I share a lot of personal things on this blog, my health status being one of them. Bloggers (and all people) have every single right to keep things private. You may not know it, but I DO keep a lot of things private. I share what I find valuable and hopefully helpful to others. Not that I’m hiding crazy big things, but I’m generally more open and specific with my family and friends, for obvious reasons.
That being said, without going into too many details, I had a leaky gut/autoimmune flare-up. Does it suck? Yes. Is it the worst thing in the world? No. In fact, this flare-up led to some new tests that uncovered information to hopefully help me more longterm. I’m grateful there is a “solution,” even if the overall healing will take longer than I had hoped.
I’ve decided to change the focus of the post away from gut healing because my health ‘setback/flare-up’ has turned into life lessons, go figure. I do have a more concrete, action-oriented gut health post planned for later this month (think products/food/lifestyle modifications) based on my experience…stay tuned!
What I’ve Learned From A Health Flare-Up
1. Setbacks and flare-ups (within reason) are normal
Once you overcome health issues it’s discouraging to take step backward, albeit a small step. I was pain-free for two months so when things started getting out of whack again, I was discouraged, mad and confused. I now know that occasional health flare-ups are common, even more so when you have an autoimmune disease. Even if my situation isn’t directly related to celiac, that will always play a role in my overall health (I’m more susceptible to inflammation).
What’s important is learning how to manage and survive these setbacks without letting them completely control my life…or always writing a blog post about it :) Not that I have a system down pat right now, but I think it will get easier with time. Side note: I’m fortunate in the sense that other autoimmune diseases have more intense, life-changing flare-ups, like Crohn’s/UC.
2. It’s Not Always My Fault
I’m quick to blame myself for things, in life and health. What did I do to cause this? Was it something I ate? Was this because I ran the stop light two years ago? While there are certain things that help ease my symptoms (a few diet modifications, for example) a lot of it is beyond my control. <–A hard concept to grasp as a Type-A. I admittedly still have a way to go with this and my mom constantly reminds me to ease off my self-judgment.
3. There is not a concrete formula for optimal health
Again, not fun to hear as a Type-A. I want my doctor to tell me “this is exactly what you have to do to feel better for the rest of your life.” There are dozens of different methods, diets, supplements and lifestyle changes you can follow. Not every method will work for me. More than that, whatever does works for me might not work for you. It’s trial and error and so individual.
Ok, a lot of it is science, which I happen to find really interesting (and overwhelming, which is a post in itself). I’m sure we can all agree on the basics: sleep is good, stress is bad and too much alcohol and added sugar aren’t the best for solving most health issues. Yet for most things, I try to dissect the information and then choose what to apply to my life.
4. Not everyone will understand
Everyone has an opinion on what you/I should and shouldn’t do. Some will think I’m too restrictive with my diet, others might think I’m not restrictive enough for my symptoms. Some will think I should go back to traditional medicine, others will say to continue with functional. Some will say more supplements, others will say prescriptions. Blah, blah, blah.
It goes on and on…and this is the case for all aspects of health (pregnancy, injuries, weight loss/gain, chronic conditions, even the common cold). For the most part I don’t mind hearing what other people believe because, again, I do find this interesting. But I don’t expect everyone to agree with me or my doctor’s approach, just as I won’t agree with everyone else.
5. There are people who will understand
For me, I’m fortunate that those people are in my daily life…my family and close friends. They act as a voice of reason and source of comfort (the combination of the two is much-needed and appreciated). From my tears and frustrations to having to set alarms to remember to take medicine throughout the day, my people get what I’m going through.
But even if you feel you are alone, please know that is not the case. I’m right here saying “I’m with you!” The situations might not be identical, but you’d be surprised how many people can relate and empathize, even if they aren’t in your daily life.
To summarize: I’m progressing in the right direction. Daily progress might not be monumental, but just making the effort and keeping perspective has gone a long way. Woe is NOT me. Me is grateful for good health care, time and support.
There’s no such thing as a perfect healing journey.