Have you ever wondered how it feels to live with a chronic illness or auto-immune disease? Like how it really feels… mentally, physically, inside and out? If you’ve never been diagnosed you probably don’t know exactly how it feels, but I’m sure you know someone that does and can resonate somehow. I’d like to share some insight into how it feels using my own journey as an example.
Because regardless of whether or not you have a disease… we all have a story, we all have traumas, we all have felt symptoms at some point, we are ALL in this journey through life’s ups and downs, and we are ALL in need of connection, empathy and support (whether we know it or not). This is WHY I share, this is why I desire to create awareness, this is why I do what I do. And I share this not to make you feel bad about me or anyone else, or to seek attention or make anyone feel guilty. I share this in hopes to create awareness about disease, it’s symptoms, it’s origin(s), and most importantly, in hopes of inspiring more empathy and compassion towards one another.
As human beings, we need to stick together. Whether we like it or not, we all need each other, collectively and energetically in order to survive. Through my toughest years, I tried doing it all alone, I tried to be tough… And it wasn’t until I opened up, mainly because I was too weak to do it on my own, that everything changed. The suffering is gone, the pain is gone, the depression is gone, the anxiety is gone… Now it feels like I’m just flowing through life and I must share. Now I feel like I’m always meeting the right people, always at the right place at the right time, and like the next steps (in health and life) just open up. What I need will always show up! No matter what it is, I just need to trust. And TRUST…ing has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve ever learned in my life! But we’ll talk about that another time.
For those of you going through something right now, a disease, a trauma, a situation or whatever it is… I hear you! And I’m sending you good vibes and a virtual hug!
Now back to the story of when I thought I was going to die…
First, let me introduce myself in case we have never met in person or you just don’t remember me. In the picture above, I’m wearing my favorite tee-shirt that says, “Heart of a Warrior” (because I do). My name is Mayra, as of today I’m a 37 year old Latina living in Buffalo, NY. I consider myself a Nutrition Dork & Lyme Wellness Warrior. I’m obsessed with GOOD Food, Natural Healing, Holistic Health, Wellness and Spirituality, anything to do with Arts, Oh, and dancing!! I’m definitely very multi-passionate.
Back to the (never told before) story…
It all started over 16 years ago after I had my son. Even though I had a normal pregnancy, I didn’t know that the hormones and overeating would push me over to dis-ease. From 2002 to 2017, I suffered from every symptom you can name (well not all, but a lot). I suffered from depression, digestive issues, fatigue, migraines, thyroid disease symptoms, weight gain, auto-immune, joint pain, and more. At some point during this time, I became obsessed about figuring out why I kept getting symptom after symptom. So I did what I do best, research, research and more research. After being a self-thought nutrition and fitness dork for years, I finally decided to join the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2015. The more I learned the more my passion to help others with their nutrition, fitness, and weight loss goals. I felt called to help heal the World. I also became a Turbo Kick instructor in 2012 and then a Zumba Instructor in 2016 (because I was equally obsessed with fitness too). After graduating from IIN late 2016 I had many aspirations, goals, and dreams.
Little that I know, that disease was creeping in…
You see, those ups and downs with my weight (and symptoms) were just the start. Disease doesn’t just show up out of nowhere, it can take up to years if not an entire lifetime to present themselves in a chronic way. No matter what I did and how much I tried, my health kept decreasing. I was clueless and unaware that my immune system had been compromised YEARS ago. And to heal that, it’s was going to require much more than fad diets and exercise alone. I was also unaware that, in 2011 I was bitten by a Lyme infected tick and was never treated. You see, Lyme disease takes advantage of a weak immune system. As it takes over, it will slowly cause a number of symptoms and wreak havoc in your health and body.
It wasn’t until 2017 that I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Progressive symptoms started years before that, but I didn’t present chronic symptoms until late 2015. It started with mild headaches, then daily headaches for a year, then joint pain, chronic fatigue and exhaustion, and all of that was on top of all the digestive issues I had since I was a child. Needless to say, I felt like crap! In total, I spent over 16 years feeling a disease of some sort and was always trying to figure out what was going on. All I wanted was to figure out how could heal myself naturally.
