My Health Journey (Part 3)

This is a continuation of Part 1 and Part 2.

At first I didn’t even associate my symptoms with LS. I was told the itchiness was normal, but I knew deep down what I was experiencing was very much not normal.

Something just wasn’t right.  

Time went on, and although my skin healed from the birth, my LS symptoms became worse.  

I was referred to a women’s clinic, where I was told this was a lifelong condition and that steroid ointment was my only option. I was prescribed to using it 3 times a week for a period of time and then taper down to once a week for the rest of my life.   

After the appointment I felt nervous and fearful for my health. I used the steroid ointment just as I was told and it did help.  

Then, I became pregnant again and used the steroid ointment throughout the pregnancy. Fortunately, I tested group b negative this time, so no crazy strong antibiotics!          

We had a home birth with amazingly supportive midwives. The birth was beautiful and we welcomed a daughter into our family.      

Healing after the birth was challenging again but I made it through.   At this point I was eating gluten free and dairy free to help my bloating and digestive issues.

Then, I found out my Grandmother was just diagnosed with celiac disease. Considering I was never officially diagnosed, having it in the family was a HUGE indication to my own health issues. And since then I have committed to avoiding gluten at all times.  

I had seen several different naturopaths because I believed that our bodies could heal through natural methods. BUT I hadn’t found a practitioner who made enough of a difference for my health so I never continued seeing them.  

Inflamed

There came a point where absolutely EVERYTHING would irritate my skin including the steroids. I constantly thought about my symptoms, I couldn’t get away from it. I’d lay awake at night in pain. Constantly getting up to check if I was still all there.  

I felt so alone.   

I didn’t confide in anyone about how much this was affecting my life. Just writing this is making the tears flow. It was a tough time.

Luckily, my little fam provided me with love and comfort even if they had no idea what I was going through.  

I was SO inflamed, not only with LS but also eczema. And I was dealing with the constant urge to clear my throat, as well as bloating and digestive issues. Not to mention my periods were unbelievably long and heavy.

Things were out of balance and I was very aware of it.   

Diet Change

I decided it was time to try a new approach to my diet. Although I had already really been into green smoothies, I totally upped my game and bought a Vitamix.

I also began to eat waaaay less meat. I was borderline raw/vegan.   This approach did not clear up my LS, eczema, or heavy long periods, in fact I think it made these symptoms a little worse.

BUT, I will say it did some amazing things for my digestion.   Although my digestion felt like it was on point, what I was really after was relief from my LS and eczema.  

Support

I was done trying to figure it out on my own and so I set out on finding the right naturopath.  

I knew from my first appointment, that this ND was different than the others I had previously seen. She was asking questions from a totally different angle.

She focused a lot on my emotional health and reducing stress.   We started weekly acupuncture appointments coupled with guided visuals.

Not only did these sessions relax me, but I also learned a lot about myself and the mind-body connection.   I started to notice a difference with how I managed my LS.

If I felt symptoms coming on, I turned to my breathing and it helped tremendously.   I started several supplements which also improved my LS symptoms. Although I was still dealing with frequent flares, I felt like I was on a good path and was looking forward to further healing.  

Then, I discovered I was pregnant again. Although this pregnancy was unexpected, we knew we had wanted a third child and were thrilled!

However, I knew the pregnancy meant putting my healing on hold for awhile. I remember simultaneously feeling overjoyed and nervous.

Overjoyed, we were going to be a family of five, what I always dreamt my family would be. Nervous, about what this meant for my health.

Was my LS going to get worse?  

I continued seeing my ND throughout the pregnancy. I had frequent acupuncture sessions, used supplements as well as homeopathic remedies.

It was all a wonderful support.

I still was experiencing LS symptoms and flares but I felt like I was managing it ok.   

We had another home birth and another beautiful baby girl!   After the birth I experienced a flare but I still felt like I had it under control.  

Then life got crazy.   

The Move

My husband, Danny, was working out of the province on a two week, one week off schedule. So I was left to care for 2 young little ones and a newborn on my own.

On top of this, we decided to move our family up north, closer to where we grew up.   Luckily, Danny got a job up north, so instead of travelling out of the province he was travelling the ten hour drive approximately once every three weeks.  

However, we eventually found a house and packed up and moved when our youngest was three months old.   All of these changes were exciting but very stressful as well.

The whole process and stress of moving brought on the longest and worse flare I had ever experienced. And because we had moved, I did not have the support that I previously had from my ND.  

I started to feel out of control of it again. I was thinking about it all. the. time. There was no getting away from it. I felt like it was consuming me.

Something had to change.

Autoimmune Protocol

I had heard about Paleo, and even had several friends that were following the Paleo template. BUT I had already been avoiding eggs and almonds, since they were a trigger for my eczema and I had done food sensitivity testing and those two foods were always off the charts for me.

I wanted to do Paleo but it seemed like every paleo recipe included eggs and almonds. So of course I turned to social media for a little help! I did a shout out on Facebook – asking my paleo friends if there were any paleo recipes without eggs and almonds. Most said good luck with that! BUT one friend said she didn’t eat eggs or almonds and she pretty much followed the autoimmune protocol.

When I read the word autoimmune I thought “oh well LS is autoimmune!” And then the research began. I read Sarah’s book The Paleo Approach cover to cover and started listening to podcasts (Phoenix Helix is a fave). I knew I needed to try it!

So I’d say I started paleo right away and then within a few weeks I was fully AIP. After several weeks of eating AIP I felt my system calm down, way down! My body wasn’t screaming at me any more and I finally wasn’t thinking about my LS all day long anymore.

Honestly, I went from thinking about every minute of the day, to once a day. then as time went on, a few times a week and now four years later – NOT AT ALL! 

I have my life back. Sure I eat differently, and at times it can be a struggle, but let me tell you, it is so so SO worth it!

Remission

I recently had an appointment with a specialist about my LS. It had been awhile so I was quite nervous about it.

When I told the doctor I haven’t used steroid ointment in years, and that I control my LS with diet and supplements, I really thought she was going to point out everything that is wrong and push the steroid ointment.

BUT instead she told me that if she didn’t know I had been diagnosed with LS in the past, she would say I didn’t even have it. She also said that it’s a good sign that I don’t have any symptoms anymore so she would consider me in remission!!!

Take Away

Now, if you read all this, you deserve an AIP cookie 😉 But in all seriousness, I hope what you take away from my health journey is that diet matters AND healing is possible!

Much love and healing,

Rebecca <3

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Dee Ann

Hi Rebecca, what supplements are you taking for lichen sclerosis besides doing the aip diet?

Taylor Bernier
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Taylor Bernier

Great story. Have you been able to make any successful reintroductions?