I know that much to be true. The problem is, I’m afraid and stuck. Stagnant in my fear of what does this mean as I analyze each human body experience I am having and question what’s “normal” and what’s “healthy” and what’s “best for my […]
Autoimmune Paleo Protocol - The AIP Diet
Interstitial Cystitis -an autoimmune xxperience, I flare, pelvic floor tension, low back and hip pain - all engulf my body much more frequently than I’d like. Some days I am able to manage symptoms, but at other times they are terribly unbearable. Sensations to the effect of what can only be described as, “torturous elves trying to escape my urethra by using tiny, sharp knives; or the need to make my bathroom my new throne from where I shall conduct all manners of business. There’s awkward and uncomfortable swelling, throbbing, sharp stepping, aching hell when I flair. The most recent being a 5 week episode including all of the aforementioned fun, along with a terrible cough and cold I contracted, only making things even more unbearable and tense.
For the past year, I’ve been focused on a low oxalate, low acid, IC friendly diet including gluten free and sugar minimal foods. I try not to eat processed foods, I almost never eat out, and I do my best to make everything and anything that touches my lips, because my body’s on high alert ALL THE TIME. I believe that it believes most things are the enemy. However much fun this has been, I’m still experiencing symptoms at even a tiny sleep. I must be vigilant.
There’s times when it’s an unbearable itchy rash around my midsection, other times it’s pelvic specific pain, spasms and very real discomfort. Sometimes I worry I’m also suffering from IBS, on occasion though, I feel like my old self. In some moments it’s whole body tension and others I actually can say I’m okay. Some days I feel like I am on the verge of dying, it’s excruciating and a week later I can feel like taking on the world. It’s been inconsistent and I know my emotional state, my mental state, my physical state are all linked and require systematic healing to get to where I want to be.
In working off and on with a functional nutritionist from Zen Functional Wellness, I’ve asked that we try something new with food to help heal my gut with minimal supplementation. She is recommending a 6 week Autoimmune Paleo diet with the intention to start healing my gut, remove possible irritants and reduce symptoms of my IC, hopefully eradicating them completely, but I know healing takes time and patience.
The idea behind this plan is to reduce inflammation and allow a gut that’s distended, inflamed, permeable to heal naturally with foods. Supplementation and testing can be
expensive. With this regiment, the idea is it will remove inflammatory causing foods so the body can naturally heal itself with all organic sustenance.
It’s difficult not to want to throw a fit. It’s frustrating to have things further altered and reduced. When I first started learning about oxalates in trying to switch to a low oxalate diet I had similar feelings, more meltdowns and a ton of resentment build regarding food and health. As of now I’m desperate, exhausted and ready to find true healing. I’m willing to put forth any effort to find balance for my body. After years of ignoring it I still feel guilty for its present state. However, with the idea that life gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want, I know that my body is asking this of me. The universe has given me a challenge, to pursue truth in health and healing. I will never know what works or doesn’t if I remain obstinate and stuck in my ways. This self experiment is scary but what fun is life if you’re not up against obstacles you’re desperate to overcome? If you don’t push yourself you never grow. I’d rather suffer along the way while seeking solutions than roll over, accept my lot and wallow.
It’ll take me a couple of weeks to cut out what I need to follow the AIP protocol. I’ll be limited further by the foods that aren’t IC friendly and those high in oxalates, but I’m optimistic as always that this is another step towards real healing.
My grocery list for the next six weeks includes:
Meats - All natural, grass fed, no additives
Fruit - Avocado, bananas, pears, and apples
Veggies - Artichoke, celery, kale, broccoli, carrots, rutabaga, and sweet potatoes
Flours - none - I'll take out even alternatives as I believe I'm still reacting.
Healthy Fats - olive oil, avocado oil
What I’ll be removing includes: nightshades - (cayenne specifically), all grain alternatives, any diary alternatives, eggs, rice, honey, flax seed and sunflower seed.
My home routine will fill up with making my own foods further until it becomes habit. As I believe I react to anything prepackaged I'll limit those foods as much as possible.
Bone broths and juicing will be staples for me to continue to receive nutrients.
Fermented foods like making my own Kombocha (see post here: http://webadapples.com/2018/05/22/what-is-kombucha/ ), or water kefirs by trusted brands I’ll continue like Kevita. I might try sauerkraut, kimchi, and raw pickles. I might try Raw apple cider vinegar (I was doing this for a while and stopped after my last flare.)
I’ll start my mornings with Raw Lemon Juice, using half a lemon.
I will also take a break from supplements for awhile during implementation of this diet, then I'll be working through a supplementation protocol with Crystal from Zen Functional Wellness to restore gut balance. The goal is to work slowly and have to protocol complete within one year. I may be adding Desert Harvest Aloe Vera, but only if I flare.
I’m trying to drink 100 oz of water in a day, filtered by Aquasana filters which is a lot for a 135 pound female, but I do have an active job.
