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I Am Not My Body: How I Heal My Chronic Illness Holistically

My name is Heidi and I am not my body...

My name is Heidi (@heidijojane) and I am not my body. At the tender age of thirteen, my life as I knew it and my ignorance to real anguish changed forever. What began as a case of Strep Throat quickly escalated into the rarity I now live with on a daily basis: Mixed Connective Tissue Disease.

I was introduced to MCTD, and my subsequent “Five Worst Boyfriends Ever” (Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, Dermatomyositis and Polymyositis) in March of 2012, after eight and a half years of being undiagnosed. In October 2017, after symptoms of severe kidney distress manifested, I also discovered I have Lyme Disease. For the past three and a half years, I’ve dedicated myself to holistic health and healing through diet, lifestyle and functional medicine practices. I can confidently say after implementing these techniques, I’m healthier, happier, stronger and closer than ever to reaching full remission.

How Chronic Illness Has Effected My Life

Yet, living with a chronic illness over the last fourteen years has caused its fair share of turmoil and heartbreak. I didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the recklessness of being a teenager, or to explore the soul-searching years of my early twenties. I was unable to achieve certain dreams and goals I had always envisioned and planned on. I missed out on many traditional milestones every young adult experiences. For a long time, I was essentially, the girl who never grew up.

However, through my health trial I’ve gained priceless knowledge of not only my body, the world of medicine, Autoimmune Disease and Chronic Illness, but I’ve also developed an authentic compassion and empathy for others who suffer in silence. It is now my sincerest desire to start a foundation to enable true healing and advocacy through what I have learned, and I’m actively pursuing this by becoming a certified Health Coach.

As many of you can relate, life is not perfect and there are no guarantees. What we had intiallly imagined for ourselves before our lives were unpredictably altered may never come to pass. Instead, a deeper meaning and purpose can flourish through our struggles. I believe we can truly be defined not by our bodies' limitations or disabilities, but by the refinement of our character and our drive to continually press forward in pursuing the beauties, wonders and adventures of a life well lived with hope.

My name is Heidi and I am not my body— I AM SO MUCH MORE!

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