Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sick Girl Check In.

Hello all!

If you remember from my last post (if you do not or just haven't read it, do some back tracking HERE), I was in the process of being tested for Celiac disease. That was an entirely new experience because I've never been in a hospital for an actual procedure. Like, they gave me an IV, put me under and everything.
But, my gastroenterologist did an endoscopy (stuck a camera down my throat and into my stomach and small intestines) to see if I had Celiac just like my mom. I kid you not, EVERYONE was shocked when my results, both from the endoscopy and bloodwork, came back negative. 2 doctors and one physicians assistant were kind of baffled. Sydni (my PA) said if I had just told her all the symptoms I'd been having she would have hands down diagnosed me with Celiac...but turns out we were all wrong.
To be honest, I was actually kind of crossing my fingers and hoping that that would be it. If it was something like just removing gluten containing items from my diet I was ready to jump on that train if it meant feeling better than I have been for the last 7 and a half months. However there was a part of me that would have been completely surprised had that been it since I had done gluten free for the majority of my cleanse, which lasted a month and a half, and nothing changed, and I never felt worse after having eaten anything containing gluten.

Basically I found myself back at square one. I really wish I could paint you a word picture as to just how frustrating that was. My nutritionist sent me for some more blood tests to see if I had made any progress, but that was a few weeks ago and I still haven't heard from them or called them to make an appt. That's how frustrated I was. I had spent my entire summer putting my body through something so rigorous as the cleanse I did and it did nothing.
But then my mom reminded me that at the beginning of summer I couldn't hardly get out of bed and that over the course of 5 months I only went out a handful of times. Literally, we could count on one hand the amount of times I went out and did something...it was 5. As someone who has a full schedule almost every week that was pretty much a shock. That's how my mom knew something was incredibly wrong. Now I do however feel a bit perkier and more able to go an do things. Still tired, nauseous, dizzy, and short of breath almost 24/7, but I push past it and do things.

So amidst all my frustrations of feeling like I wasted my time (when I really didn't...I just tend to be overdramatic even when I don't mean to be) I knew I needed to make an appointment to see my regular physician (Dr. Everyday) , even though I really didn't want to. He specializes in internal medicine and I knew he'd have a thing or two to say about a cleanse and naturopathic remedies for being sick.
But, while I was sitting on my bed, avoiding making this phone call, they actually called me. The nurse wanted me to set up a 6 month checkup from when I'd seen him in the beginning of the year. I took this as a sign and that I HAD to see him now.
Last Monday was when I saw him...and I was right. He called all the stuff that I'd done over the summer a bunch of hooey and that I should've come to him sooner. Insert eyeroll.
Yeah Doc, I got it. You know all and I know nothing.
I really only agreed to go and see him so that I could get a referral to a rheumatologist because that's who Sydni told me I should see since she was positive that I had some kind of autoimmune disease. He told me no, that they probably wouldn't even see me because he was certain I did not have one, but since someone else already brought it up he would run a couple blood tests to show me(he was right...they all came back negative). Then he started talking about how what he did for me at the beginning of the year had helped...because apparently I had said it did (I did not) so he wanted me on an inhaler and to see a pulmonary specialist(lung doctor).
My appointment is Monday. This will be my 7th or 8th doctor of the year. Pretty impressive right?
My doctor supposedly thinks that I have inflammation of my breathing tract and a pulmonary specialist will help confirm that. That sounds like such a simple explanation considering all the different symptoms I've had, but he said that getting that treated would clear up my headaches, nausea, dizzyness, and the swelling in my throat.
We'll see.
I pretty much feel like Dr. Lung Specialist is going to tell me something different, but hey, I've been wrong once or twice before.

I'm still wildly tired of doctor appointments, being told different diagnoses, feeling sick, and not being able to do the things that I used to do, but I am trying to keep a positive attitude. There is literally nothing I can do to change my situation EXCEPT to rely on the doctors that keep giving me different answers. So I have to just accept that for now. Until I have more answers I will just keep praying for positive results, working my business, and planning for my future, cause there will be an end to all this eventually right? Of course, right😄

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Time That 2017 Wasn't My Year...

