Making My Way Back

It’s been 20 months since my first visit with my endocrinologist.

19 months since I went (militantly) gluten free on her recommendation.

15 months since starting adrenal meds.

6 months since starting a T3 supplement (in addition to the T4 I’ve taken for years.)

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Between my last visit with Dr. LaSalle and now, I’ve also begun Removing More Toxins from my life. Last visit, my cholesterol was still not great and I asked for more time to correct it without meds. In the last three months, my total cholesterol has dropped nearly 30 points!! (I didn’t even buy the Red Yeast Rice that I was supposed to, I forgot, but I’ll get it now.)

She’s lowering my doseage of Synthroid to 137 (down from 150!) My blood pressure is a little high (152/88) but it should go down with the lower dose of Synthroid. I’ll be keeping a daily log of readings.

We talked about the MTHFR gene mutation (C677T) and how removing the toxins was a great thing. I got a seriously rambunctious high five when I told her that I bought the personal Far Infrared Sauna! She wants me to increase my Magnesium glycinate to 400mg daily.

We also talked about how I spent eight hours walking the trails of a nearby county park ~barefooted~ because I couldn’t keep my shoes on for one more minute. I needed to feel the leaves, grass, dirt, mud, sand, water, and yes, even the sticks and rocks, on the bottoms of my feet. And it was glorious. Dr. LaSalle was thrilled I spent the day grounding. I told her how I’d prayed all day and took the time to be silent and listen to what God was saying to me.  At the end of the refreshing and exhausting day, I sat still again for a few more minutes and God sent an Eagle to soar above my head. I couldn’t stop crying.

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I’m now taking:

137mcg Synthroid
5mcg Cytomel
Vessel Care
65,000iu Vitamin D3 weekly
4000mg fish oil daily
1000mg Evening Primrose daily
200mg magnesium glycinate daily
B complex

We moved into talking about the flashbacks I had the first day I used the sauna and touched on cellular memory. I told her that I was reading several books to help heal my mind from past abuse, which I feel is extremely important in this journey. I’ll list them again here, because I’ve added another, extremely important book.

Forgiving our Fathers and Mothers by Leslie Leyland Fields
Not Marked by Mary DeMuth
The Gospel of John in The Ragamuffin Bible
Wounded Heart–Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Note From {over} The Edge by Jim Palmer
The Truest Thing About You by David Lomas

A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever  by Marianne Williamson. This one is the one that is changing everything (along with Wounded Heart.) This is less about weight loss and more about getting rid of dysfunctional thinking that was never meant to be around for a lifetime, yet so many of us carry this other person inside of us who is always ridiculing, chastising, degrading, and speaking painfully to us, making sure we stay “safe” in our pain.

I have to admit, I wasn’t too keen on starting this one. My beautiful friend, Carrington, suggested I read it. I looked at the title and thought it probably wasn’t for me. I didn’t want another weight loss plan to try and fail at. But then, after Carrington saw my posts about Wounded Heart, she dug a little deeper into the how/why of this book and I decided to buy the ebook and upon her urging, the audiobook. I listened to it while sitting in an airport waiting to fly standby, then for six hours on a drive from Iowa to Michigan. I broke down a few times during that drive and sobbed and grieved. I remembered things I’d been hiding, protecting, shoving down, not dealing with. And for once, this book gave me solid ways to help change. To shut up that voice of fear that is constantly drowning out anything good.

From here, I think the Jim Palmer and David Lomas books will help me take my deconstructed self and with God’s guidance, become the me I was created to be instead of this shadow of a person haunted by the past and built from bricks of abuse and unworthiness. I’m very much looking forward to what emerges.

I also finished Forgiving Our Mothers and Fathers just in time to have a visit with my dad for his birthday. It was different for me. Working through remembering, considering his story, forgiving, and accepting today for what it is, I felt like I could be in his presence without comfortableness.  Which is a big step in the right direction. Our time left together is probably slim, he has terminal cancer and receives results from his latest scan this week.

This is the body-update. I have to compose a mind and spirit update, too, but that will take me much longer. I need to get into a space that I can put together and process all that I have been learning. It’s been coming at me machine-gun style and I don’t know that I can regurgitate all the things swirling around in this blender brain of mine.

