There are days where I feel like maybe I’m searching for something that isn’t there, maybe this is all in my head…maybe I’m crazy.
It’s so difficult when you know you feel unwell, when it affects your daily life to such an extent that it’s ALWAYS on your mind.
When you’ve seen your GP, your OBGYN, your Naturopath, a Holistic Nutritionist, requested referrals to specialist and have had blood work, ultrasounds, urine tests, internal exams….
Basically you feel like a science experiment gone horribly wrong.
Some days it can really bring you down.
I’ve been fairly open with my chronic health issues that have seemingly flared up overnight since February on social media. Not only as a way to give myself a voice in an experience that can quickly leave you feeling isolated and alone, but to also hopefully spark discussion and extend a friendly branch to anyone else who might be suffering with their own health issues who might also feel alone.
On a daily basis I struggle with unending fatigue, not only of my energy levels but in my body. A constant weakness that just won’t cease. Joint pain, headaches, moodiness, mood swings, brain fog, difficulty focusing or concentrating, poor memory, constant bloating, stomach issues, the inability to lose a single pound despite every effort in the right direction to do so, (sorry for the tmi and fellas, you might not want to read on***) and I’ve been bleeding for over a month all while taking birth control pills that are supposed to regulate my hormones to help suppress the severity of my endometriosis symptoms…I have other brands of pills with more progesterone lined up to try next after a month of dealing with the ill effects of this one. I’m on antibiotics for a possible mild UTI that I don’t feel, but my obgyn suggested we do just in case. I’m on supplements for my adrenal system, cortisol dysfunction and estrogen imbalance…I’m on digestive enzymes, fish oil, vitamin C, magnesium, as well as continuing to take my Shakeology daily….it’s been a struggle. The struggle with patience has been my biggest hurdle…I keep saying this is SO DEAD TO ME…because I am such a “fixer”. I want to figure it out, fit it NOW and MOVE ON. So I feel like a humming bird, flitting around from one thing to the next but never really giving anything enough time to see any real progress, if progress is to be had.
I’ve been so frustrated with the halt of my physical progress after having my second baby. It’s been really hard. Especially with the business that I’m in and the pressure that I put on myself. I’ve worked SO hard to get back to feeling comfortable and confident in my own skin because I’ve done it before and I thought of course I could do it again. I wanted to show other moms that it was possible to take that time for yourself and get real results after having kids! But it wasn’t happening like I wanted it to for me. The scale wasn’t moving or it would move a bit and then go back…despite working out 5-6 days a week, eating well (using the 80/20 rule! As a foodie I HAVE to allow myself some indulgences or I will fall off and binge hard…but that’s a whole other blog post 😉 ) I was happy that my body was changing thanks to the programs I was doing like the 21 Day Fix and Body Beast and I was feeling good, my energy was increasing and I felt like I was on the right track…but after I finished breastfeeding and I resumed my monthly cycle…everything changed in an instant. I no longer had the energy I used to, I was so physically tired, I had constant pelvic pain and cramping, so I couldn’t complete my intense home workouts like I so LOVE to do…I started to feel lost and just completely unfocused and unmotivated.
I haven’t spoken of this much but my labour and delivery of Brody, my second baby was SO much more difficult than my first. It was scary and it wasn’t what I imagined it would be. Everything about it was so different that I felt like I was going through the experience for the very first time all over again. Everything was more intense, more painful, more difficult. I ended up hemorrhaging after he was born. It was such a scary experience and I remember the look of my family’s faces, my husbands face as I felt and knew things were taking a turn for the worst. I remember looking at my older sister holding my brand new baby boy in her arms and thinking to myself, oh my god, is this it? What if this is it and I don’t get to leave here? Thank goodness they were able to get everything under control quite quickly and administer the medications and other wonderful things they had to do to get the bleeding under control. But that trauma, and that experience really affected me for quite some time. Not only physically, but emotionally as well. And it didn’t just affect me, it greatly affected those closest to me that were in that room that day.
So, it’s been a rough year after having two babies in less than 4 years, breastfeeding and all the hormonal changes that happen throughout, the sleep deprivation, the stress and the feeling of time moving at the speed of light…and now this…
After weaning Brody at 8 months old before a trip to a conference in LA, my health has taken a fast nose dive into what I like to call my own personal hormonal shitstorm…lol
I spoke with my psychologist last week about all of this, and she gave me some real food for thought…she said that maybe this is my body’s way of telling me to STOP. That I need to slow down and STOP. Stop researching, stop trying to FIX everything, stop trying EVERYTHING.
