“Dis”-Functional Illness: My Journey to Re-Wellness

My journey to healing starts here. Weeping to wellness, so to speak. I’m telling my story for others as well as myself. Hopefully, my sharing will aid in my continued healing as well as someone else dealing with the same illness.

Most people don’t know I went through a secret hell last year. I shared some of my suffering but there was also a silence that came along with it. I, a Certified Health Coach, had totally lost control over my life. I was ashamed and defeated. I had come so far to be knocked back down. I was in pain, mentally and physically.

I was detached at times. Lost in a mass a confusion and despair. My confidence stolen with every ache, every pain. What kind of help can I give if I am unable to help myself? What type of healer am I when I’ve all but given up on myself? That was my self talk as2014 was coming to a close.

December 31, 2014 could not have come fast enough for me. I started the year in pain and ended it nearly beaten. I endured an unnecessary surgical procedure, multiple bouts of stomach and back pain, cat scans, x-rays, MRIs and enough poking and prodding to last me a lifetime. All to be told I had a “functional” disease. Functional meaning there’s no underlying major illness, no chronic condition, no cure, just a bunch of symptoms that only feel like they are going to kill me. My diagnosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

The first time I ever heard of this condition was in the movie “Along Came Polly.” Ben Stiller had IBS, it was comical when he had it. Spicy foods equaled a run to the bathroom. Oh, how I would’ve gladly settled for a mere run to the bathroom. My IBS had me on my hands and knees on benches in different emergency rooms. Rocking, crying for drugs, wishing for death. My IBS had me in New York, sitting on a restaurant patio, well laying, in 30 degree weather, sweating and looking like a crazed homeless person. My IBS had no comical effects. It was painful, embarrassing, disheartening. My IBS had me taking orange pills, blue pills, white pills. Pills that I had sworn off, pills that I knew were causing harm.

My IBS was killing my spirit. I was so ready for the year of stomach hell to end. I was resolved to get myself back. How dare a “functional” illness steal my thunder. I decided I was going to start by ending my year with positivity and to begin the new year by affirming control over IBS. I was ready to begin to truly heal mind, body and spirit.

Welcome to my journey. Wish me well and let’s get ready. The ride won’t always be smooth but it will surely always be mine. My way, my terms.

Happy New Year, new Me..to me!


The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

Reclaiming my love, health issues kept me away but I am Determined!

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Ok, I know, what does that quote have to do with good health, positive intentions, weight loss? To answer that question we must first determine what our “enemy”is. In my case, my enemy was depression, weight issues, low self esteem, poor health, etc. I was sad, fat and sick. Once I was able to identify my “enemy,” I could then formulate a plan for healing. What was eating at me was being caused by what I was eating. Easy fix?

“The enemy of my enemy.” Let’s start with introducing healthy foods into our diet. It’s a tough sell sometimes. Food as medicine? Especially when you have doctors; who’ve gone to medical school and practiced for years; telling you the cure is in the little blue, pink or purple pill. I get it the little pastel pill looks a bit harmless next to that head of cauliflower in the grocery store. You know how to prepare the pill, a glass and some water, that cauliflower though. You ever notice how it is never just one pill. There’s a pill to counteract the side effects of the first pill. A skin cream to clear the rash caused by the second pill. Don’t forget the over the counter medications to alleviate some of the minor symptoms of your condition that are not addressed by the first or second pill.

Healthy foods don’t cause negative side effects. Kale doesn’t require any assistance to give you that boost of Iron, Calcium and Vitamins A and C, neither does broccoli. Coconut oil provides such great immune boosting nutrients, regular use can help prevent the need for all the antibiotics that are being prescribed. These foods provide healthy nutrients that will help prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Yes, healthy foods can also improve your eyesight, mood, and skin. Energy boosts, increased libido, higher testosterone, balanced estrogen, and weight loss all awesome side effects of introducing healthy foods into your diet.

“The enemy of my enemy” It’s like the old saying goes, “Misery loves company.” You will become whatever you believe. Self talk matters. Illness feeds off of your ability or inability to cope with it. Be positive. Smile. Stand in the mirror and declare that you are healthy, life is good and you are at peace! Tell yourself everyday that you are worthy, you are destined for great things, that you are well. Speak it, affirm it, believe it. Rid yourself of toxic behaviors. Disassociate with people, places and things that do not support your path to wellness.

“The enemy of my enemy” Lastly find a way to allow your mind, body, and spirit to rest. We live in such a disconnectedly connected world. There’s pinging and ringing, buzzing and beeping. We can be located anywhere on the plant at any given time. The TV is constantly blaring, we have constant access to every tragic story that occurs in the World. We then wonder why we are so exhausted, stressed and unhappy. We all need to disconnect from the collective. Prayer, meditation, quiet walks alone, soft music, sleep all ways to go into yourself. Our spirits need rest time. They need to heal too. We need time to sort out everything. Release what needs to be released and accept what we can not.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” Love yourself in all ways possible. I promise you will find great things when you take time for you.

Finding Health and Happiness, One Green Smoothie at a Time

I found happiness in a green smoothie and a bowl of fat flush soup.

