invisible illness

Can you guess what super power I possess?

Do I possess telepathy or the power of flight? Hmm, maybe its shape-shifting or the ability to time travel. What about mind control or heat vision?

No, nope, and nada.

I have the power of INVISIBLE ILLNESS! Have you heard about this unique power?

Invisible illness is the ability to look completely healthy on the outside as said hero lives life, even kicking some serious ass, all the while slowly dying on the inside.

Invisible disabilities are chronic illnesses and conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living. In the United States, 96% of people with chronic medical conditions show no outward signs of their illness, and 10% experience symptoms that are considered disabling.

I suffered over a decade with severe, refractory Ulcerative Colitis, all the while competing in endurance sports, starting my own fitness company and working full time as a Junior Media Planner. I definitely did not look sick on the outside and although I suffered tremendously, I always kept up the fight.

My mantra,

How will I adapt in this situation so that I can keep on living the life I want for myself?

It sure wasn’t easy and definitely not all roses. I smiled on the outside and cried at home. Many times, my spirit became defeated and each year, my once bright light dimmed.

I soon became tired of people treating me, mainly medically, as if I wasn’t as sick on the inside because of how I looked on the outside. And my suck it up attitude didn’t win any sympathy awards either.

But now, after surgery, I find new emotions (anger and resentment) arise. Had my outer shell reflect my inside diseased body, perhaps my medical team would have treated me differently?

I let those very thoughts in and am sure to quickly let them go…

This is my destiny, it is to be my fate…

Could have; would have; should have.

It’s already spilled milk right?

Now, I am reborn. And with rebirth, I am a warrior, a fighter and an ADVOCATE for my fellow invisible illness heroes, especially those that cannot yet fight for themselves. For every day, we deal with ignorance, miseducation and bias simply because these fuckers can’t see what we know and feel.

In a future post, I will write about this week’s said fucker who bullied me into showing my handicap disability parking card informing me that I was illegally using my hanging placard.

“It’s not your pass” he proclaimed loud and proud, puffing up his chest while his belly hung over his belt. Wind fiercely blowing sparse strands of greasy hair poorly disguising a balding man in denial.

As he continues to put me in my place, I am enraged and saddened; but, all I can do is stare; stare at his wrinkly bitchy face, at the people eavesdropping in around me, at his shitty four door sedan, proudly displaying the title “SHERIFF.”

#asshole #bully #invisibleillness

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don’t tell me diet

For over a decade, I suffered with Ulcerative Colitis (UC for short). It was a few weeks after my first Honolulu marathon when I became ill. “Stomach flu” my then-Doc preached:

“Take some Pepto and Immodium. Call me after a few days if it doesn’t let up.”

I can laugh at the ordeal today. Stomach flu I wish! Turns out a sinister son-of-a-bitch lurked in my genes (thanks Grandpa Hernandez). After suffering 10 undiagnosable days, my then-GI (not by my own choosing) called it. I had Ulcerative Colitis; an inflammatory bowel DISEASE not IBS, (another I wish) that is the result of an abnormal response by my immune system.

My life involved ignorant GI Doctors, steroids, food restriction and bathrooms, not to mention having to compete in my love of triathlon, pretty much in a fasted state (not by choice but dictated by my disease).

I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars trying holistic/naturopathic/eastern/not-covered-by-health-insurance concoctions.

I’ve tried every diet, juice, supplement, enema, pill, shot, patch, IV therapy, on and on and on. And then one quiet, cool and crisp fall day while at the The Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic, it was clear that I needed surgery.

My battle left me exhausted, depressed, hopeless and defeated. If UC didn’t kill me, my soul would. Mayo’s recommendation solidified a decision that I had put off for far too long.

Fast forward to today. I literally do not have guts , but I am far from gutless. And now that I have been reborn, I am enjoying the ability to eat a balanced diet allowing everything in moderation. I go by the 80-20 rule. And I don’t judge others and their habits. I support the belief that we are all different and we all need to find the path that works best for us.

I limit (NOT ELIMINATE) my fast food. I enjoy a good drive thru every once in a great while (mainly after a night out on the town with way too much alcohol involved)

I work out every day; every single day. My exercise is long and intense, more days than not.

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Down to Earth juice menu

I try to make smart choices when I can. I mostly shop organic. I LIMIT (NOT ELIMINATE) my gluten. I do a few real deal juices or smoothies each week. I LIMIT (not ELIMINATE) my processed food and sugar and I drink alcohol in moderation.

 

My meals are home-cooked Monday through Friday and I really, really enjoy gourmet takeout on the weekends.

I do not eat cookies or candy or sweets every day. I enjoy these treats a few times per week.

I do not follow a particular style of eating such as Vegetarianism, Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, Blood Type…but rather, I go by how my body feels. Sometimes, I crave meat. Sometimes I crave more veggies. I listen to the signals my body sends me and adjust my plan accordingly.

I abide by intermittent fasting. I regularly eat during a specific time period usually from noon-8 PM . On some days, dependent upon how I feel and what workouts I plan to do, I’ll decrease that time frame, choosing to eat in a 6-hour window, or even a 4-hour window.

And some days, all above goes to shit. I throw out my mental food checklist and I enjoy celebrations with family and friends. And usually, my splurge is planned so I’ll be sure to get in lots of high intensity exercise before and especially the day after my outing.

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I like the f word a a lot 

On that wave length, here’s a pretty darn good zucchini “crab” cake recipe I came across as I was feeling in a veggie mood. My only critique is that it isn’t as firm as a regular crab cake. We’ll see if it passes the husband test… I used coconut flour instead of regular flour and garbanzo “bread” crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs to keep my version Gluten Free. Let me know how it goes if you decide to give it a whirl!

 

 

 

 

reborn

I am reborn. On December 7, 2015 I underwent surgery to remove my large intestine and rectum after suffering with severe, refractory Ulcerative Colitis for 10+ years (read about it here).

I lived on a hamster wheel; an evil rollercoaster that drained me of life and hope with every spin. This insanity invoking and sinister torture chamber was my new normal. My whole being revolved around a fucking disease!

Then one day in early December 2015, my seat belt was unlocked and my second chance at LIVING was granted.

Now, I can’t believe how much time I have to do amazing things like drink coffee at Starbucks. To get through a workout without intense pain and issues. Meeting up with friends over dinner and drinks. To train my faithful clients, to take on new clients, write programs, and this – the rebirth of my website!

I hope 2017 finds you in great spirits and great health. Although I treated my body with the utmost respect, it still turned on me. And yes, I was pissed. But, we all suffer in one way or another. And most of us get on. I hope that if anything else from your time here or with me, that you always remember this: always see the positive and never lose hope!

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
― Maya Angelou

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