Step 3: Unleash Your Inner Hippie!
My healing story recap: So far I adjusted my state of mind and focused my thoughts on who I really was rather than on what diagnosis the doctors gave me and I revamped my diet both in an effort of taking charge of my healing.
In my search for answers and remedies that would alleviate my lupus symptoms and prevent further damage to my kidneys, I stumbled across a blog written by a woman with lupus who stated that she found that Earthing lessened her lupus symptoms. So my next quest was to gather as much information as I could about this Earthing thing!
"Throughout time, we humans have sat, stood, strolled, and slept on the ground – the skin of our bodies touching the skin of the Earth.
And throughout time, such ordinary contact served as a conduit for transferring the Earth’s natural, gentle negative charge underfoot into the body. You see, we are bio-electrical beings living on an electrical planet.
Modern lifestyle has disconnected us from this primordial charge.
Earthing is the landmark discovery that the disconnect may make us more vulnerable to stress and illness. Contact with the Earth appears to uphold the electrical stability of our bodies and serve as a foundation for vitality and health. In an age of rampant chronic inflammation and disease, “grounding” ourselves by reconnecting with the Earth beneath our very feet provides a way back to better health." Excerpt taken from the Earthing Institute.
Reading about Earthing made total sense to me. I had always felt better, less stressed and had a sense of well being when I was surrounded by nature or away on a beach vacation. However, I had thought that it was simply the serene environment that was affecting me. Now I was being told that it was actually me being in contact with the Earth's energy that was placing me back into balance.
What a simple idea Earthing was - but would it really work? I continued to research and found several articles praising the affects of Earthing on inflammation and thought that if Earthing can bring down my inflammation I could get off the prednisone faster! Here is a recent article written on Earthing:http://www.dovepress.com/the-effects-of-grounding-earthing-on-inflammation-the-immune-response--peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-JIR
As luck would have it, Jason Mraz, one of my favourite artists, had just released a great song titled Back to the Earth which I took as a sign for me to try Earthing!
Discovering Earthing was huge for me AND is something so simple that I could do it without much effort. I immediately started having my morning coffee outside in my backyard with my bare feet placed on my grass. I set a timer for 30 mins so that I knew I was getting at least half an hour of Earthing in each day. For the first two weeks I didn't feel any change whatsoever and actually gave up on this idea. That very day I noticed that I was irritable and tired but I didn't attribute it to the lack of connection with the earth. However three days later I noticed a significant decrease of energy and stamina and a sense of overwhelm became predominant, it was then that I wondered if it was the disconnect from the earth which brought on these symptoms. The very next day I returned to my morning coffee with my feet on my grass and haven't looked back since. I now take my shoes off often and sit on the grass or hug a tree and allow the earth's energy into my body every opportunity I get.
I live in Canada so Earthing in the winter became problematic. Luckily I found some indoor Earthing products. I ended up purchasing pillowcases for my boys and I so that we are all Earthing while we sleep. I also purchased the throw blanket to snuggle up under while watching TV.
Stay tuned because the Best Is Yet To Come! My next post will be on the ThetaHealing Technique which really removed the emotions and negative beliefs that I had been harbouring and storing in my body which ultimately lead to my physical symptoms.
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The second way that I took healing into my own hands was that I changed my diet. I eliminated all processed foods, went gluten-free and dairy-free, 75% raw and ate only lupus friendly and kidney friendly foods. This was a HUGE adjustment for me but I was willing to do everything and anything that was going to help me get better. The most challenging part of all of this was researching the information and then trying to correlate it into an easy to follow meal plan while being highly medicated!
So, why did I decide to eliminate gluten from my diet? While researching, I came across several articles about Dr. Christopher Reading and the studies he did that eliminated the signs and symptoms of lupus from his patients. Dr. Reading had the participants totally eliminate all gluten, milk and dairy products, as well as any other foods to which they were found to be allergic, from their diet. Dr. Reading also had his participants include vitamins and minerals supplements in their diets. Although there were other articles which claim that eliminating gluten and dairy did not significantly affect lupus symptoms, I decided to give it a go. After all, what did I have to lose? You can find additional information about Dr Christopher Reading's study as well as Dr Jonathan V. Wright's article The Root Cause of Your Autoimmune Disease here:
I know that it seems trendy to go gluten-free but after reading about Dr. Reading and knowing that a large portion of people with Celiac disease also have lupus, I thought that the correlation between gluten and lupus was too great to ignore. Luckily, because going gluten free is the 'in thing' these days, there are lots of gluten free options in both restaurants and grocery stores. One of the first things that I noticed when I cut gluten out of my diet was that I wasn't as tired as I normally was and that my hands and feet didn't seem as swollen.
There are numerous articles and testimonials from people who swear that eliminating products made from cow's milk have increased their health and overall well being. They cite such things as improved sleep, more energy, less bloating, fewer headaches and a reduction in sinus congestion. Again, given the state of utter despair that I was in, I was open to any and all suggestions to make me feel better. Visit Go Dairy Free and Dr. Mark Hyman's sites for the reasons why they recommend you go dairy-free.