Who says 38 is old,well some people do, but not this young lady over here! I am proof positive that it’s never too late to make a life change.

2013 came spiraling in for me. Disappointment in my self, my weight, my health, my mood. Frustrated over my older children’s choices. Disenchanted with my marriage. I prayed that the new year would be better for all of us but not really believing what I was saying. I just wanted out, out of my marriage, out of motherhood, out of this body that I couldn’t stand.

I decided one more try at weight loss, we had a competition at work and the prize money was worth giving it a go. I tried a six week cleanse I had done with a Health Coach one more time and it was like a religious experience. Clarity set in. I realized I was my own biggest problem. I was choosing sickness and unhappiness.

I did what any other self respecting overweight lunatic would do, I enrolled in school to become a Certified Health Coach. I jumped in with both feet. Learning everything I could about different dietary life styles, self care practices, acceptance of self and others. I learned how to listen, to choose peace, to own what is mine and let go of what belongs to others.

I have a calmness about me now that wasn’t there before. I take care of my needs, I work on my energy, I let others in, I trust that people are not out to hurt me. I give kisses and hugs. I can listen without offering an unwanted solution. I allow my adult children to make choices I disagree with, without feeling that I have to fix everything. What a difference a year makes.

I am happy, I am healthy, I am whole. Admittedly, I can not add skinny to that list but here’s the thing, I happen to love the Me I am today. I also know tomorrow’s Me is going to be even better. Look at Me strutting my curvaceous stuff. You go girl!

I brought 2014 in quite eventfully. I will be going into surgery in a couple of days, flash backs from an earlier less healthy life style, but i have a confidence that my body will heal and I will be just fine.

I have some great things coming down the line. I will launch my business this Spring, Vivacious Voluptuous Health, working with women to live their best, healthiest life right now, at any size. I will celebrate my 10th Wedding Anniversary. I will be going on a Girl’s Vacation. I will just be Me and I am awesome!


I must’ve added extra spinach to that green smoothie last January and I am so thankful I did! Find the key that opens the door to freedom for you, it doesn’t matter where you are at right now, it’s never too late for awesomeness!

Medicated and Radiated:Choosing Alternative Symptom Care

I woke up the other morning energized. I was ready to take on the world. I mean seriously I had all the tools. I had a healthy mood and food regimen, I had my work out plan all written out. I could not be stopped. I was ready to take on 2014! Until the pain began.
That very same morning I ended up in the ER writhing in pain and fearful. I’m not really the doctor trusting kind of girl. After being medicated and radiated over a nine hour period, I was sent home with a take two of these and another doctor will call you a couple of mornings from now.
As I took the two of these, one of those and on and on, a sadness and despair began to creep in. The side effects, the continued pain, the aggravation of not knowing what was wrong became too much. I eventually took easing the pain into my own hands and used some alternative methods that I believe are worth sharing:

  • Crying: It’s okay to cry. Boy oh boy have I cried, I mean really sobbed but it hurt and I was tired. I needed to get it out. Each good cry was a relief and once I was done I would take a proactive step to making myself feel somewhat better.
  • Hot water bottle: So worth having on hand. Instead of the horrible headaches being caused by the medication to ease my stomach pain a strategically placed water bottle did the trick just as well. Like a warm hug right where you need it. Aaaah.
  • Mint green tea: I had horrendous nausea. I was given a prescription for that symptom also, go figure. The mint tea substitution did the trick, eased the nausea and also because it was decaffeinated it also was hydrating.
  • Water: I slowly sipped water all day. Picture in your head flushing out toxins, getting rid of all the bad and then keep on sipping,
  • Deep breathing and massage: Now I needed help from the Hubby with the massage part but so helpful. The release of endorphins from getting into that good space would ease some of the pain without the guilt caused by taking narcotics, prescription of course!
  • Movement and sleep: I really should label this “Listening to my body.” Basically its sleep when you feel tired and get up and move when you can . I slept for two days straight. I let my body do what it needed to heal itself. The third day I woke up with a burst of energy, washed three dishes, cooked a very basic dinner for my family, felt extremely accomplished and then went back to bed. It sounds silly but it made me feel really good to do something.

After waiting for my doctor to return from vacation, I received my verdict. He looked at me, listened to my symptoms, reviewed my CT scan and pronounced that I would be in surgery in a few days. No fairy tale endings. The natural remedies didn’t cure me. They did exactly what the medications in the ER where intended to do, ease the symptoms of the cause. Sans the side effects.

I guess I did start 2014 on an upswing. There is something empowering about finding healthy alternatives to symptom care that don’t involve medications that cause even more symptoms. Rock on 2014, I’m ready for you!

Tis the Season to be jolly, Ugh! 5 Tips to ensure a happy, healthy Holiday Season.

It’s that time of the year again. Children laughing, people passing, spreading holiday cheer. Shopping carts and ankles meeting, credit card bills a-piling and children in tears. We all love and hate this time of the year. The ups and downs to spending time with family, the Christmas lights twinkling, the resulting light bills, the rich and delicious foods, the higher numbers as you peek down at the scale. So much to look forward to.