Dental Phobia and Sexual Abuse

I was stunned. Going into this healing after sexual abuse journey, I had no idea how much of my life was touched by this. Like a candlestick, the wax drips down and covers everything until what’s left is a big pile of wax and no flame to light the way.

It’s one of those things I would’ve never connected. I don’t really even know how I connected it.

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I was reading Not Marked  and the author was explaining  how sexually abused people sometimes try to put off anything to do with the healing process. She was saying if she had a bad tooth, it wouldn’t just get better by ignoring the pain. You need to go to the dentist and get it taken care of.

In that moment, I had this wave of emotions mashed with memories wrapped in shame and covered in fear. There was not a specific recollection of an incident, more like a culmination of all of them layered like a Greek baklava.

I put the book down, went to Google and typed in “dental phobia sexual abuse.”

I didn’t need to read any more than this:

How could a visit to the dentist trigger memories or feelings of past abuse?

Many aspects of dental treatment have been found to symbolically represent sexual abuse for many survivors. The following conditions may trigger a repetition of earlier trauma:

  • being alone with a person more powerful than oneself,
  • being placed in a horizontal position,
  • having someone nearby and touching you,
  • having objects placed in one’s mouth,
  • being unable to talk or swallow, and
  • experiencing or anticipating pain.

Many dental experiences may remind the patient of their abuse experience in that they produce awkward sensations of suffocation, such as in the use of rubber dams, or gagging sensations, or feeling restrained in their movement.

 

It makes perfect sense, but I was completely unaware.

What to do with the knowledge, though? I don’t know. Process it. Try to pour the wax around a new wick? Find a dentist who doesn’t scare the shit out of me and give me panic attacks like the one I am currently (not) seeing out of fear?

The uncovering of all of this fear is…scary.

When Forgiveness Doesn’t Lead to Immediate Healing

I have forgiven.

My grandmother for watching it happen and not stopping it. My mother for knowing and not protecting. My father for the angry beatings. My great-grandfather who did it. The teachers who should’ve known.

I truly thought I was healed.

Turns out forgiveness isn’t a one time act. Neither is healing.

I guess there are stages. And at this point, I don’t know if I’ll ever be completely healed. (I’m guessing probably not.) How can a shattered soul be put back together with no scars?

There is a certain sect of Christians that would have you believe that Jesus heals without leaving scars. I don’t buy it. Jesus showed his scars to the disciples and when they saw them, it was then they believed it was him. They didn’t even recognize him until that point. So while I fully believe I can be healed, I don’t think it’s possible to do so without scars.

I’ve also been having a hard time with the fact that what took place was witnessed and watched by God.

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 The Wounded Heart–Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse

I forgave everyone but God. I believe he loves me, but I don’t trust him because he watched it all happen. And yes, I feel like this is a harder thing to deal with than other people’s things. Sexual abuse destroys so much. It’s not like I chose it. Someone else made that choice for me. So all the talk about the fall of man and sin and free will doesn’t do much for healing after this. I accept that my family was horrendously dysfunctional, I accept that hurt people hurt people. I accept that those who abused me or watched it without stopping were probably stuck neck deep in the abuse cycle. They were all probably abused as well. So while I’ve forgiven them, I still wonder what made them cower to the abuser and let the cycle continue? What made me different in that almost every choice I’ve made in parenting has been in some part to protect my son from that same cycle?

I didn’t think wondering meant I wasn’t healed though.

I’ve spent all of two decades working on becoming healthy. Mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I made a break from toxic people–family and friends. I moved away (literally and metaphorically) from their toxicity and have found myself, for the first time ever in my 42 years not in the company of severe and destroying dysfunction. I really, truly thought I had made it. That I had achieved what I’d been working towards. I did it with God, I gave him the credit. I thought I could now look forward instead of the past constantly pulling at my back, tugging me, slowing me down, weighing and exhausting me. I MADE IT!!

Then God was all like, Uh. No. Now we have this little trust issue. You don’t trust me, remember? 

Defeated. Discouraged. Just fucking over all of this pain and misery. Now I have to do more work (because I choose to. I know it’s the right thing to do, but dammit if it isn’t just pure torture.)

