Healthy Living

5:17 PM

Disclaimer: This post is about my health, and my unhealth. It's personal and in detail. Please only read if you are comfortable with this!

As some of you may know, I was diagnosed in early 2013 with a disease called endometriosis which is quite a pain...and I also suffer from ovarian cysts. For a long time, I didn't know how to talk about this and felt it was embarrassing. Now I feel empowered. The human body and it's functions are worth understanding. YOUR body is worth getting to know and not meant to be ashamed of.

Back in 2013, along with my diagnosis...I learned about how to treat this disease. There is no known cure, so treatment is important. I had a few options explained to me: birth control pill, hormone pills, hysterectomy (obviously not recommended at my age or stage in life), or surgery. I opted for surgery at that time, as I wanted to get pregnant and every other option prevented that. The surgery was simple enough but the hospital dropped the ball in the recovery room and I ended up having complications and issues that have since affected me. So...that sucked.

Since that time, we have been on and off trying to get pregnant with no success. In truth, the more we thought about it the more painful that process got. So we stopped thinking about it. We stopped trying and figured we'd let things just happen unplanned whenever they are meant to happen. Attaching this level of pain and stress to a love life is...bad. Very bad. In many ways, I have felt traumatized and crazed by the whole process and as much as we want a baby very badly, the pain of trying has scarred us and we have put that dream on hold now for over a year. Many days were dark ones. Many days have been spent asking why and feeling worthless. But I must tell you: I wouldn't trade any of this or take any of it back. This cup has been one that is hard to drink from, but there has still been purpose to why we had to drink from it. I know at this stage we don't know the full picture and only see in part what God has been doing, but we are blessed. If we had of gotten pregnant right away when we first began trying in 2012, our life would be so different. I imagine this move never would have happened. It's too big of a project to have undertaken from the get go with a little one in tow. I imagine many of the job opportunities I have had would have not been possible. I would have never gone to Nashville. I would have never started training photographers under me. I would have never had the time to stand with certain friends through their struggles. Scott would have been a slave to his work schedule, and I would maybe have been doing parenting alone very often. Who really knows what could have happened but I know for certain that these past years have been so important in growing me into a stronger woman and I am thankful and smiling back on these years. I am certain I couldn't be so positive and thankful without my faith in God leading me. My faith allows me to understand purpose and purpose keeps me hopeful and expectant on great things.

So now back to the point of this post: Healthy Living. At the time of my diagnosis, I was presented with my options for treatment. I will never go back on birth control. The hormone pills I would require cannot be taken if I am planning to try for a  pregnancy. Strong painkillers, which I should have been prescribed, I never requested. Painkillers are bad for you over time and I am very cautious when taking any prescribed prescription pills. So to be honest, I have had to field this pain and the symptoms of this illness without much medical help, just some Maxidol when absolutely needed. Because my options were not only limited, but seemingly hopeless, I thought to myself "there must be a way to treat my pain without having horrible side effects and without compromising a pregnancy." Thus began my journey into holistic, natural treatment. Prior to this, I could say I didn't care about natural methods and that they seemed hokey and money grabbing, or whatever the case seemed. I trusted medicine and doctors. After a lot of research, I no longer fully trust that system. In my situation alone, the amount of chemicals and toxins IN medicine and my diet that can actually lead to the worsening of my symptoms and contribute to infertility is staggering and something I couldn't ignore. About a year ago, each month things were getting more and more painful. There were moments when writhing in horrible pain, I actually thought I was dying. I had to get to the end of my own strength to understand that things needed to change and it was up to me to change them. No one was going to come along and help me up to safety.