You know how at the beginning of every year, right at 12:01a.m. when the fireworks are going off, and you feel a little invincible from the amount of bubbly you've had, usually everyone says "This is going to be my year! I can feel it! It's going to be a great year...best one yet!"
Well, that's almost how I started my year, but not quite.
Mine started off with fireworks with my mom and brother, some wine, and cigars. But my "This is going to be my year..." was actually a sad one. You see just 3 days prior to this night everything was phenomenal. Work was great, though repetitive and a little boring, my friends were great, my family was doing well, and I was planning on sharing a midnight kiss with someone who had come to mean the world to me. Then 2 days before New Year's Eve things changed, not in every way...just one...but that seemed to throw off everything else. The person I had been seeing and I called things off due to personal reasons...not anything bad that had happened between us...and that actually made it suck the most. It's easy when you catch someone in a terrible lie or they cheat on you to say "boy bye!" and z snap your way out of their life. And by easy I don't mean it doesn't still hurt. I just mean it's an actual reason. Not someone looking at their life and deciding you shouldn't be in it that way for a while because they need to sort some things out.

Fast forward a month, I was getting over my heartache, but work was getting difficult. I was having to deal with a lot from some people and it was setting my anxiety on high almost all the time. And to top that off I wasn't feeling well but I couldn't pinpoint what was wrong.
Fast forward a few more weeks and I was full blown sick. I even went to the ER at one point because I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something because my throat was swelling up and I couldn't breathe. They told me I only had a sore throat and I caused myself to have an anxiety attack.
Fast forward to about March, I was in bed all the time, completely exhausted. After my 8 hour shifts at work I would be so wiped out all I would do when I got home was eat a little something and crawl in bed. Even after getting 10-12 hours of restless sleep most nights I would still wake up more tired than I was when I went to sleep. My throat would swell at the weirdest of times and I would lose my breath even when I wasn't doing anything. I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared and many nights cried myself to sleep thinking I was probably dying (what up, anxiety attacks?!).
I went to my personal doctor and he would put me on antibiotics or steroids...and steroids would just make everything worse. They made me moody and cry at everything.
Eventually, I took matters into my own hands and picked an allergist to go and see to check if I was having a reaction to something. He was a Godsend and is totally and completely one of my favorite people on the planet. He helped me and put more time into what was going on with me than the prior 3 doctors I'd seen. Unfortunately, even though he helped, we still didn't figure out what was going on.

Enter my chiropractor (who, at the time, was just my mom's chiropractor). She is also a nutritionist extraordinaire and decided to run my blood test in one of her nutrition programs and it turned out I was likely sick with an autoimmune disease, which she said might be caused from a liver blockage (fun fact: your liver has over 500 functions so if it gets outta whack, so does your whole body). All of your body is connected and (kinda like a car) if one part stops functioning properly the rest of it is effected. She put me on a strict diet and a monitored cleanse (I will be writing a post later about the benefits of a doctor monitored cleanse and the dangers of doing a store bought at home cleanse) which consisted of cutting out anything that could stress my liver out (including coffee...what the hell are you doing to me body?!?), drinking an awful shake twice a day to help heal my stomach and intestines, and taking about 50+ supplements a day (I'm not kidding with that number). She is a strong believer in using your body to heal itself with proper diet, nutrition, and supplements. I also strongly believe in this. It was a struggle for months. There were days I would feel so much better and have SOO much energy finally that I thought everything was going to be better. Then a day or so later I wouldn't be able to get out of bed because of how tired I was again or I would feel like I wanted to throw up constantly...which I was never sure if that was from that shakes, supplements, or just a symptom. It didn't really matter though...I still felt awful.
Silver Lining: There were days I finally had some energy back and I didn't feel like staying in bed all the time. I was able to actually spend time with my best friend and nephew again and that filled my soul so much.

