fibromyalgia

you are the medicine. by Erica Kathleen

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so, this whole, healing thing. it’s pretty amazing.

my last doctor appointment, my blood doctor said, “I’m so happy for you! I’m so proud of you! Not many people would willingly do this work. They’d rather keep going from doctor to doctor.” Now, I don’t know if that’s true or not. I for sure, went to a shit-ton of doctors. Specialist after specialist. I wanted an answer. I wanted a reason for the pain. I wanted an explanation for why I felt like I was dying. I told him, “I just wanted to know why! And now that I know, and I know that I have the power to change it, I’m going to do everything in my power to fix it!” He smiled. He hugged me. Again, he said, “I’m really proud of you.”

I still have my blood disorder. It’s genetic. So I’ll always be dealing with that. But it’s not taking center stage anymore. It’s not getting the limelight.

Eventually, I did get my answer. I got my reason. I got my explanation. Complex PTSD.

You may think, like I did, that this is a mental thing. You may think, like I did, that it’s “all in your head.”

I was wrong. VERRRY wrong.

Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) is a disregulation of the nervous system. Meaning, your nervous system is out of whack.

Your nervous system is a pretty important thing. It’s in charge of healthy digestion, sleep, immune system functioning, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, relaxation, digestion, regeneration and SO MUCH MORE.

Do you even know what C-PTSD can do to your body?

Medically unexplained physical symptoms . . .

chronic pain

sleep difficulties

irritability

poor concentration

depression

anxiety

dysautonomia

irritable bowel syndrome

nonulcer dyspepsia

fibromyalgia

chronic fatigue syndrome

autoimmune diseases

rheumatoid arthritis

psoriasis

insulin-dependent diabetes

thyroid diseases

and a TON more

You starting to get the idea? Your nervous system is in charge of a LOT of important stuff. So, when your nervous system is messed up . . . it can wreak havoc on your body.

I could go on & on, but at the risk of sounding like a biology teacher. I’ll leave it at that. If you' wanna know more, THIS book has a LOT of scientific stuff on C-PTSD, which personally, I find fascinating ;)

Anywhooo . . . one thing that I find absolutely LIBERATING . . . is that I’m in charge here. I’m responsible for my healing.

No doctor, no needle, no pill, no infusion, no surgery, no procedure . . . no, me laying there & having someone else responsible for fixing me.

Me.

Yes, there are people who are helping me on this journey. Yes, I am seeing a therapist. Yes, I am taking a class. Yes, I am reading books.

But do you see? Without my effort. Without my determination. Without my willingness to DO this hard work, nothing would change.

and so, I offer you my newest art piece.

“I am the medicine.”

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I’m pretty sure I’m gonna get this tattooed on my bod somewhere . . . maybe above my port or the iliac crest of my pelvis? not sure yet ;)

but

it’s true.

I AM THE MEDICINE.

and my friends,

YOU are the medicine.

You are YOUR medicine.

We got this.

We can do this.

We are doing it.

We are healing.

and I’m so fucking proud of us.

xo, EK

ps. “I am the medicine” is an 11x17” (BIG!) original mixed media painting, on mat board & is up for a 24 hour LIVE Auction over on Instagram HERE. If you don’t have an IG account & want to bid on it, shoot me an email HERE & let me know your highest bid. I’ll bid for you ;)



NOT fibromyalgia. What I have is FATAL. (please SHARE) by Erica Kathleen

                 Original painting HERE           Prints HERE

                Original painting HERE         Prints HERE

I share this, not because I want people to know my business. I share this for one reason, to help people, & ultimately SAVE LIVES.

I have been suffering 'fibromyalgia" symptoms & my health rapidly declining for over a year, (realistically, many years).

You can read about my symptoms in THIS post.

I finally have an answer.

It might not be your answer, but it might.

It might help someone you love who is suffering.

What I have is FATAL.

If left untreated, IT WILL KILL YOU.

See my urgency in getting the word out? This is serious shit.

I'll spare you the stories & details of how I got from there to here & just get the important points across.

I insisted on an MRI, because my liver HURT.

and from those results & further blood tests to confirm, 

HEMOCHROMATOSIS. (overview HERE)

Never heard of it right? I hadn't either.

