What motivates me is very different from what inspires me.
I mentioned in an earlier post how I had been unwell for a few years. Here’s the breakdown.
After the birth of our kids I was very sleep deprived, going non-stop during the day and what seemed like non-stop in the night; not so uncommon for new mothers. I seemed to pick up any cold or flu with which the kids came into contact. It felt like I was sick and tired all the time. Once the kids were two and four, they woke less frequently throughout the night and I was starting to sleep more and get fewer colds. I started back to a regular yoga practice and was feeling much better. Until, one joint at a time started to become inflamed for what seemed like a few months only to get better and move on to another joint. It was very peculiar, worrisome and exhausting. I spent a lot of time researching, visiting doctors, physiotherapists and traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. Anyone, really, who might be able to figure out what was going on.
Long story short, I visited the Arthritis Society who suggested I had Palindromic Rheumatism, a type of rheumatism, which ‘comes and goes’. What?!!
I was thirty-six at the time. I researched again. I tried eliminating certain foods from my diet, based on the studies done on arthritis and rheumatism.
There were months where I felt completely fine, to periods where my hands were so sore I couldn’t tie my kids’ shoelaces or put a fitted sheet on the mattress without difficulty and pain. Other times I would walk around with what felt like a fractured foot or hand. This was shocking to me. I was too young for this and could only imagine how much worse it would get with time. As a physically active person my future looked bleak. I blamed myself, wondering if all the years I had spent doing sport or working out (sometimes in the extreme) had caught up with me and it was pay back time.
Not long after these episodes started, I went for a long-weekend getaway with my mother-in-law to Hawaii. I took in a lot of sun, relaxation and fit in some runs. Sadly, I came home with a cough that lasted nine months. I had x-rays, pulmonary function tests, you name it, but the doctors couldn’t find anything amiss. For this entire period not only had I lost any desire to exercise, but I was physically unable to do any except for some light walking. This was not me.
After about seven months and what felt like a broken rib from all the coughing, I finally took my friends’ advice and went to see her MD who consulted in Homeopathic Medicine. After two months of homeopathic remedies, my cough was losing momentum and by the four-month mark there was no cough to be heard. Who knows, maybe the cough had run its course? Maybe it was the homeopathic remedies? I don’t know, no one really knows. But whatever it was that stopped me from coughing, I am grateful.
“If what you are doing isn’t working, doing more of it won’t work any better.” Alan Cohen
Now back to the inflamed aching joints. It seemed like my whole body chemistry was off, which is not uncommon after pregnancy. My ferritin (iron) levels tested low so I started taking a daily Iron Citrate supplement. My thyroid test (Free T4) result at 10.8 was in the low-normal range. Normal range is from 10 – 20. But I was feeling far from normal. What if my normal should be closer to 20? My homeopath recommended a low dose of Iodine. After two months my free T4 test result had gone up to 12.6 – my eyelashes were growing back and I was running on real energy, not on my adrenals. About a month before I started the Iodine, I also started to “Eat Right For Your Type”. I was ready to try anything (natural!) that would help. I don’t like taking medication and so working with food as medicine appealed to me.
I tried eating for my blood type in 1999, a few years after Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s book was published but since my husband and I rarely cooked at home (this was before kids!!), it was overwhelming to follow the program while going to restaurants. So we both gave up. Fast forward to the present. Five months ago I decided I would give it a real effort. I had been eating a lot of foods recommended in the media as super-foods but my joints were telling me differently. I’d reference “Eat for Your Type” and low and behold all those super-foods were on my avoid list. Yikes! So I eliminated them and my joint pain went away.
As a stay at home mom I am always grocery shopping and in the kitchen so the timing was perfect. I focused on eating the foods that are in the Beneficial list, which react to the body like medicine and I avoid the foods from the Avoid list, which are dramatically defined as a poison to one’s system. The end result? My joint pain is mostly gone. I can tell which foods trigger a bout of pain. It’s all very fascinating. But this was my experiment. So far it is working for me. It may be less convenient to follow a regimented program like this but I’ve got to tell you, it’s way less inconvenient than the debilitating joint pain I was living with. Being pain free is what motivates me.
“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”
-Alan Cohen, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul.