A few weeks ago, I celebrated exactly one year since I was admitted to the emergency room on my third visit within 72 hours and diagnosed with the shingles, specifically Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (if this is news to you, you can read all about my story here and how I have been healing post diagnosis).
There was so much anticipation leading up to that day. When the day came, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Every doctor I had met with told me one year, one year, one year. You will be through this after one year. Whatever healing happens in one year, that is it for you, then it’s time to look into plastic surgery, botox, etc. You won’t be able to heal any further on your own. And so, when that one year mark came and went, I sunk into a dark place in my mind. I questioned my faith, purpose on this planet, capability to heal, for a brief moment in time I felt hopeless. Thankfully, with the support of Dan, family, friends, teachers, and mentors, I was able to pull myself out of that place. I am still moving through the sadness but I am connecting to the deeper meaning behind why I am going through this (there is always a WHY, we just have to find it). As my teacher Taylor Eyewalker pointed out to me there are still lessons to be learned from this experience.
I have and continue to dig deep in my heart and soul. After an incredibly difficult year of getting sick again, canceling our wedding, our company going out of business (the year of endings and new beginnings is an understatement, more about this here if you are new to the site) Dan and I have been living on Long Island with his mom and stepfather for about 5 months now while we get back on our feet. While this has come with its own set of stressors (navigating where we will move, not having our own space, lack of independence, etc). It has given me one thing I very much needed: perspective and an abundance of quiet time for introspection. Over the past five months I have spent a lot of journaling and meditating, and a lot of time reflecting.
Understanding the connection between diet and health, I am constantly checking in with my body to see how am I feeling as a whole. After I completed Whole30 in January I could not even look at animal protein, except for bone broth. Every ounce of my body was begging me for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes. At first, I resisted, I had been paleo for years with the understanding that this was what my body needed. I realize I never wrote about my journey going from vegan through my transplant to eating meat again but maybe that will be a future post? In short, after picking up salmonella and e.coli on a trip to Cancun in 2014 my doctor at that time, Dr. Frank Lipman urged me to include meat in my diet to heal. I followed his advice and within days all of my symptoms vanished and my numbers started to go up. So, I stuck with that diet for years. Never feeling really amazing at any time, continuing to need IVIG treatments, which I shouldn’t have needed after 3 years post-transplant but am now 6 ½ years out and still need every few months. On a very personal side note that will be another blog post of its own, I have struggled for years to lose the 15-20 pounds I gained after my transplant which hasn’t wanted to move despite my healthy lifestyle (which I am now starting to see is also part of the lessons I still need to learn for deeper healing).
Post Whole30, I started to cautiously lean back into eating plant-based. Within a few weeks a name started to pop up everywhere for me, so much so that I knew I had to pay attention. The name was Medical Medium. I immersed myself in his books, blog posts, audio recordings. Everything he said made so much sense to me. For all these years I had been fearing fruits for the sugar when they are whole foods made by Mother Earth! I had been holding on to so much fear around food and I knew it was time for me to release that. I started to incorporate a morning celery juice on an empty stomach as per the Medical Medium protocol for gut healing, immune system strengthening and support in killing off the shingles virus in my body. I brought more fruits into my diet, an abundance of vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. I still felt bloated in the beginning (another blog post of its own!) but something told me to stick with it, so I did. After about two weeks my bloat started to fade and my energy began to increase (I feel like it might have been a mini detox for my body). I also started to include the supplement regimen Anthony Williams (The Medical Medium) recommends for shingles patients. At my last physical therapy appointment, my facial mobility increased to 51/100 (I started at 25) which was extremely motivating. I know there is still a lot of healing to do but I finally feel like I am going down the right path and I am SO grateful for that.
In all honesty, when it comes to my health, my 20’s have been hard. Really hard. I can’t remember a period for more than 6 months where I felt good. Healthy. Energized. I have seen glimpses of what this could look like but haven’t been able to hold on to it for more than a few weeks at a time. I am starting to see the light, feel deep inside of me an unwavering hope that deep and complete healing is possible. That I am meant to go through these experiences to not only heal myself but to share what I learn through this platform so that we can all remember that no matter where we are in our healing journey, we are not alone.