This one is a little harder for me to write. It’s tough to share the reality of what I’ve been through with my health, but have felt for the last little bit that this is something I need to share. I hope this will help others. I don’t share this for any sympathy. I’m good and excited for the progress I’m making and know that things will all come together. This is a journey that has taught me a lot.
During my teenage years I didn’t feel well often and my mom would take me to doctors and did everything she could to try to help me. The doctors didn’t have a lot of answers, but we tried different things. One of the great struggles was my cycle each month. I would be crippled and be nauseated and spend much time in the restroom trying to survive. At 16 I went to an OBGYN and he felt I was too young for birth control, which was what he felt would help with my cycle. I also struggled with my thyroid so I was put on synthroid.
When I was 21 I went on a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to Arizona. In November I got to the mission field and the first two weeks of my mission weren’t what I expected. We sat in our place most of the time. Two weeks into my mission my trainer went home and I got a new trainer.
I was a brand new missionary, in a brand new state and area and didn’t really know anyone. Each evening we would report in to our District Leader and he was very supportive and kind to me. This opened my eyes to how I could be treated. Many of my past experiences had been very different. Of course, I did have good friends throughout the year, but many of my relationships were not healthy.
Throughout all of this my health really crumbled. Each morning as I would take a shower the water hitting my skin would hurt extremely bad. I was grateful for my trainer that helped me serve and work hard as a missionary, but also saw that there was much more going on for me. We met with the Mission President and he scheduled me to go and see a counselor. As I met with the counselor and we went through my life and that I had not shared these experiences with others he said I got to this point due to being stubborn.
Throughout my mission I did counseling on P-days and received help with my health. My cycles got so bad that I ended up having surgery 7 months into my mission. They went in and removed a lot of my endometriosis. Within a few days I was able to be back out working as a missionary.
As I returned home from my mission I started back into counseling. There was a point that I had a tougher counseling appointment and was in a car accident heading home. I had a handful of injuries from that accident.
Just over a year after returning home from my mission I needed to have surgery again for the endometriosis and the doctor let me know that the odds were not in my favor of having children with how fast the endometriosis was spreading. He suggested that my best odds of being able to be pregnant was within 6 months of the surgery. I was really blessed that the Lord guided things perfectly and Rick and I were best friends and I had always said I wanted to marry a best friend. I had surgery the beginning of May, by Father’s Day we were engaged, married on August 1st and we were expecting our first child by December. This was a great blessing!
Due to a couple of accidents my back was weak. While I delivered my first son I cracked some of the lower vertebrae and caused a herniated disc. This caused great pain from delivery to nursing so I ended up working with a doctor on my back. Physical therapy helped, but it is something I’ve dealt with over the last 23 years.
Over the years I’ve kept myself very busy. My sleep has always been awful. I’ve always just pushed through and ignored any pain that my body would manifest as I’ve gone through the years. After being blessed with 4 boys my body couldn’t handle anymore so I went through a hysterectomy June 2011. It was extremely difficult for me, because I had always felt there would be a 5th son, but there wasn’t any more options. My body had become very weak and it was time.
In 2014 I started needing to take short naps and was really struggling with my memory. I would wake up and didn’t know who I was or where I was. I would be driving to my parent’s home that I had driven to a million times and I would need to pull over, because I couldn’t remember how to get there. They only live 5 minutes away. I would be conducting meetings and I couldn’t remember names or what I was talking about. I knew something was really wrong, but I didn’t have time to go to the doctors. I was busy doing good and taking care of my boys and I hadn’t taken time to take care of myself. I didn’t want to hear that I had to slow down and take care of myself.
I finally went in to see my doctor the beginning of May and the blood work showed some significant problems. My triglycerides were extremely high, cholesterol really high, blood pressure really high and my A1C was over 11 (should be in the 5 range). My fasting sugar number was 498. I should be in the range of 90 - 120. There was a whole list of things that were really bad.
When I got the call from my doctors office with the results she let me know that he wanted to see me asap. I told her that when I got through May I would come in. The next day I got a call again from his office saying that it was critical that I come in. I told her that there was no way I could come in, but maybe I could squeeze in the next week. The next day my doctor called me and let me know that I was a walking time bomb and that there were dangers for my life. I was still so focused on my tasks and being a perfectionist that I didn’t listen to him.
Finally the next week I went in and got started on a lot of medication and insulin for my diabetes. It was an extremely emotional time for me. I couldn’t believe I had gotten so bad off. Of course, he talked to me about needing to slow down, but there was no way I could.
