A life and health update (Part 2)

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend. As promised, I’m back with part 2. Today’s post is going to be longer, more in depth and even more personal than the last. Sharing this information with you is challenging as it’s a true reflection of what I’ve been dealing with. It is raw, real and difficult to share so openly online. I feel that by being vulnerable, others may relate to my experience and feel less alone. The need to get my story out there is greater than my fear to do so.

TRIGGER WARNING: I am speaking about sensitive issues in graphic detail. Reader discretion is advised.

As explained in the last post, things started unravelling last year but things escalated around January of this year. I found myself in a very negative head space and wasn’t watching what I was eating. Although I was eating plant based, I was eating some junk food and processed items like vegan soya sausages, oven chips, baked beans and Oreo biscuits. To be honest, I had kind of just given up.

My UTI symptoms were severe. My sleep was being disrupted as I was getting up to urinate 5- 8 times a night and I had a constant feeling of irritation in my bladder that meant I felt uncomfortable and sore for most of the day. I kept feeling the urge to urinate but only passed a small amount of urine each time. As well as the UTI symptoms, I suffered with on/ off yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis which left me swollen, really sore and irritated ‘down there.’ After many failed courses of antibiotics, I knew that there was no point in taking any more. I have always tried to avoid antibiotics where possible as they disrupt the balance of bacteria in the body which can actually exasperate symptoms or cause new issues.

Alongside these urinary/ gynaecological issues, I was feeling particularly unwell. I use the term ‘viral’ as this feeling can best be described as a similar feeling to having a virus and being generally really run down. I began to suffer with muscular and nerve pain, sometimes it felt my spinal nerves were inflamed and ‘pulsating.’ This pain would radiate along both sides of my spine, the base of my neck and along my shoulders. Sometimes, I had to take paracetamol or ibuprofen to cope.

My skin (which as some of you know, is already a sensitive issue due to previous acne) also started to become affected. My face broke out more than it had done in a while and looked more congested and red, especially across my nose and cheeks. As if all of this wasn’t difficult enough, I began to break out in hives and mysterious rashes. The hives affected my arms and thighs and I also suffered from random rashes on both of these areas and my lower back.

(Above: photo of recent hives on my thigh)

In addition to this and still in relation to my skin, I have something I really want to get off my chest and share with you. Since March 2012, I have suffered from a rash on both arms. It started immediately after I finished a 5.5 month course of Accutane. It’s not contagious. It used to be extremely severe, whereas now it’s currently the best it’s ever been. It looks like folliculitis but it’s not. A few years ago, one spot developed intolerance big would on my left forearm. The doctor swabbed it and the results showed it was a staph infection. I was given antibiotics which cleared that particular wound but the original rash continued. Due to this, I have not worn short sleeved tops or dresses in 7 years. I have not worn a swim suit or bikini. I have not gone swimming. For a long time, I felt like I had lost a sense of self due to my limited fashion choices. So, I just want you all to know that if you are suffering with something people cannot see. Whether it be a skin condition or something else, I feel you.

Like I really get it. I really empathise. I really care.

I really know how it feels to fall apart, to feel so incredibly vulnerable and afraid, to feel embarrassed, ashamed, inadequate. To feel like the real you is hiding.

Thank you for letting me release this and speak about it after 7 years of keeping it hidden. I’m still healing. I’m still a work in progress but I am getting there. I’m going to speak about my experience with skin issues and overall body confidence in an upcoming post so please stay tuned. For today, I just wanted to tell you. I just wanted to release it to the world.

(Above: photos of the rash a few years ago- it changes a lot)

(Above: photos the rash currently)

Shortly after all of these more recent hives on my legs began, my hair began to fall out again . I noticed a huge increase of shedding in the shower. Some of you may be aware that I have previously suffered from severe hair loss after finishing a course of Accutane medication from the treatment of acne a few years ago. I have suffered from bouts of hair loss since then but it had improved dramatically up until recently. To learn more, please read ‘Accutane- The Life Changer (Part 1 and 2.) I have been bagging up my hair for a month now to monitor the amount lost and so I can bring to my upcoming rheumatology appointment.

(Above: photo of hair loss over the past 4 weeks)

In early February, I began a healing dietary protocol designed by an amazing lady called Dr Brooke Goldner. Her story is extremely inspiring and she is a medical doctor and author of a book called ‘Goodbye Lupus.’ Please google search her for more information. I found this protocol helpful in some ways but very restrictive and tough. I was drinking at least 64 ounces of green smoothie per day (75% vegetables, 25% fruit) and eating whole food plant based. 75% raw and 25% cooked, consuming at least 1 pound of green or cruciferous vegetables per day, drinking 1 gallon of water per day and consuming at least 1/2 cup of chia or flax seed per day whilst avoiding all added fats (oils etc.) I lasted thee weeks before I caved in and expanded on what I was consuming. Her whole ethos is to reduce chronic inflammation in the body that is triggering the immune system to become overactive, which in turn can lead to the development of autoimmune diseases.

Toward the end of February, I was feeling unusual. One particular day, I suddenly felt extremely nauseous and vomited. Presuming this was a cleansing reaction from all of the raw food and water I was consuming, I just went to bed and tried to sleep it off. At that point, my skin was breaking out and I looked even worse than before I started the protocol. Knowing what I know, I had just presumed that my body was in ‘detox mode’ and releasing toxins. I thought it would all pass soon but it didn’t.

