Day 1146 and AIP holy S*&%

I’m on day 1146 alcohol free and about day 43 of the AIP (autoimmune protocol) diet. I felt pretty great in the beginning of the diet, but then felt continuously lethargic and kept getting sick and then had a crazy experience last week that I’m still getting over.

It was Wednesday and I had to drive out to my niece’s award ceremony after work, about an hour away. Let me just say that the entire situation was identical to me talking myself into moderating my drinking- or giving myself an excuse to relapse.

I thought I would skip dinner after the ceremony- or just bring my own food. OR, worse case scenario, I would eat restaurant food but keep it healthy with low fat protein and veggies.

The whole week was busy. I had to drive the same niece and her boyfriend to the airport after work on Monday, then had to drive far again on Wednesday, plus I hadn’t been feeling well so I was dreading the chaos. I didn’t do as much meal prepping on the weekend as I should have so my meals were lame. By Tuesday night I wasn’t so stressed about packing a ton of food for Wednesday and had pretty much decided that I’d just eat at the restaurant (thank you, addictive voice).

Only problem is, we ended up at a bar/restaurant and the menu basically had bar food, plus salads, which I was 1000% NOT in the mood for.

I chose a cheeseburger and onion rings. So I had gluten (only ate half of everything), dairy, sugar (in the ketchup, and probably everywhere else), and probably a ton of other chemicals/antibiotics/etc.

I felt fine there and I felt fine after I got home. I put my leftovers in the fridge thinking maybe I’d eat them for lunch the next day.

I hate to admit this, but part of me was scared of not reacting.

What if this is all for nothing?

What if I’m just making myself worse?

Does abstaining from these things really matter?

It was a long day and soon after getting home I was absent mindedly zoning on my couch. After a little bit, my back started hurting. The chairs at the ceremony, and the restaurant weren’t very comfortable, so I assumed when I went to bed and stretched out, it would feel better.

Only it just got worse. By the time I laid down for bed, I had a cramping like pain in my upper right shoulder and it hurt to take deep breaths. It reminded me of when I got pleural effusion and I wondered if maybe for me, pleural effusion was a result of an RA flair and maybe this food made it flair again.

All I can say is that it was pretty awful!! I was in agony for a bit, ended up taking Motrin and finally going to sleep. The next day was also pretty bad, but the Motrin seemed to help. I had to give a student our state’s standardized test the following morning. Usually testing students is super easy, but not when you’re in agony. My breathing was okay, I just felt so exhausted that I couldn’t wait for him to finish so I could lay in the back of my room and take a nap. And I did, a nap so deep that for a moment I woke up wondering if I overslept.

I can’t say for sure that it was that meal that caused it, but I can tell you that the rest of that meal went straight into the trash! I had reached out to other AIP peeps and got lots of suggestions that it might be a gallbladder attack from all the fat. I guess my worries of this diet being all for nothing is null.

Each day my back/breathing pain has gotten better, but last week was a rough one. I’ve been eating healthy since.

I finally started working out again yesterday, with just a short walk. I got up early before work today and ran for 30 mins (2 min run/1 min walk). Its been a few weeks, so it feels SOOOOOO good to get back on my machines! I hope my energy doesn’t disappear again- that really stunk!

When I was home sick last week I signed up for a half marathon, so I do have a little flame under my bum. Although its not until April 2023, so I have plenty of time. It’s at my favorite local park, so I am VERY excited!

Alright, I think that’s it. Now let’s all have a great week!!

My AIP Life on the Couch

It’s been an odd week.

On Sunday, I picked my youngest up from an overnight birthday party at noon. The mom, a good friend of mine, warned me that he might need a nap that day.

On the way home he told me his whole body was sore from playing Ghosts in the Graveyard. I am truly sorry if you don’t know what this is, it’s a staple of my entire childhood and I feel immense joy whenever kids these days get to enjoy it.

He crashed right when we got home and didn’t wake up until 7pm that night when we got him up to eat. He had the body aches/chills/etc and it was apparent that this was more than just exhaustion.

He stayed home on Monday, while I got ready and drove to work.

It was a weird morning. I had to cover another teacher’s class for a few minutes because her son was sick and she had to wait for her mom to come and babysit. She got there earlier than planned and I was able to see my first group for almost the entire time.

