Warning: this post contains graphic photos of what happens when your immune system attacks your arteries!
Back in 2017 I hit an all time low (I’m feeling that same way again recently!!). I was living in the US. My husband was deployed for four months. I was hating the way I looked and felt so I threw myself into a pretty intense program of weight watchers and excercise. I did barre and yoga classes 6-7 times a week. I went to 10 hour wellness and yoga festivals. I never missed a meeting. At one point I had a membership at one gym and two yoga studios. I lost 40 pounds in a few months. I was addicted. I felt high on life. There was no stopping me. I was going to sign up to be a yoga instructor and get to goal and become a WW instructor. I had goals.
And then a major plot twist happened.
I got really really sick. Life changing sick.
I had a really severe case of a rare autoimmune disease called #polyarteritisnodosa. Oh and at the same time I developed severe #coldurticaria. I ended up in the ER, seeing specialists, admitted to hospital and here’s the kicker.
I was told if I didn’t follow the treatment I would die.
I was drugged pretty heavily. I was put on 500mg IV steroids. Immune suppressants and and then low dose chemo. And heavy duty pain meds (oxy, Demerol, morphine). And gabapentin. And blood pressure medication. And Ambien and Xanax. And I’m sure there was more. It was like BEING on an episode of House. Lots of doctors trying to figure out what was going on with my body.
I worked closely with a naturopath. So a crazy amount of supplements. And tinctures. And my husband was sent home from his deployment.
What is polyarteritis nodosa? An immune disease that attacks your arteries and then ultimately your organs. It is painful and it is NOT pretty.
A year later I was in remission. But I wasn’t back to normal. I had gone through chemo induced menopause (it’s been 3 years since my last period). I went through steroid induced psychosis (I’m pretty sure the closest I’ve ever gotten to being arrested or put in a straight jacket!). My mental health took a beating. I gained 50 pounds on steroids. The treatment was so bad I often wished the disease had killed me. I must have wished that a hundred times over the past three years. My marriage struggled (it’s great now. Yay). I couldn’t work out or even be creative for the longest time. My body is still chronically exhausted. I have so much anxiety now. Anxiety that I’ll relapse or get cancer (a very real and scary side effect of taking cytoxan). Anxiety that I will never feel better. Anxiety that if I push myself again and do “too much” I might get sick again. Anxiety that I’ll be told I have to take drugs that will make me that sick again. Anxiety about not being able to find balance and moderation. Since getting sick I’ve been diagnosed as having as having a major depressive disorder. As a result of dealing with a serious, life changing illness.
Since 2017 I’ve also been diagnosed with Raynaud’s (but it could be nerve damage ? Idk two drs two different opinions) and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I have chronically high blood pressure and borderline diabetes.
Part of my anxiety and apprehension comes from a history of attempting to get healthy and being derailed by miscarriages, injuries, biopsies, a fibroma tumor, as well as a few surgeries.
But here I am. This is the year I take back my mental and physical health. I’m so done with feeling bad. Healthy food. Natural supplements. Excercise.
Something I’ve learned from past efforts is that it really doesn’t take very much to start feeling better. The first few healthy meals and the first 5% weight-loss are going to make you feel great 😂
…and that was a lot. But now you have a little bit of my back story! Thanks for listening to me rambling on about my experiences!
#pan, #polyarteritisnodosa, #autoimmunedisease, #truestory, #coldurticaria, #hashimotos, #plottwist, #cytoxan, #prednisoneisevil