So I start with reading, because it’s the best way I know to learn.

Forgiving our Fathers and Mothers by Leslie Leyland Fields
Not Marked by Mary DeMuth
The Gospel of John in The Ragamuffin Bible
Wounded Heart–Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Note From {over} The Edge by Jim Palmer
The Truest Thing About You by David Lomas

True to form, I’m reading six books at a time. Which is kind of ironic. Every big spiritual breakthrough I’ve had has come during the months leading up to Lent and Easter and I’ve documented the books I’ve read in the process. Though now that I’ve burned my journals as a part of this process of healing, you’ll have to take my word on it.

I haven’t processed the culmination of concepts, but this I know…I have not and do not trust God. I feel like I’ve been let down by him before and rather than face that kind of pain, it’s better for me to just

check out

focus on other things

ignore

deflect

In other areas of my life, I’ve learned to trust God. When Phil was fired in 2011 we were left jobless and homeless. My anger burned for the people who fired him, but when I prayed, I heard God ask me, “Who is in control of your life? Them? Or Me? Your anger should be directed at Me. They do not control you.”

Just like *that* my fiery anger was extinguished and I moved on with great expectations of a more abundant life.

But ask me to trust God to heal me from my childhood sexual abuse? Nope.

I’d rather be alone in this, thankyouverymuch.

But it’s really not ok to be alone in all this. I cant’ bring myself to see a therapist because honestly, I don’t want to face all that shit again. I try not to look back there. Leave the past behind you and all that feel-good-but-not-true crap.

The ripping apart of a soul doesn’t ever go away, it’s never forgotten. It’s as much a reality as my birthday, only worse. Even if I never knew the date of my birth, it would still be there and no matter what technique I employed, it wouldn’t ever go away or be forgotten. You don’t think about your birthday every day of the year, but there are times you do and especially close to the date. It’s like that with trauma. And so it is in my life.  The abuse can’t be erased or forgotten, and while I’ve forgiven, I’m not healed.

What I can do is work towards healing. Make things better than they were before. I can accept God’s offer of redemption. I don’t know what that looks like and I don’t know how I’ll trust him fully–if that’s even possible? But I know that he’s been pretty good to me for the last twenty years. It’s not always been easy or gentle, but it has been right for my soul.

I wish no one ever had to go through this. But since it’s impossible to eradicate, I guess all we can do is try to overcome.

Removing the Toxins

So here it is. After researching my MTHFR gene mutation (which 40% of the population has) and finding out my body has a very difficult time ridding itself of toxins, I’m on a journey to help it as much as I possibly can. 18 months ago my body was in adrenal failure (which is fatal if left unchecked, and I think I was getting close to having irreparable damage,) I was severely vitamin D3 deficient, diagnosed with chronic inflammation, gluten allergies, hypothyroidism (which was the only thing I knew about going in.)

First endocrinologist/dr of integrated medicine visit
Second visit
Results of labs, 17 viles of blood taken
Hard work pays off

I’m not drinking wine at all except a glass or two on Saturday night to help my kidneys, I’m roasting organic green coffee beans here in my kitchen,  I’m militantly gluten free (and I don’t eat any store bought gluten-free products,) I’m eating as organic as I possibly can and absolutely no processed foods or additives or preservatives as well as buying local, grassfed beef (I’ve been doing that for years,) I’m making my own toothpaste, and not using harmful soaps and shampoos (ok, not using any soap or shampoo right now.) My next step is going back to making my own laundry detergent. I’m going to research that before I make any mistakes like I did with the homemade soap.

I went shampoo free a few months ago. I was using a baking soda and water wash and rinsing with apple cider vinegar. That went well for the first couple months, but then I noticed my scalp and hair drying out. So, I made a new concoction of coconut milk, jojoba oil, castile soap, and essential oil.  First, I used too much and my hair was really greasy. Then I cut back, and it was less greasy but felt coated.

I tried to make some homemade soap not knowing that the glycerin base I had from years ago had all kinds of bad stuff in it. The stuff I’m trying to stay away from! But before I found out, I washed my hair and body with it. (ACK.) Back to square one. So, since then, I’ve been using the Far infrared sauna daily for about 45 minutes and immediately taking a luke warm shower with no soap or shampoo afterwards. So I’ve done that Monday, Tuesday, and I’ll do it later today. So far, my hair is not greasy, I don’t stink, and I feel pretty good.

