Having obtained a Degree in Fine Arts and having run a Silkscreen printing studio and home decor business for 7 years; I have a strong direction towards the arts and creative side of life. But when my dad was experiencing strange symptoms I found myself in a google nightmare, and had diagnosed him with dementia before the Doctors did. It was in that year that I attempted 90 days of being sugar-, gluten-, caffeine-, alcohol- and dairy-free. Needless to say I only lasted a mere 45 days. Learning about dementia I knew I did not want that to be my destiny (and having similar gut issues and lack of memory skills similar to my dad) I had this strong sense that I needed to start protecting myself. Since that year (2014) I was determined to get to 90 days. I only reached it in 2016 but I had made substantial changes to my diet in that time. I had lost weight and reduced my IBS pain and flare ups by at least 70%. In those years my mom had a stent fitted and was soon diagnosed with a marriage of lupus and schleroderma (whom since becoming an IN Health Coach I have managed to help heal her inflammation.) and my dementia-traumatised dad had a stroke that took away his speech and 85% of his cognitive function.
A month before my dad had his stroke my anxiety and depression was at its worst. I was watching my business of 7 years fall apart slowly and my mom had just finished 9 months of chemotherapy for her schleroderma. I was eating well, not drinking much alcohol and having minimal caffeine.
But my anger, anxiety and frustration were at an all time high. My IBS worsened and I developed inflammation in my hands and feet.
My dad’s stroke changed my life. Negatively and positively. I saw my strengths and still see my weaknesses. I was diagnosed with PTSD 6 months later – a combination of losing my home space, my business, the man I knew as my father and the realisation that building my own family was not going to happen for a while.
The home next to mine became available and so my mom purchased it and moved in next door with my dad. Once they were settled (6 different caregivers and a completely new interior later) I sat with no job, no studio and a garage full to the brim with two retail stores and my studio. I was scared, overwhelmed and angry at the world. My friends started to fall away as they started building and growing their own families.
I was hurting so much.
But I managed to still wake up and be there for my family members. I would bake and cook healthy things to make myself and my mom feel good. It was then when I decided to study nutrition – I started a short diploma through Shaw Academy. I never wrote the exam which at the time I thought was due to a fear of failure. Looking back, I now understand it was because deep down I felt I didn’t believe I deserve that diploma. Who was I to think I could be in the health field? How did this failure of an artist and business lady think she belonged in the healing world?
Then I discovered Jessica Sepel. An Australian nutritionist. This incredible human changed my attitude and life. I did her 8 week program, read both her books and drank her smoothies and tonics. I managed to heal my liver and started healing my mind and body. My mind was holding me back from making progress and I would still have panic attacks which seemed to take me ten steps back. It was at this point that I was led to study at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). Learning about Holistic Health. After taking the leap and registering I immediately felt at home. Hearing the words that I have been trying to preach to myself and my family from the world’s most renowned Doctors and Healers I knew this was where I now belonged.
Discovering IIN has been life changing for me. I now sleep – nightmare free. I understand that my anger and liver damage are related and I understand my parents habits and why they have the diagnoses they have. I understand that getting sick on my birthday every year is not because the Universe doesn’t believe that I deserve to celebrate my life; but because I myself didn’t believe that I deserved to be celebrated and loved. I understand that living a well rounded life is way more important than eating kale and drinking wheat grass and ginger shots everyday. Yes, I still have them but they most definitely do not trump my home brewed cup of coffee on a Sunday morning. I understand that saying no does not make me a selfish person but rather a stronger person; and I understand that feeling guilty for saying no is just part of the process.
So, as I sit here feeling the intensity of my past experiences leave me; and I slowly start to embrace the anxiety and love of right now; I realise how far my family and I have grown since 2014. I understand the depth of my own growth and I see my Integrative Nutritional Health Coach journey as my chance to help others create balance, prevent disease, anxiety and to achieve their health goals.
Dementia & Disease does NOT need to be our future.