Tag Archives: get whole

Be Your Own Superhero (The Afterword to My Story)

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“You’ve renamed yourself as the hero of your story instead of the victim,” she said.

I sat in my counselors office a couple of weeks ago and she immediately could sense there was something different about me. “You feel lighter,” she said. And she wasn’t talking about my appearance.

Not until I sat back and thought about the two and a half weeks of life that had happened since I’d last saw her did I realize what a profound impact writing out my story had on me.

You see, when you live with the reality of a chronic disease, it can be really easy to let it control your life. Before you know it, you’ve surrendered all power to it because it just seems easier that way. But in sharing my story, I was reminded that I am actually stronger than my disease. I have a choice. I have the ability to improve the symptoms.

That doesn’t mean every day will be a good day or that I’ll be magically healed or that I will be able to eat what I want without a second thought. But it does mean I have a say in the whole thing.

It was almost a year ago when a dear friend and mentor asked me to think about what I’d given power to in my life. It’s taken me almost 12 months, but I finally have an answer. For the last nine years I’ve given power to my disease. And that was just the beginning.

There is immense freedom in looking back and realizing all that you’ve survived, in being reminded of your strength and resilience. You no longer have to be waiting in fear for the other shoe to drop, because, well, if it does, you will survive that too. And you will survive because you are the hero of your story, not the victim of it.

But you know my favorite part? We are heroes not in spite of our stories, but because of them. Because of the whole of them – the highest highs, the lowest lows, the ugly cries, the bad mistakes, the incredible accomplishments – all of it. After all, we all know a hero doesn’t become a hero without fighting a few battles and defeating a few stubborn enemies.

Freedom Found (The Story Part 5)

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I watched this TED talk once about memory. I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no desire to repeat the last 9 years. But, I would not trade the person it has helped me become. So if that’s what it had to take, I’d do it again. Not happily, but I’d do it. I wouldn’t give up the freedom I’ve discovered through the journey.

There is great freedom in being able to move again, in not having to think twice about going to the grocery story or the mall or the movies or even the gym. When I first felt well enough to move again while living in Appleton, I started with a personal trainer at the YMCA. She tried to get me on an elliptical and three minutes in, my legs gave out. Today, I can do intervals on the elliptical for 45 minutes and still walk out the door of the gym. There is immense freedom in that.

A friend graciously offered to take some head-shots for me recently, and I realized something profound in the process. I was completely comfortable. I was completely comfortable in front of a camera because I’m more comfortable in my own skin than even I realize. I think that countless doctor’s visits and medical tests will help with that, but I know it’s more than that. It’s that when I realized I had control over my body and I claimed it, I became proud of the whole person I am and all of my “perfect imperfections” as John Legend calls them. There is massive freedom in that – in being able to accept and love and welcome your whole self.

TO BE CONTINUED

This journey isn’t over. I will forever have to work at feeling good. It means I drink things that are green and take lots of vitamins and make it a priority to go to the gym and get good sleep and and no longer love Italian food and these days even carry coconut milk in a thermos in my purse when I go out for coffee.

Yesterday I spent 5 hours with a friend prepping healthy, healing food for our bodies. Five hours. Yes, taking care of myself takes a lot of time. There are days it feels like a part-time job and that’s frustrating. But, the fact that I could be on my feet for 5 hours cooking and not be thoroughly exhausted today reminds me of the massive progress that healthy food has helped my body make. 

And all of that is worth it to not live in excruciating pain every day of my life. These days, there are more moments than not when I don’t even think about the painbecause it’s so slight.

I know not everyone’s story ends in healing. And I don’t take it for granted that mine has. But I also know that while we have an amazing Healing Father, he has also It’s my choice. My responsibility. My opportunity to partner with him in the healing process.

But How Did You Do It? – The Story Part 4

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Here we are in January 2015 and I am down to only two prescription meds and I have lost 100 pounds since my heaviest. 65 of those since moving to Nashville. It’s been a very, very slow, and not always steady, process. For me, the change only came through lifestyle shift. I had some tests at the Mayo Clinic recently and a doctor who hadn’t seen me before came into the exam room. The first thing he said was “I was looking at your chart and it seems you’ve lost a lot of weight, how did you do it?” “Well, I said, I got moving and started eating real food.” He kind of chuckled and said “Huh, imagine that.”

That sounds like over-simplifying. But, it’s not. Simple, however, doesn’t mean easy. Getting healthy isn’t rocket science, but you do have to put in the work, even when it’s hard. And you have to be willing to not only embrace change, but invite it, seek it out.

When I first moved to Nashville I had a friend who tried her hardest to convince me to drink green juice. I refused for well over two years. “I’ll eat green things, I said, but there is no way you are getting me to drink something that is green.” Today I love green juice and green smoothies. When I’m feeling a little sluggish, it’s the first thing I go for.

But it’s not just dietary change you have to accept or physical work you have to put in, you have to be willing to do work on your whole self. I honestly didn’t start really gaining traction in losing weight until I started seeing a counselor to get the emotional heart part of me healthy.

Even today, when I want to think that I can isolate one part of myself and just work on it, life reminds me otherwise. When I get stressed, my body feels it before my mind does. When something is off in my heart, when I’m not being honest with myself, I’m fatigued and my pain is worse. Every single piece of us is so intimately connected.

The other thing this journey has taught me is that any permanent change must begin deep within. I am convinced that had I set out to lose weight or look better, I wouldn’t have stuck with it. But, my motivation to feel better, to hopefully lessen the pain I lived in daily, that keeps you going in a different way.