The Day I Decided My Sickness Will Empower Me

empowered by sicknessLast week was a rollercoaster of emotions for me. I briefly mentioned it on my last post, but I recently took a blood test, and the results revealed some health concerns that confirmed what I suspected for a while. I hadn’t tried to address it or find out more about it before this because I was probably in denial and didn’t want to face it. I found out I have hypothyroidism, which is your thyroid gland not making enough thyroid hormones. This can affect your metabolism and your entire system, making you sluggish and tired with low energy and slow down many processes of the body.

This is actually a very common disorder affecting tens of millions of people, especially women, so maybe this “isn’t that big of a deal.” But as I learn more and more about diseases and health issues through my nutritional therapy career, it’s become apparent that what’s “common” is definitely not “normal.”

When I saw the numbers actually written down on paper of my blood hormone levels, it was like reality slapping me in the face. I was upset. I was pissed. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve been working on my health. I’ve had digestive and candida issues, along with adrenal fatigue, for a very long time which involved weight gain, bloating, low energy, and constant digestive discomfort, and my health has been slowly improving in the past year after I started addressing those things. Wasn’t I doing everything right? Eating all the right food, taking the right supplements, trying to work on all aspects of my health? I’m a nutritional therapist, for f*ck’s sake. I felt like I had taken a step back in my health and the news hit me harder than I thought.

I know so many people in my life who eat whatever the hell they want, drink alcohol copiously, do not care how much sleep they get, but they seemed to be thriving, and yet, here I was eating nutrient dense foods, meditating, getting in exercise, and I’m still a work-in-progress in my health journey. What the hell was I doing wrong? These were some of the thoughts going through my head as I was digging deeper and deeper into my hole of depression and self-pity.

Then I slapped myself (figuratively) in the face for thinking this way. There are so many people out there who are sick and they don’t know it. There are millions of people suffering from autoimmune diseases, my mom included, and various illnesses that do not compare to my situation. Beating cancer is hard. Being unable to get out of bed from the inflammation that takes over your entire body is hard. Losing someone close to you is hard. This, the fact that I found out about a health issues early on that could potentially turn serious later in my life, IS A DAMN BLESSING. So many others out there would give anything to have known that they could have addressed the beginning stages of their health issues earlier on so they are not where they are now.

As soon as I saw this, I was thankful. Thankful for having the knowledge and resources to figure out what I should do to heal myself. Thankful for having health issues that make me learn extensively more about them so I can help others heal as well. Thankful that I can imagine just a sliver of the frustrations that people who are suffering are going through. Thankful that this will make me a better person, better practitioner, and help me grow emotionally and mentally.

Also, to those of you who are going through health issues of your own, I want to tell you that it’s not your fault. It’s not because you didn’t paleo hard enough, eat enough vegetables, worked too much, or didn’t give a crap about your health when you were healthy enough to afford not to. We live in a world where we are exposed to toxins in our food, environment, and household products that weren’t there several decades ago. It’s not your fault we were taught to fear the healthiest fats out there that our body needs to thrive. It’s not your fault that food giants and factory farms pump hormone disruptors and chemicals into our food because they care more about profits than the quality of what’s going into our bodies. It’s not your fault that our soil is being abused and mistreated with pesticides and mono-cropping, depleting our food of necessary nutrients. It’s not your fault that you grew up in a world where beauty and success mean that you slowly deteriorate your body to fit into a size 2 and you work a job locked inside at a desk staring at a screen in front of you all day. Our world has increasingly become toxic and stressful, and our illnesses are the consequence of that.

Lastly, if there’s anything I’ve learned from my and other’s health journeys, it’s that negative thoughts won’t EVER heal you. You can eat all the right food and take the right supplements, but you can’t truly get better until you find acceptance and gratitude for your situation, as difficult as that may be. You need to have hope that you’ll get better. You need to find joy and beauty in the things in your life. It took years for us to develop these health challenges. They won’t go away in a day. You will have frustrating setbacks and heartbreaking moments, but you have to be patient and hopeful and work on it one day at a time.

If you’ve read up to this point, thank you for listening. I needed to share this more for myself than anyone else, but I truly hope that these ramblings help someone else struggling out there, even if it’s just 1 person.

You have a choice. Will you let your sickness empower you, or defeat you? I choose to let it empower me, and continuously shape me into a stronger and better person each and every day through my healing process.

2 thoughts on “The Day I Decided My Sickness Will Empower Me

  1. Michele Matthias

    I just came across your blog today and it really affected me. I have been dealing with some sort of illness for 3 years that the doctors have been unable to diagnose. So, after a year of going to the doctors, I started googling and trying to figure out what was wrong myself and have also started on a nutritional and holistic medicine journey. I also think that a chronic illness can be very empowering – you take your health in your hands instead of leaving it with someone else. I have had fibromyalgia for 20 years and never really addressed it or anything else until 2 years ago. Thank you for doing your blog and your recipes. I will be reading your blog all the time now. Thank you!

    1. Jean Choi Post author

      Thank you so for your kind words, Michele! It can be so frustrating when you can’t figure out your illness, but yes – as you said, it is SO empowering when you figure out how to heal your self. Of course, it’s not easy and it doesn’t happen in a day and that’s why it’s called a health journey. I do believe that my own journey has led me to live my own life with more compassion, understanding, and gratitude. And I’m also thankful that I can share that journey and connect with people like you! Thank you so much for reading, and you are amazing for taking your health into your own hands. 🙂


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