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I’m so excited to introduce our guest blogger today. Lisa aka The Wellness Coach is truly an inspirational young women who’s daily struggle with an auto immune dis-ease hasn’t stopped her reaching for the stars.

I first met Lisa through Bikram Yoga & was so honoured to have her take part the first ever class I taught as a rookie teacher. Since moving back to her native Ireland Lisa has started her own holistic nutrition coaching business. Using her own life experience of healing through whole foods & a holistic lifestyle to advise others on how to transform their life for the better.

Here’s Lisa’s amazing story…

I have several memories of how I felt back when I was 14 years old and all of a sudden my life became a daily routine of medication, injections, doctors, tiredness, and pain.  Sitting in my bedroom with a psych doctor asking how I was, struggling to get down the stairs and clinging onto the banister for the fear of the pain that would shoot through me, missing school and being home tutored, over hearing the home tutor insist I repeat a year at school, I refused.  Being stared at.  Needing help to carry my bag.  Being felt sorry for.  The worst feeling to sum it all up was a complete loss of control; I was removed from my happy normal life and taken to this alien existence.

It began in the summer of 1997, my knees ballooned up, it was hilarious at first, “look at my knees, they’re like footballs!”  By November 1997 it was time to see a private consultant, Leukaemia or Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) he suggested, thankfully it was RA and so ensued an intense bout of attack via medication.  It was December, I was in a hospital miles from home and the Christmas tree was twinkling in the ward.  I was very upset, very lonely, very confused and very sick.  My friends had moved on, they had little time for me being teenagers, completely understandable.  My mummy became my best friend.  Every day was a struggle, no one really understands it, the pain, the fatigue, but worse still the side effects of the medication they pump into you to deal with this attack on your immune system by your own body.  If I was diagnosed now, 16 years later, a lot of the damage that had been done would’ve been avoided as medication advances and progresses over time.  C’est la vie.  In this life you learn to deal with the hand that’s been dealt to you…or you crumble and accept defeat.  I’m a fighter, so I fought.

Rheumatoid Arthritis it was, not a day would go by without it being mentioned at least 10 times to me, this new word, this new world, was now my new best friend and ironically I did actually meet some real nice friends as a result of my summers spent in Musgrave Hospital kids ward.  My doctors were, and still are amazing, they make a 14 year old kid feel like they’ve climbed and conquered Everest with each and every injection given.

I went to school, I worked hard, I took each day an hour at a time.  I did well.   I passed exams and did a lot better than anyone expected.  On the outside people would tell me, and still do, ‘You got better’.  I didn’t.  I chose health and fought for it every day, I still do but now it’s much more enjoyable as I high five feeling great!  They say, whoever ‘they’ are, that you don’t appreciate your health until it’s taken from you, very true, and it’s the main reason I’m trying to help others, don’t let your health be taken, you have a choice!

Around my university days I began my journey towards alternative health and that’s when it all changed.  I began to know my own body better than any doctor with 50 years experience under their belt.  They say you need empathy to understand other people, I have walked the walk, I know what it feels like.  Over the next 10-12 years I experimented with my health.

I did the impossible; I was beginning to enjoy proving people and doctors wrong, I loved meeting people and letting them discover that yes, I have a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis, an auto immune disease, bet you never knew!  I walk with a limp I know I do, I will never be able to straighten my elbows, I have poor mobility in my wrists, my back will never be self tanned due to restricted shoulders and I bet I have worse hips than your granny, hee hee!!  I have good days and bad, the bad account for a lot less now than they used to.  Though the bad most people never see.   I’ve been to university, I’ve studied for 8 years since then, I’ve been to Australia medication hassle and change of doctors and all, I am living proof that with inner strength and an open mind to alternative living, all is not lost.

My saviour has been nutrition, hence the reason I went on to study it and became a nutritionist.   Foods heal, foods harm.  We live in a society whereby disease, particularly inflammatory diseases or those ending in ‘itis’ are becoming more and more prevalent, obesity levels are through the roof and a lot of people just don’t know what to eat!   I eat for health, I eat to beat inflammation, I eat for strength, for healthy joints and for energy.  I see each and every meal as an opportunity to regain control of my health and I’m not letting those sip by!  I’m now in the very privileged position of being able to help others recover their health, reigniting their passion for healthy foods and re-discovering their taste buds, I’m inspiring and motivating others, I’m using this challenge I faced as an opportunity.

Things happen for a reason and I believe the powers that be knew I had the strength to fight this disease and to inspire others, so I’m doing it.  I’ve managed to come off some severe medication through diet and lifestyle, I still take daily meds, and inject myself every 5 days, I probably always will, however this was medication I ‘should’ still be on according to the experts, is medication that is also given to cancer patients.  My hair has never been so long since I stopped it, I’m delighted 🙂

On my journey I also found a great outlet through exercise.  On a recent visit to my specialist I asked “So my knee is giving me jip, anything I can do to help it?’, “Exercise it” she told me, “Oh like squats and lunges?” I ask, “Goodness no, while sitting on the chair at home straighten and drop your leg, definitely no squats”.  I joined Crossfit a month later and am Queen squatter 🙂 I also practice yoga 3 times a week.

I discovered yoga whilst in Australia.  Doctors treat the physical; however, good nutrition and yoga heal both the mental and the physical.  I began to see my body as a whole, to approach it holistically.  The breathing, the stretching, the discipline, they gave me back control, control I had once lost and I thought, I can do this, I can work with my body instead of fighting against it!  Yoga heals in so many ways, it is so much more than a workout, it reduces inflammation, promotes healthy sleep, reduces stress and stretches out my very stiff joints.  They say arthritis can be linked to an inability to let go, I don’t like this thought process as it almost blames the person themselves for having the condition, however I do know that on days where I practice yoga, find my inner peace and learn to let go, I feel better.  I sleep better.  My joints are less inflamed and life is easier.  I’m also an Aries though, I like action, moving forward trying new things, there are more and more people to inspire, and I’m delighted to be helping just one person all the way over in Australia who may read this and feel empowered!  Why stop when you can achieve so much more?  My arthritis has never stopped me doing anything and never will!

I hope my story has inspired you, try the alternatives, use every meal and each opportunity life throws at you to make healthy choices, you really don’t appreciate your good health until it is taken from you.

As they say in yoga, Namaste.  Lisa x

Seren Lisa Mc Wellness coach

If you are interested in Wellness Coaching check out Lisa’s links below:

Email: lisa@thewellnesscoach.ie

Website: http://www.thewellnesscoach.ie

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Choice-by-Lisa/108137433209

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisawellcoach