Like many of you, in my younger years I was blessed with a faster metabolism (which I took for granted), a less stressful and less full lifestyle, which left me with more time to focus on exercise, and less concern about how my food choices would affect my long term health. As newlyweds, my husband, Mark, and I, enjoyed spending time together while staying active & fit; walking, running, mountain biking, cardio kickboxing, you name it. If we were active together, we were happy.
As the years crept by, and we began adding to our little family, we began devoting more & more time to our children & less & less time to staying fit. As more beautiful children began to fill our lovely home, I began to loose sight of who I was, and what I wanted for my life & my health. Now homeschooling my oldest, I had driven myself headlong into caring for, and educating, my children. They became my primary focus, not myself, not my needs, not my husband’s needs, nor our health or fitness. After the birth of our third child I had begun having some health issues & was placed on medications that ultimately forced me into premature menopause at the age of 33. This wreaked havoc on my body. Each medication causing a new symptom, which was then treated with a new medication. I gained 60 lbs in 4 months. I was suffering debilitating migraines on a daily basis, while trying to homeschool my 4 & 6 year olds & care for my newborn. Finally, I began keeping a log of my migraines. And in a 3 month span, I had 4 days without a migraine. 88 days trying not only to function, but trying to maintain a fun, educational, atmosphere for 3 small children. Something had to change.
After a visit to my Neurologist, and an MRI to rule out brain tumors or other issues that could be causing my daily migraines, he prescribed me, you guessed it, another medication. One that could “possibly” help, but also one that may cause me to have hallucinations. “Isn’t that dangerous while caring for my children?”, I asked. “Maybe daycare & public school would be a better option while you’re on this.”, was his reply. I left his office dazed & confused. How could I have wound up in this place? I was 33, and living a daily life of pain, embarrassing, immovable, weight gain, exhaustion, irritability, hot flashes, intestinal discomfort, mental fatigue, and depression, while trying to raise 3 young children. These should be some of the best, most enjoyable years of my life, and instead I was struggling with this long list of ailments, diagnosis, and even longer list of pharmaceuticals. I felt trapped.
Having always sought more natural ways of treatment, I felt that each symptom & drug were compounding on top of each other. But how to break free? I saw several of my doctors and had discussions about stopping some of my medications to see if some things improved. Some were more accommodating than others. One told me all my problems were because of my choices to homeschool & raise my children in a more natural, holistic way. Coincidentally, she was also the one who put me on the first medication that caused the cascade of health problems. After much research, and guidance from some of my doctors, I began peeling away medications, one by one. As I did, I began to see improvements. I also sought the advice of a master herbalist & began adding herbal & vitamin supplements, as well as increasing my use of essential oils & other natural remedies. Bit by bit, my health began to improve & my ailments began to subside. I was beginning to feel alive & in control of my health once more.
Now, this is where you would think my story changed; my life suddenly improved, my weight returned to normal & life was good again. But, you would be wrong. Unfortunately, real stories aren’t always so neat & easily pulled together as fairy tales. Truthfully, it took several years for me completely break free. And now, 10 years later, I’m still struggling to get that original 60 lbs off. Sure, there were some other changes in our lives during that 10 years too. Finally free of medically induced menopause, I became pregnant. Unfortunately, we lost that baby at 11 weeks, and another pregnancy & loss would follow as well. Finally, at age 37, we welcomed our 4th child into our family. She came with a little extra. An extra copy of the 21st chromosome in every cell of her body. Our 4th child has Down syndrome.
I dove headlong into finding ways to help our daughter. Ways to improve her health, her brain function, to address the problems caused by the overexpression of the processes carried out by that extra chromosome. Therapies, supplements, heart surgeries, ear surgeries. I was once again consumed by the needs of someone other than myself. My youngest daughter is 5 now, her health is good & she is growing & developing very well. Now it is my time. Time for me to get serious about the changes I want to make to improve my own health. To loose this weight that has plagued me for 10 years. To make changes, one small step at a time, that will help restore my health. Not a quick fix to change the number on the scale. I’ve tried that through the years, it doesn’t last. Instead, lifestyle changes that will have lifelong impact, not just for me, but for every member of my family. To change the way we think & interact with food & how we approach fitness. And to embrace who I am, in spite of the numbers on the scale or the tag in my clothing. I am so much more than that. And I know you are too. So, come along, join me on my journey. Let’s explore simple changes we can make, together. Let’s encourage & empower each other as we seek to restore our health, in mind, body & spirit.
A homeschooling mom of 4, devoted wife & daughter, DeAnn has struggled with weight and body image issues for much of her life. She has devoted so much of herself to others, but now, at 43, it’s time to focus on her health & making small changes to restore good health to her mind, body & spirit. Read more about her health journey & struggle for wellness here.