In March, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This really threw me into fear, overwhelm and rage which was a good thing.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is scary stuff and so are the treatments for it.
I finally took some serious action and gave myself permission to make decisions I couldn't quite let myself do before. Having another autoimmune diagnosis got my attention in a big way. You can read more about that here, Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Their Spiritual Lessons.
So when I finally met with the rheumatologist in May, and he said that I did not have Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I did have Osteoarthritis and confirmed that I really do have Fibromyalgia, I wasn’t sure how I felt. He explained to me that the combination felt like RA but fortunately I would not have to deal with the horrid medications and harmful side effects they cause.
Yet, as I sat in his office on May 7th, all I could think is, “I know this is good news. So why doesn’t it feel like it?”
Here are the stupid thoughts that ran through my head. “I still felt awful with pain, fatigue and exhaustion. So what was the good news in that?”
“I was relieved to finally have made some lifestyle choices to support more of how I wanted to live, but that was because of a serious autoimmune disease. How I could I justify these choices if I wasn’t as sick as I thought?” PRETTY SAD ISN’T IT, that those were my concerns?
The doctor did help make sense of the past several years and how I have felt in my body and life. He explained more about fibromyalgia, calling it a central nervous system amplifier. As he described how sensory overload takes place whether its’ pain, noise, sound, taste, fatigue, things began to fall into place. He helped both my husband and I understand that its real and as he described it more we both began to make sense of it all. The sleep disturbance, lack of feeling rested most of the day even after a full night sleep, the tossing and turning, the restless muscles, more need for rest and quiet, anxiety at travel and staying with people where I couldn’t control my environment, feeling guilty at wanting to say no to things, but didn’t and then crashing, the list goes on and on.
He also explained that because of the time of life I am in (menopausal) symptoms will most likely be worse, which was more news to digest.
Well, it's all been a blessing and I have made some very positive changes in my life.
- In March, I finally took my nutritionist daughter’s advice to seriously begin eating a paleo diet and eliminate nightshades. It took awhile but this has been a game changer in relieving arthritic joint pain.
- I increased the dosage of Cymbalta (at the doctor’s recommendation.) This has made a difference in my anxiety, sensory over load, pain and depression. I hope to eventually not need this crutch as I continue to navigate through more natural alternatives, but for now I am so very grateful for this support. I will start working with a naturopath doctor to address underlying issues and hormonal imbalances.
- I began to do things that were creative, fun, and purposeful for me, or had no purpose other than enjoyment. I am still doing them and feel so free. I’ve sewn curtains after remodeling the kitchen and dining rooms. I started working on a novel (something I have always wanted to do) and a have a writing partner to keep me accountable an energized with this project while doing the same for her. I started growing my own vegetables on a small scale with a mobile garden and began composting, too.
- I gave myself permission to let go of doing things that drained or tired me excessively, while also getting the rest my body needs. I stopped pushing myself to exercise so hard and for too long and found gentler ways to move my body.
- I've also begun to realize how attached I was to illness because it allowed me to make choices that seemed more acceptable if I was “sick.” And breaking that pattern. I am learning that each and every one of us can choose the lifestyle we want to live and I do not have to be sick to make those choices.
Do I still slip up? I sure do! Do I still have days of low energy, fatigue, and exhaustion. I do. Instead of wondering why or beating myself up, now I just ride with it. Some days are better than others. This is true for everyone. I am luckier than most. I realize this and I appreciate it. I remind myself that I am very fortunate to have a lifestyle that allows for those days when I feel like I took steps back. It's a lifestyle I have envisioned, allowed and chosen. It wasn't easy.
I watch women every day struggle with thinking they should be living, working, doing and being what family, friends, culture and society tell us is acceptable. But the real truth is that we can choose for ourselves and we don’t need to feel guilty or warped as I have for so many years.
What is right for someone else may not be right for you or me. This compulsion to compare ourselves to others and be accepted by other people’s terms is the real illness.
You don’t have to be sick to stand up and claim your own life. You must make choices that support you, your health, and your happiness. When you are solid in your life, everyone around you benefits. It all starts from within. It always has and always will.
Whenever I have chosen what ‘s best for me from a genuine space of love, I have flourished, my family has grown, and magic has happened. What is so beautiful is I have watched the ripple effect not just in my own life, but in the many lives of women who I have counseled make the shifts necessary to claim their life.
In the midst of all of this, I was asked to participate in a Commit to 90 Challenge to offer emotional support t
o the participants who are stepping up in a big way to make healthy and positive changes in their life! That’s something I know a thing or two about and have an experiential understanding of challenges and triumphs associated with making change in your life. I am so grateful to be able to support and assist others on their path to embracing their power and sweet spot! Because I have made this commitment, I have very consciously chosen to not plan much else in those weeks. I want to show up fully for every tapping session I provide.
So once again in my life a challenging situation has proven to be a gift and a blessing because I chose to see it that way, learn from it, tune in more deeply to my spirit and my body and listen. Life in the spiritual lane for me has been all about making shifts in my thinking, being and the way I live. It continues to show me what is true for me at a soul level not at a self-imposed “should” level. I am grateful for the lessons. I am doing my best to love and accept myself as I am even with all my stubbornness and refusal to make more changes or to listen sooner.
I share my stories because living a more spiritual life has many facets, and it does not mean that you have to go live on a mountain or in a monastery to live it. It’s about living in this world while being guided by your spirit nudging you to live the life that calls to you from deep within. We are spiritual beings in a physical world and finding the harmony in that is our journey.