My Story. Part 3 – Sometimes Life Smacks You Upside the Head
This is Part 3, of my 3-part story, about the early stages of my personal struggles with health and weight gain. If you haven’t already read Part 1 – I Gained Over 30 Pounds In One Year, click here to read it. For Part 2 – Mom Was Right. I Got Fat. Click here.
Sometimes Life Smacks You Upside the Head, Literally.
My Doctor suggested that we proceed to investigate the cause of my long list of health issues. He suspected that I had Fibromyalgia. There is no definitive blood test for a Fibromyalgia, so diagnosis is not black or white, it is based on a symptom checklist. My Doctor and I had established that I had every symptom on that checklist, except one. The one I didn’t have was actually the most common and sure sign symptom; very specific pain trigger points. His diagnosis of fibromyalgia, despite the fact that I didn’t have this one classic symptom bothered me. I wasn’t convinced but he suggested that perhaps I was in denial and to just trust his diagnosis.
My Doctor didn’t provide much in terms of treatment other than continue with prescription meds when necessary. Antibiotics for frequent bladder and throat infections, anti- inflammatories for pain, and the birth control pill for menstrual regulation. He suggested I do some research about lifestyle adjustments (yoga, relaxation etc.). I got my hands on whatever books our small community library had to offer. Like most people back then, I didn’t have internet at home.
Over the next couple of years there were some significant changes in my life, some were intentional and some where simply fate.
It wasn’t a conscious decision but I was snowboarding less. At least not every day as I had been for years. I decided to strive for quality snowboarding (more pow days, less lift lines) so I bought a snowmobile and started snowboariding in the backcountry a few days a week. This freed up some time so I began to weight train at the gym on a somewhat regular basis. Snowmobiles are heavy – I needed to get strong. I moved around to different ski towns for two years. My diet changed slightly. I would say I was controlling my portions and overall junk food intake but I wasn’t consistently eating an optimal nutritious diet by any means. I managed to loose most of the weight I had gained, but it still fluctuated up and down. The lowest being around 116 up to 130 or so. I felt a marginally better overall but I lived a two faced life – forcing myself to be positive around certain people while others saw the real me; frustrated, angry, miserable and struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed.
At the end of the era I just described, there was a major shift in my life; a breakup, from what I consider to have been a toxic relationship. Not only was the relationship itself toxic, my partner’s friends and their lifestyle created a negative environment for me. While I didn’t take part in their lifestyle, other than the occasional drink, I was surrounded by all night parties, excessive drinking, drug abuse and what I’ll refer to as a “shady” lifestyle. When we broke up I moved out and I moved in with people who had the opposite lifestyle; responsible, hardworking, health conscious, reliable people.
About 6 months after moving in with my new roommates was in a snowmobile accident. The accident was serious. Thanks to some quick acting strangers who were at the right place at the right time I am still alive today. My rescuers resuscitated me several times, and called for an emergency helicopter evacuation to the nearest hospital. My injuries included several cuts to my face, bad bruising, several muscle strains, and a severe (TBI) concussion. I have zero memory of the actual accident and very little recollection of the month following the accident. My memory slowly returned to normal over the course of several months.
During my recovery I was unable to work at all for about 6-7 weeks. When I returned to work it was only part-time until I recovered fully, which took an additional 3 months. However, I never felt defeated. Every day I woke up feeling lucky to be alive. I had been given a second chance at life. I was motivated and determined to make the most of my time stuck at home recovering. My first instinct was to pick through my roommate’s book collection which consisted mostly of nutrition, meditation and natural healing books. My other roommate had a computer, with access to the internet. He let me use it as often as I wanted. These two resources opened up my world in a way that changed my life forever.
The more I read the more knowledge I craved. I was now intrigued by the possibility that I might have some control over my health if I was willing to explore new things, such as diet and unconventional treatments. I read as many books and online articles as I could. I stumbled across several online forums and had discussions with women who had suffered from symptoms very similar to mine. These women had made a full recovery with proper nutrition and lifestyle changes. At this time I was scheduled to have a bladder surgery for my severe reoccurring infections. One of the women I had met online had the same procedure. It didn’t work. Long story short; she eventually cured herself on her own through dietary changes and some basic supplements to treat systemic Candida overgrowth. Her story and symptoms hit close to home so I started to focus my research on naturally healing Candida.
“Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your mouth and intestines. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption but, when overproduced, candida breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causing leaky gut. This can lead to many different health problems, ranging from digestive issues to depression”. – Dr. Amy Myers
I didn’t have the money at that time to seek treatment from a Naturopath and my benefit plan wouldn’t cover the costs. I told my doctor about my research and asked him about Candida. He didn’t know what Candida was. He made me feel as though I was crazy for even considering such a thing. Then one day I went to a vitamin and supplement store, the first of it’s kind in our town. I had a great discussion about my health with the owner, who was a certified Naturopath. She confidently assured me to follow my intuition and start treatment immediately. So, I did, with her guidance.
Before I started my healing process, I had a listed all my symptoms on a 8 ½ x 11 sheet of lined paper. The sheet was full from top to bottom. It was a long daunting list. I posted it on my bedroom wall. Within as little as one month of making dietary changes I started crossing symptoms off my list. For as long as I could remember, my health had always been declining. Now, for the first time in over 10 years, my symptoms were actually improving, rapidly.
Within 10-12 months of making some very necessary and long overdue changes I eliminated nearly all of my symptoms. I felt as though someone had taken my old unhealthy body and swapped it out for a new one. I could have never imagined such a drastic change in such a short period of time. Experiencing how certain diet and lifestyle choices had a such positive effect on my health (physical and emotional) felt like nothing short of a miracle.
My Doctor was astonished by the improvement of my overall health. I never followed through with the bladder surgery. I was no longer taking any prescription medications or birth control. My Doctor never attributed my success to any of the changes I had made. But I wasn’t worried about what he thought. How I felt was all the proof I needed.
Some of you might be disappointed that this story isn’t about how I reached my current fitness and physique goals. This story is about something much more important than a body fat percentage or a six pack. This story is about my personal awakening. Some of you may have already had your awakening, while others may still be waiting.
Clearly, at one point in time I was completely oblivious about what I could do to improve my health. Luckily, a series of events led to my increased awareness and altered perception. However, no problem can ever be resolved unless you acknowledge that it is in fact a problem. You must accept that your actions, ignorance and possibly your environment are potentially part of that problem. To succeed you must be open to learning and you must seek knowledge. This knowledge is useless unless you apply it, diligently.
I have witnessed too many people simply sit back and let their poor state of health limit their true potential. Trust your body when it’s trying to tell you something. Believe that life-altering changes can happen. You need to be proactive. You must take matters into your own hands. It wasn’t until I took control of my health, that I was able to eventually reach and maintain my physique and fitness goals.