It’ll be an experiment to see how I feel. I’m working on my mental health along the way to ensure that I can change the negative self talk trying to convince me I’m of little worth, to conviction in my basic human worth. I will continue to pursue a career path that makes me happy as a Rossiter Coach, because helping other people reduce their pain in a natural way is the rawest truth I’ve found.
If this finds you when you're on your own healing journey, I encourage you to try whatever your intuition is telling you; listen to your gut and good luck!
You see it in grocery stores and gas stations, you hear it floating around as a healthy. It’s a fermented food option to help restore good gut microbes; it’s Kombucha. My experience with making my own Kombucha: I’ve spent the past year immersed in listening […]
Loneliness can stem from rejection, from feeling isolated in our choices, our needs, and desires.
At some point during the surrealism that is getting an Interstitial Cystitis (IC) diagnosis I began to loathe small talk. “Hey how are you?” became an insult to me as I felt like nobody would receive my answer well. They’d expect a “Fine, thanks and you,” but I was so far from fine that “Fine” wouldn’t dare leave my lips. Lying is difficult and I’ve always struggled with holding myself back from pouring my heart out onto the lap of whoever was willing to listen.
I’d asked my boss at the time to stop questioning how I was since I was nowhere near fine and instead ask me what was up with current events as this was a conversation I could confidently be involved in. I might be falling apart personally but big matters of the world still deserved discussion. He never questioned my need to avoid that question or the lifestyle changes that were forced upon me, but many others did.
People will betray me, belittle me and turn their backs on me for not being their version of, “Fine thanks and you?” They have already.
About a year after my IC Diagnosis, I had a former friend actually tell me I needed a “food intervention.” She believed I was being too obsessed with food. My “friend” said she was going to host an intervention and gather all our mutual friends because everyone agreed with her. None of this specific cluster of people I knew once asked me why I was living the way I was. They never expressed interest in why I believed I needed to make these necessary changes for my own health and sanity.
I was doing what my doctors were telling me, avoiding certain IC triggers to avoid an unwelcome visit from Frank, my IC fire causing monster, and had received adequate food sensitivity tests to ensure I wasn’t reacting to things I was still eating. I food journal-ed to fill any gaps within my eating habits hoping to eradicate the cause of my IC or at least minimize the severity and impact of symptoms. I was and still am to some, obsessed with curing myself of the most painful experience I’ve had to date. Who wouldn’t be obsessed with wanting to feel better after spending countless days and months, quickly turning to years, feeling their worst?
Many of those I considered friends found my new lifestyle outrageous. Occasionally I still get questions drenched in implications like, “What happened to you?” Those willing to ask this question are unable to support me in my healing journey, they can never respond to the,"What do you mean?" response.
It began long before my IC journey too. People saw me trying to better my life. I was received with an inquisition. My junior year of college, after 7 years of part time classes I returned full time to complete my last courses in two years. I maintained a full time job and my social life plummeted. I had friends unwilling to accept homework or an early class as adequate reasoning for not going to concerts, bars, clubs or other social events. It’s not up to them how I spend my time. I no longer want to waste my life in meaningless ways. Especially when I’m already suffering physically due to the nature of IC and the Fire’s that Frank starts, ceaselessly raging.
Through these experiences I’ve learned that when you start to advocate for yourself and your needs, there will be people in your life willing and ready to treat your positive changes with negativity. I forgive them for not attempting to understand my circumstances and unknowing their line of questioning and acquisitions comes off as cruelty. Why would they be perturbed over my desires to be my best self? To seek healing and health?
I won’t let someone else dictate the type of life I lead. I want health. I will find healing. I cling to those willing to attempt to understand my experience and support me regardless of how obsessive I can get. I want to surround myself with those willing to understand me and my struggle. Those willing to love me through it. Those that have goals of being their best selves too. These friends exist.
If you’re suffering a change in life whether self chosen or forced on you, - and yes I said suffering a change. Change is uncomfortable enough without adversity of other people meddling - be prepared for your chance to receive negative reactions from those close to you. People may reject you for who you are becoming whether by choice or medical necessity. They won’t understand the change you’re going through. It’s okay. They’ll face their own difficulties in life, body and mind, eventually. You cannot worry about who will join you on your journey because regardless of the company, it’s your to be your own best friend, continuing this venture.
There will come a point in your life when you’ll have a friend, coworker, strangers, or loved one disagree with you or your life choices. In those instances, be your own advocate and stand by whatever decisions you make that you believe to be in the best interest of your body and health.
They will forget your needs.
They will forget your restrictions.
Don’t let yourself be a victim. Stand up for what you need.
You can’t help anyone else while you suffer your own misery. First fix yourself. Don’t let their rejection seep in and feed your guilt. It is absolutely okay to be ambitious and steadfast in your determination for change. No matter the cause of your glorious change, never be ashamed of bettering yourself.
Knowing who is worth your time is important. Don’t let yourself be the victim or people treat you as such, it feeds your worthlessness. The more someone feels sorry for your circumstance the more pity you receive from someone the easier it will be to let them go.
Those that care for you will make adjustments, ask how they can help and provide supportive ideas, eager listening ears and a gentle hug when you ask for one.
