In 2015 just 3 weeks after running the London Marathon, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It was a total shock, I had only gone in with a suspected and confirmed cyst. As is standard practice now, all Breast Lumps are put on the cancer pathway, and thank goodness that is the case as this literally saved my life. Unfortunately it had spread to my lymph nodes and so chemo followed after surgery and before radiotherapy.
I was lucky, got the all clear 12 months later, but my health woes went downhill from there. Fast forward 4 years and I find myself with multiple pathologies, including Wegeners Granulomatosis (which is the most serious), fibromyalgia, Coeliacs Disease, damage to my digestive system, Osteoporosis and am on 12 meds a day.
As a result of all of this I have had to leave my secure and reasonably paid job and find myself without employment for the first time since I was 13 years old. This was not how I planned for my life to play out, but I do now find myself in a great position to focus on my health and try to achieve that elusive remission of my Wegener's which has eluded me even after 20 months of treatment.
So I have been doing a lot of research and reading on how a change in lifestyle can be complimentary to traditional medicine and bring about amazing health benefits. It is thought that there it is no coincidence that the lifestyle of the 21st Century coincides with an increase in the number of people with chronic and various auto-immune conditions.
We are all living under more stressful circumstances, we rely more on pre-prepared and processed foods and have moved away from the 'cooking from fresh' that I know my parents did....and do we exercise enough ??
So I have been reading about the Auto Immune protocol which brings about some very drastic changes to my diet, but also takes a holistic approach to living a stress free life, focussing also on mental health and good sleep health, and also looking at doing some exercise. It is so easy when suffering with a chronic health condition which causes widespread pain and chronic fatigue to say I am not well enough to exercise, but there is a fine balance between rest and keeping moving. I have felt so defeated over the last few years that I have started to use my illnesses as an excuse to do less and less and I know that this has impacted on my mental health, my weight and consequently my physical health.
I know I am deficient in maintaining my diet, my sleep health (I rely on drugs to achieve anything that vaguely resembles a good nights sleep), my mental health and I have stopped doing the exercise that I used to love doing and my difficult relationship with my employer as a result of my ill health, has made my life very stressful.
So I have a lot to work on, and even if it doesn't result in achieving remission, surely by improving all these elements of my life, I am living a healthier life, which must surely impact on my physical health. I am not going to resolve all these issues overnight as they have culminated in years of not looking after myself properly and some of these issues are a result of some heavy duty meds, which whilst have helped with some issues, they in turn cause others, leading to more meds, more side effects and I feel I am trapped in a vicious circle.
So, I have decided to write this blog, to chart the changes to my lifestyle and see what effects they bring about and whether I can ditch a whole load of the horrible meds. It is more a diary for me and if noone ever reads it, that's ok. I am hoping it will be cathartic, looking after your mental health partly involves (I personally think) vocalising those negative and sometimes very dark thoughts. I am not good in 'talking' to other people, but maybe putting it all down in the written word may be of benefit.