I was an awful patient. He wanted to see me every few months and I wouldn’t come in. He would only give me refills until it was time for me to come back in and I would get mad that he was trying to control me. Then I found out that with diabetes I had to have my doctor sign off that I could keep my drivers license. I was so upset that I had lost control - that someone was able to take the control away from me. I felt I knew what was best for myself. He would beg me to take certain medications and I wouldn’t take them. It was a very slow process getting me to take all of the medication that I needed to take to start getting better.
What was an even slower process was getting me to slow down, lessen my stress and really do the things that I needed to do to get better. My doctor was AMAZING and always so patient with me and caring. He took the time I needed and truly cared about me.
In September 2018 I stepped back from many of my commitments and slowed my life way down from what I had been doing. We definitely saw progress with my health, but not enough. It was definitely a step in the right direction. Really, many steps in the right direction and really the beginning of the real healing that I needed.
The end of December 2019 I started counseling. Due to slowing down my life I had come to realize how much emotional help I needed and I was in a very rough place. So much of my past and the belief system that I had created for 40 years was very engrained in me and it wasn’t the truth.
I went in for my appointment in March and found out that my A1C was 5.3. WHAT?!?!?! There was no way. I hadn’t eaten well and I had high stress.
The end of February it was time for me to go in and get my A1C retested and it tests the past 3 months. Between the holidays and me not watching what I ate at all and the stress of our home and life through November, December and January I felt that my A1C would be off the charts. I called in and asked if I could wait until the end of March to get the holidays out of the way. My doctor agreed with that so I was scheduled for blood work the end of March and a doctor’s appointment in April.
With all of my counseling and the emotional baggage I had been carrying I wasn’t doing well. I knew I needed some help. My body was hurting so bad, my memory was feeling very foggy and I was very emotional. I decided I didn’t care what my A1C was and I called in and moved up the blood work and my appointment. I was fully prepared to find out that my A1C was through the roof. I went in for my appointment in March and found out that my A1C was 5.3. WHAT?!?!?! There was no way. I hadn’t eaten well and I had high stress.
As my doctor and I visited the only thing that had changed was me dumping my emotional baggage through counseling each week. I was able to get an antidepressant to help with the emotional things that were going on and the reality was I didn’t need as much insulin as I had been taking. In fact, I was able to drop my insulin from 175 units a day to 70 units a day. I was so excited!
One of the struggles that we weren’t beating was my sleep. In June I had an appointment to go in, because I couldn’t sleep and was feeling emotionally worn out. I was still learning to put myself first and take care of myself. I had a son that was struggling and I almost gave him my appointment and a dear friend of mine said to me, “A dead mom can’t love her son and pray for him and be there and get him the help he needs.” Reading this really hurt and also caused me to stop and realize that this was true and I needed to take care of myself so I could take care of my family and others.
I went to that appointment. I was blessed to get on medication for PTSD and it made a drastic difference in my sleep. I was able to sleep through the nightmares and process things in my sleep vs waking up and having anxiety and fearing the nightmares. I also had been struggling with my shoulder and was able to get shots to help my shoulder. It felt so good to take care of myself and everything came together for my son to get the help he needed.
Over the last month or so there’s been a lot of emotion that’s come up and I’ve had more internal stress again. This time when I went in for blood work my A1C had gone up a little bit over 6. Not awful, but I knew that it had probably gone up due to my emotional state. I was also able to ask my doctor about my anxiety and I was able to switch medication that helped more with my anxiety.
I share all of this, because emotional weight can be as bad or worse for our health as physical weight. All that we go through, traumatic experiences, have to go somewhere if we don’t process things. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have had many of these health experiences if I was emotionally healthy, but what I do believe is I’ve carried much more emotional weight than physical weight and I’m excited about the release of the emotional weight so that I can continue to feel healthier physically.
Our bodies are amazing. They are a miracle and a blessing. It’s important for each of us to acknowledge our emotions as we go through life. Allow ourselves to feel happy, sad, angry, frustrated, excited, child-like. Allow ourselves to cry and don’t put a time frame on how long you can cry. Let it go. I wasn’t a cryer. I hardly ever cried. Since counseling I would dare say that I cry most everyday and it’s been freeing. Allowing my family and those around me to process feelings has been extremely healthy and bonding. Relationships have grown so much stronger. Through our emotional and physical healing we can build healthy, happy and truly loving relationships. Most important we can build a loving relationship with ourselves.
What I’ve come to understand most is my Heavenly Father and Savior, family and friends and my doctor loves me and are all pulling for me. They want the best for me. BUT, until I learned to love myself and fight for myself none of their efforts could have a true impact. We are each worth fighting for - we have value and much to offer ourselves and others.
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 1 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity