Hi. My name is Anastasia. I’m not your typical health guru, and I’ve certainly had a strange path to where I am today… but isn’t that the story for everyone when we look back in hindsight? I was an Electrical Engineer by training, software engineer by day, but whole-food junkie and closet philosopher by night?
As a left-brained type-A perfectionist, I didn’t exactly approach health advice from an unbiased perspective. All the experts say it matters how much you exercise, it matters what you eat, and it matters how much stress you are under. The first two are quantifiable. There is a pass or fail grade there. But stress? Who’s to say what one person’s stress is compared to another? They cannot be compared. Thus, I always discounted the mental health part. After all, how important could it be? Medicine is about -science-. Wow, I have never been more wrong. No decision has ever been more dramatically life-changing than my decision to start meditation and ‘go within’.
After experiencing a range of mounting health issues, I had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) back in 2012. The doctors wanted to put me on the standard regimen of immune-suppressing drugs to keep my immune system from attacking my body. But, since I already got sick more often than anyone I knew, that seemed like a horrible plan! I’d have to live in a bubble! So, I did what I thought ‘everyone’ would do in that situation, I went down to the Columbus main library reference section and got out every medical text I could find that had sections on MS. I started learning everything I could about the immune system, autoimmunity, and about MS specifically, and I was determined to fix the underlying ‘cause’ of the MS rather than band-aid the end result.
Autoimmunities flock together, so eventually I also had several different doctors’ confirmations that I was likely developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and at one point tested positive for Hashimotos antibodies as well (not to mention some sidebar fun with Epstein-Barr, lyme, C diff…).
It took many years but, through mostly diet alone, I reversed the vast majority of my symptoms. I can honestly (and proudly) say I don’t “identify” with even having an autoimmune disease anymore. But I’ve learned so much in those years, and now I know I could have gotten here faster if I’d taken a broader assessment of all the factors that contribute to our overall health, and, if I’d recognized that we are all different and unique and just because a study proved something, doesn’t mean it is right for me. I also wish I had found good, holistic help, because trying to weigh all this stuff and make decisions created its own amount of stress, which ties back to my first point. When you are undermining your health by being stressed about your health…well, you see the pickle. Regardless, I just hope to be able to inspire others to know that we each have a vital role to play in our own health, and that where we are today is not our inevitable health destiny – that we CAN feel better!