Well hello there!
I had no intention of leaving you hanging precariously on my life’s edge, but the last few days have gotten away from me. Farm life is full of unknowns, and at times you must drop everything and take care of the business at hand.
So where was I? Last I left you, you were dealing with a 30’s something gal with endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, osteopenia, and hypercholesterolemia. That makes it sound like I had one foot in the grave! Not so…. other than “that”, I was pretty healthy and pretty active. I had given up Diet Cokes and coffee as my New Year’s resolution in 1995 simply because my stomach couldn’t take them anymore. (It’s the only resolution I’ve ever kept!). That was probably the best unintentional health step I’ve ever taken.
The combined diagnosis of osteopenia and hypercholesterolemia was a rude awakening tho! I realized that something had to give in my life….but it wasn’t going to be my cheese (I am a confirmed cheese-aholic). I started researching natural ways to decrease cholesterol and interestingly enough, I came across an elderly person, an article, and a book all about the same time. All three recommended raw milk. Say what? You can learn more about raw milk here and here and also by reading The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid, ND. After doing some very thorough research, we drank the Kool-Aid milk and never looked back. Because I’m science-minded, I decided that we would be guinea pigs ourselves.. since we both had cholesterol issues (high LDL and low HDL and average Triglycerides) pre- raw milk. A year after drinking it religiously we both went back and were rechecked. No other methods of lowering cholesterol were used during that time. And by golly…. the proof was in the Quest Medical Diagnostics report. It was like our cholesterol had turned upside down. The LDL was now low, and the HDL was remarkably high and the triglycerides had lowered too. Hmmmm. I might just make it to old age after all. I was unable to get a bone density test at that time because our insurance wouldn’t pay for it again. (stay tuned… we will revisit that in a big way later).
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my bladder situation had improved a bit, but only with close diet control. In addition to my stomach, it appeared that I had a very finicky bladder too… my doctor had told me that certain foods would cause bladder spasms, but that everyone that has IC has a different set of food triggers, and I would have to figure out which triggers were mine. Oh boy…. here’s what I found out immediately: citrus… all kinds (except for low acid oranges). onions (but not garlic). Tomatoes (but not yellow ones). Peanut butter (but not organic peanut butter). Pineapple (but not if I eat it in the country it’s grown in!). Cantaloupe (but not Honeydew). Peppers of any kind….and many more. Yes, the list was strange. And frequently, I would avoid everything I thought I should, and I would STILL have problems day and night. It was very frustrating and I went for nearly 10 years with no REM sleep… at least not deep enough to ever dream. Heavy sigh.
In 2009 Charlie and I went on a business trip (for him.. pleasure for me) to northern Thailand. It was an amazing trip……even including the political uprising occurring while we were there which prevented us from leaving the country. Over the 3 weeks we were in Chiang Mai, we ate nothing but fresh clean food, and guess what…by the end of our stay, I had very few bladder problems. It was amazing. We talked it over, and came to the conclusion that eating fresh and organic food might have played a part in this dramatic improvement. So upon our arrival home, I did the “great kitchen overhaul” and threw out everything that wasn’t fresh or that would qualify as being a processed food item. My eyes had been opened even further to food as a true healing agent. Interestingly, I had been an “above average” eater in terms of eating healthy before, so even the seemingly insignificant semi-poor eating habits were wreaking havoc on my bladder. The food changes I implemented really helped, but I was still getting up 3-4 times a night on a good night.
I had been dabbling in supplements and herbals for several years by now. We had discovered that exposure to chemicals of all kinds (including certain medications both prescription and OTC) had the tendency to set my bladder on fire, whereas I could usually achieve the result I needed (whether that be cleaning or needing to rectify a fairly common health issue) with a cleaner product. We discovered that we are actually pretty dang good organic gardeners….and that we really could grow what was healthy AND safe for us to eat. We also bit the bullet and got our own dairy cows (whom we LOVE). There is much more to this story, but for the FDA’s sake, let me just say that I was introduced to a product that I ended up making into a face serum (for my 40 something year old farmgirl face) along with another product designed to “support recovery time and acute inflammation associated with exercise and overall joint health”….. both of which were NOT for my bladder. Serendipity is a wonderful thing when it happens….And that’s what happened. I “serendipi-fied” my bladder, and woe and behold…. I slept thru the night, not just once, but fairly regularly from that point forward (late night farm noise notwithstanding). I understand now how and why each product worked as it did adding support to my bladder, but at the time, I was shocked at the beauty of sleeping without needing to constantly pee. Now, let me be clear. I am not cured, but my IC is nearly 100% managed when I abide by a good diet, hydration, my face (wrinkle) serum, and a joint supplement. Interesting, huh?
Fast forward again to 2015. I had a run in with our bull. Literally. He charged me, and pretty much knocked my left foot off of my leg. By the grace of God, I did not bleed to death right then and there in the pasture. AND, by the grace of God, an excellent EMT team, and a great surgeon, I was able to keep my foot despite the destruction that had occurred….. tendons severed and complete external dislocation of the tibia, and fracture of the fibula among other things. Wait. Back up. Did you notice anything peculiar about the last sentence? That girl who was osteopenic 15 years prior who should have now been osteoporotic…. was charged by a bull who knocked a bone literally out of her leg, that didn’t break? The surgeon’s comments were these: “Your leg should have shattered upon impact given your history. I think it’s time for another bone density scan.”. And yes, the scan revealed that I now (as a 48 year old) had the bones of a healthy 18 year old woman. Shut up. Yes, really.
So what was my secret? Again, serendipity stepped in. The raw milk I’ve been drinking for 15 years for my cholesterol and the magnesium I’ve been taking for the last few years have done their job well….. better than I had imagined they would. People, proper food heals. Elimination of chemicals in your life heals. Listening to your body and correcting problems before they are out of control are life sustaining actions that heal. Exercise heals. It’s that simple. (and yes, I do walk without a limp, have participated in multiple 5K’s, and work out weekly with a P31 bootcamp sisterhood… and my EMT friends who saw me that day think THAT’S miraculous)
I want to shout from the rooftops! Being healthy is really not that hard. I see people every day at the pharmacy who come in looking older than me, or struggling just to make it thru the day. Who are on disability….. ENORMOUS numbers of people in our country on disability. That limits their income, and limits their life and their life’s dreams. Don’t tell me it’s too hard to be healthy. Watching them, I’d say it’s much harder to be “permanently sick” than to constantly strive towards good health.
This is my heart song…. to help others find their way back towards health.
Want to join me in this journey? Come on in,….. and Welcome!