She wrote me what we call my daily SLAP IN THE FACE (yes you read that right). I’m supposed to read this to myself every morning when I wake up:
“You are going to make a choice today. You can choose to figure it out, fix it, find the solution…
OR you can pause, take a breath, take a moment and check into what’s there. There is resistance – honor it, feel it, find out why it’s there, what it wants, what it’s protecting you from
There is emotion – label it, feel how it sits in your body, send breath, a blanket to it, cocoon it.
Now I’d be lying if I have actually read this to myself every single morning when I get up. But having this reminder has been a tremendous help and comfort to me.
Has it stopped my incessant need to research and find an answer? Not entirely…
But it has helped me to learn that these issues I’m having could possibly be stemming from self inflicted stress, accumulating and manifesting in my body and acting out in the chronic ways that are affecting my daily life now.
SO, I decided to take a sort of dual approach…to keep searching (albeit a little less frantically and haphazardly) and more systematically. To figure out what my body is trying to tell me. To also LISTEN to my body, slow down and focus on DE-STRESSING my life, my environment and my body through various methods like deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, relaxation exercises, massage, DANCE, connections with women (my lady tribe!) To trust myself and what I feel is best for me. To stop second guessing my instincts.
I went back to my GP today, after almost a month because not much has improved, and some things have even worsened…and after picking up Dr. Sara Gottfried’s book, The Hormone Cure, decided that I was going to go into my GP’s office and request more tests. It’s not that I enjoy tests, and actually I HATE needles (go figure I have so many tattoos…) but I know that no one is going to take me by the hand and tell me how to feel better. I have to be my own advocate and research and listen to my intuition and know that my body is trying to tell me something. This is NOT all in my head. (I have to remind myself of that or sometimes I just want to give up).
So I did. I have a requisition that is almost all covered in x’s and I think my GP may think I’m slightly loonie but that’s ok. He doesn’t have to deal with my health issues on a daily basis. I do. I have two beautiful boys under the age of 4 and they need their mom back. I have an amazing husband who has been picking up the slack for some time now and he deserves his wife back. I have a business and a team of wonderful women who I want to be there for and do more amazing things with and to do that I need to get myself well.
Not only for them, although they fuel my fire to get this sorted more than anything else…but really for ME too, because I deserve to feel WELL and I miss ME!
SO…my point in all of this as I’ve probably been rambling on too long now and my baby is starting to wake…
I’m not giving up on me, I’m not going to listen to the stories in my head that try to make me feel like I’m crazy.
I’m going to fight to feel better. I’m going to be my own advocate and focus my efforts on what I can control. It’s not going to be an easy road but it’s one I need to take
I’m going to focus on a holistic approach to healing and focus on removing as much stress (self inflicted or otherwise) from my life as I can.
I’m going to give myself TIME and somehow cultivate the patience to get through this without switching to something now two days later. I’m going to journal and track and measure in whatever ways I can.
I’ve come to the understanding that my body is in a state of resistance because something within me needs to change. Even though the “what” in all of this isn’t crystal clear to me just yet, I know I’m getting closer.
Through curiosity, research, kindness, patience, gratitude, mindfulness, slowing down and listening the answer will come.
Although the days are many where I feel defeated and my favorite coping mechanism is to eat my feelings so I don’t actually have to feel them. (Even after reading and podcasting about reading Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth…yep even then) I know that I will get through this and be better for it on the other side.
I’m learning SO much about myself in the process, even though it isn’t easy and I sometimes wish I could blink and go back to my life before I had all these issues. I truly believe everything in this life happens for a reason, and your mess is your message.
When things aren’t clear, when you’re overwhelmed and unsure of the next right step, look inward. Stop, listen, wait and breathe. You already have the answers. You just have to stop the noise, the distractions, the diversions and allow yourself access to what you need to feel and trust yourself enough to act upon your instincts.
You are smart enough and capable enough to go out there and fight for your health and to get answers in a system that wants everyone to fit in a nice neat predetermined box. Where it’s not normal to speak up and ask questions, to ask to see your own results to work with alternative practitioners like naturopath’s and holistic nutritionists. No one has the right to tell you what you feel and that it’s all in your head. Speak up for yourself and try different things. It all comes back to you.
If you’ve made it this far congratulations! lol…and a sincere thank you for reading this. I hope that in sharing my experience others can find strength to seek answers for themselves, even when it’s not easy or when people doubt you.
I’ll end with a quote from one of my favorite poet/scholar, Rumi:
“These pains you feel are messengers, listen to them”