Most nights I would fall asleep begging God to just give me answers so I could start to get my body back on track. I would not pray for anything less than full healing. My God is a God of miracles and divine power so I was going to pray big prayers. Then my faith started to falter...I started praying smaller prayers. "God...I don't even care if I'm healed at this point. I just want answers." Day after day, sign after sign, it was made clear to me that I would get better but I needed to have faith...that it would take some time. But there was always this thought in my mind that I was being selfish for what I was asking for or that I was praying for the wrong thing. Verses kept popping up or things I would see would seem like signs or promises...so I started to pray big again.
Last week my mom went to the doctor because of the sickness she'd been experiencing and she was diagnosed (after several tests) with Celiac disease...which is hereditary, also an autoimmune disease. Her doctor now wants me to come and have the same tests done, since without even seeing me (just with my mom explaining my symptoms) they believe I have it, as well. I'm finally getting somewhere. I'm finally getting closer to having answers. I'm finally getting back to having energy to do things...heck, maybe I'll even be able to go back to the gym sometime soon (I love working out and I miss it SOOO friggin much). My mom is having to readjust her entire life with hardly an notice, and in turn we are trying to help and readjust ours too to make it easier on her. I may find out that I have to make the same changes for my own health and not just as a support for her.

It's the first of August and this year didn't turn out anything like I planned it would. I lost many months of my life to my bed and Netflix, I missed out on many adventures, I've spent more money on doctors visits than I even want to think about...2017 was not at all my year. But there is still time to turn it around, and I've actually had some really good things happen this year.
I started taking nutritional classes to further my knowledge and to be able to help my family, I started my own online business (www.justsojess.com what up shameless business plug!), I've gotten some priorities straight, I've learned the value of time well spent, I've grown in my relationship with God and my faith, and I found out who was really on my side. My life needed some adjusting and I was ignoring that. The universe has a way of getting your attention when you're trying to pretend you don't hear or see things.

SO. If you made it this far through ALL of that, first:I want to give you an internet high five. Second:I want to tell you the purpose of this blog now.
It's to share with you the things that I come across that are healthy and healing, but also delicious. Because in case y'all didn't know, your girl LOVES food. I'm one of those people who knows the adage of "eat to live don't live to eat" but there are days where I live for food...so it's gotta taste good. Also depending on what my doctors clear me for, I'll be updating you on actively living with an autoimmune disease. I travel, I work out, I go on mission trips...I'm not letting something like this stop me from all of that. So I'll be sharing what I find makes all that easier for me. So healthy living, exercise and staying active...what else...OH YEAH! And beauty. I love playing in makeup...always have. And since I have started my own online makeup company there will be posts about tips and tricks for makeup and skincare. My next post will probably be on the company and why I love them and their products so much.

Silver Lining: There is always good with the bad and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of things this year hurt, but a lot of it was necessary to get me to a better place and to give me that push to get out of my comfortzone and get my life going...we've only got one and I was content with how I was living mine. Not anymore. I will no longer be just living...I will be conquering and thriving. I won't just be talking about taking hold of what this life has to offer...I will actually be going for it(even though going for it kinda scares me...but all great things are on the other side of our comfort zones right?)
So let's see what happens next shall we?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Starting Over.

It has been a long while since I've posted anything. I kept telling myself once I got my blog redone, or once I did this or that, I'd start blogging again. I even decided to not have two separate blogs anymore so I stopped book blogging and planned on just doing it all right here.
That obviously never happened. So often ideas pop into my head about what I could write or how to start up my blog again but when I actually sat down to write every idea seemed so...blah. My list of books read each year keeps getting smaller and smaller and I don't live any special kind of life that anyone would really want to read about.
But it really came down to that I just missed writing sooo I'm just going to write about whatever.

So of that whatever will include:

In the very near future I'm going to start redesigning and repurposing things. I love going junking and I always see things to buy and have ideas of what could be done with them but never actually buy them since my space is limited. Then I had the lightbulb moment of why does it always have to be for me? Why not buy, redesign, and then sell so someone else can enjoy it? It's going to be so much fun! I'll post before and afters, how to's, tips & tricks...and mess ups, because I know there will be lots of those.

Once I finally get back into reading on a more regular basis I'll start posting reviews again...or book talk. I don't know if I really want to call them reviews anymore.

