Everyone has a reason why they do what they do. Everyone has a story behind their passions. For as long as I can remember I’ve been passionate about loving people and supporting people. Even as a young child I was a very sensitive empath and wanted people to feel loved and happy. This desire to support and love people led me to my current work as a Birth & Postpartum Doula and Pediatric Sleep Coach. I am so proud of the work that I do, so much so that I now run two doula agencies which allow me and my team to support even more expecting families and new parents.
When I was a newer doula I poured myself into my work, so much that I sometimes had very little energy for myself and my loved ones. Over the years I’ve learned how to take better care of myself and set professional boundaries so I wouldn’t burn out. This is my story.
Back in 2011, I had 3 births back-to-back, barely slept for 4 days and ended up getting sick. I went to the doctor 3 times and was told it was only the flu, but 10 days later, I still wasn’t getting better. A middle of the night ER visit and some chest x-rays revealed that I in fact had pneumonia. And it had gone undiagnosed for almost 2 weeks. An onslaught of antibiotics ensued and in a few days I was feeling much better (yay modern medicine!)
Then weird things started happening. My eyes and face started twitching. My hands and feet felt like they were being stuck with a million tiny needles. It took huge effort to get up the stairs and I fell while walking to a friend’s car once. My legs just went out under me. I was dropping things and could barely brush my hair or put on clothes. It was the scariest time of my life.
After getting the runaround from various doctors I finally found a neurologist to see me without a referral. I underwent nerve conduction tests, blood tests, and strength tests and more. It was exhausting and terrifying. The diagnosis: Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
Guillain-Barre is rapid-onset muscle & nerve weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system. So basically when I had pneumonia and went so long without treatment, my body was working overtime to fight the infection that my immune system began attacking my muscles and nerves. My symptoms were text-book.
But let me tell you something: I WAS SO LUCKY. Many people with Guillain-Barre end up in the hospital because the body starts attacking the muscles and nerves around the lungs, severely effecting the breathing muscles. Many people end up requiring medical ventilation, intravenous immunoglobulins or plasmapheresis which is the removal, treatment, and return or exchange of blood plasma. Ouch.
Like holy hell, did I get lucky. God was protecting me, big-time. About 7.5% of people that have GBS die. Many others have permanent muscle or nerve damage. Recovery from GBS can take years. And while my case was relatively mild, I found that to be true. I was weak for a very long time. Activities that used to be easy took so much effort. It was physically and mentally exhausting. And it hurt my pride. I have always been incredibly independent and Guillain-Barre took my independence away, temporarily at least. It was a huge struggle, but by the grace of God I came out ok. Now, 7 years later 95% of my normal function has returned. I may never get to 100% but I’m ok with that!
To say this was a wakeup call is a huge understatement. It’s not like I was incredibly unhealthy before my GBS diagnosis. I ate pretty well, swam, and did yoga regularly. My struggle was my lack of self-care and lack of personal and professional boundaries. I constantly poured myself out to the point of emptiness and therefore had very little energy to give to myself. That all changed after 2011.
I began reading about holistic and preventative health, herbal remedies and ways to stay physically and mentally healthy. I had been using Young Living essential oils for many years up to this point, but only for aromatherapy and mostly for my yoga students and doula clients.
After my GBS diagnosis, I began using Thieves oil regularly to support my immune system. Thieves is a powerful blend of 5 essential oils: clove, rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus, and cinnamon bark. It’s a potent antiseptic, disinfectant, and has antibacterial properties that can kill germs and prevent illness. It can improve respiratory health, help with inflammation, strengthen the immune system and improve bone health. It also makes a great house cleaner! Along with Thieves oil, elderberry syrup and master tonic (also known as fire cider) I have been able to maintain great health. These oils and this lifestyle works! Now, I have had my fair share of colds and even the flu now and again, but I’m SO much healthier. And when I do get sick, it’s short lived because I have oils, herbs, and knowledge to get me well again.
Beyond using the oils themselves, I have become so much more mindful of what I put into and on my body. I have learned how to slow down and truly take care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s not a perfect science because I do still struggle with work-life balance and sometimes I find myself emptying my cup a little too much. But overall I’ve been able to avoid burnout and avoid major illness. These oils and this journey of wellness has been life-giving and I’d love to share more about it if you’re interested. You can learn more about Young Living on their website or simply contact me to chat further.