Why A Misdiagnosis Is the Best Thing That Happened to Me

Kari

 

At 15, I lost my ability to walk normally down the school hallways. My mom had to cut up my food for me because I couldn’t grip silverware. I lost my ability to close my hands into fists, and at night I had to wear these god awful arm/hand braces to keep my fingers from completely curling into my palms. The severity of arthritis progressed rapidly. Having grown up active, and then playing high level volleyball in high school, I was in shock, terrified, and overwhelmed with depression.

I had a hard time processing what was happening to me, and why it was happening. I remember laying on my mom’s bed, my head in her lap, she stroking my hair as I cried, and pleading to her, “why me?” She said, “I don’t know why honey, but I do know that one day you will know, and it will all make sense.” What she said to me at the time made me angry, because it gave me no resolution.

Over a decade ago, I didn’t know whether that was actually true or not. In the past years as I’ve continued my own health journey, and continued to connect more to myself, I’ve continued to help women in their own health and happiness. And it has become more clear to me that this is my why. This is truly why I got sick to begin with, to have this gift of a relationship with myself and to guide women into transforming their own.

This hasn’t been the only time in my life where I’ve had that same question. Wondered the reasons for life experiences, and every single time I remember that it’s not about having the answers in the moment. It’s about living your life in a way that allows you to make sense of them later, and that comes from the relationship within.

Steve Jobs gave this famous speech called connecting the dots,  and what he talks about is the great part of life that we all seem to forget. We all want to know why something is happening to us right now, when the reality is that we can’t connect the dots to make sense of our life until we’re able to look back on it and reflect.

It’s like connecting the dots on a map, or drawing a picture, you have to wait for those big moments in life to happen, and to happen again or appear in a different way to actually be able to say “Oh my gosh, now it all makes sense, I was lead here, through that experience.”

And then we can look at our lives as this big journey where one thing explains another, and in total it makes us who we are. This requires patience, it requires learning who you are and understanding where you’re right now, without worrying too much where you’re going to go. You’ll get there, and when you do it will all make sense.

In that vein, I’ve been waiting to share a part of my story until it felt like the right time. Until I had enough time to process, collect information, tune into myself and really understand where I was in my life and be patient with the “why” of things happening.

 

I am on month 4 of a Lyme disease protocol treatment.

 

When I was diagnosed it was a flood of emotions. I hadn’t been searching for a diagnosis of any kind per say. I was exploring why I was reacting to certain things, why I seemed to have certain pains that I’d not before, or that were there before but came back on only subtly. This diagnosis was so vastly different from my initial one 12 years ago.

It came more from curiosity and less from desperation. It shocked me, mostly because I was actually suspecting that I may have originally been exposed to mold and had mold biotoxin illness, but also because there’s a possibility that I was actually misdiagnosed 12 years ago. This of course, is only speculation right now.

 

It’s a lot to absorb.  I decided to trust myself that I would know how to move forward in the ways that served  me and my health, whether that was treatments, approaches or how I handled sharing publicly. I realized that what I needed was to be supported by myself, my family and my friends as my highest importance. It’s important to me that I make my own choices, my own judgment calls based on my intuition, this is how I stay connected and true to who I am.

 

I am SO grateful for this diagnosis.

 

On one hand, there’s a very real possibility for me to truly fully be free of illness, instead of managing one that is in remission with a lurking possibility of a flare. On the other hand, what I have experienced to date with treatment has allowed me some of the most deep, intimate and tremendous growing experiences with myself. More than I could have imagined. This time around in a healing process I already know myself so much better. I am far more equipped and aside from that, I am really in line with what I need, what I don’t, and how to take care of myself through this process.

 

The ironic, and possibly hard thing to relay over a single blog post is that at the same time I received this diagnosis, I am also the healthiest I have been in literal years.

 

It’s hard imagine if you saw me now, but I am off 7 medications with little to no pain day to day. I used to take 7-10 NSAIDS a day (not including the other medications I was on at maximum doses to help manage arthritic pain. Currently my body is responding incredibly well to the Lyme treatments. My Lyme doctor, who sees patients worldwide, is convinced that I am not more sick or in more pain than I am at this point because of all the healing I have already done to date. Which is why it’s so important to remember that health is not linear, and that there are always improvements to be made, but the effort that goes in, we do see the benefits of those.

 

What I have learned so far, in recovering to full health, in specific to Lyme, has been invaluable. The knowledge I now possess that I didn’t have before is incredible. The deeper understanding of my body has allowed me to access new parts of myself that I didn’t know were untapped. While all of those things are intensely true and real for me, I realized, they were not the “why” of this illness.