Even when I looked it up, at first I wasn't too concerned, "Iron Overload Disease."

Problem is, hemochromatosis people have a genetic blood disorder. One that causes them to absorb excess iron. Iron doesn't have a way out of the body, so it builds up, pretty much from birth.

The iron builds & accumulates & eventually there is so much in the blood, that it starts being deposited in areas where it shouldn't be . . . Liver (like me), heart, pancreas, other organs, bones, joints, muscles . . . .

Basically, the blood poisons the body.

GOOD NEWS is . . . it is totally treatable if caught before there is organ damage.

Treatment is awesomely medieval . . . bloodletting.

The only way to get iron out of the body, is to remove blood from the body. It's called "phlebotomy", more on that HERE. I had my first one yesterday. You have to do them often when your levels are super high, then once you're in a safe range, you go less often, but it is a lifelong thing.

Most doctors don't even know about this disease, which sucks ass, because it is VERY COMMON. It is misdiagnosed & people DIE.

If you have some of the symptoms (HERE), get tested.

If you've been sick & doctors can't figure out why, get tested.

If you don't have insurance & you're using that as an excuse, get tested.

FATAL, people. DEADLY.

Your blood poisons your body, till you DIE.

SO, for the love of everything holy (that's YOU, btw), get fucking tested.

SHARE this information.

This is a SUPER COMMON DISEASE, but doctors don't know about it, so it gets missed EVERY FUCKING DAY, and people DIE. (here's a story of 2 local Utah people, 35 & 38, died from it because there doctors didn't know to check for it)

Why don't doctors know about it? My guess is that because there are no pharmaceuticals to treat it, which means Big Pharma certainly won't sponsor research for it . . . so, ya. They're asshats, but we already knew that.

You don't need an MRI.

Start with these 3 tests:

1. Ferritin level

2. Serum Iron Level

3. TIBC (total iron binding capacity)

More about testing HERE

So. There it is.

PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. Share this information. It could save someone's life. For real.

People are dying from this, when it is TOTALLY TREATABLE.

Please help spread the word, share with friends & loved ones.

Press the little Facebook icon at the bottom of this post & help me spread the word, PLEASE & thank YOU ;)

No one should have to die from this.

Thank you.

Peace,

XO Erica

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retiring the boxing gloves by Erica Kathleen

"Tribal Magic" available  HERE.

"Tribal Magic" available HERE.

"FIGHTER" is tattooed on my inner left wrist. 

I fought because I had to. I fought for my life & my freedom & my kids & a new life.

I fought for years to get away from emotional abuse & narcissism, controlling & crazy making.

I fought in court. I fought the ugliest battles I would never wish on my worst enemies.

In a 20 year relationship, I fought every day for my sanity, my self esteem,  . . . everything, was a fight.

I've been free from that fight for about 5 years now

And only now am I beginning to realize that I don't know how NOT to fight.

It's like that's my body's default mode. It just is. That's what it knows.

And now that I don't NEED to fight, I can feel the poison of the fight built up in my bones. I can feel it in my tensed shoulders and the knots in my stomach & the muscles in my hips that are strung so tight, if I was a guitar, and you plucked me . . . I'd break. 

Even though my brain KNOWS that I am safe & loved . . . my body is still in fight or flight & it's done. It's done fighting. It's done flinching, tensing, waiting to be punched. It is SO fucking done.

Most of you know I have been pretty sick for the last year. I'm still trying to figure out what "it" is & I think it's turning out to be many things. 

I've been pretty obsessed with figuring it out. I want to be better. I want to feel better. I want to feel healthy. I want to be ok.

But even in figuring out the illness, it's almost like I've been fighting.

Fighting with my muscles. Fighting with the doctors. Fighting with the test results. Fighting.

I'm soon tired of fighting.

I am tired of fighting with MYSELF.

In a moment of complete & utter breakdown the other night, when an ultrasound was read wrong & I was convinced I was going to die, soon, I fell to my knees in tears, sobbing, breathing . . .

and in that moment, all there was, was LOVE.

In that moment, all I wanted to do was LOVE this body.

I didn't want to fight the sickness anymore.