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This personal Far infrared sauna was only $195 on Amazon (and free shipping with my Prime membership.) For Phil and I both to join a gym with one, it would cost us over $1200 a year. So I thought I’d start here.

After using it daily since it arrived (2 days LOL) I like it. A lot. Is it removing toxins? I think so. I had some traumatic flashbacks after using it the first day (as I tried to fall asleep later that night, and had some bad dreams as well.) After researching a bit, I found that emotional healing also occurs with the Far infrared sauna use. I can’t say I completely understand how that works, but I’ll call it a win for now. The body is such a complex entity. I don’t think we can fully grasp the amazing things it does.

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Update on the homemade toothpaste and oil pulling? I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but there has been some remarkable progress. First, though, my gums have been bleeding almost every time I brush. That’s starting to go away. Next, I had some staining (likely from coffee, tea, wine) on my bottom teeth. Normally that would come off from a cleaning visit at the dentist (but I have some other updates on dental care.) So the good news is that this staining is literally falling away with the homemade toothpaste and oil pulling. My teeth feel super clean and soft and they’re not near a sensitive to cold. Also, my breath seems fresher. I’m still not used to the salty taste of the baking soda, but it’s getting better.

I’ve been oil pulling once every 3 or so days. It’s kind of hard to do it every day. And I’ve only made it about 10 minutes instead of 20.

The homemade toothpaste recipe I decided on, after looking at several: 3 TB baking soda, 3 TB coconut oil, 30 drops orange essential oil. (I’m out of peppermint, but as soon as I get more, I’m adding about 30 drops of peppermint.)

Let Your Spirit Shine

My husband asked, “Why now?”

I don’t have an answer for him. Maybe because they’re all dead or closer to death than they’ve ever been–all the people I thought should’ve protected me back then. Maybe because I’ve lived long enough to understand grace and forgiveness? I don’t know why all of this gunk from my past is bubbling up now. Maybe because writing didn’t help, it only suppressed and allowed survival and maybe painting allows me to fully live? Maybe because clearing the dysfunctional relationships from my life has allowed me to stop being dysfunctional myself and has cleared the way for real healing?

All of that? None of it. I don’t know.

I’m reading a couple of books on healing. I’m about halfway through both. I’m taking it slow on purpose.

Burning my journals was a huge step for me.

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But then I took it a step further.

I took part in my own private Ash Wednesday ceremony on a different day of the week. This same day I had this overwhelming realization. I don’t think God care which day I did this or who put the ashes on my forehead or even that the ashes weren’t from the palm fronds of the previous year.

They were the ashes from years of misery and suffering.

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I put them on my forehead and prayed for the redemption of those years.

I sprinkled them on my painting. Rubbed them in. Moved them with my fingers and my brush so they’d become part of a new creation. A beautiful creation born of suffering.

The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me,
because the Lord has anointed Me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and freedom to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of our God’s vengeance;
to comfort all who mourn,
to provide for those who mourn in Zion;
to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
festive oil instead of mourning,
and splendid clothes instead of despair.
And they will be called righteous trees,
planted by the Lord
to glorify Him.

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Beauty instead of ashes.

It’s the cry of my spirit.

Happy Dance!!!!

It’s been almost 18 months since my first visit with my endocrinologist.

16 months since I went (militantly) gluten free on her recommendation.

12 months since starting adrenal meds.

3 months since starting a T3 supplement (in addition to the T4 I’ve taken for years.)

snoopy-danceToday, the adrenal failure diagnosis is officially gone!! My labs came back optimal for TSH, T3, and T4!!

I’ll still be working on lowering my cholesterol, getting my Vitamin D3 levels up some more, and taking a bunch of supplements for continued healing, but my adrenals are healed!!

I’m taking:

150mcg Synthroid
5mcg Cytomel
Vessel Care
65,000iu Vitamin D3 weekly
4000mg fish oil daily
1000mg Evening Primrose daily
200mg magnesium glycinate daily
B complex