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After having my son Syfy, I had become completely attached. I was starting to tell myself that maybe I did not need the surgery, but I deep down I knew that I was just filling my head with delusions to cope with the situation. The thought of having to leave my infant for two whole weeks was devastating to me.
When Syfy turned three months old, I had to quit breastfeeding him because I was about to have my long awaited spinal cord surgery. I hadn't thought how hard it was going to be to wean Syfy from my breast at three months old. I got hormonal surges that made me feel incredibly guilty for quitting breastfeeding and I would randomly cry because of it. I knew in my heart, that it was normal and not my fault, but that knowledge did not stop the tears from coming. I managed to deal with the loss, but it affected me deeply, none the less.
Leaving my baby was harder than having surgery
I was scheduled to have my surgery in February of 2010. With our wedding anniversary on February 8, I chose to have my surgery AFTER that so that we could celebrate our upcoming “trials and tribulations.” The night before my surgery, I did not sleep. I was scheduled to be at the hospital at 6am and should have been sleeping, but I could not get my mind off of what the future held. I put my worries into making sure that everything was properly organized for the Hippy Hubby care for our three-month-old son while I was gone. This was more than one milestone for me; I was going to be away from my infant for the first time since he was born, and that was making it much harder to deal. I had an easier time thinking about being paralyzed than I did thinking about my son being without me for fourteen whole days! I couldn't think about that, so instead I worked until my mind was numb. I cleaned, folded, sterilized, wrote instructions up, and even organized clothing in a way that I thought would make things the easiest on the Hippy Hubby. I fully trusted that the Hippy Hubby would do a great job without me, but I still had that first-time mother's fear of my baby not being able to survive without me.
Jokes are how I deal when I am stressed
Before we left for the hospital, I kissed Syfy and my cat Toki goodbye, and promised them both that I would be back in better condition than I left them. During the car ride on the way to the hospital, I was in no mood for conversation. The Hippy Hubby did not push me or pity me. He simply held my hand and walked with me in stride, like we were walking through the mall to window-shop. He always knows exactly what I need, when I need it.
We waited in the waiting room for nearly an hour and a half, holding hands and watching cheesy tv shows from the 90's, before we finally got called in to a room of my own. I joked and laughed with my nurses and Dr. Moody as they all got me ready to wheel me into the pre-op room. The last thing that I always remember is the goofiness that comes from the medicine they give you before you get knocked out by the anesthesia. I think that one of the first times I experienced this giddy drugged up state, I turned to my dad in what seemed like a super slow movement, and laughed at him proclaiming “Dad! You have two heads!” I always remember people smiling at me and me laughing, and then darkness. Nothing. Then, I opened my eyes and did a quick scan of my pain levels to see what I had lost or gained from this round of trauma.
Surgeries had become second nature
Expecting to feel what it's like to be a paraplegic, I was completely surprised when I realized that I could feel all the way down to my knees. A thrill went through me. I wasn't completely paralyzed. I could overcome THIS. This surgery was no exception when it comes to pain. After receiving my “daily dose” of Syfy, via pictures from the Hippy Hubby, I knew that I could not stay in the hospital for two whole weeks. Using my experience I knew what it took to be sent home from the hospital early. I called for a nurse on the second day after my surgery, and asked her to get me a physical therapist and a walker. I spent all that evening and most of the next day, practicing walking up and down the hospital hallways. I rested in between and worked on getting solid food down and digesting it properly. My feet were even more foreign to me now than they were before. They felt as if there were heavy concrete boots encasing them. It was a little bit stifling in a claustrophobic way. Still, I didn't care about any of that. I was on a mission to get home to see my baby. I knew that I could do what I needed to, and this time around it was almost as if it was second nature.
I went home on day 5 out of 14 days
I managed to make all of my nurses whisper about me and how crazy I was, but in the end, I had worked hard enough to be sent home on the fifth day after my surgery. You heard me correctly, fifth…5 out 14. I was so motivated by that tiny little thunder bringing boy (Thor is his middle name!), that I bounced back from this surgery as if it were nothing. I was VERY happy to be sent home so early. With the help of the Hippy Hubby and my parents, I healed up quickly. My nerve pains did not get better and my narcolepsy was only getting worse. I would go a month or more without my medications for one thing or another because we could not afford the medications and to take care of a baby at the same time. For eight months, we lived in Minnesota, but because of the extreme cold, my nerve pains only intensified. I spent many nights awake the entire night, crying and writhing in pain. I was even a little bit angry at the Hippy Hubby because he was sleeping so soundly next to me.
Changing my diet changed my life
We moved back to Texas, but my nerve pains were still bothering me on a daily basis. I was so tired of constant nerve pains that I decided to start meditating again. Fed up with always being sick and feeling so much pain, I began to take my health into my own hands and researched natural ways to help heal some of my problems. One of the first things that had to change was my diet. I started shopping organic as much as possible, cutting out all processed ingredients like High Fructose Corn Syrup, food coloring, preservatives, and artificial flavors. After changing my diet, I began to notice massive changes in my health as well as my family's health. Just by eating a whole-foods-plant-based diet, we noticed that we were the only ones not getting sick, while everyone else around us had fallen ill with the flu or a cold.
Diet was just the beginning
One month after changing our diet to a plant-based diet, I was able to completely quit taking all of my pills for narcolepsy. I was waking up (for the first time in as long as I can remember) of my own volition at 7 am in the morning. I was completely awake and felt well-rested early in the morning, and I hadn't even had any coffee yet either! Not only was my narcolepsy benefiting from this new diet change, but my nerve pains had started to lessen in intensity and were only hurting half as often. This was the most miraculous thing to me above everything else. I was starting to feel relief from the stabbing pain in my feet and legs.
Healing my endometriosis through diet and lifestyle
After a few months of mastering a clean eating lifestyle, I was at a plateau with my nerve pains and made another huge leap in our lives. I decided to rid our house of all the cancer-causing, endocrine disrupting, toxic chemicals, that could be found in everything from cleaning products to make-up and beauty products. As I changed the quality of the air that we breathed and what we put on our skin, I noticed even more amazing benefits. My nerve pains lessened even further and the very painful and debilitating pain that I used to experience at the onset of my menstruation, had all but disappeared. By removing the products in my life containing endocrine disruptors, I had found an even happier existence than before. Since those changes back in 2011 and 2012, I have not seen a return of cysts on my ovaries or any endometriosis symptoms whatsoever. I am no longer sick that often, and I am enjoying life more and more with every day.
I still get nerve pains when a really intense rainstorm blows in, but they are so much different than they used to be. I have no idea if I will need more surgeries or if things will degenerate as I age, but for now, I am living and feeling like I do not have these physical disabilities to impair my livelihood. I live for the things in life that make me the happiest hippy: my family, nature/the outdoors, backpacking, and kayaking. My story doesn't end here, it's just beginning!