My Journey Towards Healing & What I Have Learned

Where to begin? I feel like this post is going to take a lot of energy to write but I feel the need to share what’s been going on in my life and in my mind and the reason my blog posts may have changed recently. There’s been a lot going on in my life…

This past year and a half has tested my patience more than I ever could have imagined. I’m still on what has become a very long journey towards balancing my body including figuring out some hormonal imbalances in my body, dealing with food sensitivities and dealing with ulcerative colitis/crohns. Not only that, my back had fallen out of whack and I had to start seeing a chiropractor. I felt like there was a black cloud hanging over my head and nothing seemed to be going right no matter how hard I tried to do the right thing. As much as I tried to stay strong and positive and know that everything will work itself out eventually, I couldn’t help but throw myself quite a few pity parties along the way.

Instead of waiting for my body to respond on its own, I knew I needed to enlist the help of specialists. I have gotten to know many medical doctors within the past year and a half: my gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, obgyn, chiropractor, and now my naturopath. Together, we have worked to find the best options for me and my lifestyle and the right medications to help my body heal and repair.

Going in to this back in April/May 2012, I really felt that I could kick this thing within a few months. I knew the importance of a positive attitude and I was going to use that to my advantage as much as I could. Along with the positivity, I began experimenting with my diet. I first tried a low-fiber diet, I then tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, then a modified SCD/Paleo, then gluten-free, and today I continue to clean up my diet as much as possible. I had tossed around the idea of doing an elimination diet to determine exactly which foods were aggravating my system, but the thought of having to cut out so many foods and be so strict about it gave me slight anxiety.

How can I fast-forward this story for you? After much experimenting, and a very slow healing process, my colitis/crohns symptoms are finally subsiding. I know I am still in the healing process but I am well on my way towards good gut health again. This is incredible news, and writing this now makes me realize how long of a journey it’s been and how much my faith and patience have been tested. I have grown so much as a person over this past year and a half. I really had to sit down and evaluate my lifestyle. What were my stressors? What can I do to reduce stress in my life? What else can I do for my body to move it towards healthy balance? What’s next?

When I began seeing my chiropractor, I knew that things were going to start turning around for me. I finally felt like a medical professional truly and genuinely cared for me and my total health and was going to do whatever it takes to get me there. He is a true believer in whole food living and together we worked on balancing my body through diet, and spinal alignment. He mentioned to me that they have naturopath who works with them and that I might find it really interesting to meet with her. I had seen a naturopath when I was quite a bit younger and remember being tested for food sensitivities through resistance exercises. This is where I learned that I was slightly intolerant to dairy and gluten.

I was willing to try almost anything to continue my healing process. Although my gut was beginning to heal, I was and still am dealing with extreme hormonal imbalances and I needed to do something more to help my body.

The clinic happened to have an event happening which included half off for naturopath visits. I figured, what’s there to lose? I made an appointment with the naturopath.

A naturopathic doctor “combines the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Steeped in traditional healing methods, principles and practices, naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. By using protocols that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic physicians help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to identify and remove barriers to good health by helping to create a healing internal and external environment.” Source

The naturopath used electro-dermal screening to read stressors in my body. This screening can detect chemicals and toxins within my body, it can read how my body reacts to different foods, and it measures which components of my body are stressed, balanced, or weakened. We have now met twice and I have learned a whole lot more about my body. Here is what I have learned about myself…

  • My body absolutely adores cod liver oil.
  • My body hates white refined sugar.
  • My body tolerates my medications.
  • My body has a high level of chemicals and toxins, one notably aflatoxin which is found in peanut butter.
  • After testing specific foods I know that for right now while my body is still in major phases of healing, I need to stay away from: corn, yogurt, peanut butter, avocado, sugar, wheat, gliadin, and all-purpose gluten-free flour. Those were the foods I had brought in from home to be tested with. There are probably others that my body cannot tolerate right now.
  • Foods my body CAN tolerate right now based off of the foods I brought in to test: bananas, hummus, sweet potato, brown rice, blue corn, buckwheat, quinoa, oats.
  • My body was extraordinarily stressed the second time I went in for my follow-up visit which totally shocked me. After discussing the past month and a half with the naturopath, we discovered that the reason my body was so stressed was because of the intensity of my workouts lately…aka Insanity. My body is fighting so hard to heal the systems that are out of balance (endocrine system and GI system), but struggles with what to do when I throw stressed muscles into the mix that need repair too. I need to SLOW DOWN. She prescribed me rest. I need to give my poor body a chance to heal without the interruption of intense muscle repair. This doesn’t mean that I can’t pick it up in the future once I am healed and balanced, but for now, I must give it rest. This means no Insanity, and minimal runs. I can walk to my heart’s content and do light activity like yoga and leisure bike rides, but nothing intense for now. This was not easy for me to hear but it makes total and absolute sense, and I know that if I want to get well, I need to make some changes to my lifestyle temporarily.

I will find balance. I will continue to detoxify my body. I will slow down my workout intensity. I will not stress about trying to be in “perfect shape” for summer. I am doing this for me and my body will thank me.

I have learned so much about my body this past year. I have learned which foods I can tolerate, which foods cause my body stress. I have learned that I hate medications but will take them as long as I need to, but one day I hope to live med-free and rely solely on herbal supplements and a healthy diet. I have learned that our bodies don’t respond overnight and that it can take a long time to heal. I have learned that I need to scale back on intense physical activity for a little while, because my body needs that energy to repair my wounds, versus repairing stressed muscles.

