"Your health's your wealth" and "Your health's in your own hands".
How many times have you heard either or both of those phrases? More importantly how many times have you listened to anyone who's said them to you and taken heed.
If you're like me, and most other people I reckon, you'll have shrugged those phrases off, continued life as you know it until... BOOM! an illness hits you. Then you might change your mind and take heed, right?
Or maybe wrong!
You'd be surprised how many people fall ill and yet still continue to follow a diet and routine that feels comfortable and familiar which may not be serving them (or their body).
I raise my hand up. I'm as guilty as the next person.
Over the last few years I seem to have accumulated dis-ease after dis-ease.
It all first started way back in 2006 when I was diagnosed with Crohn's/ Colitis (it depends which specialist I see, which label they give me). Since that time I've been on some heavy-duty drugs which I've been merrily popping and having injected into me. When I say heavy-duty, I'm on 2 immuno-suppressors (put simply they reduce your immune system to next to nothing so if a virus or something hits you, which by the way you'd be more prone to, then you could land yourself in some serious mess... been there, done that) and one of these immuno-suppressors falls into the chemotherapy family of drugs (only you don't lose your hair). In all those years (not far off 15) I've been off my drugs for only one full year.
After a while, however, the potency of the drugs you're consuming and what they might be doing to other parts of your body (I've lost, for example, the internal bridge in my nose ie I basically now have only one nasal passage where most people have two), well that kind of wears off. Because after a while you start to feel better. You can leave the house and go outdoors. You can enjoy some sport. You can start to eat and drink whatever you fancy without having a reaction. Basically life starts to feel normal again and you almost forget you have a dis-ease.
Jump forward 10 years to 2016. I'm a bit older but, clearly, not very much wiser as I'm still popping the same concoction of drugs. Only in the summer of 2016, suddenly my feet and lower legs start complaining. I start to develop dry flaky patches which turn out to be psoriasis.
So my house doctor (GP to those of you in the UK) refers me to a Dermatologist who takes photos and samples of my skin, and then gives me a mixed bag of creams (including topical steroid) to apply to find out which one works the best. And I follow her instructions. And whilst they kinda work, they don't fully work.
Then in September 2017 I land myself in hospital. Why? I have a bladder infection. Usually not a big deal - drink loads of water, maybe an anti-biotic and Bob's your Uncle... if you have a decent immune system that is. I don't. So it's a visit to emergency and admittance for close to 4 weeks. The oral anti-biotics don't work (my body rejects them so I have to have them drip-fed into my veins... not the best way to give anti-biotics as it damages your veins), the steroids.... they start to kick in, and I drop 6kg and... well... let's just say it wasn't the most fun I've ever had. At the same time, there's mild panic amongst the medical staff upon my admittance because I present with blood sugars of 21 ( a normal person has blood sugars of around 5).
Welcome my next dis-ease... Type 2 Diabetes.
By mid-2018 it was decided that I wasn't able to reverse my Diabetes with diet alone. Here's the thing - I was in denial. I was telling myself I didn't have the disease (though my blood sugars were saying something else) and I wasn't even trying to change my diet... but to my house doctor that wasn't relevant and no help was offered other than... another bunch of drugs.
Diabetes was a bit of a catalyst for me. You see, it's a dis-ease we have running along my mother's side of the family and everyone (as I'm very like my mother) was convinced I'd acquire it at some stage in my life... just like I acquired Crohn's/Colitis in support of my mother's lineage. Whilst I (now) no longer believe that you are destined to have a dis-ease just because your mother or father has it (ie it's in your genes), at the time it was also a suppressed fear of mine. So it comes as no suprise that I acquired Diabetes as I had a fear of it (please don't mention needles... thankfully I don't have to inject and never plan on going there!) and everyone else was pouring their fears onto me too.
As Diabetes entered my life so did the acknowledgement of the power of the mindset and mindset work. Books such as Dr Bruce Lipton's "Biology of Belief" and Deb Shapiro's "Your Body Speaks Your Mind" started finding their way to me and the more I read, the more I realised that just because we have a weakness in our genes does not guarantee that weakness will manifest itself as the corresponding dis-ease in our reality. And the books taught me just how powerful our minds truly are. That practically all dis-eases start in our mind and manifest in our bodies.
It was like a little light bulb was going off on my head. (Admittedly the same lightbulb had been trying to shine for years as I questioned the medical system and the drugs I was receiving... but I had dimmed it down because the drugs were 'working').
As luck would have it (or maybe we should leave luck out of this), almost a year after being diagnosed with Diabetes and starting to educate myself about the mind/body connection and put some mindset work (namely EFT and meditating) into practise, I was 'struck' again. This time it really was the straw that broke the camel's back because this time was the closest I have ever come (and ever wish to come) to a truly frightening dis-ease... the type where you sit back and take a good long hard look at your life. This time I was diagnosed with a high-grade lesion which had to be removed (next stage cancer). You can read all about my experience of that dis-ease in my blogpost "When the universe has you back", here, and also "If that's what it's like to die...", here, both of which are in the love of angels blog section of this website.