The next session was fine, but I got suddenly sick during the following group. I hung around for a bit- thinking it would pass– but it did not. I left and all I could think of driving home was how badly I wanted to go to sleep. And I did. And now it’s Wednesday, and I’m still on the couch achy and exhausted.

The weird thing is that since I got diagnosed with RA, I rarely get sick or catch bugs that are going around. Even working in a school, where it’s so common to get sick every fall with every new germ- that was never me.

Maybe my immune system was too busy being in overdrive? Maybe as my gut heals, my immune system will level out a bit and while it sucks to get sick, maybe just maybe this could be a good sign?

I’m feeling lots of hope with this. Feeling anything but hope cannot be an option. I have to keep my mental thoughts high- or else I know this won’t work for me.

So, yay!!! It’s working!!! Now if I could just get off this couch 😉

Day 1131 & My AIP Life

This coming week will be week 4 of being on the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet.

On one hand, I can’t believe that I haven’t had caffeine & sugar, and gluten & dairy for this long. On the other hand, I can’t believe I’m not really feeling any different 😬 I would have thought that I’d feel amazing by now.

I keep telling myself that my gut’s been leaky since at least 2013/2014 & that it’s just going to take time to heal.

On the flip side, I’m eating some super delicious foods. I think my tastebuds have changed and I highly enjoy the most simple things like chicken soup.

Eating meat has been fine. I’d still rather have beans. But health comes first.

I think my favorite thing in the world is fresh spinach leaves. I eat them with everything & in smoothies. I love to steam the leaves with cauliflower rice & coconut amino/ginger seasoning. But really, they’re good with everything, and delicious hot or cold.

My workouts these past few weeks have been few & far between. I’m spending a ton more time in the kitchen preparing meals. Also, since I love sweets, I usually spend hours on the weekend making AIP approved goodies. I know that if I don’t have them on hand, I’ll end up cheating, so it’s mandatory.

I’m not hating my time in the kitchen. It feels good to cook & eat fresh & I’m loving all the produce on display.

It’s easy to see now, how my struggle and subsequent abstinence of alcohol has helped me with this diet (Geez I hate that word, protocol, instead maybe?). The alcohol journey has taught me to be more receptive and respectful to my body when examining how things make me feel. No more dragging myself through horse shit- that ship has sailed.

So it helps to be honest with myself and that’s a big part of what I’ve learned.

So thank you, alcohol journey. You truly are the gift that keeps giving.

Death will be the Life of Me

Death is a trigger for me, and I’m not really sure why.

I only say this because of how impacted I’ve been, my entire life, by deaths of even people I don’t know.

I don’t know why death is such a huge thing for me. I had a safe childhood and didn’t lose anyone close to me until I was an adult.

The only significant event happened when I was about 5. My mom’s brother Bob died of cancer at age 21, back when I was a toddler. My mom had a picture of him in his casket. When we came across it, the subject of death came up. She told me that everyone dies at some point.

This was so upsetting to me, that it’s still a strong memory from my childhood.

I had a friend, Jonathon P, pass away at the end of our 8th grade year. He was more of an acquaintance to me, but we were in the same friend group. While his passing was a shock, it was due to a chronic illness, something I had no clue about beforehand. I remember being sad & confused, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The next death affected me for many years. A good friend of my sister’s lost her husband in a car accident. He was a teacher and going to meet with his principal on Martin Luther King Day, when the rest of the school was closed. His car hit black ice and slammed into a tow truck, dying instantly. He left behind a wife, young son and a six month old baby girl.

How could this happen? I looked up to this couple so much, they both had it all, and having just gotten married, I aspired to be like them.

At the time, my husband was driving almost an hour to and from work. We often talked on his drive home, and I always had a fear in the back of my mind- he could crash while we were talking. I can’t say this fear had a huge impact, but it was there.

I’m happy to report that this friend ended up finding another partner a few years later, had a third child and has a very happy life right now and has had for a long time because this happened about 20 years ago.

One thing I’m realizing, is that death has been an issue with a big impact even long before 2014- MY year of loss and deaths.

But why?

Why do certain deaths affect me so much more than others?