 

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my friend who right now is in the middle of some major healing, to the point where he’s been laying in bed for literal months. This isn’t his first rodeo. It’s far from the first time he’s spent months in bed, but as we were talking he said to me, “Ya know, I’ve been trying to figure out what the lesson is this time, why it is that yet something else is going on with me. And I’ve been struggling with feeling frustrated about it, and at the same time not feeling inspiring to other people on how I am dealing with it.”

 

His words resonated so deeply within me. Not only figuring out the why, which as we just discussed, can only be seen in retrospect, most of the time. But not feeling you’re inspiring people.

Ooph that is rough, right? The weight of feeling responsible for other peoples’ inspiration, motivation and change is huge.

When I got this diagnosed I made the conscious choice to not share until I knew it actually felt right to me. Sharing without processing, sharing without connecting to myself, sharing mindlessly, essentially was not on the agenda for me, it just wasn’t an option.

I am not looking to be another person you follow on social media who’s healing from an illness and doing it amazingly. If you look back on my Instagram posts from 4 years ago I highlight this by showing you all the serious unpleasant parts of healing.

I didn’t share immediately because it matters more to me that I actually connect to myself, instead of trying to look for outside validation. I think it’s great to be inspired by other people, I could list off so many that I am inspired by. And you may be inspired by me, but what I don’t really want you looking to me for inspiration, I want you looking within yourself, because that’s what I did. It matters more, that you see me finding inspiration within myself, to know that you can do the EXACT same. That is your own power, and not mine, but in witnessing others journeys’ we often discover the power within ourselves.

 

Sure, I have lots of insight on treatments now. If you have Lyme (or RA, Ankylosing Spondylitis, IBS, Hypothyroidism) I can tell you what supplements to take, what foods to eat for optimal health, how to move to support your body healing, etc. That stuff is valuable, sure, and yet what I realize, what I know in my heart, with the most clarity I have ever had – it is not my purpose to tell you what will work to eradicate illness from your body. Because all of our body’s are different, unique universes.

It is, however, my mission to help you understand how to support yourself, find yourself, believe in yourself, nourish yourself, connect with yourself, and love yourself through it.

 

I fully believe that everything we experience during our time here on Earth is here to teach us a lesson, and not in some kind of punishment way, but a lesson so that we may actually learn, and go forth and teach others what we’ve learned. So that we can make each other better for ourselves.

 

Everything makes sense when we look back and connect the dots. I could have shared with you, the day I got my diagnosis. I could have shared with you when I started treatments. But that wouldn’t have served me. And the thing I knew is, it wouldn’t have served you either.

 

What makes sense to me now, that didn’t feel as clear then, is that the only way I serve you better in the work that I am meant to do, is by connecting more to myself. By making myself the biggest priority, that is how I am serving you. That is how I learn, how I master what I teach.

 

Having this diagnosis is literally what led and guided me to create what I have been dreaming of creating for years. To create a program and platform for women to learn to eat better, connect better and move better, together. To have resources, community, understanding, and information during the journey of life, which at different points will give us a big ‘ol dot that we aren’t sure how to deal with.

 

Soul Power is what I wish I would have had when I was first sick and diagnosed at 15. I can’t imagine how different life would be for me if I had had the kind of support that will exist in Soul Power.

Then again, I wasn’t meant to. Because it was meant for me to be challenged in ways that would bring me closer to myself, to master the relationship with myself, so much so that I could teach other women how to love themselves deeply and support them through some of the most trying (and happy) times in their lives.

Right now, I am standing (dancing!) at my desk while I write this. I am full of purpose, truth and peace. I know this is exactly what is meant to be. I feel immensely grateful that I am charged with this gift to help women come more fully into themselves and to be actually living their healthiest life, because that’s what I am doing, and I don’t plan to go it alone.

 

I’d love to share the details of Soul Power with you. Enrollment ends at midnight today. See here for details.

XO,

Kari

The Gift of Presence

The Gifts Of Presence

 

I walked into my room and paused, completely still. My bed is half unmade, half covered in pillows and Acme’s asleep in his usual spot, near the window, by the salt lamp set on the low setting. “I love my bedroom,” I whispered to myself. I love the simplicity, the ease it brings me every time I walk in and the instant I lay my head down I feel at rest. I thought, how rare it is that we stop to appreciate what we have. Truly, when we are taken aback just by our own contentedness and joy with the simplest of moments. Think, when was the last time you felt utter presence in an every day moment? This gift of presence allows you to solidify you in a place and time, to truly stamp your memory with every sensory sensation.

