It’s been a while since I’ve spoken about my health journey.
Many of you guys know that I am healing from chronic illness. You may have read my post 6 Things I’ve Learned from Having Lyme Disease. This was not in the plan for my life, but it’s my story. I have lived a pretty healthy lifestyle most of my life, so I was very surprised when I went from energetic, clean and healthy eating yogini to tired, foggy, and not myself. How did this happen?
Turns out that there is not just one answer. I have spent the past couple of years working with a few different doctors trying to unravel the mystery of what happened to my body. And here is what I’ve learned. Most of this pertains to all chronic illness, not just Lyme Disease. And with chronic illnesses being on the rise, I thought some of you may find this useful.
5 More Things I’ve Learned From Having Lyme Disease
1. Our bodies are like a bucket.
Over our lifetime, this health bucket gets filled up with all of the experiences we have. What goes into that bucket depends on so many factors: where we live, what we eat, what our mothers ate, mercury fillings, the water we drink, the chemicals we come in contact with, stress. You get the idea.
And by the time we are adults, many of our health buckets are FULL of things that could be affecting our health. My experience is that these health issues start to manifest (if they haven’t already) by the time we hit about 40 years old, which makes sense because the bucket can only get so full over the years before it spills over and causes a problem. Chronic illness is often the result of a full bucket and an overburdened body.
2. The digestive tract is often the start of the problem.
Since I am in the health profession and have come out publicly about my health issues, I have spoken with hundreds of people about their health. What I have learned is that MOST people have some sort of digestive issue, whether it be mild bloating and gas to intense reflux or GERD. Many people do not even realize that they have an issue with their digestive tract. They just assume it’s normal to feel the way that they feel.
It’s my guess that people are being affected by the chemicals and pesticides in our foods (and GMO’s) as well as the hundreds of other chemicals we come in contact with daily so that our gut linings are not healing and repairing like they should. Even those of us who try to eat organic are affected since over-spraying cannot be controlled and many of us still eat in restaurants. Our gut flora is also deeply affected by chemicals and pesticides in our foods, the environment, and in the air we breathe. The lack of fermented foods and other gut healing foods in our diet adds to the problem because we are not supporting the microbiome in our digestive tract on a daily basis. Having altered gut flora leaves our digestive tracts susceptible to infections and parasites.
So here’s the deal: if your gut lining is impaired and is not rebuilding itself like it should, there will be tiny holes or breaks in the lining. This means that when food and waste passes through your digestive tract, things that are not supposed to be absorbed into your body and bloodstream are getting through. This can cause many issues like food sensitivities, allergies, emotional disturbances like anxiety and depression, acne, chemical sensitivities, and even autoimmune issues.
3. There is usually more than one trigger.
Let’s go back to the bucket idea. Most of us have more than one thing in that bucket that’s causing issues. I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease a few years back. After my diagnosis, I was focused on getting rid of Lyme so I could be healthy. After a couple of years, I realize that it doesn’t work like that.
I have come to believe that if my body was totally healthy, it would be able to handle being exposed to the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. Turns out that because my health bucket was so full of stuff that was affecting my health, my body finally started to show signs of dis-ease. And it wasn’t just the Lyme.
After finally finding the right doctor, I learned that my body was inflamed, and this massive inflammation was causing many of the problems I was experiencing. But what was triggering all of that inflammation?
Turns out that the answers lies in my health bucket: Lyme bacteria(and co-infections), mercury and other heavy metals from amalgam fillings and tattoos, 3 different parasites, and salmonella infection in my gallbladder (hello massive food poisoning in Mexico in 2013). Also, low levels of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that is crucial for proper liver function (see #4.) Oh, and don’t forget about the chemical wood smoke from recent fires in Northern California. All this combined has added to the biotoxin burden and inflammation in my body. At least now I know what I am working with and have a game plan. And I have made great strides in reducing the inflammation in my body and moving towards radiant health.
4. The liver needs regular love.
Our bodies are exposed to so many more toxins and chemicals than in previous times. The foods we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breath are all full of chemicals that are building up in our bodies. And don’t forget about toxins in furniture, fabrics/clothing, carpets, dry cleaning, paint on the walls, fumes from gasoline in your car. And alcohol, coffee, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, MSG, prescription drugs, processed foods, and unhealthy oils. And guess what part of our body has to deal with it all?
I can say that my liver has suffered most from the biotoxin load in my body. The liver has the daunting task of detoxifying everything we put in and on our bodies. It works over-time most of the time. And there is a limit to how much toxins the liver can handle. It will reach a threshold. Some signs I have noticed from a congested liver are increased chemical sensitivities, histamine intolerance issues, itchy skin, and brain fog.
That is why part of my healing process is to give my liver regular love. On a daily basis, I do my best to avoid exposure to toxins by eating organic food, drinking clean water (I love my Berkey!!), and eating clean/grass fed meats/eggs. I have transitioned to all non-toxic bedding for my entire family. I’m also very careful about personal care products, make up, and house cleaners that I use. And I make sure to exercise regularly.
There are also herbal and homeopathic supplements that I take to support my liver. I’ve used binders like activated charcoal and zeolite to support detox. I take detox baths weekly. I drink detox green juice. And I sometimes do coffee enemas (yes, that does mean that I put coffee up there) as they are a powerful way to support the liver.
5. Each person is an individual story.
Health is not a one size fits all thing. What works for one person may not work for another. And we are all individual people with unique stories and unique health buckets. And everyone’s body responds in a unique way to things.
From speaking to so people about their health issues, I have learned that dis-ease manifests differently in everyone. One person may get body aches and joint pain from chronic inflammation while another (like me) gets brain fog and fatigue. Some people get food sensitivities from leaky gut and others develop full blown autoimmunity.
And every person’s road to wellness is different. That is why I recommend finding the right person to walk you through the steps. While simple lifestyle and diet changes are enough for some people, most people with chronic illness need a bit more support. Like I said, there is usually more than just one thing driving the chronic illness train. And dealing with them in a particular order is important. For instance, you cannot heal from Lyme if your body is full of inflammation or if you are being exposed to mold. Those issues have to be dealt with first. It takes a skilled professional to help sort all of this out. But I can tell you finding the right person can be challenging on many levels.
Because of all of this, I am hesitant to share specific supplements and meds that I am taking. My story is unique and may not fit with what you have going on. But I am happy to answer any questions that you may have. Feel free to leave a comment here or email me privately at katja(at)savorylotus(dot) com.
Thanks so much for reading. Big love and healthy vibes to you all!
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