Last night, burritoed in a blanket, I sat on the back porch reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
With every sip of my golden milk turmeric concoction, I sniffled in a loud snort and turned a page…literally and figuratively. I am on day four of head cold, which came immediately at the end of an irrationally long lady-cycle, which was immediately preceded by a four-day long violent bubonic rapture, formerly known as a full-body flu.
Over the past few days, while I sniffled up my runny nose and poked at slices of habañero and serrano peppers floating in broth as a remedy to drown my congestion, I’ve had a lot of time to think and have a come-to-Jesus-talk with myself. For much of my life I’ve been pretty bad at following through with major life-changing things, but always have a good heart, strong intent, and a big imagination and visualization. The past couple years I’ve taken it one slow step at a time to fix myself in a place mentally where I can succeed in a strong go, but something always gets in the way.
Reading that book last night, I thought that the dramatic principles of tidying could easily apply to life. Declutter it all. Hold each item and feel it. If it sparks joy, keep it. If it doesn’t, thank it for it’s use and discard it. Do not put anything away or tidy it until you discard all of the things that are no longer useful to you. Once your life is tidy, everything falls in place and nothing but joy is left. You will have more order and clarity.
My body has been a mess, and I think it’s a sign of something more than just age and weight, although tackling the latter will help significantly. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while to get myself on track and rally in support. Cheering squads are significantly helpful to those who have a hard time staying on track.
I want to write all the things broken in my body that I want to heal, and take you along on this pilgrimage with me. (I hate the word “journey” as much as I can’t fathom why people dip baby carrots in hummus…seriously people…just no.) I’m here, humbling myself, admitting I have weakness and need support. I’m a strong woman with a decent set of gnads, but some things are more easily accomplished with a cheering section.
Before I list what I want to heal, I want to emphasize that admitting that my body is physically tired and in need of some TLC has nothing to do with body acceptance. The Complete 360 post I wrote back in December still stands true – you can live your life at any weight, and have a happy, successful life that is suited to you. Body acceptance doesn’t mean you don’t make changes and always look for ways to progress. It means you love yourself at all stages, no matter where you are. We’re always moving, progressing, falling, dusting off, taking steps back, losing our keys, running out of gas, and filling up again. Life is so dynamic and we need to be gummy with it and know your self, divine, and universal worth at all times.
This morning I told my friend Blair that I’ve been intensely thinking on all these things I want to accomplish, but how I’ve never really followed through with all my passion to get there. She asked what my goals and desires are. Immediately, the number one thing that came to my mind was to heal my body. I think this is the most important step before I can move forward successfully with anything else. Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Even before your husband and children.
This will serve as a starting point, and as I move forward, I will explore each of these more, and expand out to other themes that interest me. I’ve read a lot and have implemented some things to help treat, but this will be my journal. I approach this list knowing that weight loss is a key component in healing all of these, but I want to think of this in terms of healing rather than stressing over every tenth of a pound I lose.
Things I Want to Heal in My Body
- Spine. In December, I had shooting pain so bad that I thought a rib had broken and was stabbing all parts of my body. I was hunched over, crying a lot, could barely do daily things like personal hygiene. It culminated to a day at work when I couldn’t walk myself out of the bathroom, and security wheeled me out of the office building in a wheelchair. The pain was so intense that I remember my coworker telling security it looked like I was going to pass out. Shots, drugs, physical therapy. In January I had an MRI of my thoracic spine, and we found that in my thoracic spine alone, I have six herniated discs and one extremely bulging disc at T9/10 (the one that caused me the pain), with a degeneration/narrowing of the nerve passageways in my vertebrae.
- Menstrual Cycles. I want to be a fertile Myrtle. Since my first cycle on Valentines day in 7th grade, I’ve had irregular cycles. A few years ago I had a new cycle every 6-8 weeks and it was so normal for me that I wanted to throw a party to celebrate. In my late teens/early 20s, I took birth control to regulate, but I’m not willing to be on that regular hormone treatment as it does more harm than good in the long run. I’ve always thought I had PCOS (more prominent facial hair, among other symptoms), but my last yearly exam with a new OBGYN told me that people often misdiagnose PCOS, and more often than not it isn’t the real cause. In me, I don’t have any cysts rupturing, according to my OBGYN. There are two hormones responsible for your periods. One is communicating just fine between my brain and uterus/ovaries. But the progesterone…that darn progesterone isn’t picking up the phone, and that is why I don’t have a cycle regularly.
- Sleep Apnea. In October 2013, I began noticing irregular heart beats out of the blue. I had no idea what it was and it was very concerning. Stress tests, holter monitors, and a visit with a cardiologist and I found I have PVCs. In July 2014, I started noticing severe anxiety feelings while trying to sleep. A year later in July 2015, I had a sleep test and found I have light sleep apnea. The following month I started sleeping with a CPAP machine. It took a couple months, but I can now feel the huge difference when I wake up and when I sleep. My PVCs are mostly gone. While the CPAP is helpful, I don’t want to be a slave to it. My sleep doc said mine isn’t permanent, and with weight loss I can rid of it.
- PVCs, or premature ventricular contractions. While these have significantly diminished with sleeping with a CPAP, they still occur sometimes. I can pinpoint when I started noticing them, and can link it to what the cardiologist said – likely a magnesium deficiency. They’re not fatal or dangerous, but they’re a real pain in the arse when you’re trying to exercise or sleep.
- Tooth Sensitivity. A year ago I had a cavity filled in a molar in my back upper left tooth. I had to have it refilled with medication because it was so sensitive. I still battled sensitivity after that, and was recommended to see a root canal specialist. Of course, he wanted to perform the root canal then and there. My tooth is alive, xrays show nothing, and I wasn’t willing to just do it. (This is what led me to trying chiropractic and acupuncture for the first time.) My sensitivity has gone down a lot, but I want to start regrowing the dentin and enamel more to build stronger teeth.
- Costochondritis. A year ago I started having some more intense pain in my chest, but it’s not a heart issue. Saw my physical therapist (my old boss) and found I have inflammation in the cartilage in my front rib cage. This proved completely true as physical therapy exercises helped the pain, and monitoring foods alleviated it, also.
- Rosacea, Acne. I have never seen a dermatologist or been diagnosed with rosacea, but my face is significantly redder than my neck or chest. It started around the time I got a terrible sunburn when I went to Mexico when I was 17, although it bronzed after. My freshman year of college, I was a slave to tanning beds (why was that ever a trend?), and that couldn’t contributed. I’ve never had terrible acne, but I always have blemishes, redness, and little bumps here and there, enough to feel like my skin is in puberty and not in its 30s.
- Eczema, Vitamin Deficiencies. I’ve had eczema on my lower legs since I moved to Utah. I’m terrible at drinking water, which is also why I figure my lips are very dry (although never peeling). My nails frequently break or flake.
- Varicose Veins. Perhaps it’s more cosmetic, but on me they can occasionally be really tender. I only have them in my calves.
- Build My Immune System. I’m convinced that most colds, flus, and bugs can be avoided by preventative medicine.
I hope you’ll follow along as I work on healing my body and finding more joy in this life.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 1:2)