I began researching endometriosis in detail. There is no cure and no proven cause, but I began to read through new theories and research, ancient medicine and how it treated this, blogs of women currently treating endo naturally and how their progress has been, and trying to really understand what can contribute negatively to my disease. A huge thing that came up repeatedly is toxins in the body. Toxins affect your hormones, and your liver. I read that there seems to be a correlation between your liver and endo. I am not a heavy drinker, in fact rarely drink and very I  thought "how can my liver be stressed or not functioning properly?" That in itself is how I began reading about when you intake chemicals, toxins, and hormones through either food, beauty products, or your environment, that your liver is responsible for trying to filter through this crap, and often ends up pretty messed up. I read that tampons are made with bleached cotton and when inserted into your body, your female organs absorb bleach (never though of it before, and how horrible is that!) As well, the cotton is not organic cotton and also would have pesticides and other nasty chemicals on it. That information was startling and disturbing - I immediately stopped using tampons and ordered organic, non- bleached ones off Amazon. I also found out that tampons in general are found to make cramps worse, so I just stopped using them unless I had to. This change ALONE has had my symptoms become more and more bearable each month, to the point that the past two months have hardly been painful at all! I cannot stress enough how important it is to throw these things out! They are toxic, and you are directly putting those toxins into your body to absorb them!

Going natural takes a LOT of dedication. I am not going to lie, it's been a long process to really train myself to remember to choose the healthier, more beneficial option. I'll spray bug spray out of necessity and then remember what's in it. I'll buy chicken on sale at Foodland and then remember that I am supposed to be avoiding meat with hormones because that will worsen my endo symptoms and set my own hormones off balance even further. I am a work-in-progress in this area but I have come so far from where I started. Education has been power for me in understanding my own health and taking it into my own hands. I am not interested in treating symptoms, but in eliminating them. When I head out to garden, no matter how difficult or frustrating it is, I don't pull weeds and leave the root. I try my hardest to get rid of the thing for good. This is the same way I see illness. I am not going to pop advil or more intense painkillers as a lifestyle to cover my pain. I am going to attack this thing where it begins and teach my body to do better. There's a reason it's doing the wrong thing and I believe there is hope that it will heal itself when I stop poisoning it with garbage!

In my time spent researching good diet, the important of exercise, positive thinking, and avoidance of chemicals, I discovered essential oils. Essential oils, when purchased pure, are natural oils extracted from plants/herbs/flowers that are full of beneficial properties for our bodies. Synthetics which are found in cheap natural products or in prescriptions are proven to cause cancer, heart disease, and many other illnesses/problems. Essential oils are guaranteed pure and not synthetic, as long as you invest in the good ones. It's important to do your own research on this and not just believe advertising. I have chosen Young Living as my oil supplier and am thrilled with the purity and guaranteed quality. They have their own farms and don't buy from suppliers. They have a third party lab confirm the purity of their oils before shipment, which is important because other companies do not actually confirm the quality of their oils. The holistic field has a lot of companies concerned about health but sadly just as many seeing the trend and wanting to simply jump on board to make money. YL has been around since before the current health craze began and have proven that they are here to stay, for the sake of health and wellness and not just to make money.

I have found many people who use oils to help bring their body to a state of wellness and optimal health. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be this interested in oils but life can surprise you! I've always found nature to inspire me and heal my moods and clear my mind and oils are just another way that this can be done through nature.

I also have become more and more interested in growing my own food, eliminating chemicals from my home, and buying organic. It's easy to not care about this stuff until your body forces you to. Many YOUNG people I know are living with IBS, food intolerances, heartburn, stomach acid problems, chronic migraines, bad backs, horrible menstrual cycles, insomnia, anxiety...the list goes on. Is there an easy solution? No. The road to health and wellness isn't paved for you. Each person's body is different. But the fact is that if you are living with continual issues and you find yourself popping advil, tylenol, tums, pepto, sleeping pills, anti-depressants as a norm, think to yourself: what is this doing to my body in the long-term? What are the known side-effects to what I am taking? Could these health problems be a result of my diet, stress in my life, or harmful chemicals I am exposing my body to? If you are treating an illness which may be CAUSED by exposure to chemicals/toxins with a drug that has chemicals/toxins in it....just imagine how effective that drug will be. I just see a cycle of problems upon problems.

