and I can’t emphasize enough that without rest, none of this will work. Rest is good. Rest is healthy. And you deserve healthy!
Below are a few photos from my cube, as well as a few of my favorite meals. I hope my ramblings help. I can’t wait until you get here. You will. You’ve got this!