I didn't want to fight with the doctors or my muscles, or this beautiful body who has carried me through so much.

I just wanted to LOVE this body.

Wholly, completely, as it is, in this moment.

So, I am going to do my very best to leave the boxing gloves on the shelf, and LOVE this body with everything I've got.

Real food = LOVE.

Gentle movement = LOVE.

Sweet rest = LOVE.

Relaxing baths = LOVE

LOVE.

The focus has shifted from "what's wrong with me?" to "what can I do in this moment to LOVE & honor my body?"

That's it.

That's where it's at for me.

It's a novel concept.

Wish me luck.

xo, EK

ps. I am off Facebook again. It's just too much. So, If you have a friend or loved one who might benefit from this post, please share. 

too much. by Erica Kathleen

"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Right?

Hence, my silence.

Who wants to hear about my laundry list of physical ailments? Who wants to read about pain & suffering? Who wants to hear . . . blah, blah, blah.

And then I remember, If I am not REAL, who am I? If I am not HONEST, who am I? If I am not a TRUTH-teller, who am I?

So, here is my truth . . . it's all gotten to be TOO MUCH. I went off social media over a month ago. Too much noise, too much chatter, too bright, too loud, to scratchy, TOO MUCH.

I find myself on this "healing journey" . . . has a nice kind of romantic ring to it, doesn't it? Emotional healing. Physical healing. Body, mind & Spirit. Romantic.

Until, it all gets to be too fucking much. I used to subscribe to the idea that, "everything happens for a reason", and "physical ailments have emotional roots" . . . It sure makes the tough times a lot easier to swallow, when you have these beliefs.

But last week, I was sitting, having a conversation with my love & I said, "What if it's all fucking bullshit? What if there is no "reason" for my fibromyalgia or my gallstones or my sick liver? What if it just fucking happened & there is no deeper meaning? Because, if it WAS caused by traumas, & to 'heal the physical ailment, you have to heal what caused it'.....I have done NOTHING but work on healing these traumas . . . I have dug so fucking deep, my entire world as I know it has fallen completely fucking apart because NOTHING is what I thought it was . . . I have worked SO FUCKING HARD at healing these traumas . . . every single day, my sole focus is healing . . . and my body is falling apart. I feel like I'm dying. What if I do die? Does that mean I didn't work hard enough at healing? FUCK THAT."

I told you I didn't have anything nice to say, but this is where I'm at, LOST on this "journey". Even that word . . . JOURNEY, makes me want to fucking vomit.

It doesn't feel like a journey. It feels like death.

Oh yes, I've always been fond of the "caterpillar in the cocoon, turning into a butterfly" idea . . . another romantic notion to help us make it through hard times . . . which, also, at this point, brings an instant gag reflex to my whole body. 

To describe what it feels like, when I close my eyes . . . there is No "journey". No caterpillars & cocoons. No steps on a path, leading me to a better place. No healing light. No one guiding me. No amazing metamorphosis. . .

What it is, is this . . .

dark. pitch black. no evidence of light, anywhere. it doesn't exist here.

cold. bone-chilling cold. cold that can never be warmed & never goes away. 

aches. in the very core of my bones. feeling that my body has been beaten & smashed by a hammer, from the inside out. 

muscles that are so weak I can barely move, yet are so tight, they burn like I've been weight lifting for hours.

a head that is so heavy, it feels like it's made of lead & my body can barely hold it up.

sleep, that is so elusive & hard to find, even when I am so exhausted I can't move. muscles that won't relax, nerves that don't shut 'off' . . . waking up feeling like I was run over by a semi truck.

that's just for starters.

so, you see. I'm having a really difficult time finding the "reason". I'm having a hard time with the "caterpillar & the cocoon" deal. 

I don't write this to complain. I don't write this for pity. I write this for the reason I share anything personal . . . in the HOPES that it will help someone else. Personally, I find great comfort in knowing I'm not alone in my struggles.

Please share this if you feel it might help someone. Please let me know if it touched you, or helped you.

Because maybe, the whole idea of "sharing my pain to help other people" is just another romantic notion that needs to go.

I don't know.

Frankly, I don't know what the fuck I know anymore.

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