I haven’t walked this journey alone. My friends and family have been my rocks through this all: going with me to my appointments, supporting my endeavors, praying for my health and wellness, and helping me to stay positive through all of this. There have been many tears, but I know there is a reason that all of this is happening. I hope that as I continue to learn more about my body and my conditions, that I can in turn help others reach towards total wellness within themselves.

I’m a little nervous to post this because I feel like this is such an unorganized portrayal of what is going on in my head and in my heart, but it’s real, and it’s me, and as hard as it is to be vulnerable, it’s harder to keep it all in. I thank you all for being so supportive of me through my journey.

Stay healthy, find balance, and do what’s best for you. Take care of your body and be kind to your body. It will thank you!

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Emily

    Are you O blood type? Have you checked into the Blood Type Diet? Becky knows all about this one too 🙂 I started following it after reading Eat Right For Your Type by Dr. Peter D’adamo, great book on why there is 4 blood types and how the lectins in our blood digest foods differently which is why different diets don’t work on every person, anyways you can google it if your interested 🙂 so sorry your dealing with all of that 🙁

    1. Melanie

      Hi Emily, thanks for your sweet words! I am B blood type. I have heard of the Blood Type Diet and always enjoying learning about the different approaches out there so I just might have to look into it. Thanks!

      1. Emily

        My neighbor is a B and she just went to a naturalist after I gave her the Blood Type book, and she has an allergy to wheat and needs to be gluten free, her naturalist told her to try the diet, so she laughed and came back to me and said she should have just tried it before going, she has lost 50lbs. No joke (but it’s cuz she needed to, you definitely don’t) but she feels so much healthier 🙂 O and B blood types need rigorous exercise so since you do ALOT of working out I guessed you were the same blood type as Becky 🙂 but I’m so glad to hear your going to a chiropractor too, I started going when I was pregnant=amazing 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Melanie! I don’t personally have any extreme intolerances to food but I do know what foods make me feel better and what foods make me feel icky. I know I need to stay away from too much sugar, meat-based fats and processed foods to feel at my best. I’m sorry to hear about the PB – I know how much you love it!! My dad warned me about that toxin since he knows how much I eat it… might be worth looking into making it yourself to see if you can avoid the toxin 🙂 Let me know if you need anything! I can always try to think up a yummy recipe for you that makes you think like you’re “cheating” your plan but is good for you 🙂
    Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted…Famiglia Meschini Wine ReviewMy Profile

    1. Melanie

      Thank you my dear! As far as I know, the aflotoxin in peanut butter is found in almost all peanuts, organic or not. There is a lesser amount of it in organic peanut butter however so if I’m going to have some here and there it will be out of an organic pb jar! I am really enjoying almond butter for now and there are obviously tons of other nut butters out there so I have plenty to fall back on. It’s only short term—I can do anything short term. 🙂
      Our bodies are truly amazing. They do their best to tell us what they like and don’t like, but sometimes it takes us a little while to really hear and understand what they are trying to tell us.

  3. Hey Melanie,
    Awesome post! I have struggled with some of the same digestive issues & back issues. I’m not sure if you ever watched the movie: or but they are amazing. Dr Joel Fuhrman appears in both who promotes letting your body heal itself, his books are incredible : “Eat to Live” & “Eat for Health” I have learned a lot!!! Some of his recipes I would love to see you guys make, because even I can make them taste great! haha I think he calls people that follow his advice “Nutritarians” because its all about the proper nutrition.

    I have always thought about doing some sort of “Health Camp” at JODO where we could teach people to have eat right, add fun fitness & still have fun!

    “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

    I can email you some of his recipes that I wrote down on index cards if you want em!


    1. Melanie

      It is nice to find others who are facing some of the same struggles so that we can collaborate ideas, support each other, and help each other to find the best “medicine” for healing. I am very interested in Dr. Fuhrman now because I completely agree with his outlook on health. I will have to look into his books!
      I think it is a great idea to do a week-long “health camp.” I would love to help you lead that!

  4. I am so glad you wrote this post. 1. because it highlights the journey you are on and how it is truly a lifelong process 2. it shows how far you have come 3. it is inspiring to read about all the things you are going through, yet you still have such patience and positivity 4. and despite those things, that it is ok to have a pity party every now and then. Thanks for sharing. Lots of love!!
    Katie @ running4cupcakes recently posted…Happy Father’s DayMy Profile

    1. Melanie

      Thank you so much, Katie. It means a lot to hear that! Can’t wait to see you again soon! xoxo

  5. I love the message in this post, it is so important to listen to your body and to find balance. It seems like you are doing a great job at both of those and I’m glad that you are feeling better through healing. I can’t imagine not being able to have yogurt! I always thought of that as being the best thing for the gut. At least you can still have hummus! 🙂
    Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health recently posted…Creamy Mango Yogurt Smoothie + A Giveaway!!My Profile

    1. Melanie

      I know it’s interesting isn’t it? I have a feeling it is dairy in general. Right now I am steering clear of dairy as often as possible. It is only temporary! Happy Monday!!

  6. Katie

    Well I must have found your blog shortly after you wrote this post. What a long, frustrating road, I’m glad you’ve got some good people to partner up with to help you navigate all of this. Keep up the good work of listening to your body and being honest with your doctors!
    Katie recently posted…#IGBloomington: 9 weeks Left.My Profile

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