Some parts of going dairy-free where easy due to substituting almond milk for cows milk. However like all change, will power was required. I now drink my coffee black, take my meds with almond milk and avoid yogurt and cheese. Eliminating cheese from my diet was a major challenge for me because whether it is on nachos, a burger or simply munching on cheese and crackers, I LOVE my cheese!!! I've tried dairy-free cheeses but I’ve yet to find one that tastes good.
After a few weeks of being both gluten and dairy-free I decided to try to go 75% raw. Yes, I was in full self-healing mode at this point!! I actually did the Go Raw for a Day Challenge and felt great the next day however going completely raw wasn't for me so I choose to strive for a 75% raw lifestyle. Check out Karen Knowler's site (www.TheRawFoodCoach.com) for more information. Karen provides simple, easy to follow instructions and recipes for going raw and encourages you to go as raw as feels comfortable for you. Of course I had to make sure that the raw foods I was consuming were lupus & kidney friendly/anti-inflammatory foods (avoiding alfalfa sprouts and nightshade vegetables). Because I had Stage IV Lupus Nephritis I also had to eat foods that were gentle to my kidneys. That meant monitoring my potassium, phosphate, and sodium intake. I have a great PDF from VCU Health Systems for people on dialysis that provided me with a very easy to understand instructions on how to eat healthy when you have kidney damage (send me an email if you'd like a copy: firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also get lots of recipe books that are specific to creating anti-inflammatory meals.
The biggest challenge of this new diet regime was sticking to it while my boys continued to eat their normal diets - ugh! I wish I could tell you some tips and tricks that I did to make it easier to follow, but I don't have any. I just stuck to my guns with the thought of being healthy again until I got to a point where I no longer had cravings for my former favourite foods. The benefits I reaped were well worth it. I felt lighter, happier/more positive and had much more energy than I normally did. I wasn't able to notice any substantial change in my lupus symptoms as the doctors had me on such an aggressive medical treatment plan that I was unable to tell which was truly elevating my symptoms.
Since my kidneys have returned to their normal function I have eased up on my diet restrictions however I am still mindful of what I put in my body and when I do 'cheat' a little during the holidays or celebrations, I notice that the next day that I am more fatigued, achy and swollen.
P.S. If anyone knows of a 'good' gluten-free beer please tell me!!
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In other words, do not own the diagnosis you have been given!
This is absolutely crucial to your mental state and therefore your overall well-being. We've all heard that if you think positive thoughts you'll get positive results. But let's face it, when you don't have enough energy to get out of bed in the morning, coupled with feeling constantly guilty that you're not being the spouse/parent/child/friend that you'd like to be and resenting the fact that you're trapped in a body that won't perform as you'd like it to - it's brutally hard to be positive! Been there, done that!
BUT it is so very important not to allow yourself to become your disease. Do not allow your disorder to become your identity - you are so much more!!
Have you ever noticed that once a person has been diagnosed with an illness or disease that they start to look and act like they have that illness/disease? That's because they have allowed themselves to identify with that diagnosis. When my doctors told me that I had lupus, I immediately told my brain that that was simply the conclusion that the doctors made given the test results however doctors are human and therefore can be wrong.
I cannot say this enough - regardless of what the doctors tell you, DO NOT identify with your diagnosis. Do your best to distance yourself from it.
The best way I found to do this was to disconnect from my body. I had to learn to see myself for who I really am rather than for what my body was. I had to realize that I was not my body - that what made me me, was not dependent on my body. That even with a body that may not be functioning at optimal health, I was still the smart, vibrate, fun, caring person I was before this disease struck. I began to see myself completely separate from my body. I began to understand that my body was just a vessel that I was using at the moment and that my body, NOT me had been diagnosed with lupus.
It's not a new idea that "thoughts become things" and that "what you think about you bring about". So if someone whose body is not at optimal health still thinks and feels like the incredible spark of light from Creator that they are, then that is what they will continue to be. You only have to do a little research to see that there is a ton of information out there about how your thoughts affect your life and how you are actually the creator of your life - all of those people can't be wrong!
Interestingly enough, the predominant thing that I became aware of when I started to research lupus was the 'battle approach' that some people took. That approach didn't resonate well with me and here's why. The more you struggle and fight against something, the more struggle and fight you'll get. I firmly believe that what you think about, what you hold in your mind and in your vibration is what reflects back to you in life. Therefore it stands to reason that if you wake up every morning expecting to struggle, you will in fact be given things to struggle against. With this in mind, I had to wrap my head around not fighting lupus, not struggling to accomplish basic daily routines and not being able to work any of the 3 jobs that I currently held (a necessity as a single mom of 4 boys). That doesn't mean that I embraced being bed-ridden or wheelchair bound, rather I did my best to ignore the lupus and focus on what was working for me. I took time everyday to be grateful for what was going right in my life and pondered how best to use this time of reflection that was forced upon me. I figured there must be a lesson in there somewhere and decided to figure it out so that I could more on with my life.