Okay, so the next part is extremely difficult for me and I feel extremely vulnerable disclosing this but I feel like it’s a core part of the story and needs to be spoken about. So I noticed I felt different but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. This was something I had not felt before. I had spotting a few days after ovulation which never happens for me and my breasts began to feel very tender and sore but since my cycle is long and slightly irregular, I presumed it was just PMS. Each month, I track my menstrual cycle as I believe it helps me to feel in tune with my body and sometimes my cycle becomes out of sync with stress or a new routine so I just waited for my period to arrive. At this point I have to admit, although I felt the chances would be incredibly slim, the thought of pregnancy obviously crossed my mind. I can’t really explain this better than what I’m about to say but I literally ‘felt pregnant.’ Myself and my fiancĂ© were not trying for a baby and so we had been extremely careful. Therefore, I tired to remain calm and rationalise my thoughts. I worked out that my period was due on about the 10th March so I took an early pregnancy test 5 days before this date and the result was negative. We agreed that if my period was late, we would test again and tried to focus on other things.

On Saturday 9th March, I experienced light spotting and presumed it was the slight of my period. Later that night, myself and my partner went to the cinema to watch ‘Free Solo’ and absolutely loved it. I remember it being a chilly day so I had worn thermal leggings under my jeans and a big cosy jumper. Most women will tell you, that you can feel when your period becomes heavy and you worry that you will ‘leak.’ To prepare for this I had used a maxi tampon and thought nothing of it as the film was only about 2 hours long. As I left the cinema, I felt a little uncomfortable and light headed. We got home and I went to the bathroom. I apologise for being graphic in the next statement: I noticed that I had bled through a maxi tampon and all over my leggings. As I removed the tampon, blood went all over the floor. All I want to stress is, this was not normal for me. It did not look normal and there were heavy clots in it. I suddenly felt like I was going to pass out so cleaned up and sat down on the sofa. My partner made me something to eat and I drank some tea. I knew exactly what was happening at this point; I was having a miscarrriage.

Early miscarriages are extremely common so I just want to state that my intention is not to be ‘dramatic’ or ‘ make a big deal over it.’ I realise other women go through similar experiences and I can only imagine, how traumatic this must be at a later stage. However, I want to speak up about this and not take away or dilute the impact it had on me and how it made me feel. For a few weeks after that, I felt out of sorts. The shock it had on me both emotionally and physically was noticeable. I found myself crying a lot and I felt extremely fatigued, to the point I needed to sleep for hours a day. I literally needed a nap every afternoon for about a month after that. A whole range of thoughts and emotions flooded my body and physically, I felt like I had nothing left. My mum and partner were incredible and gave me the strength, space, support and understanding I needed to recover.

I disclosed this very personal piece of information with you all because it greatly affected my health and I promised to be transparent with you all. I promised to be vulnerable. So this is me being real. This is the truth. This experience greatly impacted me.

(Above: a poem of mine. For more poetry, please follow me on Instagram @rebeccaryanpoetry)

After another period of feeling low and emotionally eating, I decided enough was enough and I needed to make a big change. Only I could change this situation and nobody else, no matter how much they loved me, they could not do it for me.

I had to take action or I was going to remain ill and unfulfilled.

On the 1st April, I opened the ‘Medical Medium’ by Anthony William and recapped then I ordered one of his other books titled ‘Liver Rescue.’ When it arrived, I got stuck into it and couldn’t believe the wealth of information contained in the book. Remembering the huge success I had last July by applying his principles for a few weeks, I made the decision to learn more information and begin to eat healing foods and avoid the foods that in his words ‘feed the pathogens.’ Today is the 12th of May and I have been following his protocol for about 3 weeks. I have been doing so well! I’m still having one coffee per day with oat milk and a little dark chocolate, which would ideally be avoided as they are not healing additions. Coffee stresses the adrenals and taxes the liver so I’m aiming to give this up completely within the next couple of weeks. It’s obvious to me that these items are an emotional crutch but I am choosing to praise myself for doing so well rather than beat myself up for not following everything ‘perfectly.’

Alongside the dietary changes, I have implemented various supplements into my routine and am trying to have a bath with salts at least twice a week. I can honestly say that, I have seen and felt a big improvement in my health, particularly over the past week. I have more energy, my skin is clearer and brighter, I have had no hives, and best of all, I have had zero urinary issues! Although healing is a process and will take time, the improvements I have witnessed are spurring me on and I have a new found energy and optimism. Since this blog post is already rather long and intense, I will speak about what I eat and drink in a typical day in the next post. I just wanted to let you all know, that once again I am seeing and feeling huge benefits with this lifestyle and would highly recommend that you look at Anthony’s Instagram account @medicalmedium to learn more and see some of the many healing stories that people are posting!

Believe me, I understand if you are sceptical and that’s okay but let me ask you something..

What do you really have to lose?

If you are suffering and nothing else has worked. I highly advise you to be open minded and just give it a go.

As always, I really appreciate your kindness, sensitivity and understanding. Please feel free to contact me if you feel moved by this post or if you are affected by any of the issues mentioned. All I ask is that you approach me gently, because this was difficult information for me to disclose and I’m feeling more vulnerable about this post than any of my previous ones.

See you on Wednesday for the next post! In the meantime, if you’d like to keep up to date, please follow me on Instagram @knowledgetonourish I usually post daily in my ‘stories.’

With love and blessings,

Rebecca

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