My Journey to better health and a happier heart
How many of us take our health for granted? We live in blissful ignorance that nothing major will happen to us. Even when we appear fit and healthy on the outside, our insides may not be. How many people are suffering an invisible illness but when you see them they look happy? Like the photo on the left, I looked happy but this was an act, behind the scenes I was in pain and suffering. Here is my story.
I have been quite active most of my life and when I was younger I was involved in dancing, trampolining, gymnastics, athletics, hockey and netball. My weight remained around the 7 1/2 stone mark (B.M.I. healthy) even though I didn’t eat too healthily.
I had asthma in my teens as well as Eczema. During my twenties I started to eat more healthily but in 2000 I came down with Crohn’s Disease. Crohn’s Disease is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (I.B.D) and my symptoms were severe cramps and vomiting. The cramps were so severe that I often had to crawl around the house as it hurt too much standing up.
My bowel was so inflamed that food just couldn’t get through. The doctor told me it was IBS but I have a family history of IBD so after 4 months of fighting with the doctors I was eventually referred to a specialist. By the time I was diagnosed my Crohn’s was so advanced and all the vomiting had caused gallstones so I had my gall bladder removed. I then had a resection operation in January 2001 (removing the inflamed bowel section) which unfortunately collapsed the next day as they hadn’t realised how malnourished I was. The collapse resulted in Septicaemia, Pneumonia and Peritonitis and I was only given 5% chance of survival.
I wasn’t expected to survive the night. I went down to under 6 stone and was told I couldn’t go back to work until I was 8 stone. I also ended up with a temporary ileostomy (bag) which was reversed at the end of 2001. I stayed in hospital for about 3 weeks and ended up with 2 litres of fluid on my lung which had to be removed using a 50ml syringe in my back. I drew quite an audience when I was having this done as I was sat topless cuddling pillows during the procedure. I just pretended I was on the beach and even asked for one of the lights to be placed facing me so I could pretend it was the sun.
After that I had to have a nebuliser and I found even going up stairs tiring. Also I couldn’t lie down in the bath as 1) I couldn’t physically get back up and 2) the bumpy bits in the bath dug into my ribs and hips.
With regards to my diet, I was advised by the hospital that I should avoid fruit, vegetables and high fibre products but wasn’t really advised how to eat healthily with Crohn’s. Had the foul supplement drinks provided by the NHS and was advised to eat bulky meals like pie and chips to gain the weight. So my diet meant eating high fat foods and avoiding fruit, vegetables and fibre as best I could. I got to 8 stone and got back to work 3 months after my resection. My ilesostomy had to be emptied every 2 hours including at night and as it changed shape on a regular basis it leaked, made noises and generally misbehaved at every opportunity.
After the reversal and due to the heavy scarring from my operations I remained quite inactive for several years and continued with the diet prescribed to me by the hospital. My weight continued to creep up and my energy levels weren’t great so I started to introduce fruit and vegetables slowly into my diet working out what foods made my symptoms worse and I started to investigate how better nutrition could improve my conditions.
I have Arthritis related to my Crohn’s Disease and my Eczema flared up again. Basically if there are any inflammatory conditions my body would love to have them.
I was never given the best advice for my digestive issues both whilst still in hospital and at home. I was given a diet that wasn’t healthy and no real follow on care or diet review. I started to find out for myself what I could eat and what made me feel better or worse. I started to get more energy, lose weight and have a positive attitude on life. After further nutritional training I set up my own nutrition business (Feel Good Naturally) – a business focused on loving your body – mind and spirit and learning to balance all three.
I am able to provide nutritional advice to people showing them how to love what they eat on any budget. So many people are still being brought up, like I was, on stodgy food and still being told to “finish your plate” even if you are already full. I believe people still need help, especially with the increase in Obesity and fast food being so easy and cheap to buy. I love to give them the assistance they need and to see the improvements it makes in their lives and the lives of their families.
I also realised that since childhood I was holding onto “emotional baggage” and “limiting beliefs” about myself. This was preventing myself from living the life I wanted to live. Using Focussed Mindfulness I was able to remove this negativity, allowing me to live a more positive life. I have since added other mindfulness techniques to my toolkit so I can help others to experience the same healing from within and teach them how to “Love their mind, body and spirit” with the right nourishment for the body and mind. I help deal with the root cause of their problems and not the symptoms, getting to the heart of what matters.
I never really spent much time on looking after myself and after I became ill I started with monthly reflexology. I was also introduced to Reiki. Daily meditations have worked for me and after qualifying as a meditation instructor I now lead my own meditation groups. I have also qualified in Reiki, Massage, Facials and Sound Healing and learnt more about acupressure and reflexology and how energy works within and outside the body. As I continue my journey I will be adding other therapies to enhance what I can offer my clients.
If you would love to have a chat then please call me on 07857 223135 x