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How Affirmations Helped Me Heal

How Affirmations Helped Me Heal

In the past decade affirmations have become more mainstream. The use of words or phrases to help change your mental outlook has gained a lot of public notice and support in helping people. Truthfully, affirmations are ancient traditions. Spoken word therapy has been around for centuries and it’s helped people and communities across the globe. They can be traced back to ancient eastern religions, and indigenous tribes. Widely known, mantras are phrases, poems or sayings chanted over and over again during meditation. The word  “mantra” Sanskrit and is translated to read “that which protects (tra) the mind (man).”  They have been used for spiritual connection to the self and the divine. In so many ways they have been used to free one’s mind of all other thoughts.

 

 

Most recently you can find people touting the benefits of affirmations on wellness sites like Well + Good, Mind Body Green and from leaders in the New Age movement like Gabby Bernstein and Deepak Chopra. This wave of self-help ideology has created a movement and momentum behind using therapies such as affirmations in channeling and changing your thought process.

 

I’d say that my way of coming to affirmations was fairly nontraditional as I wasn’t necessarily seeking a more spiritual connection to the Universe, God, the Divine, whatever you choose to call it. My introduction to their power was during a time of deep desire for physical healing of my body.

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When Your Desire Doesn’t Feel Strong

Sage Burning

When I first started down my journey to live well, in all areas of my life, I would tell people all the time “it comes from this burning desire to heal.” Trying to explain this deep seeded feeling of inner drive.   We all have it, it’s inside you already even if you don’t know it yet. That burning desire is for something that your heart aches for, that your truest self desperately seeks. And at any given time this can also shift and change. Your burning desire in one period of your life can evolve or transition to something else in another. And even at times, that blazing flame may grow dim, it may struggle to find the air it needs to keep its shape and to grow.
Last night I was sitting on my couch, laying with my blanket-cat Acme, full of so much joy and gratitude from the yoga workshop I co-hosted earlier in the day, then it dawned on me. I became overwhelmed with this new and exciting feeling and all the same felt as if I were returning home, there was comfort. Suddenly I was filled with this reminder. This epic sensation of how much I love to share and foster connection. How much helping other people is a part of me. This burning desire that all at once ignites my life and sets ablaze my determination. I had this, when I first started my intensive healing journey. It’s only last night, That I gained the awareness that somewhere along the way it dimmed.

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How To Lead A Successful Life


How To Lead A Successful Life

 

 

I found this tiny notepad in my purse pocket while I was traveling. Ever since I can remember I’ve carried small notepads around with me to jot ideas and thoughts down at a moments notice. I had packed one for my trip, but this one was different. It was old, worn, with every page full.

I opened it up to read it, quickly realizing that it was from a few years ago, not that long after I had lived in Florence. It’s full of randomness, to most people. Lists, thoughts, quotes, poems, you name it. On one page there was a list – it’s titled “To Lead A Successful Life”. My initial thought was that my opinion of success looks very different than it used to and this list probably would be reflective of that. And yet, as I read, I realized in fact it was a complete reflection of the life I have now.

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The Roots of Grief

Part of why I love having Soul Power as a part of this site is because it provides the opportunity to further connect with one another as a community. I appreciate so much the depth at which people are willing to go with their writing, and personal anecdotes. Carrie Lewman, is a brave woman who writes over on her site carrielewman.com.  I’ve come to know her virtually through her participation in my September Self-Care program a year ago. She took so much away from that experience, and continued to help herself in her journey to healing. It brings me so much joy to share with you her writing as a part of her process in understanding herself in dealing with loss and a deeper connection within.

*If you’re interested in this upcoming September Self-Care program more info –> here. See Carrie’s raving post on her experience here.

Roots of Grief

My thoughts on death and loss have always been that grief is what you experience afterwards. That it is a stage you enter into. Actually grief is not something that happens to you, it is something you do afterwards. It is your reaction to loss or death. We have all heard of, and perhaps walked the many stages of grief; anger, denial, depression, acceptance, etc…, but no one ever speaks of the heartbreak. It is essentially the root of grief and where most people get stuck. Your heart has been broken as the result of loss and this loss does not always directly pertain to physical death. It can be the demise of a relationship, loss of a job, relocating, loss of innocence, and disappointment in life not turning out how you thought it would, just to name a few.

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5 Ways To Snap Out Of a Funk

5 Ways To Snap Out of A Funk

So you’re in a funk or a bad mood. Perhaps something happened at work or with a friend and now you’re all bent out of shape. It could even be that you’re just feeling low, not exactly your enthusiastic self, but not sure how to change that.