I felt like I had tried everything. I kept bouncing from doctor to doctor, to treatments, to natural remedies, to physical therapy and more… I must have tried it all (or at least felt like it). But symptoms kept progressing. My body was in so much pain it was hard to even walk at the end of the night, and would wake up without feeling like a ton of bricks fell on me. I got fed up one day, called off work and made a doctors appointment. I walked into the doctor’s office in tears as I told my doctor “I can’t take it anymore, I feel like I’m 90 years old!”I literally felt like I was dying!
After many many tests, my doctor said, “I’m going to do this one last test and if it’s negative I may have to send you to a specialist.” This is what I heard “I don’t know what to do with you anymore.” Honestly, I was devastated! But to the blinds eye, I was OK!
It was very hard and frustrating (inside) not to be able or afraid to express what I really felt. When I did I got weird looks (like I was making things up) or people would just change the subject. Not that I talked about it a lot, because I wanted people to see me as the “strong”, “independent” woman I’ve always been. I kept telling myself “I got this” but honestly, deep deep inside, I didn’t believe it. I cried myself to sleep sometimes or just couldn’t sleep because I was lost in negative thoughts thinking I was dying.
When the last test came positive to Lyme, it was kind of a relief!
My first thought was “What the heck is Lyme?” I was relieved to know I wasn’t crazy and was making all these symptoms up. At least I had a name to what I was feeling (not that it really mattered). I quickly found out that Lyme is a complex disease that is not easily treated with western medicine.
At the moment I didn’t know it was actually a blessing in disguise. It was what I had unconsciously asked for to get me where I want/need to be. Again, this is a story for another time (I have lots of stories).
As the “let me research this” kind of person I am, ALL of it lead me to a path of self-discovery. A path I may have never taken if it wasn’t for this diagnose. A path of FAITH, TRUST & SPIRITUALITY.
I decided to put my business to a side and focus on my own personal healing journey and self-improvement. I surrounded myself with like-minded and positive people, hired an Integrative Medicine Practitioner, read books, joined programs, and learned everything about Lyme disease, holistic modalities, spirituality, and more. I’ve learned to connect the dots and equally balance my mind, body, and spirit. A year later, although still in the journey, I can say that more than 50% of my symptoms improved, and I’m feeling better than ever from the inside out. I know now that the best is yet to come. (happy dance)
Now, my energy is UP (no more meds of any kind). I wake up energized, I go to sleep and wake up with a positive and grateful attitude, my mood has improved, and I truly feel GOOD (which is my priority). Doing things that make ME feel good!
My mission has completely changed since 2016.
Now my mission is to help end suffering. To help people (that I call warriors) take back their health and life from disease, reduce and get rid of symptoms forever. For those that allow my support, my goal is to create a shortcut and avoid the many many years it took me. Because I realized, we don’t even need a diagnose to start healing and improving our health.
Together we will figure out what works best for you and kick-start a healing journey that doesn’t take 16 years. Help provide the guidance, support, and motivation you need in order to stay consistent and achieve living a better quality life.
Because we all deserve to live at EASE!
Again, the reason I share all of this is; because I know I’m not alone. Far too many people are suffering in silence because they think no one will understand. To those I want to say, I UNDERSTAND! And you are not alone.
If you resonated with this post, I invite you to stay in touch. Either via email or social media. I will be sharing lots of great holistic health and wellness resources, nutrition advice, recipes and more. Although email will definitely have its advantages! You’ll get first dibs, great resources and content (like Tasty Tuesday’s recipes) that I will not share on social media.
You guys are my tribe and for that, I appreciate you! 🙂
I’m opening up my calendar to be of service. If you could use a vent, or some inspiration, please send me a private message and let’s chat! I’m all ears (free of judgment), you can tell me anything!