I quickly learned through my experiences with doctor visits and hospital trips that the doctors don't have the time to care about MY health. They will give me an aid for my symptoms and send me on my way. Hear me correctly - I don't hate doctors or modern medicine. To me, I see this scenario to be very comparable to parents who blame teachers for a student's poor grades. My doctor isn't responsible for my health: I am. He can only make suggestions towards improvement and has intense pressure from the system to push certain prescriptions and recommend certain products. He can grade my health and make suggestions, but it is ultimately up to me to take care of my body. I respect my doctor and appreciate him...he doesn't strike me as someone who doesn't care about people. However, the medical field is a business and an industry that does rely on people being sick and NEEDING prescriptions, just remember that!

I am in the process now of really pushing forward towards better health and wellness. Here is a list of what I am doing and aiming to do this summer:

- I have begun jogging which I have read does wonders for anxiety
- I have started my oils journey and am growing my collection as quickly as I can
- I take apple cider vinegar (successfully) to help bring my stomach acidity to the levels it should be and feel amazing because of this change!
- I use organic coconut oil and am obsessed! Oil pulling and moisturizing are two amazing uses for this oil
- I am taking a natural Young Living progresserone which is proven to help bring balance to estrogen levels (endometriosis causes estrogen levels to be out of wack)
- I have purchased carrot seed oil and citronella oil to make my own bug spray and sunscreen - chemical free!
- I have made some great book purchases all about healthy living, making your own homemade cleaners, remedies, tinctures, salves, lotions, perfumes, etc. as well as some books for gardening and living off the land
- I plan to find a local organic farm to purchase meats from
- I am really trying to stop eating anything that is deep fried and am trying to avoid processed foods. My goal here would be to make every meal from scratch eventually, using ingredients I have grown myself or sourced locally. This process will take some time as I ease myself into it and I am sure exceptions will be made. But I am seeing more and more the importance of being self-sufficient and able to care for yourself and your family with what you have on hand. Food is packaged the way it is today out of convenience for the modern working family. We are not a modern working family. There is no reason why I can't make our food! And I hope this discipline will allow us to slow life down when we have kids too, so that time is made for investing in health and wellness even when life is busy.
- I have found a love for natural local honey and have already switched from white sugar to organic raw cane sugar. I would love to eventually try to eliminate any bad sugars from our home.
- I avoid juice and pop and opt for water or coffee/teas
- Our kitchen used to be filled with candy, chocolate, tons of microwavable meals and quick easy meals and basically...just garbage that was horrible for us. Right now, we have in our kitchen: sweet potato, honeydew melon, lemon, organic garlic, organic bananas, apples, lettuce, almonds, sunflower seeds, carrots, spinach, avocado, pineapple, potatoes, eggs, goat cheese, brie cheese, fresh parmesan which we grate at the table (like East Side Marios), strawberries, ingredients to make our own sushi, fresh planted rosemary, etc. So we have definitely improved! We just need to transform the breads, dairies, and meats of our house! We are just getting started :)
- I wanted to plant more in our gardens but the days seem short when it comes to prepping the gardens. We don't have just soil to dig up....our lawn is a mess, back filled with rocks and broken brick pieces. When I say rocks...I mean it's mostly rocks. So planting has proven difficult and weeds are so much worse because they thrive in rocky terrain. We have a huge landscaping job ahead of us so until then we have garlic planted and strawberries....and sunflowers :)
- Pinterest has been my best friend! I am so thankful for the helpful tips and tricks at my fingertips thanks to this site. I have boards for all of this stuff and it's so easy to pull up what I am looking for - follow me
- I don't believe in dieting and I don't often weigh myself. What matters to me is how my body FEELS. It will tell you when something is wrong. If you feel like crap, look at your lifestyle and see what could change (and what probably should change!)

I hope this post about my personal journey to living a more healthy, balanced life encourages you to continue to head down that path yourself! Ultimately, I think about how I could have had a kid three years ago and fed it chicken strips and pogos every day....and how now my children will have a mother who really wants to make a home for them and invest in their health. I feel like all these changes are beautiful ones. I am happy to have time to experiment to get this all figured out without a screaming baby depriving me of sleep lol. That's to come later! We still aren't particularly trying to get pregnant, as we have so many crazy plans this year. Maybe I'll write more about that whole subject another time! But I am happy to treat my body better, and in turn have it make me a beautiful baby someday :)

Leave a comment if you have any questions :)


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