This truly is an awesome time of the year. A time of giving and love; gratitude and reflection; and family and friends. We let all the material nonsense get in the way and lose sight of the true meaning of the season.

Here are 5 tips to get you through the hard times and to help you enjoy this wonderful season:

1. Be grateful and express gratitude. It’s so easy to focus on your wants and desires, but what about what you already have? Take time to say thank you. That neighbor that brought in your mail while you were sick. That family member that calls just at the right moment. That job that came just in time. Your child that is doing even just a little bit better than last month. Thank God who comes right on time with all of the above. Expressing gratitude releases all those feel good hormones that will help add a little pep in your step when your feeling down.

2. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty all around you. The trees, the lights, the colors, the music. I love walking down city streets and through department stores. The beautiful chaos of shoppers and decorations, Santa’s and reindeer, children and toys. The Nativity scene alone stirs feelings of love, faith, charity and hope. Don’t miss all the beauty by unnecessary worry. Take a breath and enjoy!

3. Relax. Seriously, just chill. Your family will still love you if the floors don’t shine just so. Your friends won’t judge if the bows are slightly tilted on their presents. Life is too short to waste your time trying to making everything perfect. Please let your friends and family in, grab a glass of egg nog and enjoy yourself. You really don’t want to hear about how fun your get together was on Facebook because you spent the whole time in the kitchen.

4. Follow the 80/20 rule. Please indulge in that sweet treat you’ve been looking forward to. Eat plenty of roasted vegetables, lean meats, and healthy grains and then add a few of the more indulgent items. There should be no deprivation during the holidays. Enjoy yourself.

5. Give. Give and then give some more. Give your time, help with a food drive, volunteer at a Senior Center, take some time and visit your elderly neighbor. Donate food to a pantry, your church, a homeless shelter. Drop change in every Santa’s bucket that you pass. Call in donations to organizations, give your old coats to shelters. Give and then give some more. Smile and wish strangers a happy holiday. Call a friend that’s struggling through the season. Bring food to someone who has to work on the holiday. Give hugs and kisses, share kind words, send Christmas cards. Tell people you love them. Give and give some more.

Love, faith, hope, charity are some of the reasons for the holiday season. Crank up your favorite Holiday music, sing and dance and have fun. Get rid of all negativity and free yourself to embrace all the wonder this time of year offers.

I send to you hugs and love. Always.

Sweep Around Your Own Front Door, from Judgement to Self-improvement

I read a story on Facebook the other day. While having breakfast with her husband a woman would look out the window and criticize her neighborhood as she hung clothes. She would complain how they were never clean enough and discuss the need for a detergent change.

One morning she woke up, sat at her table, and looked out the window and was ready to lay in. The women’s laundry looked immaculate hanging on the line. The woman, not letting it go, advised her husband the neighbor must have changed detergents like she said. Her husband looked at her and kindly advised that no it was not a detergent change. He had just woken up before she did and cleaned their dirty kitchen window.

Judgement is an ugly bedfellow. It will rob us of our own success very quickly. It’s very easy to point out another’s shortcomings when you are wallowing in your own muck. You notice that other woman’s skirt is a bit too snug or that so and so’s children are so unruly. You see that couple and say they aren’t as happy as they appear. The problem with the judgement is that it temporarily makes you feel “better” about your own situation without actually doing anything to make changes to improve yourself.

Step outside of yourself for a bit and think about the last person you judged. That woman with the snug skirt, wow, six months ago she was much heavier. Maybe that skirt was a triumphant milestone for her.

That woman with the unruly kids, notice how you see her, always running from this place to the next. Always by herself. Never screaming just caring for her “unruly” children. Maybe she’s a single Mom, maybe her husband is fighting for our Country, maybe just maybe you can remember that your own brood hasn’t earned their angel wings yet neither.

That couple that you love to hate. The wife’s a flirt, the husband’s a cheat. They aren’t really happy it’s all a facade. Maybe it is, but boy oh boy, what if it isn’t? Last time I checked that couple was celebrating 15 years hugging, smiling and flirting while you stood alone.

Take in that moment. Was there something about yourself that you wanted to change? Something that made you feel not quite good enough? Were you sad, angry, helpless, lonely? We criticize and judge to project our own self-recriminations on others. We create walls and barriers that block out light and love. We build fences that prevent us from reaching our goals. We push people who love us aside by forgetting that no one is perfect. We hurt others to alleviate our own pain.

I grew up listening to a song by the Williams Brothers, “Sweep Around Your Own Front Door.” Take care of your own business first. Like the woman’s husband, take the time and clean your own windows, clear away your own muck. Your misery and unhappiness will no longer be blocking your vision. You will begin to see those you’ve judged and criticized in the past in a different light. You may even feel so good about yourself and your achievements that you’ll have a kind word to share.

It’s so much easier on our hearts to love than judge. Practice listening to yourself. Take time before you address others’ “issues.” Honor others’ hearts and feelings as you would wish for your own to be honored. As corny as it sounds, Love IS the answer. Self-love and projected love needs to be given and allowed to be received.

Be kind to yourself and others.


Top 5 Words to Delete from Your Vocabulary

Great read! You can definitely talk your way out of being the best YOU you can be.

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