What makes one death so much more awful and heavy than the others?

Why do some news stories, like that poor teen who died on the ride in Orlando recently, make me cry like I saw it myself, or like I know the family?

And all the others, like Jack & Kathy, who I wrote about, and thought about for months.

I think this “death fear” inside me is prohibiting my body’s healing.

When I went to my 1st Reiki class in October, I declared that my body was going to heal itself! I proclaimed it to all, and talked to the teacher about purging trauma- even trauma from a past life. And in doing this exact thing, I became obsessed with the Kathy and Jack murder, right in the midst of doing wall sits on my lunch (wall sits help purge trauma, my teacher said..).

Since then, death keeps coming up and up.

I think that I really need to work on this… I need to change my perspective. Death isn’t final, I know that, but that’s not what bugs me.

People losing people bothers me. Yeah, death isn’t final, but if I ever lose a kid and you say that to me, you can expect to get punched in the face.

Death is final, and it’s sad. The books that I study say otherwise. It’s just an illusion, it’s not even real- they say.

Okay, I want to be more awakened, but seriously. If I lost an immediate family member, no amount of knowledge or beliefs is going to make me not miss them any less, or be less angry or sad over circumstances.

So how do I keep death out of my living life? I mean, all year long now I’ve been affected by the deaths of people I don’t even know.

So why does this matter? I’m trying to heal my inflammation and have the belief that illness is a manifestation of suppressed feelings and emotions. I’ve been on the autoimmune protocol diet for a few weeks, with little relief to my inflammation. Physical therapy, nor my weekly injection seem to bring much relief, if any.

All this death stuff came out after I declared my intention of helping my body heal itself. I have to believe that it’s somehow connected.

Writing this out has helped a bit. Now it’s time to ponder. Any words of advice is appreciated ❤️

Physical Pain, Mental Pain, is it all the Same?

It’s a sunny but chilly Saturday morning, here in the northern state of Michigan. There was a dusting of snow on the deck when I woke up, yuck. It’s April and we are all ready for the weather to break.

For my 45th birthday a few weeks ago, my family got me tickets to something called Bovine Therapy. They’re all coming too and we will have an hour to snuggle with cows! I’m really excited for this, but do wish it was going to be a little warmer today, the high is only 40.

My recent posts have been a lot about the AIP diet I’m on, or trying to be on. I figured I’d update and want to write about a big “A-Ha” moment I had yesterday.

The entire week was an AIP success, in my eyes at least. For the past several days, I’ve steered clear of gluten, caffeine, sugar, nuts, beans and legumes, rice, seeds, nightshades and a few other things. Caffeine and sugar are the big ones for me to give up- I have an addiction.

The first time I cheated was yesterday. It started with lunch. I had Panera and had peppers in my soup and parmesan cheese in my salad. Last night I had a Larabar (all natural ingredients but has cocoa and nuts), an oatmeal cream pie and 3 little Easter chocolate eggs.

My pain had been noticeably decreased the past few days, so I wondered if I would wake up today in more pain, but my hand is still about the same. I didn’t take pain meds upon awakening, that’s good for me. While I’m happy this “binge” didn’t seem to affect me, I’m eager to get back on track today. Additionally, I have been picking up ingredients here and there all week so I plan to make some yummy meals and sweet treats this weekend.

Nothing feels as good as eating an AIP compliant meal or dessert that I find absolutely delicious. I haven’t found a ton, yet, but feel like I’m adapting recipes to fit my liking and this is becoming easier the more I learn and practice. I was stoked to make a chicken and cauliflower rice dish with coconut aminos and ginger seasoning that tasted just like a yummy Asian dish. I had never cooked with spices like that before and was over the moon excited. I eyeballed the spices and when I made it again a few days later, I put WAY too much ginger. It was strong and not great, but you live and learn, right?

Ok, so back to my epiphany.

First, I feel that it’s important to say that for awhile now, I have a belief that the illnesses/sicknesses we have in our body is a direct result of suppressed emotions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my inflamed hand and scratched my head until it was raw because I can’t figure out what I’m holding onto.

