It has taken me a long time to shake off the socialization of my first 3 decades of life and begin to keep commitments to myself. Until my forties (and still it is a struggle), I put others first. Before I ate, I fed my family. Before I had time to read or relax, I made sure the laundry was whirring and the fridge was stocked. Now that I have fewer demands on my time from children, I can still find myself taking care of friends, or parents or co-workers’ needs before my own.
My bout of hives and subsequent journey to reclaim my health and vigor resulted in one aha! new experience: I am keeping lots of different commitments to myself.
I am resting more. I am doing less. I am seeking out professional help from a nutritionist and acupuncturist. I am shopping at the Sacramento Food Coop and cooking at home. I am making my lunch to take to work. These are all things that in the past I would have made different choices around and justified it by placing greater value on other people’s needs.
It also gave me permission to eat what I wanted and drink lots of diet coke to stay awake. Now I drink alkaline water by the quart. I am imbibing in kombucha instead of soda. It is a huge change. And I’ve kept it up for 6 weeks.
My resolve is reinforced by hives that recur anytime I try to reintroduce food like eggs, soy, or cheese. I am still eating on the elimination diet and it’s become relatively easy and has many side benefits, including weight loss (about 10 pounds so far).
My hives reoccur less often. My morning body pain a 5 or 6 instead of a 7 or 8. It is not a miracle cure. Last week when sciatica nearly crushed me, I added in acupuncture. My practitioner did her evaluation and just about everything is wrong with me. As a result, I will be going for treatments twice a week for at least 8 weeks, and then it will taper off gradually.
Natalie, my nutritionist, is amazingly supportive and continue to find new things for me to try. Her latest suggestion is to give my tummy a rest for 12 hours each night by not eating or drinking anything except water from the last minute I finish dinner until breakfast 12 hours later.
Brie, my massage therapist, is a huge supporter of my new choices. She is teaching me that short term pain will pay dividends in the long run. I can remember when massage was mainly relaxing and the main challenge to getting up from a chair was a cat in my lap. My goal is to return to that status while maintaining the healthier lifestyle.
Leadership takes a lot of energy and mine is taking an uptick thanks to all of the ways I am taking care of myself. I am soaking my feet in an herbal concoction as I write this. Unlike other journeys I have taken, I don’t know how long this one will be or when I will have reached the end. Stay tuned.