Wow, Blogiversary number two! What a wild ride this autoimmune disease and chronic illness healing journey has been. Two years ago, I started The Unskilled Cavewoman to blog about my experiences with the Autoimmune Protocol, a Paleo way of eating and lifestyle map. (You can read my very first blog post here.)
I wanted to make a list of some of the things I’ve taken from my journey so far and share it with y’all, so here goes:
- Patience is key. Leaving the world of quick-fix promises and entering onto the roads of true healing was one of the hardest steps for me. When I realized that a magic bottle of pills wasn’t going to cut the cake, it was…well, a tough pill to swallow. Learning and accepting that true wellness will take its sweet time has been an ongoing process.
- Acceptance. This goes along well with patience. When I have those internal fights against my diseases and get stuck in “why me/woe is me” mode, not only is is bad for me emotionally, but physically as well. Stress is such a trigger for flares for me, and when I am not accepting of my situation I feel stuck, and therefore stress and stress over and over. Joining Facebook support groups that are catered to autoimmune disease and chronic illness and regularly posting, as well as reading/responding to others’ posts, has helped me with this so much. One of my favorite groups is Kerry Jeffery’s Emotional Autoimmunity Recovery Support.
- Being proactive. Accepting my conditions does not mean that I just sit there and go, “Well, oh well!” I have become my own advocate for my health. (And having an awesome Hunni who is first to hop on Google to help me figure things out doesn’t hurt either!) This is partially due to my experiences with several failures on doctors’ parts. But my drive to do most of the footwork myself is mostly due to having several conditions and symptoms to tend to, makeing them complicated to pinpoint and address. It’s like putting together a puzzle after someone dumped about a dozen 1,000 piece boxes into your lap. The pieces and answers within them are there, I just have to dig really hard to find them. And some pieces look like they are going to fit because Therapy A worked for someone else, but it didn’t work for me, so onto more research to find Therapy B or C or Z squared to the power of 10. I keep going because if I stop, this is as healthy as I’m going to be.
- Keep an open mind. Some therapies, approaches and recipes sound rather odd at first, but if I hadn’t given new things a try I’d never know whether or not they would benefit me or if I liked the flavor of something. For instance, when calf liver and onions didn’t work for my picky palate, I tried it in meatloaf, then chili. Those were all nopes. So I gave a go at chicken liver pate` and hidden chicken liver burgers. A little better, but still hard to choke down. Then came beef heart jerky….ehhh, can I say “gamey much?” The only organ meat I could stomach was beef tongue…as it’s very tender and mild after slow cooking, but I wanted more nutrient density than it offered. So, I made my own beef liver pills for a while until I came across liver capsules you can purchase through the interwebs (hooray!). I have used Perfect Desiccated Liver Capsules as well as Nutricology Liver Beef Vegicaps and found them both to be of great quality and an easy way to get offal past my temperamental tongue. I’ve also tried different dietary variations in an effort to heal, such as Whole30, Keto, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, GAPS, and Wahl’s Protocol. They all served different purposes and I found each of them to have their own benefits for my specific needs.
- Managing my energy. Hashimoto’s, Celiac, and IgA Deficiency all tend to gang up on me at the same time on certain days, like when I have a cold, or I haven’t been eating as well as I should, when my sleep is poor, or my stress levels are high. I now make sure that I take note of where my energy needs to be divided. Work outside my home on Tuesday? I don’t plan any medical appointments or get-togethers with loved ones on Wednesday. Grocery shopping needs to be done but I’m down with a boogery virus or I’m going through a flare? Prime Now, Kroger ClickList and Walmart all now offer delivery in my area. Yeah, it costs a little bit more for the delivery fee and a tip to the driver…but not wandering around a store weak and hare-brained, as well as lugging all that stuff upstairs is close to priceless. Basically, I don’t overdo it unless it’s absolutely vital to my (or my daughter’s) existence. I guide my energy so that it doesn’t guide me as much.
- I’m not alone. I mentioned Facebook support groups previously, but wait, there’s more! Instagram (my fave) and Twitter also have so many wonderful fellow chronic peeps to connect with. Isolation runs thick in the waters of managing disease; but when I found other lovelies to share my experiences with, as well as listen to their stories, it makes my world seem a lot less small. We laugh, cry, complain, vent, applaud and encourage each other in only the ways others with the same deck of cards dealt to them could.
I hope my experiences can help you or someone you know living with chronic illness! Please leave me a comment below, or shoot me an email if you like with what you have taken away from your own journey.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/harmony-relax-rock-moqui-stone-1229893/