Friday, May 22, 2020

What a Difference A Year Makes

Just this past week I heard the words, "Your blood work looks great!"  That was not the case one year ago when I began my journey with functional medicine.  It is hard to believe that it has been almost exactly one year since I sat in this stranger's office, in tears, wondering if I was every going to feel better, if I was ever going to make it through the day without being overcome by fear, anxiety, constant darkness, physical pain, and an adrenal system that was going crazy! 

I remember that day, as if it were yesterday.  I sat in the chair and just sobbed as he tried to make sense of all that was going on in my body, all the the prescription medicines that I had tried with little to no success.  For months I had been wondering why I was getting worse and not better - my family doctor was wondering the same thing, so we both agreed it was time to take the plunge and try another avenue which led me to Dr. Shannon Smith at Turnpaugh Health and Wellness Center in Mechanicsburg. 

As I sat there in tears, I remember Joel saying, "this is not my wife.... she is not a crier, I am the crier of the family."  I said that was true, though I am not sure he believed us at the time.  My first visit he said, we are going to try to bubble wrap you and at least calm some things down while we figure out what is going on.  So he prescribed several supplements and a blood draw with 15 vials of blood as well as a food allergy test. 

The results came back, and my blood work was anything but good!  I had a Co-infection in my body that was going nuts - my numbers were both over 4.5 (they are to be less than 1.0).  My adrenal system was stuck in fight or flight and my body was filled with histamines that were causing my brain to not work properly.  On top of that my food reactions were off the charts! 

With the results in hand, Dr. Shannon began adjusting my supplements, adding and taking away as he looked at my tests and blood work.  He would check in with me weekly and adjust as necessary.  Within one week of his adjusting my supplements and taking me off most of my meds - I woke up one day without panic, without fear, and without tears... it was a strange but welcomed change!  That was my turning point. 

Though I was hoping that it would only take a month or two to recover, instead of a year, I am thankful for this journey.  It has taught me so much about myself, my God, my family, my friends and my health. 

For myself, I have learned that it is okay to ask for help.  I have learned that I can't be all things to all people and that is okay.  I learned to cherish the good days, and trust that God has a purpose for the hard days.

As for God, I have learned that he will never leave me nor forsake me.  In my darkest of days, when all I could do was cry why, He was there!  He held me in his loving arms, even when all I felt was numbness.  He gave me truth through his word even when I didn't have ears to hear it.  He was and still is faithful! 

My family was my constant!  Though I struggled to do much during that time and leaving the house was sometimes overwhelming for me (I literally struggled to be in the car as my anxieties went through the roof).  Joel was on call all the time.  He couldn't fix it which I think was the worst thing for him, but on a daily basis he would come home from church to sit with me, he would hold me until I fell asleep.  My daughter, she watched me struggle - she asked me often if I was dying.... that was devastating for me as I thought maybe I was. 

My friends showed up to "babysit" me, to pray for me, to make meals for me, to just sit with me when I had nothing to offer but tears.  I had friends that planted my gardens, my flowerbeds and even came and weeded for hours.  I am so blessed by my friends and I am so blessed that I have the ability to enjoy doing my garden this year.

Lastly, this journey to a healthier me has been a long and hard journey, but one I would not trade for the world.  It has been hard to change my diet completely!  It has been challenging financially (our insurance does not cover any of my appointments, supplements, or treatments).  It has been challenging emotionally wondering if these changes will be the "new normal" for me.  I have cried at my share of events and restaurants when nothing on the menu is approved for me to eat without cheating.  I have cried when I have watched other enjoy something that I can't have..... but on the flip side I have celebrated a year of better health!  A year of transformation!  A year of being down 50 pounds!  And a year of hard work to be close to saying my autoimmune disease - Multiple Sclerosis is nearing remission!  I can now begin exercising!  I can garden for hours and not feel like I have been hit by a car after 5 minutes.  I was able to go to Disney with my family, a trip we had promised Ella when she turned 8, but a trip I was sure we would not be able to take because I was so sick (side note:  Disney does an amazing job catering to dietary restrictions!)

So today - I will celebrate, because God has blessed me beyond what I deserve, and he has given me fresh hope, a sense of peace and accomplishment, and he has given me a reminder that you can't have your destiny with our your history!   My story is messy and hard at times, but it is my story with God's strength, power, and grace written all over it. 

Before my journey 

After losing 50 pounds :)