As I cut out sugar this week, I felt like I was looking at it like I look at alcohol. No, I shouldn’t have it- it will come with loads of consequences that aren’t really worth the two second taste of it. So CAN I eat it? Yes! Is it worth the consequences? No. This helped me especially when I came across unexpected goodies at work or home.

So, yesterday morning my sister and I were talking on the phone and decided to draw a card from our spiritual deck to give me a message for the day.

The card was called, “Let Go” and talked about letting go of addictions. I told her, “Hey that’s perfect! This means I’m right on track, I AM letting go!” Then I told her about how my thinking had seemed to change and I was able to think about sugar like alcohol.

Then she said something that I have never considered that absolutely blew me away.

“Isn’t it funny, how the very first coping skill, the first addiction, food, is now the thing that you are almost being forced to overcome now?”

My jaw dropped. Food has always been an issue with me, always. I found life hacks to get around this imprisonment, most notably having irreversible bariatric surgery ten years ago.

Immediately after the surgery, I felt a freedom I had never felt before. I no longer had to think about dieting or what I was going to eat- I simply couldn’t eat the things that were killing me, and it was an awesome feeling!

What I didn’t acknowledge is that transfer addiction is real, and I already loved my alcohol a great deal. With the stomach surgery, the alcohol effect is much more severe and it’s common for us to become alcoholics. And I did.

You know the rest.

Geez, everything truly is connected I’m realizing more and more. I think that as I purge caffeine, sugar, etc, I’ll be able to work through any emotional stuff that comes up.

I don’t know why this was so mind blowing to me, typing it out makes it seem really obvious, but it wasn’t. Not to me, anyways.

I mean, I’m working on my diet 100% because of my inflammation and the hope of decreasing and getting off the medication I’m on for RA. I hadn’t considered the mental and emotional effects.

I’m still trying to digest this and figure out what it means. I guess I really need to pay attention to what triggers me to cheat and go from there.

This truly makes me more confident that complete healing is quite attainable if I keep at it.

Namaste ❤

Betsy, Shut Up!

Ahhhhhhhh! Today is the first day of spring break! It’s about 6:30am on Saturday morning and I’m eagerly waiting for next week.

Tomorrow is my oldest’s birthday, he’ll be 19.

Monday is my three year sober anniversary. Three years ago, on my kiddo’s birthday, was the last time I’ve had a sip of alcohol. I haven’t been thinking about it too much, to be honest.

About a month ago, I had a hair analysis done to check my body for toxins and nutrients. I’m trying to figure out how to help this flair in my hand/wrist. It’s been two years! I remember, it first got bad at the start of the pandemic in spring of 2020. I went over the results with the nutritionist, who told me from the beginning that they really don’t do full elimination diets anymore. I was pumped. The first thing I said to her before committing to the test is, “I really have no interest in doing an elimination diet.” I had been there, and it never worked out. I was never consistent or without cheats, and never was successful with it. All it caused was stress and anxiety.

Her recommendations did not make me happy. She wants me to do a detox diet for 14 days and then the autoimmune protocol diet for 30 days.

I’m slowly coming to terms with this. It’s truly what I need to do, if I’m serious about helping myself. The 14 day detox diet is rough. Zero sugar. Not even fruit. Something about “starving the cells.” I believe in it.

So… i’m trying to prepare this weekend. There’s no better time, and it’s not even taking up summer break.

I’ve always wanted to go to a wellness retreat or a rehab facility that encompasses the “whole” person when getting healthy. Meetings, journaling, mediation, yoga, healthy meals, loads of sleep, and self-care up the wazoo! I’m going to try to simulate this experience at my house next week. I want to do all those things and will actually have the time.

The worst part thinking about all this is coming to terms with the fact that I’m going to start eating meat again. It was a heavy decision, and has been slightly haunting me, but I think it’s the only way I’ll be able to do this diet. I know of vegans who do the autoimmune diet, but it’s so incredibly overwhelming to me with all the restrictions, I don’t feel that I can get adequate nutrition with the current knowledge I have on it. I’ll need to cut out beans, legumes, soy, and a lot of vegetarian staples of mine. I hope I don’t start having nightmares about eating my pets.

