Episode 57: Living an Empowered Autoimmune Life

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Episode 57 of the Phoenix Helix Podcast: Living an Empowered Autoimmune Life

Moving from Victim to Self-Advocate

Getting an autoimmune diagnosis often leaves us feeling traumatized and overwhelmed. Add to that the pain, disability, and health crisis that often accompanies the diagnosis, and we can feel like our life is over. This episode is about reclaiming our inner strength and re-creating a vital life again. My guests are Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt from Autoimmune-Paleo.com, and authors of the new guide: The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook. We’ll be talking about everything from getting emotional support from loved ones, to putting together a healthcare team, to defining resilience and learning how to face chronic illness from a place of power instead of feeling like a victim.

Episode 57 of the Phoenix Helix Podcast: Living an Empowered Autoimmune Life
Listen to the Show
There are three ways to listen:

  1. You can subscribe to my podcast through iTunes.
  2. You can listen through Stitcher.
  3. You can also listen to the episode right here through the play bar at the bottom of this post. If you subscribe to my blog by email, you’ll got notified of future episodes.

Show Notes

  • Intro (0:00)
  • Thank You to Our Podcast Sponsor: Paleo on the Go (2:05)
  • Meet Angie and Mickey (2:53)
    • Angie is the author of The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook. She has celiac disease, lichen sclerosus, and endometriosis. Angie went many years without a celiac diagnosis, which resulted in severe nutrient deficiencies that caused numerous hospitalizations, severe brain fog, numbness in her face, pain throughout her ribcage, and daily panic attacks. She describes her life then as one of fear and loneliness. Her life now is night and day from her rock bottom. Her symptoms started to disappear within a few weeks of going on the paleo autoimmune protocol. Her daily pain, neurological issues and panic attacks are all gone. Her mental acuity is sharp, and her emotional state is resilient and happy.
    • Mickey is the author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook. She has Hashimoto’s and celiac disease. Her rock bottom was similar to Angie’s. Her neurological issues included slurred speech, tingling extremities, and balance issues. Her blood pressure was so unstable that she would almost faint going from sitting to standing. She also had fatigue so severe she was mostly bedridden and lost her ability to work. She was deeply grieving the life she lost and sometimes thought death would be better. Her life now is vastly improved from her rock bottom. She works full-time again. She has the strength to do chores on a sustainable homestead. Her brain is clear, and her life is vibrant.
    • Together, they’ve written The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook. Their goal is to help others transition from that rock bottom to a vital life again.
  • Relationships and Support (11:06)
    • Both Angie and Mickey’s husband’s have been incredible supportive during their health journeys. They dedicated their new book to their husbands, for truly, deeply honoring the vow, “in sickness and in health”. But not everyone has that kind of support in their lives. How do we create a support network?
      • Reach out to the people in your life. You’ll find the ones you can count on. Explain what’s happening to you, and ask for help in small, yet concrete ways. Often our friends want to help but don’t know how. When someone says, “Is there anything I can do?” – take them up on it. Ask them to cook you a meal, or run an errand, or come with you to a doctor appointment.
      • Be patient with the people who love you. They aren’t living inside your body, so can’t completely understand your experience. Often symptoms are either invisible to others or come on so fast it’s confusing to everyone. Communicate with them, and give them time to absorb the change your diagnosis has brought to your shared life.
    • Resources:
  • Getting a Diagnosis(19:28)
    • A diagnosis is important because it helps you:
      • connect with the right medical specialist.
      • make an educated choice about treatment.
      • decide which testing is most helpful to monitor your progress.
      • connect with other people with your diagnosis and feel less alone.
      • learn more about your disease and therefore your body.
      • make empowered choices to improve and maintain your health.
    • Seeking a diagnosis:
    • For people who have tried everything and are still undiagnosed, what do you recommend?
      • While it can frustrating to not know why you feel badly, people in this situation often respond more quickly to wellness measures. You can also work with a functional medicine practitioner without a diagnosis, to explore root causes to your symptoms.
    • Fearing the label of a diagnosis:
      • If you implement diet and lifestyle changes and feel better, that’s one thing, but if you continue to feel worse, a diagnosis might be the key information you need to take the steps necessary to improve your health.
      • A diagnosis doesn’t cause the health problems; you seek a diagnosis because you’re having health problems and want a path to healing.
      • The earlier you get a diagnosis, the more power you have to prevent progression of your disease.
      • There’s a fine line between positive thinking and denial.
  • Defining Resilience (29:27)
    • Resilience is a set of skills that helps us withstand adversity and stress. It’s not a personality trait. It’s something we can learn through practice. Here are 6 key resiliency behaviors:
      1. Maintaining a positive self-image.
      2. Managing emotions and impulses.
      3. Taking charge of things that are in our control.
      4. Developing healthy rather than harmful coping strategies.
      5. Investing in close relationships.
      6. Reframing: Finding positive meaning in challenging life events.
  • Putting Together A Quality Healthcare Team (35:20)
    • First, find your key player. This is the person who oversees your autoimmune health. If you need medication, this might be a physician. If you don’t need medication, it might be a naturopath or chiropractor. Someone you trust to help guide your health journey.
    • Next find your support players. This might be an acupuncturist, a nutritionist, a massage therapist, or other healthcare professionals. The process of putting together your healthcare team is detailed in The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook.
    • Trial and error is part of the process of finding the right practitioners for you.
  • 12-Week Lifestyle Plan (45:07)
    • The back of the book contains a lifestyle plan that addresses 4 key areas:
    • Making changes to lifestyle can be so overwhelming that people often feel paralyzed and don’t know how to begin. This plan breaks it down into baby steps that are easy to do and build upon over time. By the end of the 12 weeks, you can transform your lifestyle into one that supports your health on multiple levels. One example of a baby step that made a big difference in Angie’s life was wearing amber glasses in the evening to minimize her blue light exposure. Her sleep improved dramatically.
  • Dietary Options for Autoimmune Healing (54:12)
  • What Does It Mean to Live an Empowered Autoimmune Life? (55:52)
    • Mickey: Finding that balance between control and surrender. Being empowered to improve your life and celebrate each step forward, but also making peace with those things that can’t be “fixed.”
    • Angie: Developing inner resilience that help you navigate the ups and downs of the journey. And feeling the authority that this is your body, and you are the one who gets to make the choices about how you will achieve wellness.
  • Outro (58:50)

Spreading the Word

If you like the podcast, please leave a positive review in iTunes or Stitcher. It would mean the world to me, and also helps others find the podcast and learn about their potential for healing.

Listen to the Show

There are three ways to listen:

  1. You can subscribe to my podcast through iTunes.
  2. You can listen through Stitcher.
  3. You can also listen to the episode right here through the play bar at the bottom of this post. If you subscribe to my blog by email, you’ll got notified of future episodes.
  Have you checked out my books?   Books By Eileen Laird | Phoenix Helix

3 thoughts on “Episode 57: Living an Empowered Autoimmune Life

  1. Pingback: Episode 57: Living an Empowered Autoimmune Life | Paleo Digest

  2. I’m so glad you mentioned the dedication. It totally resonated with me. I actually read it out to my husband and thanked him for doing the same. I wouldn’t be where I am without his support during this aip journey 🙂

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