What’s In A Name?

logo with a white phoenix and a teal background

Why I Named My Blog Phoenix Helix

Phoenix: noun [fee-niks] / a mythical bird of great beauty fabled to live 500 or 600 years in the Arabian wilderness, to burn itself on a funeral pyre, and to rise from its ashes in the freshness of youth and live through another cycle of years: often an emblem of immortality or of reborn idealism or hope. /  a person or thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity or apparent annihilation. (Definition by Dictionary.com).

Helix: Chosen to symbolize the structure of DNA, which is a double-helix.

Until I was 43 years old, I hadn’t lived through anything wrenchingly painful. Don’t get me wrong, I had my share of struggles and heartbreaks, but nothing that knocked me down so hard that I feared I couldn’t get up again. I had also spent my career in helping professions: I was a nurse’s aide in high school, worked with runaway teens and people with disabilities as a young adult, and then spent 15 years soothing people’s pain as a massage therapist. I always admired the courage of my clients, and I saw the phoenix as a symbol of hope for the people I served. However, I couldn’t identify with it myself until 2012, when I developed rheumatoid arthritis. Suddenly I was no longer on the outside looking in. I knew what it felt like to be on fire, and I desperately searched for a way to rise above.

That’s when I learned about epigenetics. I’ve always believed that we are more than our genes. Otherwise, why are family members so different from one another? Even identical twins have different personalities and health profiles, and their DNA is exactly the same. In addition, a recent study found that healthy people have an average of 400 genetic mutations in their DNA, including genes for diseases they don’t have. Clearly, something else is happening. Enter the field of epigenetics: the field of science that studies what causes a gene to be activated or suppressed. In this burgeoning field, they are discovering that our lifestyle (environment, behavior, thoughts, stress and diet) affects how our genes express themselves. In 2012, the rheumatoid arthritis genes in my body got switched on, and along with them, hundreds of genes that drive inflammation. It’s my intention to turn those off again.


Image credit: Original phoenix created by artist, Beny Noveva. Logo created by graphic designer, Chelsey Luther

16 comments on “What’s In A Name?”

  1. Hi Eileen, I follow your blog all the time, thanks for all the work you do 🙂
    I read some good articles and links about camel milk benefits for auto immune disease. I was wondering if you have any feedback on this.
    I searched your site for Camel Milk but I didn’t find anything.

    Thank you for your help

    1. Hi John. I don’t believe camel milk has any medicinal benefit for autoimmune disease, so I don’t think it’s worth seeking out for that purpose. While you’ll find lots of claims on the internet, there’s currently no research backing up those claims. However, I have heard that some people tolerate camel milk who are intolerant to other forms of dairy. So, if you really miss milk and want to splurge (camel milk is expensive), you can give it a try and see how your body likes it. Results will vary from person to person.

  2. Simone Bell-Keyte

    I stumbled across your blog by pure accident, as I started to read it felt like you were telling my story. I am feeling a little beaten atm, just need to find some relief and these meds are killing me!!! I do hope there is some light at the end of the tunnel!! I dont feel so alone today because of you!!! Thankyou from the bottom of my heart xxx Ps: Is there a specific diet you follow?

  3. With all my heart that is what I wish us all – and if you ever give it try I would love to read your experiences… or any other of this very astude community here!

  4. What great inspiration! Thank you so much – I am healing my liver and leaky gut with food/nutrional approach by Ann Wigmore/Norman Walker and adopted some Paleo/Gaps tricks. Yet ever so often it seems on hits a plateau… now I recognise there are milestones… and sure enough another healing info awaits recognition. Recently was reminded that in the book ‘The five Tibetians’ (which are very healing gentle exercises working more with the energy body than muscular strength) the writer said that raw egg yolk is extremely healing. I started flushing the liver with raw egg yolk, limes and oil in the morning and got the next step on my road to healing. This is an amazing food – thanks for posting your experiences as I try to learn as much from people who heal themselves as possible. Hope you are doing fine… another supplement I am currently testing is R-Alpha Lipoic Acid which helps with inflammation and it feels extremely detoxing for me. It might be something for those who deal with your condition too -especially when I read about how painful this condition is as it can reverse cell damage. I recently read this on another blog which prompted me to give this a go: “…especially pain, tingling, burning of the feet due to Diabetes or Neuropathy seems to calm down with R-Alpha Lipoic Acid. It is helping with rebuilding nerve endings, Alpha Lipoic Acid also helps to promote liver regeneration, boost the body’s immune system and acts to recycle anti-oxidants over and over again protecting the body’s cells from free radical damage and ageing pre-maturely…’ Anyway thanks for your heartful and warm approach to healing. Blessings.

  5. Caroline Walkley

    I found your website by googling about kombucha. When I read your “about” section, I felt that you would love what I am reading. It is the Daniel Plan by Rick Warren. It is a faith based healthy lifestyle plan. It adds faith and a community of friends to help us make these lifestyle changes that heal us. I, too, have an autoimmune disease – Lupus. Food makes an enormous impact on my health. What I was reading in the book today was right up your alley. For example, it talks about nutrigenomics and expososme. “Nutrigenomics is a branch of nutritional genomics and is the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression. The molecules in your food do much more than provide fuel for your body. They provide instructions to tell every cell in your body what to do every moment. More than 95% of chronic illnesses are not related to your genes, but what your genes are exposed to in your lifetime. We call that the exposome. The exposome is the sum of everything you eat, breathe, drink, think and feel plus the toxins in the environment and even the 100 trillion bacteria that live in the gut. The good news is that you have almost complete control over your health. The single most important thing you do for your health every day is to eat.”
    I thought you might enjoy the book and the videos.

    1. Thank you Caroline for your book suggestion. I will find the book! I have had RA for 33 years. When I was younger in my 30s & 40s it was not to hard to get into remission, but now in my 60s… Not an easy task. I’m on a healing journey and determined to find all pieces of the puzzle. Thank you , Linda

      1. Caroline Walkley

        Fight the good fight! You are worth it. You can find the book and other resources at http://www.daneilplan.com. You can scroll around on the website and watch videos and see what it has to offer before you buy the book. I highly recommend doing the study with a group. It keeps you accountable to continue the simple but not easy task of making your own healthy meals and choices when it would be much easier to pick up prepared foods.

  6. I too fell victim to both RA and fibromyalgia overnight!
    That was over 3 and a half years ago now! I managed to put them into remission after less than a year, through diet and am now trying to heal my gut in a bid to stop AutoImmune reactions going off everytime I eat a food/ touch a substance I am intolerant to!
    I’ll browse your blog with interest, cool to come across someone who has been down a similar route! I help run a Facebook page on the subject in a bid to help people find their way quicker on the dietary /alternative medicine path!! Good luck in all your efforts and week done for starting a blog about it all! 🙂 much healing to you!! 😀

  7. I like what you write. I want just the same. For myself and for the people around me that are or will go through this, inevitably, considering how we live. I’m sure it’s feasible.

    Best wishes to you and to all of us like you !

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