Cannot believe it has been over a year and half since I wrote a post. Honestly, I did not fall off the face of the planet. Since last January life has been full of many ups and down, but mostly ups. Lets see now, I’m still working as a home health SLP and running the rehab department, lots of work and craziness there. I spent most of last year taking care of my home and property because my husband was gone working out-of-town, so it was left up to me to take care of things. I think this helped get me out more, doing more, and feeling more alive than I have felt in several years. I spent a lot of time researching AS, causes and symptoms. Got involved in some new support groups that focus on the mind and not the body, and thanks to a new friend, Ralph, began to make changes psychologically for my own well being.
This year started out about the same as any other year, I was working, dabbling in my oils and decided to go full-out and get certified as a Clinical Aromatherapist. You see once my thought patterns changed so did how I look at things as a whole and not as its pieces. Many of you reading this post are going to bash me for what I’m about to write, but how can others learn without others telling of their experiences right? Just like many of my readers I too suffer from a debilitating disease I call my “Health Challenge”. I say health challenge because I refuse to own the fact that I have a disease called AS. How many of you have heard the old saying “You are what you think”?
For years I was consumed with the fact that I had a health challenge, and no matter what I tried nothing worked. I knew eventually this crap would kill me. I was on 17 different medication including biologics, I couldn’t walk more than 15 feet without hurting, couldn’t sleep because all I thought about was my health challenge. I was in every support group on FB commiserating with all the others with this particular health challenge. And where was it getting me? Nowhere.
Then while perusing YouTube for videos on this particular health challenge I came across Ralph Ruiz‘s video blogs. I watched every one of them, and see him as my inspiration and motivation for changing not only my life but also how I think. Using his techniques, and really challenging myself to think outside the box, I started feeling better about this health challenge. Where did I get this word you might ask? One day I was complaining about having AS and what it has done to me, and how I hate it and my sister looked at me and said “Every time you reference that word with you or your life you are owning it, therefore the universe will keep giving your more of it!” This my friends is the reason I never say that AS word and haven’t for some time.
Pulling myself out of the depths of despair and hopelessness was not an easy chore, but each day I woke feeling grateful for the life I have. Eventually I started distancing myself from all my AS friends and groups, even giving up the Walk your AS off challenge. Slowly I was coming back by not being bombarded daily by the hopelessness and despair of others, because the real person I am just wants to help everyone, and when I can’t help, I feel in despair. This was my personal struggle, caring for everyone while putting myself on the back burner. And in the end the only one around to help me, was no one.
I can say that as of June of 2015, I have been off of all of my medication. I’m not taking sleep meds, pain meds, anti-inflammatory meds. I’m eating real food and loving every minute I can wake up with just some mild stiffness. I still cannot sleep on a firm mattress and if I do too much I have a hard time standing up straight. My spine is starting to fuse because I can no longer stand up straight without a lot of discomfort, so no, I haven’t gotten rid of my health challenge, I have just quit letting it take over my life.
So where to begin? I want to start off with one of Ralph’s recent post which I found quite telling:
“Stop Blaming The Medical Industry: Think of it this way, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 etc…. Saying that a disease is due to a chemical imbalance is the same as counting but only starting from the number 2. Completely ignoring numbers 1 and 0. The worse part is that the root cause of those “chemical imbalances” is well known. But no one is talking about it. Why kill the roots when we can just manage the weeds forever? Simple, it benefits both the patient that is too afraid to explore the roots of their distress and it benefits the ones selling the weed whackers. The patient gets to hide their deeply rooted issues in a socially acceptable manner (diagnosis), and the weed whacker salesman gets to make a nice living. I see no issue here, both parties are benefiting greatly in their own way. But what about the patient that is not afraid of exploring the roots of their dis-ease and genuinely wants to be healthy again? Is it fair to him/her to be socially conditioned to believe that the number line starts at the number 2? Is it fair for a misinformed person to suffer with chronic health issues? Simply because the scared patient and the weed whacker industry, have both created a widely socially accepted idea that the only way to heal their distress is with a pill? The issue isn’t with the weed whacker industry, the issue is with society as a whole“.
Let’s dissect this thing called AS shall we? I want to emphasize that this is me, no one else has taken over my body and no one is forcing me to lay out what I truly feel. You may not agree with what I’m going to say and that is fine, I still think you are all super sparkly beings that I have come to love. So lets proceed.
