Sunday, May 6, 2012



So this is the post wherein I get a bit honest. 

I've been alluding to the fact that we had a pretty tough Winter-- though only those closest to us or who live in our town would know why. It wasn't really that I was tip-toeing around the subject. It is just in my nature to hold my privacy as sacred; to be cryptic on a public forum such as this.

But. Privacy can be limiting. Privacy can mean closing yourself off. And what I know to be true is that vulnerability is important to growth.

(And probably less than 10 people read this blog, so it is not exactly like I am Oprah Winfrey baring her soul.)

So, okay: I have candida.

(Holy shit, that was really hard to write. I purposely stalled for a half hour, and have done a load of whites in the laundry in the interim. )

It's an ailment that is not well known to a lot of people, even though we all have candida albicans living in our GI tracts. Rather than me explaining what it is, I recommend that you google it if you're curious-- but maybe look on a site that is less WikipeidaMedHealth-esque, and something a bit more holistically minded.

Symptoms vary from person to person, but for me, it happened like this: Hmm, that's funny.. my eyes are really swollen and dry in the mornings. Must be the Yukon dry climate. Hey, my eczema is really bad lately. I haven't had this nonsense since I was hormonal teenager. Wow, my face is red + hot like I have a perma-sunburn. Itch. Itch. Rash. Spreading! 
Without getting into too much gore, at the height of my predicament, I was averaging about 3 hours of sleep a night, would cry at the drop of a hat, suddenly lost 15lbs, in addition the the fact that 80% of my skin was an angry, raging divorced woman recently scorned by her cheating pot-bellied lover. (Metaphors help when I feel uncomfortable.)
I went to doctors who plied me with cortisone creams and made me swallow steroids. These made me worse. I listened as dermatologists advised me that perhaps I should think about moving away from this Northern climate. I knew the cold air had little to do with it. I told them my suspicions. They told me it couldn't be candida because I would be in the hospital if this was so.
Here are the mistakes I made:

I didn't listen to my gut for too long. I didn't reach out to a naturopath soon enough. 

Eight months later (has it been that long? Jesus.) I have a wicked naturopath who was one of the first people to tell me that I would be okay, that we would solve this together, that he was sorry that I had gone through this. COMPASSION? OPTIMISM? Are you kidding me, stark contrast to most of the Western Medical Corporation?

I have a long road ahead of me to total recovery, and an even longer list of foods that are currently barred and double-starred from my diet. But the overwhelming feeling I have today is gratitude. Gratitude that this dis-ease happened to me, gratitude that in it's perfect, intelligent way, my body was trying to tell me that I have things to work on, gratitude that it has opened up a world of whole foods, ingredients that I can pronounce, the knowledge that refined sugar is the Devil, that I can eat and cook and bake in a way that is not contributing to a weakening of myself.

And guess what? 
I'm sleeping soundly through the night again. These days when I cry, it's because a book has made me sad. I feel strong and powerful in my mind and my heart. The physical stuff is coming, slower, but it is. I'm currently writing this with a cold can of coconut water pressed to my face (ohhhhh it's so soothing and cooling---) but I am less likely to balk at the thought of shorts and t-shirts this summer.

Goals for health this magnificent summer:
1) Start the day with a mug of hot water and lemon to alkalize.
2) Chew my food.
3) Kale, apples, mint, cilantro, cucumber. Blend. Daily.
4) Ride my bike everyday.
5) Learn how to meditate.
6) Look into oil pulling.
7) Continue eating organic vegetables, hormone-free meat, no processed anything.

Thanks for reading this long post. If you're intrigued by what I've said, continue reading this excerpt from the blog of Jessica Ainscough, who healed herself from a rare form of cancer. It was a long journey to get me from a "Woe is me" mentality to this way of thinking about my dis-ease, but I am grateful it happened. I really think it has changed my life for the better.

1. Illness is a crystal clear message from your body. It is not your body’s way of punishing you! It’s simply trying to tell you something. If you’ve recognised an illness, this means that you are able to hear its message.
2. It gives us a great excuse to indulge in down time and put ourselves first. We shouldn’t need an excuse to do this, but I will admit that pre-cancer I never would have been able to justify slowing down or taking the day off work just because my body felt like it. Even with a whopping hangover I would drag myself into the office. These days, if my body needs down time, then that is exactly what I give it. No need for justification. No guilt. No regrets.
3. Illness is a reminder to always put your wellbeing ahead of anything else. If you’re not sick, it is so easy to get caught up in superficial achievements, goal-hitting, and daily drama. Whenever I look at the scars on my arm, I am reminded to check in with how my body is feeling and adjust my to-do list accordingly.
4. It allows you to see the bigger picture. Small, petty drama just doesn’t matter the way it used to, and that is incredibly liberating.
5. Deep wisdom is born from adversity like illness. I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a ditz at times, but ever since taking the fate of my future into my own hands, I’ve developed a deep sense of wisdom and universal understanding that I never would have otherwise.
6. Recovering from illness takes self-acceptance to the next level. You can’t truly heal until you’ve learnt to love yourself, and treat yourself with love and respect every day. Those days of looking in the mirror and focusing on my flaws are well and truly behind me.
7. Having your life threatened (or even debilitated) is the best motivation to live your best life. It’s easy to take life for granted when you’re well, but when you’ve faced an illness, you’re given a big kick up the bottom to stop being lazy and complacent and start living a life that you will be beyond happy with when it comes time to leave this world.


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  2. Weird... I don't know why comments are being removed! Try again?

  3. I know you don't write only for the comments, but I feel obliged to write back to you. There is such a refreshing and lively perspective on health here. I love not only the cautious yet lively tone, but also the deeply felt sense that there is a wealth of knowledge about health swimming all around you - and suddenly you are the dolphin: playfully and masterfully navigating your way. Nice post.