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Skipping surgery

I’ve been recommended for two different types of surgery for varying conditions. My nutritionist gave sound advice by reminding me that I could get a second opinion and should, especially once something is taken out because it cannot be put back in.

For the first procedure, I saw a second opinion with a traditional doctor. The second doctor was GREAT! She went over multiple options and even explained which ones she would not recommend along with the reason why. The initial doctor did none of that, saying that surgery was my only option. In this case, I opted not to do surgery and try a different procedure instead; surgery would then be a back up option if this did not work well. But it did!

For the second potential surgery, I opted for a more functional medicine perspective and saw a wellness center that included a chiropractor. Many who are diagnosed with AS are told to avoid a chiropractor but the chiropractor has been an amazing route for me as long as the practitioner is knowledgeable about AS. There treatments took all summer but the result has been fantastic – walking without a cane! And my walk steadiness on my phone has improved dramatically from the time prior to visiting the wellness center.

Why do I say all of this? Well, first, I’m not giving medical advice; I’m just sharing my experience on my quest to find alternative therapies to complement what I use with traditional medicine. Second, I’m aware that surgery is not always the only option. If I can research a method that avoids surgery but still puts me on the path to wellness, then I’m taking that path. It may not get the quickest results, but neither does surgery. Our bodies are so complex and designed to heal if we are willing to put in the work to do so.

Just a thought as we wrap up another year and set new intentions and goals to achieve. Wellness CAN be within reach. All the best!

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Birthday update!

Yesterday was my 46th birthday! 🥳🥳🥳🎉🎉🎉

And I’m so grateful for another year. I started an active rehab program with a wellness center to have better mobility and build strength, both of which I need. Since being there, I’ve been able to go forward down the steps rather than turning sideways, bend the right knee more regularly (yay!!), do water exercises weekly and incorporate more yoga on the floor rather than in a chair.

I also started taking medication for Ankylosing spondylitis and that helps tremendously for pain and fatigue. I’ve got a way to go (because brain fog is real! 🤯) but I’m so glad that I’ve made progress. I’ve even started walking more regularly, which had been a challenge because joints would be painful with swelling.

And I’m continuing to work on diet and lifestyle. My sleep is still spotty at best, but I’ve started reintroductions for the AIP and I’m now on stage 2. I did add black and pinto beans early because I needed the calories and feeling of fullness from fiber!

And I’m including a recent photo comparison. The pic on the left is from my cousin’s wedding, just over 5 years ago. The one on the right is earlier this week at the beach with family.

Hope your health journey is going well!

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The present

Where things stand now- so after all of the drama of just trying to get a diagnosis, it seemed like I got worse and worse, especially due to stress. Not only was I diagnosed with PCOS, I was later informed that I have osteoarthritis in BOTH knees so I did physical therapy for it twice. Herein lies the issue- I was successful with physical therapy both times but since PCOS is associated with low grade inflammation, the physical therapy is pointless until the initial inflammation is dealt with. So, I started looking for other solutions and came across the Insulite system. Now, I’m not here to sell anyone anything. But the results these women were getting was amazing so I signed up for the newsletter and joined one of the Facebook groups.

But, not having the money to try the supplements and not making the sacrifice to at least try them for 3 months, all I did was follow the newsletter and FB group. I could, however, afford the book 8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS and pored over it. And I started trying smaller quantity supplements mentioned multiple times in the book. And I started having some results along with beginning keto in August of 2018. Keto is a bit too harsh for me as I respond well to veggies and most fruit so after getting sick from it, I started paleo in November and have done well since. I switched jobs and was then able to afford the Insulite supplements. I even started the one-on-one coaching with the nutritionist of the program so that I could get supplements that are best for me.

During that time, the weather turned really cold very quickly and that just threw my knees off so much that I started using a cane. I also started having super limited range of motion in my neck. Using the supplements and really honing on my eating habits to remove foods that cause pain really started helping. In all of this, I found that only I can take charge of my health. Waiting for a doctor to point me in the right direction was no longer an option. I started acupuncture to help with knee pain so that I could wean off NSAIDs. I then started seeing a chiropractor to work on the neck stiffness. My doc would like me to see a physical therapist about the neck but I’m moving really soon so I’ll wait until after the move. My goal is to work out 3 times per week, minimum- 1 day at the gym; 1 day doing yoga, especially for neck and shoulders; and 1 day walking, though I tend to walk more than the other two types. I have released about 54 pounds since August and hope to lose about another 15 to reach goal. Walking is better and while I carry the cane as I walk, I no longer have to use it every time I move. I even rode a bike outdoors while on vacation!

This experience has shown me how to push for self-care and to look past traditional remedies that are not working, keeping in mind that “alternative” therapies may be what work best for me. If you are in a similar situation in which you took charge of your health and found the best path for you, share your story. I’d love to hear from you! Until next time 🥂

*Note: left picture is from one of my “higher” weights in 2016; the right picture is from June 2019- a difference of 50 pounds