Getting in tune with yourself is something we may often hear, although in our culture, often overlooked, it seems. To be in tune with oneself is more than simple everyday self-care practices. Yet self-care is an important part of becoming more in tune, and a helpful tool.
Tuning in is a day-to-day checking in with yourself. A self-awareness only you can have. An awareness of what you’re feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually ~ recognizing these all intertwine. In childhood and younger years, we weren’t typically told to check in with ourselves. So naturally in adulthood, we may tend to go on autopilot, and at times overdo it. Mindlessly doing this or that, may have us spinning our wheels aimlessly. Sooner or later, we learn to slow down. To take notice. And tune in. Our bodies tell us, “hey, listen up.” Whether a cold, sore back, headache, or other ailment. The body lets us know in some way. And the body doesn’t lie.
I remember the day I got a call from Brian, saying he hit his head off of the bathroom sink, and passed out on the floor, after vomiting with gut wrenching pain like never before. Initially we knew, after he had been taking medications, and an antibiotic for a sinus infection, that his gut bacteria had been affected. So, to the emergency room he went. Which led to a hospital stay, and quite frankly, a horrific nightmare.
This idea of gut bacteria was new to us back in 2006, and we quickly found out the doctor’s knew little about his condition at the time, too. Colloidal silver had been helping to kill the overgrowth of bad bacteria, which kept him out of the hospital for a short time. However, going back to work without being fully recovered, not resting enough, and forgetting to stay consistent with his remedies, took it’s toll, and landed him in the ER. Vomiting, diarrhea, horrendous gut pain, and most likely dehydration. This was the most horrific pain he had ever experienced, and we were at our wit’s end in trying to find a solution.
Through much prayer, tears, and research, we began to find some answers. It had been 3, or maybe 4, (I lost count after little sleep, not to mention the emotional roller coaster) long days of needles in his arms, pain meds, nausea, and disorientation from the pain meds, until we finally got some answers. I researched and found as much information on c-diff as I possibly could, which is what Brian was diagnosed with. The doctor’s were shocked to see a 23 year old with this condition, as it’s usually only found in older patients who’ve been on medications for period of time. They specifically said, “we have never seen anyone this young with c-diff.” The pain of c-diff is described as being worse than labor pains. Seeing him in such agony, pained me, wanting desperately to do anything to help him feel better.
I had spent every waking hour reading and researching, praying, and caring for my high school sweetheart of 3 years. All the while, studying for college exams, trying to hold it together, and not let Brian see just how scared I was. I remember walking in stairwell of the hospital, crying my eyes out, and begging for God to please direct me, and the doctors to do the right thing. Mind you, the discussion of a colostomy bag was at hand. I remember laying in the bed next to him, praying and watching him sleep. Then he woke up, as his pain meds were wearing off, again in agony, begging me to please get the nurse. At that point , we were both beyond exhaustion, scared, and desperate.
So after researching, visiting the hospital day and night, talking with friends, and my father who helped every step of the way – we discovered what was needed to restore his healthy gut bacteria – probiotics! The only answer I got was the one that I found, with the help of friends and family, after looking for alternative methods of treatment. I then informed the doctor, asking that we begin implementing it immediately. That same day I spoke to the doctor, and she explained they were giving him medication (antibiotics) to kill the bad bacteria. I asked, “what are you doing to replace the good bacteria??” She said, “well we could give him lactobacillus.” I simply replied, “ok, let’s do that.” Inside though, I wanted to scream! I thought to myself, “you could?!!” “WHY aren’t you?!” He’d been in agonizing pain, unable to eat, and losing weight for 4 days.
After speaking with the doctors, and a trusted friend practicing natural medicine, we began implementing a probiotic. Thankfully Brian began feeling better, and slowly regained strength, within 24 hours of taking a high quality probiotic. It truly was like night and day. The pain slowly subsided, he began to take in liquids, and I could hold a normal conversation with him, since he was no longer zoned out on pain meds.
I believe Brian had only been taking his meds for 2 weeks before he began having symptoms of c-diff. We now know his gut was weak to begin with, since sinus issues are a reflection of what’s going on in the gut. Did you know we even have beneficial bacteria in our nostrils, similar to our beneficial gut bacteria?? Now we know the gut is the foundation of wellness, and there are a great many things that affect the gut! Things like daily walking, healthy eating, regular sleep, and even our relationships impact our gut health. This is the idea behind mind-body balance. Everything is intertwined. Being tuned into oneself, is a vital part of keeping things in balance. Research now shows, even our thoughts affect our cells. That’s a topic for another day.
As Brian’s gut healed, he was able to come home after 7 long days in the hospital. We were sure to give him quality probiotics 3x per day, organic foods, and zero gluten or sugar as we knew this would aggravate the gut. This experience helped us both to see the vital role of self-advocacy. Brian’s wellness journey began through an intense traumatic event. However, I believe with the information and resources available today, there is more availability of preventative measures. My grandmother always said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
So thankfully, our story, although traumatic at the time, ended on a good note. We were married a year after Brian’s incident, and wellness has been a priority for him and our family ever since. I think it’s safe to say, I love his guts! And, we love OUR guts, feeding and nourishing our minds and bodies through a variety of ways.
This is why I strongly encourage making your wellness a priority, before a major life crisis forces you to. Today as a mother of two, our wellness as a family is priority. Incorporating healthy eating habits, daily movement, supplementation, meaningful connection, and other helpful tools has helped our family immensely.
In supporting others through holistic nutrition, I wholeheartedly believe in the value of being your own wellness advocate. I always say, “no one can tell you your stomach hurts.” Simply put, staying in tune with you, and your wellness needs, allows for better self-care practices, and preventive measures. One of my favorite books is entitled, “The Dr. in the Mirror.” Setting aside time in your day to listen to your body, giving yourself the time and space to be more self-aware will give lasting benefits. It may just save your life.
Here are some takeaways Brian and I learned from our not-so-fun experience, helping us to better stay in tune with ourselves and advocate for our own wellness:
- looking into the root cause of any ailment is far greater than any quick fix, when looking to promote sustainable wellness.
- taking time to do a little research provides the ability to make an informed choice.
- gut health is the foundation of wellness – we like the good guys! (aka good bacteria) learning ways to support our individual gut microbiome is key!
- self-advocacy is essential. only you know how you’re feeling at any given moment.
- wellness is a day to day action – a journey. our ever changing bodies and needs may require us to dig a bit deeper at times.
I am so grateful for the lessons learned. Life is always providing learning experiences, and wellness is a lifelong journey.
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Begin tuning into you, through “wellness rooted in wholesome nourishment” for mind & body!