This August (today to be exact) is my 19th birthday. What does it feel like? Well, that is a complicated question. I have been able to accomplish a lot in the past year. Last August around this time I began the PK Protocol, of which I am still currently on, and will be for atleast another year in what is termed “maintenance mode.” I made the decision to implant a medi-port, as IV’s were not working in my veins anymore (best decision ever). There has been a lot of heartache, physical ache, and lessons learned, as well as times of confusion and not knowing where to go next in pursuit of healing. However, it is through these trials and storms that surround me that God’s hand has proven to be very involved in my life. For one, I was able to officially complete high school in the fall of 2014. I got my license Christmas Eve, and have slowly been able to work up driving stamina, a long with learning stick shift from my father. After that, I had the privilege of taking Mark Sisson’s, Primal Blueprint Certification course. This past spring, I began my first online college course, which is a huge risk and accomplishment in and of itself. I then had the amazing opportunity to go to Paleof(x) with my mother, where I was able to meet up with many blogger friends and make various connections with those in the Paleo-sphere. On Beyond the Bite, I also began Daily Dose of Encouragement posts, and even started my very own Beyond the Bite Community, a place where individuals seeking to overcome and live beyond chronic Lyme Disease, can connect and share information, as well as encouragement.
Throughout the past year I have continued the Autoimmune Protocol, though I am pleased to say with a few re-introductions. Occasionally, I can tolerate small amounts of cocoa and raw sheep yogurt, and on a more weekly basis, TinStar Food’s ghee. I am also in the process of incorporating egg yolks, which I must say, may be the most exciting food introduction of all. For all of you just beginning AIP and wondering how you will ever get used to offal, let me just say that one year later, eating organ meat has become second nature to me. Some weeks I go on what I joke are organ meat “winning streak,” where some type of nose-to-tail protein has been incorporated into at least one of my meals for numerous days in a row. Bone marrow, lamb liver, duck tongue, chicken heart, turkey liver, beef heart, duck liver, chicken feet, and so on and so forth…You name it, I eat it. If you are interested, most of the odds and ends that I consume are purchased from US Wellness Meats. I’ve also been able to slowly add in fermented foods, primarily Eileen’s from Phoenix Helix, No Fail No Pound Sauerkraut, of which is the easiest recipe of all time. While my gut healing still has a bit to go, I am currently working with my functional medicine doctor to treat the chronic parasite and protozoa infection that I has been undermining my healing for quite some time now. I believe finally getting this under control will help both my gut health, overall fatigue, and strength immensely, and I am very excited to see what the healing protocol has in store.
Throughout the past year (and primarily thanks to the PK Protocol) I have become a lot stronger both physically and mentally. While fatigue is still something that I struggle with, and a key aspect that my doctors are working on, I have been able to incorporate more physical activity into my weekly routine. Exciting enough, pilates has come back into my life, and I now enjoy reformer workouts both at home and classes out of the house. I have slowly added in the basic primal movements (as outlined by Mark Sisson here), including squats and pushups. The key to all of this is to listen to my body more than ever, get necessary rest in between, adequate amounts of sleep every night, and ultimately make sure that my cortisol hormones do not remain raised. Spikes in my “flight or fight” response can be good, however, if they remain prolonged, my body becomes exhausted beyond ATP repair, and that is when the potential for going backwards becomes very high. In the next few months, I am looking to expand my movement and exercise, as I incorporating more strength and conditioning exercises at Crossfit (all according to my bodies needs of course). On top of being stronger, I am up to my complete normal weight after years of never being able to put on an ounce, or keep an one ounce of weight on for that matter. For the first summer in almost five years, I’ve enjoyed swimming, boating, laughing, playing games, going places with my family and friends during both the night and daytime. 95% of my neurological symptoms from chronic Lyme have healed enough that I can actually listen to music now and be around loud noises without getting completely overwhelmed. A part of this is due to IVIG, the PK Protocol, as well as the Listening Program, which is something I do on a daily basis to help exercise my brain. As far as being stronger, I also got my wisdom teeth out (woot woot), traveled via plane to more than four places in the past year, neither of which made me go backwards in my health (a complete opposite of what used to happen).
It is truly crazy how much you can learn about the human body in just the span of 365 days seeking to do all in your power to heal from the inside out. The great thing is, this act of learning all the knowledge I can possibly get my hands on, will only continue throughout my healing journey. This past year has shown me even more specifically where my passions in life lay. Going through the PK Protocol and having to study my body at a cellular level has spiked a serious interest in becoming a functional medicine doctor, and (or) having my own practice where I combine science based medicine with the healing power of food and culinary arts. Overall, this past year has been a time of great growth. While it is still very trying, life is also very exciting. It can be easy to get “down in the dumps,” with all that still must be healed in my body, however, I choose not to dwell on these things. A given illness never will and never does define a person, and despite having seemingly impossible obstacles to overcome in life, God has given me the tools and resources I need to do just that. Even when healing seems like it will never come, we serve a God who can do all things, is constantly working on our behalf, and is always ready and waiting to help us through whatever may come our way. While a given trial in life may come as a surprise to us, He already knew it was going to happen, and He also already knows how it is going to end. Therefore, in order to keep persevering, we must hold on to God and continually seek Him, for He is our Redeemer. So, where will I be at the age twenty? I have absolutely no idea! However, I do have many goals, plans, and dreams that I am currently working on and praying about. As these aspects of my life become a reality, I will sure to keep all of you clued in (one of which is culinary school). Yet in the meantime, I just want to spread a word of encouragement for anyone recently diagnosed with a chronic illness, beginning AIP and completely overwhelmed, or anyone simply looking to get more out of life as we know it. While there have been many aspects of living, such as diet, lifestyle, stress management, skilled doctors, and family support that have all gotten me this far in my healing journey, the One, and ultimate source of all my strength is God. There is nothing else here in this world that has gotten me to where I am more than His hope, peace, wisdom, love, grace, guidance, mercy, and forgiveness. Throughout the ups and downs, seemingly minor and major accomplishments, He is there, and He is never leaving (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”