I feel a little full circle-ish. When I was 37, after I was diagnosed with RA, I first learned and tried an elimination diet. This was the first time in my life that I was forced to look at my alcohol consumption. Heck, now that I think about it, this could have opened the door to my sober curiosity. I wasn’t successful with the diet, or quitting alcohol back then, but it certainly stands out as my first attempt.

This was a couple months before my mom died, and a couple years before I would look at myself as having a drinking problem.

Now it’s been eight years and I’ve successfully quit alcohol. So why on earth does this stupid temporary diet scare me so much? It’s so frustrating!

I feel caught up in the cycle. Betsy has been running my mind since the conversation with the nutritionist, trying to talk me out of it.

I know this is what I need to do. I don’t know why I have so much anxiety about it. I think I’m afraid to fail. Especially after spending a lot of money on the test and now on supplements she’s recommending to heal my gut. If I truly want to get better and maybe even get off my RA meds, I have to give this a shot! I have to change my thinking. This is what Betsy has been saying:

You aren’t going to be able to eat anything.

This is going to be so hard and you’re going to feel like shit.

This won’t help your pain.

You won’t have any energy for your workouts.

You tried this before, what makes you think you can do it now?

You get the point, man she is mean!!

I’ve been trying to put a positive spin on it:

I’m looking forward to pampering myself.

I’m so lucky that I have the whole week off and can focus on starting strong.

I’m looking forward to taking a break of my tough workouts and enjoying some leisurely walks and gentle yoga.

I’m going to feel so much better!

I’m excited for a week of self-care.

If I can quit drinking alcohol, then I can do anything.

There are lots of foods that I can still eat.

It’s not nearly as hard as my brain wants me to believe.

Some things never change, eh? I sort of feel propelled back to 2014. I mean, I know I’ve grown a ton since then, but somehow have reverted to my old self. I think it’s because I’m scared. I have a lot of fears of failing this again.

I’m worthy of eating totally clean.

And best of all, I’m two days away from my three year date! Although I won’t be celebrating with cake, I’ll be celebrating my growth, knowledge and continuously improving health with healthy habits.

I think Monday deserves a little shopping trip! Maybe a fresh spring outfit, and/or make-up and maybe even a mani and/or pedi. IDK what Monday will entail, it’ll depend on my mood and energy that day, but I’ll try to find a way to treat myself. I think that’s so important.

In the meantime, if anyone has any AIP ideas or recipes, please spam me with them! I have books on it but they’re about 10 years old and I’m hoping for some updated recipes.

Namaste ❤

Day #1095


Unblocked and Writing Again

Day #1067

Last week I found my writing pen! I’ve been blocked for several months and haven’t had any good writing sessions since school started. I’ve tried to write, but it hasn’t felt right and no matter what I did book #3 has been plagued with plot holes and changes. This has been much different than books 1 & 2 where my ideas flowed freely.

I started writing my story, Nova, in 2015, but it was a slow go and I can count the number of times I actually sat down and wrote on one hand. I had a short story published in spring of 2020 (in a book of short stories) and that gave me the motivation and drive I needed to get back to my story. And I did.

The summer of 2020 was empty, sad and magical. I remember one scorching day in July. I was out feeling the water in our pool. The kids were all inside on video games, where they’d been the entire summer, it seemed. Normally, our summer would be filled with scout trips, camping and other activities- but everything was cancelled and we were home for months. I felt so, incredibly sad out there alone on that hot day. I listened to the neighborhood and noted the empty silence. Normally, in July, our street was filled with the sounds of kids– or summer. I think I finally heard a lawn mower in the distance, and that helped me feel more normal, but I’ll never forget that moment and the emptiness that accompanied it.

The entire summer was spent home, and I wrote my story nearly every single day, sometimes up to 8-10 hours. My intuition helped me greatly and continues to help me create this enormous project. I learned to majorly trust my gut, which says this will not be one novel– but a trilogy.

At first it was overwhelming, three novels? I’ve never even written one. But I knew the story, like the back of my hand, and how I wanted to tell it. The first book takes place chronologically after the second one. I don’t know why it has to be told like this, I just know it does, and everytime doubt crosses my mind, I choose to trust.

