This is the post where I tell you a bit about my medical history and hope that it isn’t overly personal. I’m not sure if this is a form of justification as to why I am suddenly upfront about my diet, or if I want to break down the barriers and taboos around discussing health issues (particularly women’s health issues). So, whether selfish, noble, or meek, here we go.
My health hasn’t always been perfect, which can be extra hard because from the outside I look like a robust twenty-something who could bounce back like all the other twenty-something folks. I am sure lots of you 20-somethings know what I’m talking about- people expect you to be the healthiest population in society, and we don’t always live up to that. My external self doesn’t always do the best job of representing what is going on.
One of the big things I’ve had to deal with was a heart palpitation issue, which resulted in relatively debilitating palpitations on a regular basis. I “pushed through” and maintained school/work as per normal even while it disrupted my life which, though it sounds noble, was actually really hard and I’d have to think hard as to whether I would do it again if put in a similar situation. My marks suffered, which was probably the hardest part and not something I handle particularly well. Two minor heart surgeries (ablations) later, and the heart is all good. I’m so glad it is now resolved, and extra glad that it was a relatively easy fix.
The heart issue was my main introduction to being someone who had something off with him or her. It didn’t spark any dietary or lifestyle changes (unless you count learning-how-to-cram-all-of-the-material-that-you-missed-because-you-were-in-emerg a lifestyle change). It was actually Sebastien’s history of allergies, asthma, and current issue with eczema that sparked my interest in looking how to properly feed someone with autoimmune issues. We poked around the ancestral health community, and found that Sebastien is at really high risk for being gluten intolerant or celiac, so we cut gluten from our diet. His skin and colour improved to an extent, and I accidently fixed my GERD/bloating issues. With gluten out of the way, it allowed me to easily identify other triggers for GERD/bloating, which turned out to be most beans (no more hummus!!). My hair got ridiculously thick and my body shape changed- it was a little freaky actually. We were pretty sold on the concept, and decided to commit to it.
So after being hum-dee-dum happy with my life, my most recent health issue has reared it’s head over the last year, and I’ll be damned to say that it has been the most difficult thing thus far in my barely-over-2-decades of life. Partially because it is not diagnosed (a major stress, one that I also faced before my first heart surgery when we still didn’t know exactly what was up) and partially because it isn’t clear how to go forward with treating it. It doesn’t help that it’s one of those things that isn’t always talked about. For now I’m calling it “what-might-be-endometriosis” or “maybe-endo” for short. It is a joyful bundle of 3 weeks of lower back pain, a crescendo of oh-I-can’t-walk-it’s-so-painful pelvic pain, and a few days of complete ‘n utter full-body debilitation a month. Throw a few completely-blurred-vision migraines in there for good measure. Add a dash of fatigue and muscle aching. So far it has been one of those “did that just happen? Was it really that painful, or was it all in my head?” experiences, because it creeped up on me slowly and unexpectedly. It’s still seems like I’m “faking it” to myself sometimes because it seems unreasonable that it would feel that bad for so long. I still am sorting out exactly what is happening to me on a monthly basis, and trying to figure out exactly what could be going on.
So that’s the adventure that I’m going through right now. Pain management is a big thing at the moment. Getting proper nourishment and moving as much as possible is a priority. Keeping the possibility of going part-time for school, and knowing that if I get overwhelmed I might need to just drop everything and skip out for a bit while I put my health as a priority. Figuring out how I can use the tools of diet and lifestyle to minimize my symptoms. Plus some watching Arrested Development (and Community, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Archer, Bob’s Burgers, Breaking Bad….you get good at TV when you can’t read from headaches!).
I feel like this is my second “coming out” post in two days, where I am upfront about currently experiencing (gasp) “female issues”. I’m sure lots of other women are where I am right now, but it’s just not something that you hear about or is always taken that seriously. You all must think I’ve forgotten how to cook and am just biding time by not giving you any recipes! That will come soon. For now, I’ve got to slightly overshare to the internet. You know how it is.