In September 2018 I spent nine days in hospital due to lower back pain. It took six months to find a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and a form of Rheumatoid Arthritis that attacks my joints and spine where I have a bulging disc in my L4/L5.
My Grandmother died in her forties and my mother has major medical issues and lives in a nursing home, she is in her mid sixties. I am forty-four years of age and now living with three genetic diseases that are degenerative. Now is for living because my genetics are not going in my favour.
Knowing that now, is the best my health can be genetically, I have decided to take three months off work to change from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle. My four medical specialist all agree stress is a major contributing factor to accelerating the diseases and increasing the severity of the symptoms.
Over the last six months, I’ve had plenty of sick day and of time off work. I know where the stress is in my life, however have kept steaming ahead figuring this is what every middle age person has to deal with. My stress is no better or worst than the average person, what is the big deal? Just get on with life and make the most of it. However my dodgy genetics keep rising and stopping me in my tracks with debilitating back spasms.
My life has to change, so I started mapping out what I needed to do. Many decisions have been made for me in relation to work and our home. Which left a couple of directions possible. For this I thank God for living a blessed life and living in affluent Australia. I am thankful to have options available. I like to describe this short phase with the metaphor of having ‘many irons in the fire’ and very quickly as I explored each iron, I found that they were not hot enough to use. One by one I explored each option and discussed with my daughter the pros and cons and one by one the hot irons turned cold. In the end we were left with one red hot option.
Our new life directions is yet to be discovered, so I am taking time off between (working) contracts to travel in a caravan on an extended holiday, visiting family and friends.
I was left a small inheritance which has paid for a second hand car and caravan. The next few months will involve travelling in our van and transitioning to a healthy diet, low impact exercise (hydrotherapy) and incorporating stress management eg restorative yoga and meditation.
My ongoing health care will continue to be supervised by my GP via a chronic health plan, weekly blood tests and specialist drug therapy. My goal is to be medication free with my diseases in remission. Can this be achieved in three months?
Follow my story, as I retrace townships of my youth, drop in on extended family, catch up with friends, try new foods, heal via hippy stuff, grieve and de-stress.