How My Health Challenges Shaped My Life (For the Better!)
I often wonder what my life would be like if I never had any health challnges. What would I be doing, who would I be with? But, I think there was only ONE path for me in this life and it’s the one I’ve taken.
When we suffer with a chronic health challenge, we often ask ourselves, “Why?! Why must I suffer through this? What is the point?”
I often did when I was younger. But, then as the story (my life) started to unfold, the patterns and the reasons emerged.
Here are the 4 instances where my health challenges directly shaped my decisions and shaped my life.
1. My IBS Helped Me Choose a Major in College
My gut issues started after a 9 month course of Accutane. It kept me from participating at times, but overall, I really did have a normal and wonderful college experience full of lots of drinking (hey, I was a bartender afterall), awful dates, and the grit of hard, long hours of studying which contributes to my perseverance today.
With all the constipation and insane bloating, I was inspired to begin studying nutrition in order to heal myself. I was at the University of South Florida in Tampa at the time and I knew I was ready to pick a major (finally!) towards the end of my sophomore year.
However, USF did not have this program, so I transferred to the University of Florida in Gainesville.
The IBS helped me choose a passion, a path, and led me to the next city I would live in for the next 11 years.
2. Changing My Major Meant Changing Schools- and In Gainesville, I Met My Husband
Shopping at a local health food store in Gainesville, FL where I was attendting UF and studying Nutrition, I ran into this dude, Aaron a lot. At first, we just exhanged a friendly smile. But, I could tell he wanted more than that after running into him a handful of times at that store.
Right around graduation, I accetped a date with Aaron.
We also started a business together (a CrossFit gym) which we ran for 7 1/2 years. We’re still happily married today.
3. Getting Colonics For My Gut Health Led Me to Massage School Which Led Me into Fitness Training
In Gainesville, I found how helpful colon hydrotherapy could be for someone like me. Towards the end of my college graduation, I knew that dietetics wasn’t for me. But I was very intrigued by colon hydrotherapy so I decided to begin to pursue that. And in order to get certified in that, I had to first become a licenced massage therapist.
This was around the time Aaron and I started dating. And instead of pursuing colon hydrotherapy, I was inspired to get into fitness training with him. He was very passionate about fitness and we just worked really well together.
He started his CrossFit gym and with my newfownd knowledge of the body and massage license, I did the required work and he hired me on as a trainer.
We soon married and loved seeing each other every day at the “office.”
4. All My Health Challenges Led Me to Various Healing Modalities (and OUT of CrossFit) Which Led Me Into Health Coaching
Throughout the 7 1/2 year stent of running the gym, I was also developing chronic headaches, migraines, chemical sensitivities (where reactions affected me for a week), vertigo (wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy), insomnia, and deep & debilitating fatigue.
I got regular massage therapy, regular chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture monthly, and saw a doctor of Chinese Medicine and Functional Medicine, I picked up qigong, I exercised regularly and ate what I considered at the time “healthy,” paleo.
I was always trying to figure out what was helping and what wasn’t making a dent in my healing. I was always hungry for health information and researched not only things for myself, but a lot for my clients as well.
After we had sold the gym, I was ready to move into the next phase of my health career so I chose health coaching. I wanted to help people with what I’ve experienced and what I’ve learned along the way so that they don’t have to spend one more day exhausted, in pain, or unable to live thier life.
5. With all my chronic symtoms still plaging me, I let the ‘Medical Medium’ books into my life.
Learning this stuff has taken my healing to a level I never thought possible. I was inspired to change my diet to mostly fruits and vegetables, I do lots of juicing, and I take certain supplements to help with specific underlying issues such as viruses, a sluggish liver, and a sensitive central nervous system.
Like everything else I’ve learned that has made a difference for me, I incorporate it into my coaching where my clients receive the benefits as well!
Everything I’ve been through. . . the miserable vertigo spells that left me bedridden for two weeks at a time. . . the agony of sleepless nights. . . the debilitating migraines. . . all have led me to my life today; living in Asheville, who I’m married to, and what I do for a living (ha and for fun because I LOVE helping people with this stuff!).
So when I look back and remember myself asking God, “Why?” I can see that these things have literally shaped my life and brought me to the amazing life I have today.
They’ve also given me immense compassion and taught me to be a more empathetic person. I can say that I have a relatively high grit factor, especially for survival, and especially as an advocate for others’ health.
While I don’t think we need to be suffering in order to be led to where we’re going, it just so happened that so many amazing things were born out of my health challenges.
To your health and healing,