Here I am 27 years old, start hurting, go to the doctor, he has no clue what I have. When he does find out he tells me I can’t have that as only men get it. I live with pain and discomfort for 5 years. Question: So what was happening to me during that time? Answer: I was under a lot of stress unbeknownst to me, hell I was young what could I possibly have to stress about. Well I was in school, raising two kids, living off student loans and really had no friends to speak of just immersed myself into studies trying desperately to prove to my family how smart I really could be. What happened after I graduated? No pain, of course I realized I couldn’t sleep on a firm bed but otherwise I was back to normal. Coincidence? Were the two connected?
Here I am 42 years old. Just moved to a new town, started a new job. No signs or symptoms of what plagued me 15 years ago. Then when I’m turned 43 I started a different job in the same town. This job had more stress and then I have to get a root canal and take high-octane antibiotics. Wammo, welcome to the world of bacterial infections, C-diff is nothing to mess with if you know what I mean. Suddenly I am not such a happy camper anymore. Life sucks and everyone who feels good along with it. But it is ok as I can put on my happy face and push through it….. but then, the pain hits, no more eating tasty food, hiking, skiing, socializing. Now it’s a bedtime early cause you cannot sleep kind of life. But there is hope, there is this thing called the internet, and your world opens up. You start seeing there are many others just like you, same symptoms, same prognosis. And then the lights go out. Question: So what started this thing back up again? Was it the prescription antibiotic that robbed my gut that led me to getting C-diff that triggered this thing called AS? Or was it something a little more deeper subconsciously? Hell I work with a bunch of sick people every day, can’t some of it wear off on me? Answer: Nope I was in fact miserable. I was in a relationship that I thought would last forever and it didn’t. I didn’t feel good about myself, I was a lost puppy without anyone to love and protect me. I essentially was on my own in a town where I knew no one. Answer is self loathing for what I wanted to be but couldn’t find the courage to be.
Fast forward 10 years. I have spent 7 years of this last decade in pain and words cannot describe how downright miserable I was. The self loathing just continued through each new relationships. I found myself giving in to everything and everyone. I essentially lost me. Just like most of you I thought there was no end to this way of living, so I give great thanks to Ralph from dragging me up from the underbelly of hell and giving me my life back again. They say words have actions, well so do thoughts, and those thoughts can kill you just as quickly as the disease itself. So what have I done? Well besides changing the way I think and talk, I changed the way I feel. I quit eating anything that doesn’t come out of my over. I quit my stressful job, benefits and all. I cut out all processed foods. My body was now my temple, not the people in the support groups. I surround myself with like-minded people, people who feel and think the same way I do, that you are “What you think”. Ralph says: “I believe that Ankylosing Spondylitis is a super power that turns into autoimmune disease when we don’t embrace it. After healing from AS I went on a personal mission to show the world that it can be done. After several years of seeing many people successfully go into remission I come to the realization that AS is actually a super power that turns into disease when you don’t embrace it. My reason for this realization is that we all share very similar personalities that allow us to do things most people cannot do. One of those things is the natural born talent of empathy.”
I have some friends who have some serious health challenges and I pray for them daily to find relief. I fortunately was not subjected to the whole host of diseases that have robbed them of their lives. I had to have a serious talk with myself and let myself know that it was ok to feel for them, but that I couldn’t do anything for them. That was a journey they had to travel alone on, because what works for me won’t work for everyone. It is easy for me to say : “Hey when you wake up in the morning and whether you hurt or not just say I’m happy” because if you are hurting how the hell do you think someone will follow that advice? They won’t that is why I’m putting it out there that I don’t condemn any one of you who feel there is nothing that you can do about your health challenge. But if you have read this far you might be more open to change than you think.
So back to dissecting AS. Have you noticed the more meds you get put on the sicker you feel? Foods you eat make you feel crappy as all get out? Even the water you drink makes you nauseous? Ever wonder why? I don’t blame the pharmaceuticals or even the doctors, they are all practicing and using all of us as lab rats because they just don’t have the answers. Have you ever wondered what is really going on in the world that is causing so many people to be sick. I’m talking serious illnesses. In the last month I have had two new patients with a diagnosis of ALS aka amyotrophic lateral sclerosis aka Lou Gherig’s disease. Can I tell you how rare that is? What about the uptick in the number of autistic, multiple sclerosis, and bet you have never hear of Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), or how about Devic disease (DD)? These are some of the rarest diseases that are starting to make a comeback into the general population. Its like some idiot left the gates of San Quentin open. But why? Is it because of the increase in electromagnetic frequency? What about all the genetically modified foods? Stress? Working 80 hours a week? The list goes on. This isn’t your grandma’s world anymore.
I will leave you with this: “How do you know if your body likes what you are putting into it or doing to it for that matter?”
Next post Life without a Health Challenge? I challenge you! Part 2