I finished the bare bones of books 1 and 2 in summer of 2020. It was pure magic. Hours would fly by while I wrote and many times the things that the main characters were going through, would happen to me in real life. It was odd, but kind of awesome. Although, as I write book 3 and writing the biggest climax of the book, I’m worried that some of it will happen. Maybe that’s why I’m blocked- who knows.

Back to my writing pen, which I picked up sometime last week. My third book, Supernova, is finally flowing again! I had two different plots written out and couldn’t decide. A third story line came out of nowhere and I think I’ll be able to use it and have decided which plot to connect it to. I liked both of them, and couldn’t choose, but it looks like only one will work with this new story line, so hopefully I can keep moving this forward.

I used to be determined to get this trilogy published, no matter what, because (as I would always say), I didn’t want my music to die inside me (a Wayne Dyer quote). I feel differently two years later. I’d love to finish this project, but there’s no deadline. Maybe I’ll spend the rest of my life working on the bare bones of this story, but who cares? It makes me happy to write it, so I’m just gonna keep writing and hoping that I can continue to access the amazing ideas that my soul comes up with ❤

February is my Comfort Food

Despite a boat load of snow and a blast of arctic air, today is a pretty great day. First of all, it’s Friday and it’s a snow day for all of us (except hubby- who is bummed- but that’s the small price to pay for working from home so I don’t feel bad for him- AND he doesn’t have to drive). Secondly, next week is mid-winter break. Now, this sounds way better than it actually is. For me, mid-winter break is having Monday off. For my kids, it’s having Monday and Tuesday off. Some districts around us have all next week off. I wish we did too, but it all evens out in the end. I’m happily gobbling up my four day weekend!

While February has been a source of comfort these past few years, I’m thinking about my mid-winter break a few years ago. I was in the drinking cycle, and it was a Monday or Tuesday. The kids and I were off, hubby was at work (before Covid he had to drive in). I was cleaning up and feeling bored, so I decided to finish the box of wine I had in the garage. There was only enough for a glass or two, so I thought I would just have that then stop. But I didn’t. There were more like 3 or 4 glasses left, and after it was all gone, I wanted more. I drove to CVS buzzed and bought more. I wondered if the cashier could tell I was lit and felt weird and/or bad buying it. I’m kind of surprised I remember that part.

I came home and you can guess the rest. It was probably like 2:00 or 3:00, and I was passed out in my bed by 6pm. I don’t think I had dinner or anything, but woke back up around 9:00 and felt bummed that I missed/wasted the day. I also felt bad for being passed out drunk when hubby got home, but played it off like it was no big deal. It was a huge deal, for me anyways.

I still think of that day whenever I think of “day drinking.” Fortunately, it’s a horrible memory for me and just those words bring me right back to the loneliness and misery of being in active addiction.

So why is February like comfort food? The very first time I quit drinking was on February 11th. The second time I quit was also in February (I think). The third time was in March, but it’s the same time of year so this late winter/early spring is clumped together in a positive spin.

The wet, frigid air is my hope and newfound happiness. Sort of weird, I know.

The wet, slushy streets remind me of walking off those intense cravings in early sobriety. It was cold, but I felt so alive, such a different feeling than the usual.. numbness.

I remember how it felt good, to feel good.

The rare but mild and sunny days remind me of the treasure that’s waiting in the wings- the lazy and glorious days of summer. The thought of summer without alcohol is as golden as a surprise Friday snow day. This is so strange but real.

To me, February is shedding my skin and making space for the new and wonderful.

When You Change the Way You Look at Things

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” –Wayne Dyer

I just love that quote. I’ve lived that quote.

I would say that ten years ago, my mind was probably like 85% jumpy/on edge/on the defense/general negativity and misery, 10% neutral, and about 5% happiness/joy feelings. I would also say that this was my constant state– regardless of external factors.

Now, I’m trying to think about my mind’s current composure. I would say 10% (I started by saying 5%, but think 10% is probably more fair) misery, 25% joy (MAYBE, 20%), and 65% neutral.

I’ve always been a really good “guesstimator” and think that the above percentages are probably pretty spot on– which is actually amazing.

Two recent, insignificant (to me) things happened that made me realize how much my thinking has changed.

I read a local news story about someone who put a cage of guinea pigs next to a dumpster on a freezing 6 degree day. Someone saw and rescued them. There are eleven and many are pregnant. They found a shelter who will take all of them.

