have thought about writing this blog for some time now but something always got in the way. But here at the start of a brand new year, I have decided that the time is now right.
Back in 2013, during a routine check-up with my Dermatologist, he raised concern about 4 lesions on my face. Now anyone who knows me well, will know that I would trade a million lesions anywhere else on my body against one on my face – not the face!! And so after I had a little vanity cry, I agreed to have biopsies done on all 4 lesions two days later.
As many of you know, I have had my fair share of biopsies over the last 7 years but 4 on my face!! I’m not sure which one hurt the most – the one on my cheek bone (well at least I have some!) the ones on either side of my nose or the one on my hairline. I only know that these areas were not designed to have pieces cut out of them. And worryingly, of course, was the thought of how they would be dealt with if they came back as cancerous tumours.
But they didn’t!!
Instead, the diagnoses came back as Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus. A common example of cutaneous lupus is a rash over the cheeks and across the bridge of the nose, known as the butterfly rash. Approximately 10 percent of people who have cutaneous lupus will develop systemic lupus. However, it is likely that these people already had systemic lupus, with the skin rash as their main symptom. People with lupus tend to be sensitive to sunlight and prone to sunburns after only brief exposure to sun. Another reason to stay out of the sun!
Some people with lupus develop Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition in which the skin of the ears, nose, fingers, and toes turn numb and pale or purple when exposed to cold. Well, I already knew I had Raynaud’s which was one of the reasons to move from outdoor growing conditions and into the more stable environment (and much warmer) of hydroponics.
Over the last two years, I have found my own way of living with Lupus.
What bothered me most initially was the absolute exhaustion I would feel at the end of the day. That just baffled me. I had started this business from scratch, did all the manual work, all the production work, all the admin and marketing as well as local deliveries and here I was now, with staff working with me, and I was exhausted on a daily basis! Literally I was feeling I could nap standing up!
What kept me going? – well of course you know the answer to that one. I continued to boost my immune system the natural way by increasing my wheatgrass shot intake to 3 shots sometimes 4 shots a day. The immune system exists to ward off attacks from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. In people with an autoimmune disease, the system mistakenly launches a sustained attack on healthy tissue in the body. In the case of lupus, attacks cause inflammation that can occur almost anywhere.
I learned to recognize the signs and take steps to ward off any serious attacks – yes, I could continue to “help” unload deliveries of seed in 30KG sacks but I would need a shot of Wheatgrass before and after doing so. I could continue to work 7 days a week but I would only get through the following week if my diet consisted of juice, wheatgrass shots and early nights.
Last year, saw me make several return day trips to the UK (business always business!) which is exhausting for anyone but throw autoimmune illness into the mix and it certainly isn’t a good idea as a long term strategy.
And so, I am here at the start of 2016 with a resolution of “being more moderate and mindful”. Moderate in what I expect from myself and my sometimes punishing expectations and mindful of when I need to hand over control and take some time out to rest and recuperate.
Wheatgrass juice has and will continue to play a huge part in my healthcare and is my own “go-to” for wellness and wellbeing. I love being surrounded by its healing powers. Enjoying the green growth and the sweet, and powerful grassy smell as we cold-press the grass to make our ready to drink wheatgrass juice shots.
Make 2016 the Year that you take control of health issues and show them who is Boss! That’s what I am going to continue to do!
Happy, Healthy 2016!