Let go of those who shame you. You’re worthy of the space you occupy. You deserve all the special love and attention you desire.
When they ask, “What happened to you?”
And they will.
Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m advocating for me. My needs. My health. My life.”
Anyone worthy of your time will respect that.
Also, don’t let you treat yourself in a way you’d never let anyone else. Don’t ever let anyone else treat you in a way you’d never treat another. Know your worth.
Before you feed the world, feed yourself.
Accept yourselves Apples,
"Sometimes it's about living your life like most people won't in the moment, so you can live the rest of your life like most people can't." - Unknown
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My palms are clammy. My thoughts race. Electricity crackles in my rib cage rendering my lunges immobile. A voice, I’ll call her Reason, she scorns me, “Suck it up buttercup, you’ve got a job to do.” Reason is telling me I must stay put and work through the discomfort and ever increasing pain.
A hushed whisper whimpers at the back of my mind “You know exactly how worthless you really are.” I’ll call her Despondency. Despondency is here as an advocate of failure and self loathing. She likes to remind me that my circumstances are my own fault and fills me with guilt. She enforces the belief that I am a burden. I’m embarrassed. I can’t breathe all the while my body betrays me. I’m at war with my physical and mental self more often than not. I’m on the losing side. Despondency and Reason always bring with them a cohort of stress, anxiety, and depression in response to one sensation - chronic pain.
Pain sears through me like a gremlin trying to rip its way through my bladder with razor sharp talons. I curse Frank the Fireman as I’ve so casually nicknamed my Interstitial Cystitis monster when it flares. Frank’s looking for an exit but taking his time torching through my pelvic floor. My head aches as I gently wrap my arms around my midsection. Sitting at work I pray the day ends quickly so I can go home and use what self care knowledge I have to try and alleviate any of the pain. Pain being a side effect of Frank’s rage.
“Frank the Fireman is raging today” is about a thousand times easier to say than “I feel tortured as the open wounds in my bladder spasm and lesions grow.” The hardest part of a chronic disease living inside you is the desire to feel understood, the need to communicate and the embarrassing tension that weighs the air thick and heavy between two people when something uncomfortable is the topic of conversation.
You don’t see the agony I feel. The terror the engulfs me every time I put food or drink to my lips. I wait anxiously to see how anything I consume will affect the sores coating my bladder. My sufferings are invisible to you. The battle within my body is unseen but I exert almost all of my energy managing my chronic disease or hiding the amount of discomfort I experience daily. Some days I’m better at coping than others, and on those other days I pray for relief - at times that’s meant praying for it to end, at times I’ve felt desperate and prayed for death. Please don’t give me your sympathy, I require none. What I want is understanding and acceptance as I am day to day. Accept me in spite of my struggles. I don’t want to be ostracized by this disease you don’t understand.
I have interstitial cystitis. I was diagnosed with IC May of 2015 right after I graduated college.I was told to give up gluten, chocolate, alcohol and caffeine. If I avoided acidic food and learned to manage my stress I’d be able to live with this disease but it would require a lifelong management routine of my disease, there’s no known cure. After over a year of diet alone not resolving my chronic infection like state, further testing showed gut inflammation. These results were met with words like celiacs and leaky gut. This war I’m at with my body is barely in it’s infancy. I still don’t fully understand what my body needs to heal and be truly healthy. I’m 29 years old and that’s 29 years of damage I’m working through. Its excruciatingly painful and I’ve never felt more alone.
Some days I’m on top of my self care and I feel closer to ordinary. On occasion life gets too busy and I miss a self care session or say yes to the wrong food, I end up reeling through days or weeks of agony. I have to fight my way back to find normalcy and routine. My social life plummeted as my days filled with destressing techniques, body work for tension relief and other tools necessary to manage my IC.
There’s still days I’m terrified I will spend the rest of my life with Frank’s blow torch igniting a fire between my legs. He eagerly invites Reason with her cruelty and Despondency to bring about shame, with him to any party he throws. I have Perseverance fighting by my side. She guides me through obstacles I face with the strength to endure. I will still have to spread open my legs across table after table as I relay my experiences to healer after healer until I am healed. I spend more of my time alone with my pain than I’d like. I will keep researching ways to return any sense of control back to my life. I wanted to give up. I’m grateful my stubborn nature refuses to allow me to quit and Perseverance is my companion on this lengthy painful journey.
For anyone suffering Interstitial Cystitis or other Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions, here’s a list of resources I found helpful for starting my journey, researching how to survive this experience and heal myself naturally. I’m still on my journey towards healing but I’m optimistic that I can live fully and thrive in life again. If you’re suffering and you’re feeling utterly lonely, know there’s resources and tools to help. Know you aren’t alone. Know that you have yourself, you’re strong and you’re the best advocate for healing you’ll find. Trust yourself.
I’ve felt the crushing weight of asthma as your lungs fill with inflammation leaving no room for air. I understand the inability to control your mind and mouth from following various rabbit trails as they hop sporadically through your head. I’m intimate with chronic pain […]