As I read, I felt grateful for the human that saw this atrocity and saved those little souls. I also felt joy when I read that the rescue will take all of them. To me, it was a ‘feel good’ story- until I got to the comment section– which of course was full of rage towards the person who left the pigs out to die. It was eye opening because it made me realize how outraged I would have been if I read this a few years ago. I would have probably cried after reading it and questioned God and humanity.

The next realization involves a really sad local story. Back in October, an 18 year old college student disappeared while at another college visiting friends. Our whole state, probably the entire country, has been on the lookout for the young man.

An untamed river runs through the campus and it’s been long thought that he, like others before him, accidently fell into the unforgiving river. Over the past several months there’s been many searches and efforts to find him, including a petition to dam the river to make it easier to search.

Last week they finally found him, another victim of the Red Cedar.

There was a Facebook page dedicated to finding him. Now the page has become a tribute to his legacy and will be used to help find other missing persons.

I’ve seen so many inspirational posts since they found him. From petitions to put more barriers in unsafe areas to making campuses safer by making sure street lights and security cameras are operable. Sadly, this wasn’t the case in this situation– which left many missing pieces to the puzzle as they searched for the young man.

And remember that school shooting back in November? There is a Go-Fund-Me campaign trying to raise money for support dogs in the Oxford schools as students are phased back into the building. The family of the missing man, the one who they just found deceased, just donated $10,000 to this cause in his honor– because he loved dogs. Now the school has more than they asked for so now they will be able to bring in all the dogs they need.

The man who passed was born on the due date of my first baby, April 1, 2003. My heart aches as I look through the pictures on his tribute page and resonate with nearly every single one. Young parents smiling with a brand new baby, young parents on Mackinac Island with their toddler, pumpkin carving, birthday parties, school trips and then finally– middle-aged parents celebrating the graduation of their first-born and excitedly sending him off to college, never to return home. Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have been able to look past the sadness, the tragedy of it all– especially since it was so relatable to me.

Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change. Truth.

Real life examples are powerful and I felt this was worth sharing.

I also want to share something else that I’m really excited about. You know I’ve been on a mission recently to aid my body in getting rid of the autoimmune diseases I was diagnosed with in 2014– rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.

Way back then, I found a group that aids in helping you heal your autoimmune conditions naturally. You see, there’s a huge downside when working with doctors in America. I knew this back in 2014 when I asked my rheumatologist if changing my diet would help at all.

“Some of my patients have had success cutting out sugar.” Was her response.

By then, I had started learning about food sensitivities, gut health and the connection to autoimmune conditions. I didn’t understand why this specialist didn’t know about this connection and jumped right to medication. Medication that, mind you, I would have to take for the rest of my life for my chronic illness.

I wished she knew about gut health and remission, and food sensitivities and physical therapy.

I’ve had a complicated relationship with my rheumy. She’s good for some things, but not for others. When I had a bad foot- she sent me for an MRI and to see a podiatrist. I had the MRI and while the foot specialist studied it, he didn’t even look at my actual foot. He sent me home with an immobilizing boot– which would eventually cause my ankle to be weak and put in right into a flare. I stopped using the boot, but the pain and swelling just lingered.

I put up the bad foot and ankle for about a year until I had an idea. Seeing what the physical therapist at my school does, I thought maybe physical therapy would be good for my ankle/foot problems.

I had a visit with my rheumy coming up and she gave me a prescription for physical therapy without hesitating.

The physical therapist blew me away. What the doctors don’t seem to understand is that the systems, cells and tissues are all connected. One bad part, affects more and more parts and it can be like a chain reaction. Years of walking on a bad ankle affected muscles throughout my entire body. The PT helped me make all these muscles stronger and helped heal my foot. Additionally, she told me that after it was better, she could help me come up with a routine that helps keep all my joints fluid and in-order.

So why the hell don’t the doctors recommend this for everyone who has rheumatoid arthritis?? And why did I have to ask? Thank goodness I work at a school and even knew to ask!

I’ve also been dealing with a hand/wrist flare since the birth of Covid (not kidding and at first I thought I caught Covid and it was manifesting symptoms in my hand/wrist- I still wonder sometimes). It’s been on and off, but even on the best of days my wrist is super weak, and again, not using it was beginning to affect other muscles in my body.

