I’m not normally a person who has many worldly fears. In fact, I’m often called on by family and friends to help in difficult situations. I love a challenge and am happiest sharing what I know with others. But when it came to establishing this website and spreading information about reversing lupus symptoms through diet and lifestyle… a few fears crept up.
I’m well aware from being in the lupus community for almost ten years now (diagnosed in 2005), that most doctors and many patients don’t believe that lupus can be prevented, or can be healed through a holistic lifestyle. I’ve personally heard the scornful comments of (some) doctors when discussing alternative health. I’ve also seen my fair share of posts from well-meaning, but frustrated patients who eschewed the correlation between diet and lupus symptoms, such as: “yeah right, I’ll just eat a strawberry and it’ll be all better.” This is of course, a huge oversimplification, but you get the point.
The prevailing notion is that we have no clear idea what causes lupus and as of yet there is no cure. BUT, many people seem to know for sure that diet and lifestyle only plays a casual role at best. However, as the years go by, more and more people are being diagnosed with lupus and other autoimmune diseases. Why is this? This is the question that has become my driving force for the last several years.
This is the question that led me to embark on a series of self-experiments to find out just how much I could reduce my symptoms through alternative therapies, diet changes, prayer, stress reduction and detox. It prompted me to leave a very well paying management position for a national clinical laboratory to escape a toxic work environment and fully tend to my health. This question also was a major factor in my ending a very unhealthy marriage.
Some people would think that I gambled quite a lot in the quest to answer this question, but with the way I was feeling and the gloomy prognosis I received, I really had nothing to lose and everything to gain. If I took time to fully dedicate myself to nurturing my mind, body and spirit- to not just refashion my diet, but rework every aspect of my life to promote healing, would it work? I had to find out.
So off I went. I began reading everything I could find from medical journals (my pharmaceutical and clinical laboratory background truly came in handy), to websites and books galore. I worked with and learned from a ton of holistic practitioners and even spent some time living with a Naturopathic Doctor-who also happened to have lupus, soaking up her wisdom. And I didn’t just focus on theory- I literally tried everything I was learning on myself. Some of it fizzled and other things worked surprisingly well. As time went on, I began to see great results.
I went from barely being able to move from extreme joint and muscle pain, breathing with extreme difficulty, having disastrous skin, heart palpitations, dizzy spells, being in 3 car accidents due to exhaustion and more- to eliminating virtually all of these symptoms and going on to have three more children, for a total of 5.
I know that there are so many of my fellow lupus patients- especially women, who feel hopeless and are truly sick and tired of being sick and tired. I know that’s how I felt and I couldn’t resign myself to feeling that way forever. What about you? Maybe you’re ready to draw the line in the sand too. I know when I finally decided to become an active member of my own health care team- and later the leader, everything changed.
With each new thing that I learned, I would think to myself- why doesn’t someone tell patients this?! After wondering this on too many occasions to count, I decided that if people didn’t know, then I would have to be the one to help change that. I really do love sharing health and wellness information and I even went back to school to gain a certification in natural health and nutrition after seeing such a need for this in the chronic illness community. I knew that what I had discovered and the things I was learning from world-class doctors in my nutrition program could literally be game changing.
We each have a role to fulfill while on earth and I now know for certain that everything I learned was not only to help myself, but it could also potentially help so many other people who had resigned themselves to a life of pain and suffering.
Life/Career purpose=found. But then the fears popped up.
-Alternative health sometimes gets a bad rap. What if people label you as a quack?
-People are so convinced that pharmaceutical medication is the only means to a cure- what if no one even listens to you.
-People may feel like it’s too hard and not want to make any changes. You’ll be wasting your time.
-What if, despite your sincerity, people think you’re trying to take advantage of lupus patients by offering health coaching programs in addition to your free content?
And on and on and on.
I’ve actually had the idea for this website for over a year, but this negative self-talk kept me in procrastination mode. My subconscious knows how much I care about this topic and want to make a difference in the lives of other patients. But as the ego often does, instead of pushing us forward towards a lofty goal, it wants to protect us from perceived harm/embarrassment/heartbreak. You know, that kind that will/might/probably won’t happen.
One of the things that pushed me forward was a recent online event I attended, called “The Soul*Full Summit”. It’s a yearly telesummit and this year’s theme was cultivating fearlessness in speaking our truth and living our purpose. Over a series of days, the host Catherine Just (who I also discovered has lupus!) interviewed an amazing group of speakers on what it means to live your purpose, transform fear and bring your gifts to the world. I greatly admire Catherine for bringing together these luminaries on such an important topic, but also for the fact that proceeds from the event benefited Down Syndrome awareness and education initiatives. (her adorable son Max has Down Syndrome). Talk about advocacy in action.
The second thing that really made me step up (really the primary reason all along) is that I would read endless posts from people dealing with lupus or another chronic illnesses and my heart would literally break for them. So many posts where people from my community- people who I can SO relate to because I’ve been there, seem as if they’re buckling under the sheer weight of it all. Feelings of helpless, constant pain, depression, being misunderstood, fear, confusion, resignation.
Everyone has a purpose. If I can help even ONE person improves their symptoms, enhance their emotional state, strengthen their body- or simply feel heard and seen….. then it’s worth any rocks that are thrown my way.
This is why I’m here.
- I’m here because I have two sisters who also have lupus. And 5 million more family members around the world who also battle this disease.
- This is why I have 20 tabs open in my web browser at any given time conducting endless research.
- This is why I learned how to build out a website and make graphics- in the hopes that I could create a space for community, education and evolution.
- This is why I go to bed with endless ideas running through my head of tools and programs to help you thrive.
- This is why I write, and write….and write some more.
- This is my purpose. It’s what I can’t NOT do.