This blog post is all about the journey of my life up until this moment. Who I’ve been, where I’ve been, and who I am now.
One of my first memories as a kid is that I LOVED to colour and do crafty things. I could probably be distracted doing those things for hours. I also loved my stuffed animals and I had an “imaginary friend” up until about 4 or 5 years old. His name was Brian and we would play with the stuffed toys all the time.
Although I loved the stuffed toys (now that I think about it, it was probably because they were animals), I never really got into playing with dolls. I would play with them with friends, but as soon as the friends left, the dolls would go back on the shelf to collect dust. Playing with toy cars was absolutely my thing though. I loved driving them around, sound effects and everything. 😉
Growing up I was a quiet and responsible child. I would be shy around strangers and keep to myself. I would raise my hand in school and listen to the teachers. I did my homework and got good grades. I enjoyed school as a kid because I always loved to learn.
But something that had the most dramatic influence in my life growing up, and which would become the catalyst for my life path, was my chronic eczema.
I’d had it since I was a baby and it was getting worse as I became older. I have a vague memory of being taken to the doctor and getting prescribed a steroid cream to control the flare ups. But that treatment route didn’t last long, since as soon as you stop using the cream, the eczema comes back much worse than before.
I was lucky that my parents became aware of the side effects of steroid creams and avoided using it. I am so grateful for that. Although in those years growing up, I would sometimes give in to using the cream because the eczema would just be so unbearable at times. I didn’t care about any bad effects, I just needed that instant relief.
From this, my understanding was that there was no “real” or “good” treatment for my eczema, and I spent my childhood and teenage years basically accepting the fact that I would have this kind of skin for the rest of my life. All I was left with was my hope that every time a major flare up would die down, it wouldn’t come back again. Yet without failure, it would always come back.
You can probably see and understand by now that I was very self-conscious about myself. I was embarrassed about my skin and always felt like I had to hide it. I never really talked about it to anyone either. I kept my insecurities to myself. As long as I covered myself up with long sleeved shirts and scarves, I was okay to go out into the world. And this is how I lived for a very long time.
Until one summer, the summer of 2012, when I had the WORST flare up of my life. Not only was it the most severe, but it had spread to every part of my body. What made it worse was the fact that this particular summer was one of the hottest, driest summers. I love the outdoors and I love warm weather, and this was absolute torture for me. All I wanted to do was wear T-shirts and go to the beach, but instead I was stuck indoors and only ever wore long sleeves to hide myself, as I always did.
At this time I also started getting inexplicable stomach pain and burning sensations. I got tested for H. pylori to see if I had a stomach ulcer, but the test came back negative and the doctor really had no idea why I was experiencing this pain. That left me even more confused than ever.
This was really when I hit my lowest point. I remember crying about this to my mom, “WHY is this happening to me?!?”. I cried about it to my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time), “You don’t understand what this is like, having skin like this!”. Even writing this now, I feel a lump in my throat thinking back to how I was feeling at this moment in my life.
But as the saying goes, our biggest breaking points lead us to the biggest breakthroughs. And that was so very true for me. It was during this time that I decided I’d had enough with the pain and that I would no longer be a victim to my eczema. I made the decision that things would be different. That I would find a way to heal myself.
So my research began. I knew that a cream or any type topical treatment would not be my answer. I knew I had to dig deep and understand the root cause of my eczema. I knew that I had to heal myself from within. And to me, at that time, nutrition and healing with food was my answer.
I read so much about this online. I came across different blogs and stories of people sharing how they healed from eczema. I started to implement some of the stuff that I’d read, particularly making fresh green vegetable juice full of coriander, parsley, celery, carrots, kale and other foods and nutrients that my body so desperately needed.
But progress was slow, and I was still unsure of what I was really doing. One thing I realized was that I loved learning about nutrition and I loved the idea of being able to heal with food. This is also when the first seed was planted in my mind that I was meant to help others in a profound way. My university degree in biochemistry wasn’t really going to help with that, in the way that I wanted it to. So I decided to enroll myself in a nutrition school to become a certified holistic nutritionist.
Through this education, I learned A LOT. I learned how to identify nutritional deficiencies or imbalances in the body. And I gained a deep understanding in the role of food in supporting the body so that it can heal.
It was through this newfound knowledge that I was able to heal myself with food. Not only that, but I finally found peace with food too, which was something I hadn’t realized I was missing before. I understood the uniqueness of the body, and the unique nutritional requirements everyone has. There was no such thing as a “one size fits all” diet.
Over the course of about 1.5 years, I had gotten myself to a point where I felt amazing. My eczema was gone and I was healthy. And I started blogging about all things nutrition so that I could help others too and show them how they could heal themselves with food.
My eczema-free life didn’t last though. The eczema came back. And it left me feeling very confused – “How could this be? My diet is healthy! I healed myself with food! I’m still eating the same nutritious foods!!! How???”.
Luckily it wasn’t nearly as bad as before. It was in a small area around the back of my neck. “Well, as long as I can cover it up thanks to my hair, I can figure this out”, were my thoughts. So being in the place that I was, with the education that I had, I turned to nutrition once again to try and understand what I was doing wrong.
I remember thinking that maybe it was because I was eating too much peanut butter, and had developed a sensitivity to it that my eczema came back. But nope, that wasn’t it. For a while, I really had no idea what the answer was. I ate more liver-supporting foods. I took chlorella. I ate more probiotics. Nothing was giving me the answer. So, I kept this at the back of my mind, once again returning to the feeling of hope that this will get resolved on its own eventually…
A few months after this incident, still living with that small patch of eczema on my neck, I came across a blog post on meditation. Someone had written that they did a 30-day meditation commitment and how life changing it had been for them. I was intrigued.
It all sounded so interesting to me, as I had never meditated before, and decided that I should try it. This is where the next turning point in my life came.
To be continued…