Taking Back My Life :: Could Ancient Medicine Be the Answer?

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The past five years have been a lot for me. I discovered that I had put expectations on myself that were utterly unacceptable and unattainable. My body, in turn, began to revolt. My actions had taken a physical toll that I hadn’t truly been aware of.

As wives and moms, we understand how easy it is to do what needs to be done and let some things fall to the side. My health had been one of those things. In my last article I touched on health issues, specifically having a hysterectomy before I was even 40. Over the last year, I have had my gallbladder removed and a C-section. I’ve suffered from migraines, TMJ, and what I now know to be endometriosis. In so many ways, I had begun to feel like my body was failing me. I was constantly sick and unusually tired; I had lost a lot of weight. For a long time, I thought this was all normal. Thankfully, I now know that it is NOT normal to feel bad every day!

However, it seemed like no one could figure out what was wrong with me. I had been to many doctors and undergone extensive testing only to be left with discouragement in myself coupled with doubt in the medical community. I was desperate for help, not only for myself, but also so that I could be a better and more present mama!

The Beginning of My Journey

Once again, I turned to the Lord. I was reminded that our bodies are temples. They are good and created to be used for his glory. God began to usher in voices of women facing similar situations, whether it be food sensitivities, autoimmune issues, pursuing functional medicine, and so on. He began to provide information and build in me a desire to confidently advocate for myself. With the support of my village, I have started a journey toward healing . . . hopefully. 

I began to read and research possible explanations for my health problems, along with courses of action and possible treatments. I started listening to podcasts with people and experts that I trusted. Even today as I write this, a woman is on one of my favorite podcasts discussing how food saved her life. I also turned to my chiropractor who seemed to really listen. She practices functional medicine and is helping me walk through so much! She began to show me how intricately linked our systems are; and how finding the root cause of my issues is crucial to healing my body, not just covering up my symptoms. Also, I’ve learned so much about inflammation!!! It is not your friend. I had no idea how unkind I had been to my body until I started seeing how unkind it was to me. We are now agreeing to play nice. 

Below are some of the things that I am trying. Many of them are connected to Eastern Medicine, such as herbs, mushrooms, acupuncture, and oils. These things have been around for thousands of years. It seemed only right to me to consider how they work. Some of these may appear to be no-brainers, but I tend to have to learn the hard way. I wish I had started this journey so long ago. 

Prayer

I figured since God made my body, I could go to him with my questions and concerns. It has also been shown that the spiritual aspect of healing can have a huge effect on our physical health. 

Food

This is a big one! It seemed as though many of my issues could be traced back to gut health. Food had been about filling me both physically and emotionally. It was purely comfort; it was not about fueling me. I have eliminated or limited a lot of foods, such as sugar, dairy, and gluten, to see if I notice a difference. Our meals at home now have a truly seasonal and colorful approach—with limited meat—and we’re always seeking out the highest quality ingredients. I didn’t want to think of this as a diet because that’s something I’ve always failed. I knew this was way more than that. This was about quality of life. I also wanted this to be a family approach. We’ve already had lessons on gardening and cooking! 

Supplements

This is a tricky one. You have to figure out what your body needs and how to best serve it. This may require having a doctor help you come up with the best plan. I have added certain vitamins, probiotics, specific roots, and herbs into my daily regimen while trying to rebuild my gut and improve my immune system. My chiropractor has been helping me learn how to use essential oils properly and I’ve even tried acupuncture!

(I do not suggest just taking a whole bunch of stuff without guidance from a medical professional.)

Exercise

We all know our bodies were made to move. Having felt so sick for so long, this is an area I have struggled with. I knew I needed it more for the mental release, but, physically, it became so hard. Again, none of this was about losing weight. I was, and still am, focused on finding a way to feel great. 

Support

My husband has jumped on board. He has begun a vitamin/supplement plan and ordered an indoor bicycle. He has also been super supportive in meal planning and farmers’ market visits. I know I couldn’t do this by myself. 

Basically, the best advice I can give you is the following: 

  • LISTEN to your body! It is good.
  • Do your own research. 
  • Make it fun. Having the kids be involved in meal prep, planning, and grocery shopping can make it so much easier.
  • Understand that making big changes can be a slow process, but it is SO worth it. I still don’t have all of the answers. 
  • The better we feel, the happier we are. The happier we are, the happier our homes will be. Plus, we can set in place good practices and healthy routines that will benefit our children’s bodies and future health.
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Carri has called Birmingham home for the last 15 years. She grew up in Tuscumbia, Alabama before spending some time in Tuscaloosa gaining a degree in psychology. From there, she moved to Birmingham to do her graduate work at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She and her husband met through a mutual friend and were married one year later in New York City. She spent six years as a third grade teacher and is now a stay-at-home mom to Cecil (four years) and Birdie (six months). When given the opportunity, she loves to read, cook, and even exercise (that's a new one). Motherhood has deepened her love for many things, coffee being close to the top.

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