My personal story of chronic illness and weight gain.
This blog has always been pretty non-personal. Once upon a time, I wrote a very personal blog based around moving from NJ to The UK. Because that one was so very personal (and I sometimes regretted that), I chose to make this one just about the food.
I just reached my five year anniversary of starting this blog and maybe it’s about time I change all that and share some of my personal story with all of you.
Confession number one
In 2008, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. AS is chronic inflammatory autoimmune, and arthritic disease of the axial skeleton, with the involvement of joints, muscular system and may affect any organ that can be inflamed (quite a mouthful huh?).
I may have mentioned it in passing before, but I try to keep it quiet. I’m not sure why, but I never wanted to share that fact. Maybe it’s because here, I could be normal – just like everyone else, but I think maybe I should have shared it so that when I go long periods without a new post, you’d understand why.
I have suffered from symptoms for all of my adult life, but doctors never found anything wrong with me. Then in In 2004, shortly after meeting my husband, I was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis and Fibromyalgia.
When I was diagnosed, the doctors knew it was arthritis, but because most forms of arthritis don’t show up in blood tests, they told me I would have to wait until it got worse and I developed more symptoms before they would really know what we were dealing with.
Soon after, I had a bad flare up and was taken out of work and put on disability. That’s when we moved to the UK. I couldn’t work and my English husband (then boyfriend) didn’t have a work visa so we packed up and came to England before we ran out of our savings. We were married a few months later.
In 2008, four months after the birth of my son, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. My symptoms had finally gotten bad enough to put a name and illness to my arthritis. I am now riddled with degenerative arthritis. I have it in both shoulders, knees, hips, the sacroiliac joint (the joint between the hips and back), and it’s started in my feet and hands as well.
I suffer from chronic fatigue (due to the chronic pain) that’s sometimes so severe, it’s difficult to perform even the smallest of tasks. I have bouts of Iritis (swelling of the eyes), my immune system is compromised which causes me to catch and knocked off my feet by every cold I come across, and severe flare-ups can take me out of commission for months (which is usually when this blog goes without new content for a few weeks or months).
Confession number 2: After spending the last two years battling my illness, I have gained over 60 lbs. I am five foot two and when I met my husband I was a US size 4. Now, I weigh nearly 180 lbs.
You know the expression, the first step is admitting you have a problem? Ok, so I don’t have a drinking problem; nor do I use drugs of any kind, and maybe the expression isn’t exactly fitting in this situation, but to me it is.
Saying it here to the thousands of visitors that come to this blog every day, makes it real enough for me to have to do something about it. The extra weight is hard on my joints and probably contributes a great deal to my pain and fatigue.
Until having my Son almost 11 years ago, I was always very thin. I never lost more than 10 pounds at any given time – ever. I never had to. I ate what I wanted and never worked out a day in my life and was never went above a US size 6 dress size.
Then shortly after starting this blog, my condition got worse and I deteriorated. I had flare up after flare up which kept me inactive and I just piled on the pounds. When I was active, I worked hard at creating new content for this site (knowing I may not have long before the next flare-up).
I’m sure people that saw me put on the weight assumed I just ate everything I posted! Who could blame them?
Even though I am still in constant pain, my good time of year is around the corner so I’ve started dieting this week (in the hope that as the weather gets warmer and I start feeling better, I can do even more to take off the weight).
Sharing my story with all of you is my way of making a commitment to a better, healthier life and getting back to my old self. My goal is to lose at least 50 lbs. I’m going low carb. My weight loss journey begins now and I plan to share it with you from start to finish.