At my last rhuemy visit I asked for physical therapy for my wrist/hand. Again, she gave it to me without hesitation. I put it off due to life stress, but recently started going. In just two weeks, I’ve gotten so much relief in my hand and wrist! When I started a couple weeks ago, my fingers were stiff and wanted to stay in the closed position- the start of classic RA hands. I hate to think of how they worse they would have been if I hadn’t started PT.

The physical therapy is blowing me away. And again, why do I have to ask for this- and what about the people who just don’t know??? All my rheumy offered me is a steroid injection into my hand– and swore it would help tremendously.

I saw an old man rheumy while I waited the three months to see her, this was back in 2014. HE gave me a steriod injection in my hand to help cure my “sausage finger.” Not only did it take forever, and hurt like hell, it didn’t even really help the pain and swelling. The last thing I wanted was that again!

Back in November I tried stopping my weekly injectable poison (to help with RA symptoms) and feel that my hand/wrist got worse, so after a few weeks I started it again. So I’ve had this mental debate since then going on about how the heck am I going to get back my health and get off this. I knew an elimination diet was probably my best bet but I don’t want to do that right now. I’ve been thinking alot about cutting out gluten, dairy and sugar but haven’t made the plunge yet.

Back to that natural group that I found in 2014. The admin, Karen, who I’ve messaged throughout the years and have gotten good advice about diet and natural treatments, is someone who I greatly respect. She is a big advocator for the elimination diet though, so I haven’t reached out recently.

On a whim, I decided to finally do a hair test with her. I’ve seen her talk about this for years and have been so intrigued. I used to think it (health- good choices- etc) would only be helpful if I did the diet and went “all-in” but realized that baby steps might be alright.

First of all, when I told her that I wouldn’t do the diet, her response surprised me. She said it’s very restrictive and they’ve now found that it’s usually just 2-3 big triggers that cause the disease- so it’s okay. That was huge for me to hear 🙂

I won’t have results for a couple of weeks, but am so excited to learn more about my body in a scientific type of way. The tests include info about hormones, adrenals and gut health. She will consult with me and help me get out of this diseased state and hopefully off that damn injection– which isn’t just poison- it stings!

I will be writing about my experience with this and hope you join me on this adventure. In the next couple of weeks while I wait for results, I’m going to keep up the PT and work on my diet. I had a bad month of much overeating and gained ten pounds. I’ve been much more conscientious about my food and have been doing better this week- and feeling better too.

I will be ecstatic if I can have a body without flares and painful and poisonous jabs.

Day #1037

Day 974 – Thanksgiving 2021

Happy Thanksgiving fellow Americans!

It took me over 44 years, but I think I finally get it.

I’m not stressed about the time.

I’m not stressed about the food.

I’m not stressed about the gathering, or gatherings.

I’m not stressed about the drama and other things I can’t control.

This year is different.

I put up a grateful tree (we didn’t put up a tree at all last year, so putting one up for Thanksgiving is huge) and we spent the month making grateful bulbs.

I’m looking forward to family.

I’m looking forward to good food.

Last year I wasn’t stressed much either. I stayed home all by myself. I hiked with my dog. I practiced much self-care and sponsored a turkey named Jackie. I wasn’t strong enough to combat certain situations within the family, and so I stayed.

This year has been a big turning point and I don’t feel the need to ignore the holidays, and for that I am so grateful.

Today we will celebrate with my dad and his fiance. I will see all my siblings (hopefully) except Angie in Florida. I don’t have to bring a lot and I’m excited to start baking in a little while. My youngest sister had a baby in September, and I finally get to meet her today!

We’ll miss dinner at my mother and father-in-laws, but will probably stop there for a little while after my dad’s house.

I’m not sure why this day ever stressed me out so much to begin with?

Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours ❤

P.S. I’m still obsessed with the Kathy Radtke and Jack Keyes murder. I’ve only told like two people, but thinking I should tell my hubby. I know I’m going to cry telling him. I don’t want to cry about it to him and I don’t want to make him worry, but I feel like I’m hiding something from him. It’s weird!