May is Lupus Awareness Month. I have decided to share my story, to motivate others to take action for a much improved quality of life!
I became ill at age 8, and in the following four years survived serious kidney failure and surgeries for kidney stones. Thankful for medical intervention at that time, I survived and was able to return to school. Returning to school after a lengthy absence brought frustration, as the ability to achieve as before was impaired. Plans for university were set aside, and I became a legal stenographer, married and raised two sons, and took classes in evenings to become a social worker.
My journey to health really began in 1987 with a diagnosis of Sjogren’s Syndrome and Lupus, although I believed I was nutritionally quite savvy due to raising two sons with allergies and asthma problems. My first visit to an natural health practitioner in October 1987 steered me towards natural nutrition and complementary therapies. I was forced to leave work as a social worker due to severe illness in 1991.
I became a voracious reader of natural nutrition and other natural ways to heal, as I refused to go on steroids for the remainder of my life, as was suggested. I had been single parenting for 3 years (my marriage broke up after my diagnosis), and took one full year off, recommended by my doctor. Throughout this year I experimented with many alternative therapies, and I am very grateful to all of those who were truly trying to help me. The greatest recovery came from a) relieving the stress of full time work and b) implementing all of the information I was reading about healing my body from the inside out using superior natural foods.
One year later, I became self-employed as a counselor and group facilitator, as I needed the flexibility and control over my hours and places of work to maintain and facilitate my recovery. I was still dealing with multiple chemical sensitivities, and the fluorescent lights present in most offices were intolerable. Throughout the years it become increasingly obvious that many of my clientele, like myself, were unable to recover completely without focusing also on the nutritional aspect. I began adding my personal beliefs about nutrition and lifestyle changes to my counseling practice. I was soon doing workshops on nutrition. I began taking correspondence courses on healing the body naturally, enjoying every minute of my learning. The improvements in clients’ lives led me to this training, and I became a Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner, and Registered Nutritional Consultant. I regularly taught nutrition related classes through the Extension Division of SIAST for many years, and have developed and delivered many cooking classes. During this period, my group members began asking me to put my many recipe handouts into a book which I hastily self-published. This book “Nutrition, Cooking and Healing” has sold out and has now been updated and reprinted under the name Cook Your Way to Health, gluten and dairy-free, now a national bestseller. I also began writing regular nutrition columns for the Wholife magazine in December 1998 in Saskatchewan. This led to a TV production company asking me to do 15 three minute “Cooking for Health’ segments on SCN. What fun! And what an interesting experience. I am in the process of putting many of these articles into three small books, called What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You About Foods. I have subsequently published Eat Away Illness, a healing manual that also includes gluten and dairy-free recipes. It has been listed as the number 1 best seller in the diet and nutrition category for 2 years running at McNally bookstore here in Saskatoon.
I have gradually become more and more involved in working with people with the knowledge I have gained in nutrition, and leaving the other aspects of my career, such as counseling and facilitating groups.
I encourage everyone who has symptoms of Lupus (or any other disease), to begin the process of taking control of your own body and your health. Learning what your body needs and giving it the time and space it needs to heal, and taking the time to source quality food, purchase and use these foods, is the way to better health, more energy, clearer thinking, and adding quality years to your life.
My energy, and my health, continue to improve with age, and my health is far better than average, in my opinion. I maintain healthy superior nutrition and regularly exercise (weights, stretching, cardio), and have improved my creativity through writing, teaching ballroom dancing, and quilting. Spiritual, emotional, physical and mental balance are key to health, so Get Up, and Get Going – you will never go back!