Six months ago, I reached a breaking point in my health. Over the past four years, I spent more time in the hospital then out. My asthma had reached an all time out of control high. I was taking as much medication as I possibly could. I traveled to Denver, Colorado to subject myself to 10 days of intense testing at National Jewish Hospital (ranked number one in the country for respiratory illness). I was experiencing an endless amount of side effects (including but certainly not limited to gaining 100 pounds in 3 years). And there was nothing I could do about it. Every doctor and clinic and hospital said the same thing - I have a very complicated and severe case of asthma. (You can read more of the story in older posts - it's quite the adventure!)
I finally had a heart to heart conversation with my pulmonologist (a wonderful woman who has become almost a part of the family) and asked her, "Is this it?" She got quiet. . . then said, "I'm sorry. This is it."
For about a week, I wallowed. I was angry. I was sad. I was mad. I was frustrated. I gave up. I had a pity party . . . then I woke up. I may be a lot of things but I am not a quitter. That answer was not good enough for me. I may have to deal with this chronic illness all my life and may have to go to the hospital each year for a bronchitis that goes bad fast but I would not sit around and accept the news that there was nothing else I could do for my health - I'm only 30 years old, have two beautiful young kids and the most amazing husband ever.
I started doing some research on an anti-inflammatory diet. What I found was that by eliminating sugar and white flour and keeping a steady amount of calories each day, I could create a stability in my body that has no stability at all. My mom also shared bits of knowledge she learned years ago in a Christian based program called Prism. She was going to restart the program herself and offered to be a running mate and accountability partner. I combined the information and jumped on this band wagon with vigor. I finally had hope and a bit of control over my health that has been so hopeless and out of control for so long.
I'm not gonna lie - it was hard to change how I ate. I had to write down every bite to ensure I was staying within the same amount of calories every day. I had become so apathetic about what I ate as everything else was so complicated and frustrating - who really cared at the end of the day if I ate french fries or ice cream. Now all of a sudden, I cared. Day by day, I was noticing a change. And then the benefits started showing . . . I started feeling better, I was able to taper some of my medication, I was losing weight, I had energy, I was able to move more, and I still had hope.
I'm not done with this yet . . . but six months in, I am not having a pity party anymore but a victory party.
In six months time, I have tapered prednisone from 60mg to 11mg . . . if you don't know about prednisone, it is the best/worst drug there is. It is the only drug that controls asthma (along with many other inflammatory diseases) but slowly destroys your body. Because of the long term use, I already have osteopenia (the beginning stages of osteoporosis), I have to have my eyes checked every 6 months because I am at high risk for cataract, and I have to take a handful of other medications to treat the terrible side effects this drug causes. I have never before been able to taper this low, this quickly and this successfully. VICTORY
In six months time, I have lost 50 pounds . . . let me say that again. 50 pounds!!! And I have not been able to exercise that much. It's 50 pounds from focusing on what I'm eating and how many calories I eat each day. It's not militant eating but diligent eating. VICTORY
In six months time, I have more energy. Six months ago, I was unable to walk up the stairs without getting winded. It was a chicken vs egg scenario. I was out of breath from asthma and gaining so much weight which came from the drugs to control the asthma. Now, not only can I successfully walk up the stairs without giving it a second thought, I can take multiple trips up and down with laundry baskets. VICTORY
In six months time, I am getting myself back. I'm not talking about size (although it is fabulous and fun to lower my jean size every month . . . ) I'm talking about my zeal for life. I'm talking about desire to go and do something. And other people are starting to notice. I've been given some very nice compliments on the weight loss which is wonderful and much appreciated but the best compliments have come from people who have said, "Your eyes have a sparkle in them again." VICTORY
I'm not delusional to think that this asthmatic monkey is fully off my back for good (he's not) or that I'll never have terrible flare ups with hospital stays (I will) or that I've done this all by my self (only through God's grace) . . . but I am thrilled to be able to chase my kids in the cul de sac while waiting for the bus and park far away from the grocery store and wake up in the morning excited for what the day will bring instead of dreading one more day . . .
I've been taking pictures each month to show my progress (someday I'll get brave enough to post them) and they are ridiculously inspiring but as a close friend said, "These are incredible and unbelievable - I just wish there were pictures of how bad you felt to compare with now." God is so good . . . and through Him, anything is possible . . . even a VICTORY party!