Well hello there! I'm Cassandra Hope, Founder of the IBS Academy, fellow IBS warrior, and this is my very first blog for the academy!
I'm so honoured you're here.
For me, blogging is a way for me to connect with others, like you, who are looking for answers, who are looking to feel less alone, less damaged, and be filled with hope! I write about my own personal history with IBS, shame, social ostracization, as well as my journey to mental, emotional and physical resolve, so that others can hopefully, even just momentarily, lay to rest the burden that comes with being ill.
IBS and all of the potential health issues that string along
behind it can leave a trail of what feels like a war-path as the days go by. Walk with me as I share my story of how I was able to leave the war behind, and become an ambassador for those who are still in the trenches.
The parties didn't feel the same anymore. What used to be enlightening and riveting conversations now felt repetitive, fake and I could physically feel the sadness behind the substance induced smiles shining around the room. I knew I was done, this was it - my last hoorah. I had outgrown the party, and hell, to be honest, my dopamine was all used up.
Shortly after a party one night, I was ready.
Ready to walk into the functional practitioners office, share my story of drug and alcohol abuse and await the long list of recommendations to heal my gut. I had so much hope invested in her. I wanted her to say that she totally understood what I had done to my body and why my gut was shutting down.
Instead, what I received was 3 recommendations that were the beginning of a 5 year long journey to fix my gut:
I left the office feeling like she didn't get it. Could she not understand from my confessions of being a professional party girl for the past 10 years that I had done something terribly wrong to
my body?! I knew in my gut that something more was going on than just some food intolerances and a stressed immune system.
I was exhausted. So exhausted I could barely work. I was depressed, emotionally volatile, and obsessively ruminating. I couldn't workout without getting injured. I had chronic infections. I was terrified to eat.
I felt the root cause wasn't being addressed, but I had to start somewhere. I took her recommendations and with an open mind and open heart, I began walking the path that would ultimately lead me to sitting here writing this post.
It took time for me to start to see improvements. Going to the bathroom daily was my biggest mission of the day. My main focus. Removing gluten and dairy and introducing a probiotic were
good steps, but I was still suffering from terrible constipation, gas, distention, inflammation, fatigue and depression.
"What did I eat yesterday that is causing me so much gut pain? Why am I lying on the bathroom floor again, crying, praying to just have a bowel movement?"
"I had a tulsi tea designed for the tummy, I've had a BM every day since starting that, is that the answer?! Was tulsi tea the frigging answer all this time?"
"Tulsi tea stopped working. Great. What the hell is going on
inside my body? Why won't this problem go away? Am I not worthy of healing?"
I would literally do ANYTHING to just be the girl who could have a frigging bowel movement everyday!
I worked with that practitioner for some time. We did some work on my brain to heal/correct my brain waves by using a machine that helped to train certain parts of my brain that weren't functioning properly. I saw significant improvements in my ability to side-step obsessive thinking and be more present. The hamster wheel was slowing down, but I wasn't off the ride yet, not even close.
It became apparent to me after several months that I had reached the end of my work with that doctor. It was time to thank her for her help as I was off to a great start, but was still very ill. The root issue was still at large, I could feel it. Something was being missed. It was time to look for a new doctor, one that had some new suggestions and insight.
I took my first turn of many on my journey to finding peace, and health, and with as much grace and hope as I could pack in my bindle, I opened my eyes and ears in hopes to connect with my next ally...
I will continue to write these entries in hopes for you to feel empowered and inspired for your own healing. This is the first of many entries where I will share my story and insights on being the sick girl and the interactions with the medical world, both allopathic and holistic.
It can be scary, it can seem like a never-ending search, and often, it can feel like no one understands what's really going on with your body. Though I'm sitting here, empowered, wise, and healthier than ever, to share that if you never give up, always find the positive learning (even if its just to rule something out for you) from each blog post, article, practitioner and protocol, you will find yourself living a life free from debilitating symptoms.
I hope you will continue to read my monthly blogs entries as I continue to share my story of going from an addict, depressed and undiagnosed with SIBO, to a woman who is free from
addictions, depression and owns an academy solely dedicated to supporting others who are suffering from poor gut health.
There are infinite possibilities for you. Keep going.
In good health + happiness,
Cassandra Hope RHN
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