There was a time in my life when I felt invincible. That sickness, death, and misfortune were events that wouldn’t transpire for a long time. For some of us, it’s a series of events. For others, it’s a pivotal event that changes our lives and reality forever.
How do you explain such a change? Most of my life I was slim, had a quick computer-like mind, was a healthy and athletic person, was an accomplished high-energy wife and mother to three children, and who could always depend on my body.
For many people with chronic conditions, we were the work hard, play hard, give life all we got individuals, and then our lives changed. I was very fortunate that these events transpired later in my life. Many people are challenged with chronic conditions since childhood. I have great compassion for people with chronic health conditions that have dealt with their symptoms on a daily basis for their entire life.
Multiple long-term stressors led up to that day in August 1997, that I seemingly handled with ease, but my body didn’t. Women, especially these days, are juggling so many roles and responsibilities and we make it look so easy, but it takes a toll. When the stresses were abating in my life, the following transpired:
- My weight jumped to 192 pounds, a sixty-pound increase of where I had been most of my adult life
- My blood pressure plummeted to 95/45, with a pulse of 50
- My temperature was technically hyperthermia at 94 degrees, a full four degrees below normal for most people
- My quick mind was now foggy
- My body reacted to everything with migraines 24/7
- I had sleep deprivation
Within a matter of months, and without warning, my life drastically changed from that of an active, vibrant woman to a woman with a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, migraine and chronic fatigue. My onset was sudden, and at a time in my life when there wasn’t much stress and life was good.
I had remembered keeping a journal of both my sons’ health challenges as babies and decided to do the same for myself. I had been able to give relevant data to their pediatrician that facilitated better outcomes for both of our boys’ health.
As my disease progressed, my body ached from fibromyalgia and the pain of being riddled with arthritis. My hands, which once helped me sail and work the jib sheets on my sail boat, were now so clenched from arthritis that they would barely open. Most days I felt like it was a fight to do regular activities that I once took in stride. Because my immune system was weakened, I contracted a staph infection from coral cuts while snorkeling in Hawaii. That then developed into an infection that took over three years to cure.
I have kept a journal since the onset of my symptoms to understand what was transpiring. Because I was observing my symptoms, rather than only experiencing them, I received greater awareness and insight into the relationship between my treatment, environment, emotions and their affect on my health. At that time everything my medical team had me try either worsened my symptoms or had no effect. Then something shifted inside me, and I tried to look at the events in my life from the vantage point of the conscious observer. Journaling improved my perspective and increased my decision-making capacity.
It wasn’t until I was referred to a neurologist that headway with my symptoms started to happen. I had finally found a doctor, which after years of practicing with a prestigious professional background, was as motivated as a child on Christmas morning about finding answers to his patient’s health problems and working outside of the box to find solutions. By keeping track of my symptoms on a consistent basis, I was able to give relevant data to my neurologist and we became partners in exploring what would create my best health outcomes. Starting in 2005, I was finally making some headway. Over eight years into my illnesses, I was discovering what would ultimately cure many of my symptoms.
I researched everything about the diseases that I was diagnosed with, including traditional treatments, nutrition, supplements, counseling and alternative healing modalities. For a person that had never taken a vitamin in her life, I started exploring all the inner workings of my body and I became proactive in my own healing process.
The journal enabled me to isolate my symptoms and track the effect of events and treatments on my overall health. I was able to see what factors inhibited getting healthier and see how changes in my food, environment, treatment, emotions and exercise could create a healthier outcome. The consistent data gave me a renewed sense of power in communicating with my healthcare team and solidified the team with my goals. Even at my worst, I kept my heart, soul, and mind focused on the picture of the healthy person I wanted to become.
Early on in my chronic health journey I attempted to do life as usual, which had extremely negative effects on my health. As I changed my behavior and observed what was successful, my health gradually improved. I found that when I was treating symptoms, I wasn’t getting at the root cause. But if I treated the cause, I saw my symptoms improve markedly.
I promised I would take what I had learned and assist other people in journaling to better health outcomes, since it had made such a dramatic influence on my quality of life. Over the years I have shared my techniques with other people with chronic health conditions, and they have gained insight about their own health. I have created a protocol and system designed to track the most important symptoms and health variables for your chronic health condition. The reports you will be able to generate allow you to see the cause and effect between your daily health choices and your outcomes. This system is easy-to-use, accessible anywhere there is Internet, and can save you money, time, and energy.
I am very grateful for how healthy I have become, my symptoms are 90% abated, and my energy level feels remarkable. I had taught my business-consulting clients for over twenty years to believe in their passions, and how to constructively make their businesses prosper, and their dreams a reality. Symptom Journal and helping other people have healthier tomorrows is my passion.
You are my inspiration. Our commitment is to give individuals with chronic conditions the opportunity for better health and daily quality of life through journaling their symptoms and delivering better data to their doctors for more successful health outcomes.
I wish you the best of health-