I’m 23 years old originally from Northern Virginia. I’m the oldest of 3 children. God, Family, Country and Sports is the best way to sum up my upbringing. I work in childcare and the fitness industry.
Growing up so involved in sports, I have always been hyper-aware of my body. I thought everything was great, until it wasn’t. I had been feeling run down for a while and I chalked it off as over-training and eating at a deficit. Then one day I was doing cardio at the gym and my leg gave out. I tried to “push through it” like I had often been told. I’m usually pretty high energy person, so my mind and body often want to finish a workout at different times. Even knowing this, I physically couldn’t get myself to keep pedaling on the bike. And I knew this time was different.
From that moment it was downhill and within a week, I was getting blood drawn, an EKG, x-rays, ultrasounds, a portable heart monitor, poke after poke and visiting endless specialists. I went from working out 2-3 times a day, to not being able to walk up stair and crying in my sleep. Looking back on my life, I see a lot of signs that I have always had an autoimmune disease. Waking up feeling like I got hit by a truck, going months without a period, extreme bloating after eating bread, unbearable joint pain, major brain fog, the list goes on.
Ive gotten to grow deeper connections with people I already knew, who also have an autoimmune disease(s). Its a special thing when you can find/be support to people who have been where you’ve been. We get emotionally naked in ways a lot of people wouldn’t understand.
As far as treatment, I am completely gluten free and also try to avoid large amounts of food that can upset my body like sugar and dairy. In general, I try to balance my nutrition, workouts and stress levels. I don’t always have all 3 in line, but 2 of those must be focused on for me to try to avoid a flare.
I really love being good to people and have a habit of wanting to put others before myself. Sure that sounds great, but since Ive gotten sick, I’ve had to say “no” to people in order to take care of myself. Im also not the best at asking for help. Boundaries are hard to set sometimes and its cost me a handful of relationships. So that hurts.
“People think you’re like a car in a body shop. You go in, they fix you and you’re out. It doesn’t work like that. It takes constant fixing.” -Demi Lovato
Its a full time job taking care of my health. And Ive had people say some pretty rude things to me because they don’t understand the work it takes. I don’t get a break and I’ve come to accept that. When you know how it feels to be extremely sick, you’ll get to the point where you want to do anything to feel healthy. This quote reminds me there are other people who do “get it.”
Find Claudia | @Cmturn11