I hope this post finds you doing, or planning to do, something you love today!
Just a little note to say that you may now access my website at: jeannedrennan.com - Yay!
My book, Live Well. Be Well. 14 Simple Ways to Excellent Heath, is slated for revision and re-release this year - another yay! And, I'll add, God willing, because only He knows how all my book (and life in general) plans for 2014 turned out.
It is currently still available however, through Amazon.com in print or digital format.
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2014 was an extremely challenging year that took a huge toll on my health. Actually, my health decline probably started gaining serious momentum in the summer of 2013 with my initial shoulder injury and an immensely unhealthy amount of stress, coupled with other health crises. These things triggered crazy autoimmune responses in my body that kept me sick/unwell the entire year and into this year.
Comparatively, I am feeling much better now but I know the road to recovery will take some time. At least I'm out of the "flare-up" phase so I can think more clearly, daily life activities aren't so bone-deep painful and things don't require as much planning and effort. I am doing some specific things to help me regain my health. I will discuss them in future posts.
If autoimmune disease hasn't invaded your life or the life of someone you love, you may be wondering what exactly is autoimmune disease? I love how Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, author of The Paleo Approach and The Paleo Approach Cookbook defines it: "it is a result of interactions between your genes and your environment - A perfect storm of factors that cause the immune system to be unable to distinguish self (you) from the invader (not you)." Essentially, your body attacks itself. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis or other types of inflammatory arthritis, the joints are attacked. In Hashimoto's or Grave's disease, the thyroid is attacked. There are over 100 confirmed types of autoimmune diseases, but many more are suspected to have autoimmune origins. Lupus and Celiac disease are well-known autoimmune disorders as well.
It can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms may be vague and diffuse. Or, test results may come back "within normal limits." If you suspect autoimmune disease, it's important to find a doctor who is well versed in autoimmunity. It is not uncommon for people suffer for 8-10 (if not more) years before they receive a diagnosis. This can be due, in large part, to seeing 1 specialist after another, after another who doesn't connect the dots (symptoms) or doesn't see the person as a whole, but rather just as the area in which that particular doctor specializes, i.e. rheumatology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, etc. No blame on them really, it's how they were trained.
I've come to see that seeking out the help of a functional medicine practitioner who focuses on autoimmunity can be of great assistance in putting it all together to get a diagnosis so healing can begin.
My healing tip for today is, de-stress...
Unhealthy stress is a detriment to anyone, but especially to those with chronic illness, such as autoimmune disease. I am still struggling with this concept of de-stressing. Without any permission from me ;), my body seems to interpret every little thing as a stress or an attack. It is vital to take time each day to teach your body to relax and let go of toxic stress. This is a mindful and purposeful activity where you quiet your mind and release your burdens. You must be fully present! This ritual can take many forms, such as prayer, meditation, deep diaphragmatic breathing or doing yoga-type poses that facilitate relaxation, to name just a few. I like to use essential oils during this time to further deepen the experience of de-stressing. 10-15 minutes a day will begin to re-train your body to recognize what it needs and what it doesn't and what it feels like to be relaxed.
I have found that Epsom Salt "de-tox" baths are highly beneficial on many levels! When I was at my worst, this was the only thing that helped me feel better and gave me some relief from the bone-deep pain and "fire" in my joints.
I simply put 1-2 cups of Epsom Salts in a tub with water as hot as I can stand it. Sometimes I put baking soda in as well. I took these baths 3-4 times per week. However, there were times when I took daily de-tox baths. Now I do them less often because I'm feeling better, and I can enjoy them for the relaxation benefits. This is a great way to de-stress!
Until next time,
Live well. Be well. Love abundantly.