I talk a lot about getting my mind wrapped around this crazy trip and what this trip means to my soul, but haven’t really delved into what I’m doing to get my body ready to handle extended travel.
Let me just put it out there, I have had a ton of health issues in my short life. I won’t get into specifics, but I was born with a condition that, among other things, really messes with my immune system. So, not only have I had to grow up with the symptoms of the disorder, but also deal with the symptoms of my symptoms. I was told I would have to take injections for the rest of my life to give me the best quality of life I could hope for. I had to be careful of illness…a simple cold has been known to lay me out for weeks. I’ve had pneumonia, whooping cough, shingles, mono, swine flu, etc. The flu and I are old friends, sometimes reuniting 3 or 4 times a year. On top of all of this, I have a couple other more mundane issues…a degenerative cartilage disease (thanks dad), fibromyalgia (more of a symptom of the main problem), etc.
All my life I’ve been told I have no choice. I have to take daily injections of a prohibitively expensive medicine that insurance companies hate to cover or else… Well, let me tell you, being the strong, independent, bull-headed person that I am, my lack of choice has always irked me. Irked me so much that when I was 18, I cajoled my doctor into taking me off the medicine for 6 months since, in rare cases, people with my condition have been known to be “fixed” after being on the medicine for a long time. I figured 15 years should be enough. I was sick for pretty much the entire 6 months I was off it. I had throat infections, lung infections, mono, the flu, colds, etc. I went back on the medicine totally disheartened. The next 9 years were a crazy rollercoaster of health issues. I could never seem to get up to the level of health I had before my brief hiatus from the medicine I’ve been on since I was about 3 and a half. It was depressing, frustrating, infuriating, and heartbreaking.
Fast forward to last year when I decided that I was going to do this trip. The 2 things I was worried about the most were my cat and my medication. There was no way I’d be able to pay for this medicine and travel, especially if I only had travel insurance instead of my super inclusive insurance that I have now. I decided that I would have to find another way. At this time, I was on 4 medications (including birth control). I started working out more, eating more healthy. I talked to my doctor about going off birth control and she agreed on a trial basis. That decision really changed my whole outlook on medicine. I found that I felt so much better off it! No horrendous cramps, less cravings, less migraines, less mood swings, and more energy. That made me wonder if I really needed to be on the other medicine that I’m on…
I kept eating healthy, limited the amount of processed food I put in my body, tried homeopathic remedies when I got sick instead of going straight to antibiotics/nyquil/ibuprofen/etc.
This past winter I asked my doctor if we could try taking out the injections again. She hemmed and hawed, but eventually I wore her down, telling her my reasons and explaining that I really wanted to live a more natural lifestyle. She agreed, again, on a trial period. I was to come back in June for a whole series of tests to ascertain if I could safely stay off this medicine. I’m ecstatic to say that so far, so GREAT! I’ve had 2 mild sinus infections and a cold, but nothing that has lasted more than 10 days. I can’t wait till June…I KNOW that I’m going to be able to go off it.
One of the medications I am still on is a prescription strength sleep aid to help with the chronic fatigue I was experiencing. For years now, I’ve been sleeping 9-12 hours a night. If I got less, it was hard to function. I’ve tried several times to wean myself off of it, but the fatigue was so much worse. 3 weeks ago, I started a no-gluten, dairy, soy, egg, peanut, corn, added sugars, diet to determine if I had any food intolerances that may be exacerbating my allergies, joint pain, headaches, and stomach issues…with 3 days of starting this eating plan, I was sleeping for a mere 6-7 hours a night and felt so energetic when I woke up! I’ve since been able to cut my sleep aid dosage in half and hope that in a few weeks I’ll be able to go off it altogether.
I’m not saying that if you’re going on an extended trip, you should just stop taking all of your prescriptions. What I am saying is that you have options. Do some research, has your problem been linked with a certain diet or lifestyle? Is it conceivable to change that aspect of your life to see if it will also solve your problem? Also, it’s amazing what the power of positive thinking can do. Throughout all of this, I’ve kept telling myself that it will work, that I am healthy and picturing myself thus.
When I see the doc in June, I’m going to bring up the possibility of going off my final medicine…