I know we can all raise our hands in agreement that we’ve been there before. I know I have. I’ve dealt with depression, panic attacks, funks and mood swings my whole life, and what I’ve come to learn over the years are a few key components to actually shifting your energetic vibration to change your mood.

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The Hallway Is Hell

 I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all likely experienced a time (multiples really) in our lives where we had to go through the process of grieving, dredging through discomfort and healing. In that time it can often feel lonely, scary and as though we lack a sense of direction of our true path to know what direction we are headed. This month’s Soul Power contributor goes deep into that space, otherwise known as the “hallway of hell”. This incredibly vulnerable space that we venture into hoping to come out whole again. It’s not only incredibly relatable, but her honesty permeates through her expression and reaches the core of our true selves, where we can find understanding. When I first met Heather Wellman I had no idea that she was a writer, nor did I know of her adventurous spirit and the strength of her inner desire to love people wholeheartedly. I not only admire her way with words (more on her blog and Instagram), but I am drawn to her insatiable desire to live her life despite fear, ambiguity and the time spent in the hallway. I am without proper words to do justice to how honored I am that she is sharing with you all in this space, so I will let her do the rest.

The Hallways is Hell

 

I rolled towards her, my hair falling forward, into my face, a few strands dancing in the space between our mouths. She reached up, sliding them behind my ear, clearing the path from her lips to my own. I moaned quietly as her fingertips swept back and forth over the soft skin of my inner thighs… And then my own hand abruptly met hers, holding it still, near my knee. I pulled back, and looked at her… “I can’t,” I said. “I feel like my dad can see us now, which I know sounds ridiculous but it’s true. It’s just weird for me. I need some more time.” My girlfriend stared back at me blankly for a few seconds, and then dropped her hand from my body back to our mattress…

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Do As I Say, Not As I Did: Food Reintroduction

An open letter to anyone going through the phases of reintroducing foods after following an elimination diet.

Do As I Say, Not As I Did : Food Reintroductions

Dear beautiful human,

So you’ve been on an elimination diet, and you’re finally ready to see what you can eat again. Congratulations, this is a big deal!! This means that you must feel AMAZING right now, especially compared to where you were before the start of your elimination protocol. You really deserve an award for sticking through something so difficult in pursuit of feeling better. Let’s not down play just how hard it is to remove certain foods from your life.

 

Eliminating food, is hard. I know, because I’ve been there. Let me say that getting to the reintroduction phase is an accomplishment. Reintroducing foods means healing has occurred within you, and naturally that’s a really great feeling. It can also however, breed a lot of anxiety when it comes to trying new foods that were temporarily “off limits”. It’s completely normal to feel a little scared about adding foods back into your system that could potentially make you feel unwell, perhaps even cause a flare if you have an autoimmune condition or instigate those painful headaches that you finally got rid of.

You may think this fear is even too great to even risk reintroducing foods, don’t let it be. When you’re going to reintroduce foods you want to be methodical about how you go about doing it, if you’re following a certain system, make sure that you follow the steps of reintroducing, like through the autoimmune protocol for example. There are outlined steps and a system that works when it comes to reintroducing foods and being aware of how they affect your body is hugely important in the process. This is essential to knowing what does and does not work for you right now. Perhaps it won’t be forever, but for right now some foods will and will not work in your individual system, and that is okay.

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Liver Meat Squares

Liver Meat Squares

 

 

 

Many people are totally repelled by the thought of eating liver. My mother is one of those people. She grew up in a household where liver and onions was a prized staple at the family dinner table, not only that, but there were strict rules about eating your meal, drinking your milk and not being allowed from the table until the plate was clear.

Imagine how she felt as she sat at the table loathing the liver and onions before her, unsure of how she would get rid of the foulness. Well, clever as she is, she came up with some alternatives. During that time she had cuffs in her pants and somehow mysteriously liver would end up in there, or tid-bits handed off to the cat, who was all too pleased to receive the unwanted meal. Even the smell, to this day makes her quiver. NO my mother will likely never eat liver and I never had it growing up since she felt it clearly a form of child abuse to serve it to us. She was scarred for life.

 

Well, I am here to show you that taste buds are not genetic :) which you knew, so I am really here to show you that liver can actually taste REALLY good. The first time I tried liver we were in a restaurant in France and it was chicken liver pate over crostini, it was okay, I’ll admit that I tolerate but do not love chicken liver. When I jumped deep into healing my body I realized so much of what I actually needed to be eating, and offal being one of those.

 

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