Also, I've been sick lately. And by lately, I mean the last 2 and a half months. At this point I'm not really sure you can say "sick" though. It's not realllllly sick. I've felt...unwell? Basically the gist of it is that at the beginning of February I went to the ER because my throat was swelling and I couldn't breath properly. The doctor there told me I had "viral pharyngitis" which is a fancy name for "sore throat". Sounds simple, right? No. It wasn't a normal sore throat. Instead of being sore I had swelling which it couldn't be predicted how bad the swelling could get. She said since it was viral there was no medications for it so I'd have to "wait it out", but it shouldn't last more than 10 days. 10 days turned into 2 weeks, turned into a month. It was awful. It's really scary not knowing when you're throat is going to swell and how much. Will it be a little or will it cut off my breathing this time?
So I finally went to see a PCP, but he too told me I'd have to wait it out, but everything else was fine so he wasn't worried. I was back in his office 3 days later because I wasn't able to breath. At that point he determined I had an URI (upper respiratory infection) so here, take these antibiotics and steroids and hit this inhaler every now and again and you'll be fine. Fast forward to now (I say fast forward it's because that was a month ago)...I still have swelling, I'm still having trouble breathing.
I thought about going back to my PCP for more testing (I have anxiety and basically it was telling me that I was dying and I should save everyone the time and just go bury myself in the back yard), I decided to go see an allergist/immunologist to see if he had any ideas.
He did.
After talking to me and doing some testing we narrowed down things that I am allergic to and how to possibly help the swelling in my throat. The shortness of breath he is attributing to seasonal asthma and we'll work on fixing that. As of this moment, he put me on new allergy pills better tailored to my unique set of allergies and steroids to help my throat and when I go back to see him (as long as this throat swelly, shortness of breath thing has passed) we'll start on allergy shots.
Relief is hardly the word for it. Even if it turns out to be something different and he needs to give me different treatment, I'll be okay with it. At least we're working in the right direction to get my body better without a bunch of invasive tests or trial and error "well it could be this so take this medicine or it could be this so we'll jack you up with this medicine until we find something that works".

Now I tell you all of that to follow it up with this. I had a lot of anxiety breakdowns over the last 2 months. It has really been a test to my mental health to know that something is very wrong with my body but have several medical professionals brush it off like no big deal. It got harder and harder each time I went to see someone and have them tell me "it'll go away soon, just wait it out". It usually ended with me coming home in tears because I knew something was not right, I know my body, and these people weren't listening.
I'd like to take this moment to shout out Momma and Papa Clark for never doubting me or telling me to get over it. Momma Clark has been taking me to all my appointments, not bothering me on days I can't even get out of bed, making sure I have everything I need, and Papa Clark pretty much told me to keep looking until I found someone that listened.
During all of that though, I have most definitely come to realize I have used and abused my body. I have put stupid toxic things into it and risked wasting the beautiful life I've been given. But on top of not fueling it properly, I expect it to perform above and beyond at the gym or when I'm outdoors hiking or rockclimbing and such. How can I expect so much from my flesh if I keep treating it the way I have been?
So, one of my main focuses will be creating a new healthy lifestyle for myself. And I mean lifestyle. It will not be a fad diet that I jump on for a couple weeks and when I feel better, just stop. No. Lifestyle. All encompassing. What I put into my body, what is around my body, how I use my body...but also mind and spirituality. I believe all are connected and you need all to be healthy to be balanced.
A big part of this blog will be working on my anxiety, my relationship with God, and treating my physical being better.

All in all I am excited for these next couple of months, but I also know there is going to be a lot of bumps along the way with getting my body to a healthy place again. I refuse to just sink into the depression I was on the verge of. It would have been so easy to just let go and drop everything. I couldn't really do anything anyway because of how I felt and how tired I was, so what did it matter anyway? I hardly have gotten out, I've hardly seen my friends, I can't barely make it to church, and work is so difficult...what did it matter?
But no, I'm not going to just give up that easily. Even if allergies and immunology isn't what fixes it, I'll just keep making appointments until someone somewhere finds out what's wrong. This blog will be a good thing, to keep me accountable to keep pushing forward, to keep living, and to keep striving to leave good in this world.

So here we go.
 
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