Hello and WELCOME to my blog, One Autoimmune Journey. I plan on using this page to share my experiences (mostly in the medical world as a very complex patient) with others and hope this page brings you hope, joy, some laughter, and resources along the way. I am working towards spreading awareness related to autoimmune limitations and how to think positively through illness.
If you are new to my story, here is a quick overview of my health history. I have been feeling less-than-well for as long as I can remember. With each new year, came more health challenges, more complicated treatments, or more doctors that did not really know how to “fix” me. Over time, I have accumulated multiple autoimmune disorders, constant fatigue and pain, and multiple diagnoses that have my head spinning most of the time. Around May of 2016, I decided to start researching about my conditions while also searching for techniques that could be used to improve my quality of life and officially started a confusing-but-much-needed journey.
At the end of May, I joined a well-known health and wellness company as an Independent Consultant. I figured that since I was researching healthier alternatives and options anyway, I could help others with what I found in the process. I then started to recognize this burning desire to do more; I wanted to share my story with the world and I wanted to write about it. In addition, I felt this growing passion for wanting to change the face of autoimmune disease and help others by looking at these challenges more positively.
You see, I’ve joined many groups related to chronic pain or autoimmune problems and have promptly left them shortly after. Why? Because the negativity I see in those groups is overwhelming. If you want to lose hope on what you might be able to change or do to make your situation better, just join some of those groups. My goodness. I didn’t want to see negativity. I wanted to see others succeeding in life and living positively, even through their limitations. Yeah, everyone is going to have a bad day or a bad flare-up when it comes to these types of medical problems, but instead of looking at what we CAN’T do, I wanted to look at what we CAN. I wanted to research and find ways to make these limitations easier to manage. I wanted to find others like me who truly understood what it was like to go through autoimmune challenges or chronic illness issues EACH and EVERY day.
Well, by joining this health and wellness company, I realized A LOT about myself. I also felt like I was not really helping people in the way that I would have liked. You see, I became a salesperson. I was asking people to spend money on products that may help some of them. Even though these products may have helped a few customers, this was more about sales and less about helping people. I didn’t want to be selling something that I didn’t 100% believe in. So, I did what most people do in this kind of situation; I quit.
However, my drive and passion for improving my own autoimmune situation continued. I started taking a few supplements but wasn’t able to change much else. I kept seeing a natural-path, still followed up with all of my doctors and specialists, and still took quite a few medications per day. However, I still felt misguided, empty, and unfulfilled. What was I really looking for? At the time, I wasn’t really sure. All I knew was that I wanted and NEEDED to write. I needed to tell my story, record my findings, and share resources that I’ve found to be so helpful.
For those of you that don’t know me well, I have been officially diagnosed with many autoimmune diseases over the last couple of years. I’ve had health problems since I was 8 years old, but many of my more serious problems started after the birth of my son in 2013. First, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. Then we concluded that my hormone levels and adrenal gland levels were extremely low causing mood swings, migraines, female-related problems, and extreme fatigue. Eventually, I was also diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Adrenal Gland Insufficiency, Endometriosis, Premature Ovarian Failure, and Peri-menopause. From there, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and consistently had trouble in the gastrointestinal area. Just last year, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease on top of a history of IBS, Gastroparesis, Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and Food Allergies. And now, after all other treatments have failed, I am recovering from a Hysterectomy from December 20th of 2016…at 31 years old. Yes, 31.
It has definitely been a wild and crazy ride, but I’m still here. I’m still working full-time each and every day, consistently reading and researching ways to improve my health, and working towards feeling the best that I can when faced with these challenges. I want to make sure I can provide for my family, be consistently reliable to others, and not have to allow my health challenges to control me. I want to control MY days, as many of them as I possibly can. I know what it feels like to wake up, feel horrible and depressed, and not want to do anything. I’ve been there. I still have my moments to this day. But, I CHOOSE not to allow one bad day to control my week, or month, or year. I allow myself the luxury of a bad day with the expectation of getting back up on the horse again and waking up positive the very next day. I take pride in my journey, both my failures and successes and am driven to share my story with the world.
And that is why, my friends, I jumped around a bit last year. After quitting the one thing that seemed to have gotten me started, I moved on to other ideas such as books, a health and wellness shopping club, and naturally-based makeup. I found that none of these opportunities filled that void I was feeling; none of these opportunities helped me find what I was looking for. And again, what was that exactly?
I realized through this process that I don’t need to “sell” something to share what I want to share. I don’t need to make an income from something that brings me great joy. I also realized that as I am pursuing my own health and wellness journey, I can help others with their own journeys as well just by writing about it. With this blog, I aim to inspire, motivate, and encourage others to push through whatever challenges they may face and continue working towards whatever goals they may have set for themselves. Whether that goal is just to get through the day or to finally attend an exercise class they’ve been putting off for the past year, the actual goal doesn’t matter. The journey, the accountability, the encouragement, the support…that’s what matters. Helping, inspiring, and motivating is what matters. YOU matter. I matter. WE all matter.
And that’s why I’ve created this blog. It’s not about what company I’ve partnered with or what product I can sell; it’s about creating an autoimmune community in general. It’s about helping others, sharing resources, and providing inspiration to those that need it most. It’s about sharing MY story and being darn proud of it too. We all have our scars; we all become a little misguided along the way, but that is what brings us to our true passion. Even though I am not with any of those direct sales companies any longer, I am still here creating my own journey and wellness venture as I go and plan on sharing the ups and downs with you as well.
WELCOME and ENJOY!
~Tina, One Autoimmune Journey
Image Copyright: Tina Marteney