Thankfully by this stage, I had read, researched and watched documentaries so much so that I was already pulling together a "take back control" health plan. I just needed to get my physicians on board... or so I thought.
My plan was to embark on a healthy diet, healthy mindset lifestyle because I believe that our dis-eases start in our mind and that our body desperately wants to heal itself but simply does not have the capacity to do so for as long as we fill it with junk and foods with a high human intervention (eg processed)
So I approached my Colitis consultant, whom I greatly admire and respect, with my idea (just the bare bones). What I wanted his support with was the mindset work. I was hoping he would support my desire to see a trauma psychotherapist to work through the childhood (and other) issues that had resulted in my growing list of dis-eases. But I was met with comments like "it's impossible to know what causes Colitis, you can only treat the symptoms" and "you're getting older" (ie you're gonna get sicker) and even "you could do with losing a little weight" (I'm NOT that heavy... just a few persistent kgs that love me too much). He advised me that the route I wanted to travel along was a tough decision as trauma work shouldn't be taken lightly. Whilst he was happy to support me he advised me to consult my house doctor for a referral to a therapist closer to home.
I have to be honest. I was disappointed. When I first met with my consultant a few years ago after we had moved countries and I was falling very ill, I told him that I would accept drugs to stabilise me but when I felt human again, I'd want to come off my drugs in line with a supportive plan B. So to hear his responses to my request felt numbing.
But I didn't want to dwell on things.
I decided to follow his advice and consult my house doctor.
To say that was like banging my head against a brick wall is an understatement. He was less than useless, and less than willing to help. So, again, I found myself alone.
What I have gathered, and I know I'm not alone in this belief, is that once you enter the medical system and they pump your body full of drugs it is very difficult to find any professional who is willing to think outside the box, who can grasp that medicine and drugs should be the short-term fix but not the long-term answer. Because, after all, the medical system is supported by the billion-dollar-profit shareholder-driven pharmacy industry and if medics run around helping their patients to get off their drugs... well I reckon they wouldn't have a job for too long.
So I have found myself taking back control of my health... which, in fairness, really is the way it should be. Enough of the finger-pointing and blame game, Viv!
Over recent months, I have been building up (unconsciously) to what I have started only today - an experiment in juicing.
You see, as I practised self-love more and more over the last year and longer, I gradually started making decisions about what I was eating. Decisions I felt would better benefit my body in the long term. So, for example, I started to reduce the amount of meat I was consuming until, now, I'm pretty much a vegetarian (stopping eating meat links back to my former cruelty-free skincare business - it didn't sit right with me creating cruelty-free skincare when I was consuming meat). In recent months I stopped drinking diet soda because of the aspartame (even though professionally-trained nutrionists support Diabetics (even encourage them) to drink diet sodas). Now all I drink (up until today) is water.
So, through my conscious decisions, I was already cleansing my body of chemicals like aspartame and drinking only water, and the heaviness of my meals was being reduced because I had cut out meat. And being diagnosed as Diabetic ensured my sugar consumption reduced too (including bread as it knocks my sugars up, although, in fairness, I've never been a bread lover)
So it's been as if I've been unconsiously getting myself ready to embark on the next stage (and possibly the hardest stage) of my journey of taking back control of my health.... juicing.
A couple of months ago I watched a documentary about juicing and it Blew. My. Mind! In the documentary were 8 people (guinea pigs) who, together, had a collection of 22 dis-eases, three of which were Colitis, Diabetes and Ezcema/Psoriasis... so my interest really peaked. The results were, quite honestly, phenomenal as many of the people taking part felt so much more healthy after only 1 month of juicing. And not only that, many could stop taking their drugs... their bodies were healing themselves.
After watching that documentary I just knew this had to be my next step. So I bought myself the book that went with the documentary along with a cold-press juicer.
I tried the ginger shot a few times... liked it a lot (there's nothing quite like a kick of ginger in the morning). And I also tried one of the smoothies in the book too... liked it too.
I decided to commit to trying the proper juices for days 1 and 2 (I didn't want to commit to the full 28 days because there was a bit too much cucumber going on for my liking and I didn't want to buy everything and then not be able to drink it). And that's basically where you find me today. Day 1.
The picture above with its plethora of colourful fruits and veg... you might think that's for a week's worth of juicing. And quite honestly, I would have thought the same. What would you think if I told you that was just enough for 2 days of juicing!?!?!? (and I even forgot some of the veggies!) I have to admit I was feeling a bit overwhelmed when I set them all out and looked at them, myself. But I had committed to trying at least 2 days (with plans to complete the first week and then focus on the full 28 days) and I am sticking to it.
If you want to follow my progress, I plan on keeping a diary which I'll update regularly (not necessarily every day) with all the roadbumps I face and all the highs (I hope) I experience. I'll add the links below as and when I write up my diary.