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I was I'm going to start talking about "health". I've spent a lifetime thinking about it - mostly because I didn't have it. Although I never wanted to define myself as sick, I wouldn't be where I am today without the experiences that led me to a new way of thinking.
When I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 1989, (at 22), all I knew was that I was "healthy" and then I had an incurable disease. They didn't know why I'd gotten it. They didn't know how to get rid of it. I'm not even sure they knew what "it" was. (There is quite a bit of debate about the cause of Crohn's disease) 18 years later, in 2007, I got an opportunity to interrupt my disease state and try out what "healthier" might feel like.
To be honest, the “opportunity” was that surgeons finally insisted on removing my colon. I had spent 22 years fighting to keep it, so the fact that it needed to go didn't seem at all like an "opportunity"- more like a fate worse than death. But with a 2-year old son, I had a lot to live for and a young soul that needed to see that when you get kicked down, you get back up. For him, even more than for myself, I decided to take advantage of the hope that I could be better.
It was a rocky start. Any adjustment like that would be, but my adjustment was compounded with new issues. 22 years of prednisone use had done a number on my bones. I had full blown osteoporosis. I awakened one morning in pain all over and no strength to move. Long story short, the prednisone had masked arthritis and I now had two new diseases to contend with.
I’d spent a large part of my diseased life studying nutrition. With a digestive disease, it seemed like a good idea to know all that I could. Back then, when you asked the Doctors, they would usually say that “everyone is different so there is no set diet –eat what you can”. Nutritionists at the time didn’t know any more. I was left to figure it out for myself.
I feel so fortunate, in hindsight, that it happened that way. I was forced to learn it for myself. As it turns out, I’m kind of a geek about things. Who knew?! I began by asking myself how do “normal people” digest food? It was amazing. There are plenty of anatomy books/resources out there that can teach you how the body uses food. From what I’d read, the people “in the know”, mainly doctors, nutritionists, even the FDA, had it wrong. They insisted fat made you fat and as we all know today, it’s the push to take fat out, and to put sugar in that has actually made us fatter. (You knew that, right?) To make matters worse, sugar creates inflammation in the body. I had an inflammatory disease. The very nutrient I’d removed for years from my diet, fat, was an essential nutrient my body needed! “Wow”, I thought. “How could I learn how the body works so easily, and how then, could the information out there be so wrong?” (That's another blog post for sure)
Arthritis is also an inflammatory disease. Based on what I’d learned, I asked my new arthritis doctor if he felt an “anti-inflammatory diet” might work? “There is no medical evidence to support an anti-inflammatory diet”, he said. I said I’d be back if it didn’t work. I haven’t been back. When the endocrinologist said it was a miracle my osteoporosis was gone, I suggested there was nothing miraculous about my body, (uh, hello, almost 20 years sick and no colon. Could that be miraculous?) but left determined to discover for myself why my bones had healed
Now I’ve spent the last 8 years studying the body and how it works. Learning to move my own body, first through Pilates, then through the wonderful program offered by Katy Bowman's, Nutritious Movement™. I’ve learned why my bones healed, why the things I did to heal myself made a difference.
I've been on quite a journey. How do you begin a conversation about ideas that are based on a lifetime of evolving thought? I guess you jump right in. So, I’m jumping in. I hope to inspire you to learn it for yourself because the information is out there! I hope to provide you, by sharing about me, a new perspective to fuel your own pursuit of a vital life.
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Samantha Wellman, certified Restorative Exercise Specialist™, CPT