How I Took Control Of My Own Health
|Photos in this post taken by DMG Photo|
Over the last few months I have been looking inwards, focusing on my mind, body and soul. I have felt as if I am in a transitional point in my life and as if I needed to check in with myself to focus on my thoughts for a little while. It is so hard to put into words what I want to share here. My life has changed so much, yet so little. I am going to give this a shot (to be truthful I have written this over and over multiple times trying to get it right) so bear with me.
In October I had some medical tests done, ones I have repeated many times over my life since the age of five when I was first diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Though I knew in my heart I was in good health, I still had worries in the back of my mind over the months leading up to the day of my most recent test, as I have done every other time as well. I felt stressed, overwhelmed, concerned for myself but also my little family and how these results affect their lives as well. This time the results were not what I had expected, but even better than I could have ever imagined.
My doctor told me that after looking over results of tests I have taken over the last few years, he no longer had evidence to say that I have Crohn's Disease in my body.
I was blown away.
And heavily medicated.
And had no idea how to respond other than to say "thank-you" and let my dad take me home.
It wasn't until the next day after I had shared the news with my friends and family, that I was able to process the words that were said to me and what they really meant. I wept tears of joy and relief while smiling so big my cheeks became sore. All my hard work had paid off in a way I never knew was possible. A weight that I hadn't realized was so heavy, lifted from my shoulders in a matter of moments. And oddly enough, I felt as if I lost a part of my identity. I really never knew how much this disease affected my daily life and how I thought of myself and my future. I guess I had lived with it so long it felt normal to me. But when I spoke of it, I usually brushed it off as if it was not a big deal, I had it under control, I was "okay". But now looking back, it really did affect me more than I ever let on or even really recognized myself. I'm not really sure who I am without this disease as a part of me, but I know I will find my way, and when I get there it will be pretty wonderful.
I quite literally spent my whole life reading, hearing and learning as much as I could about how to live a healthy life. I watched documentaries on food and wellness and how they can heal the body. I read medical journals related to studies about the disease I lived with, and I regularly visited a naturopath, doctors, specialists, massage therapists, a chiropractor and others. It became my passion and I fell in love with food and how it can fuel and nurture the body when treated with love, thoughtfulness and respect. I wanted to know what each food I put into my body was benefiting me, I then began choosing what I ate based on how I felt or how I wanted to feel. I had lists of anti-inflammatory foods for healing, foods that would aid in digestion, ones that would give me a boost of energy or calm me before bed at night, all stuck onto my fridge with magnets and scribbled in notebooks I kept by my bed. When I started to focus on where my food was coming from is when I started planning my vegetable garden and fell head over heels for the joy I felt with my hands in the dirt and harvesting the vegetables I grew in my own back yard. If you follow me on Instagram you are well aware that it became an obsession of mine very quickly and I could be found at any time of day in my garden this summer covered in dirt with a smile on my face, but that post is for another day.
I don't know why this has worked out the way it has for me, I know results like these are rare, and I am very aware as to how lucky I am and that this doesn't happen for everyone. I don't take it lightly. Which is why I am so grateful to have been given so many opportunities to learn about my body, how to care for it, and ultimately, to share my experience with others in hopes it creates conversation and maybe inspires others to take control of their own health, much like the articles, blogs and documentaries I watch as I continuously educate myself. Asking questions and listening to what others have to say and share is quite literally how I got myself to this point in my life as healthy as I am. This is the main focus and why I created Grace & Jack, to share what I have learned with you.
I am so grateful to my doctors for getting me though the hardest times, to my naturopaths for guiding me and sharing their knowledge, to my closest friends for their support, to my family for their love and understanding, to my sister for always being right there by my side and to my husband for his encouragement, trust, and for standing by me even on the roughest days.
To my parents I can never thank enough for all their time, energy, worry and love. For all the research they did when their little girl was sick. For taking alternative routines to medicine when it was safe to do so. For changing their life to make space for all it took to allow my body to heal through food and natural medicine. For eating every meal with me when sometimes it was bland because my body needed a rest from something that irritated it (my little sister also deserves a big shout out for being a good sport here as a little girl!) But most importantly, for showing me how to take control of my own health, and in turn, my life.
Thank you for listening to these words from my heart. Stay healthy and happy friends.
If you want to follow along with my journey, be sure to follow my Instagram, @grace.and.jack !