First things first, start lifting your mood, increasing your vibration, removing the black cloud above your head - whatever you want to call it - just do it! Music is a wonderful way to start to transition out of any negative, heavy space that you may find yourself in. Find a song or artist that speaks to you and blast that music everyday! My personal anthem during the last year was Jason Mraz's song 3 Things. I love, love, love this song! I find it very hard not to be encouraged and even pumped up that everything will be better when I listen to this song.
If it's too much for you to ignore your symptoms and the ramifications of them, try going to bed at night remembering all the blessings you've been given and immediately as you wake in the morning write your list of 10 things that you're grateful for. This will trick your mind into being in a better place and refocuses it on the positive. Do this faithfully for a month and watch how your life will shift from seeing only pain, sorrow and loss to being in a happier lighter state of mind.
Another way to disconnect from your symptoms and appreciate your body for whatever state that it is currently in is through Theta Healing. Theta Healing is a powerful way to change your beliefs and therefore your life! After just a few Theta Sessions I was able to make a clear distinction between lupus/lupus nephritis and who I really was.
Join me on my webinar: www.ultimatehealingcanada.com/webinars.html
Initially I did what anyone who had been diagnosed with a serious illness did: I cried, felt sorry for myself, felt sorry for my boys, retreated into myself and totally shut down.
I was prescribed an ‘aggressive medical treatment’ and told that I would have a very difficult time ahead of me. I was also given a list of medications to take and requisitions for countless tests, labs and blood work.
The doctors put me on the following medications:
Cellcept 1500mg 2xday Sandoz-Amlodipine 10mg/day
Teva-Irbesartan 300mg/day Apo-prednisone 60mg/day
Apo-Hydoayquine 200mg 2xday Teva-Rabeprazole 20mg/day
Mepron 1500mg/day Actonel 35mg/week
Calcium 1000mg/day Vitamin D 2000mg/day
These meds left me extremely fatigued, fuzzy, dizzy, shaky, forgetful, etc. There were several times during the first few months that I was hearing/seeing things that I knew weren’t really there! It is a very odd feeling to consciously know that what you perceive isn’t real. I couldn’t sleep, had little to no appetite, wasn’t able to have prolonged coherent conversations or stayed focused for long. It was as if I was a zombie!
After the initial shock of my diagnosis began to fade and I grew accustomed to my medications, I sat down and reflected, trying to grasp just what all of this meant to my life. Fortunately, I had been exploring different alternative therapies for a few years and had a good idea of how I was going to manage this new situation.
I was determined to be proactive in my healing - I wasn't going to sit around waiting for conventional medicine to 'heal' me. Pouring chemicals into my body and waiting was not the path to wellness. I believe my body has the ability to heal itself. That if I took proper care of myself, gave myself love, care, nutrients and positive beliefs that I would be healed. I knew that every time I got a cut or bruise my body repaired the damage. I knew that my body could heal from those issues, so why not be able to heal something like lupus? The only difference that I could see was my belief that one injury or illness was harder to heal than another. So, what if I changed that belief?
In order to be fully healed, I needed to change my lifestyle and my beliefs. Here are the four key components I did to Take an Active Role in my Healing:
1. Realize That You are Not the Diagnosis
2. Change in Diet
4. Theta Healing
This blog is about the steps I took to heal myself. Steps that anyone who is looking to be part of their own healing can take. Please check back for detailed information on each of these four components.
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My Encounter with Lupus
Like some of you who will be reading this blog, the doctor's have diagnosed me with having an incurable disease. I've decided to chronicle my journey so that it may give you support or a new way to look at what you encounter in your life.
This is all new to me! Sixteen weeks ago I was a regular hard working single mom, attending my sons' football games and having fun with my gal pals.
It all started approximately seven months ago when I started to have odd little annoyances in my life. One day it would be a sore swollen knee, then swollen ankles, aches in my forearm, a sore shoulder, aches in my quadriceps or headaches that wouldn't go away. These would come and go and I would wonder "What did I do yesterday that caused these aches and pains? Is it old age? Is this AR (runs in my family)?". However, none of these symptoms stayed for more than a day or two, so I never really put much stock into them.
Two months later these symptoms continued but were accompanied by fatigue as well as swelling/numbness of my right hand and arm as well as having my eyes swelling shut (not pretty - I looked like someone had punched me in the eyes!). All of this culminated on Easter weekend 2014 when I woke up to have almost all of these symptoms together. I couldn't stand, sit, open doors or cut my own food without assistance. That's when my mother ordered me to see the doctor!
I was immediately referred to a rheumatologist who ordered numerous tests and X-rays. As the test results came in she ordered even more tests and put in an urgent referral to a nephrologist. I was in a nephrologist's office within 48 hrs, and once seeing me, he admitted me to the hospital. At this point my BP was 220/110. They kept me in the hospital for several days which were filled with more tests, X-rays, CT scans, ultra sounds and a kidney biopsy.
That was sixteen weeks ago. The doctors' have since diagnosed me with Lupus and as if that wasn't bad enough, the kidney biopsy revealed Stage IV Lupus Nephritis.
This is where my 'encounter' with lupus and stage IV lupus nephritis began. I say 'encounter' as I refuse to own this diagnosis!
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The doctor's say I have lupus & stage IV lupus nephritis - I beg to differ!