Hi everyone! My name is Laney. I am 37 years old, a Crohn’s Disease Warrior, a Cardiac Registered Nurse, a School Nurse, a Health Coach, and I recently started a Paleo Bakery called the Honey Palette that offers donuts and cakes to those struggling with food sensitivities. I live in Portland, Oregon, and I have a 10 year old dog named Tater-tot that is my constant companion, and always seems to know when I am having a bad day.
My main Autoimmune Disease is Crohn’s Disease…but I have also been struggling with Lichen Sclerosus (which I didn’t know was a thing until 3 years ago) and Psoriasis. Lucky number 3… like many of us Autoimmune Warriors out there. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 20, struggled with Lichen Sclerosus from age 27-33, and developed Psoriasis at age 30. My Crohn’s is considered “moderate-severe” and in the last 5 years, I have been struggling with a fistula that likes to pop up during stressful times in my life.
I have landed in the hospital a few times…with malnutrition and abscesses. And, all, I have managed to overcome with the help of medications and many phases of dietary and lifestyle change. The biggest scare I had was 1.5 years ago. I was working a lot as a nurse, trying to save up for a trip, and I pulled my back out. Focusing on my body mechanic issues, I stopped watching my diet and lapsed on my meds and ended up with a horrible stricturing and a worsening recto-vaginal fistula that resulted in 3 abscesses (scary!!). I was told that I would need a temporary loop-ileostomy and a seton placement. I asked how long it would be until it was dire that I got the surgeries…and they told me 6 months. So I vowed that I would be back in 6 months if I couldn’t fix it……And I never had to return.
I fought back with a massive lifestyle shift and dietary change. I began following a mix of AIP and the SCD diet, and received extensive acupuncture, reiki healing, massages, and work by a naturopathic proctologist. I also forced my body to relax…. a lot. I took more walks instead of runs, I woke up leisurely and baked instead of running out for an activity, and I started going to bed early. I let my body heal. Now I am only on stelara to keep my fistula from flaring, and by following SCD and AIP, my body and gut are happy.
1) Crohn’s Disease has made me who I am, and in the last few years, I have chosen to allow it to define a big part of me. I used to hate that it played such a massive part of my life. It was the reason for so much of my past depression, my hurt and pain, and my isolation, and I fought against that definition. But now, I see it as one of my super powers. By accepting it as a part of me, I have been able to confront it much easier, instead of denying possibly the biggest factor about me. Some feel its best that “our disease does not define us”. But why not? Not many are given this opportunity to rise above something challenging. I am choosing it as one of my super powers.
2) I have always been an adrenaline junkie and high energy person. I think because of that, it not only prevented my whole being from relaxing and dealing with things, but it prevented my gut from relaxing, thereby causing more trauma, delayed healing, and constipation. This last flare forced me to look at how I was approaching everyday life, and this was the biggest take away. Because I forced myself to relax, I started baking…. and it grew into a beautiful business. I now am able to provide desserts for others with autoimmune diseases and food sensitivities, and the connections I have made with those customers and other small businesses has been invaluable. Its made me feel like I am truly making a difference in my communities. I want to help people beyond my scope as a nurse. And I think I am finally making that happen through another avenue…and its all because of Crohn’s.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet I’d have to say has to be the ultimate dietary change I have made for my Crohn’s. It has changed my life. I am not in pain unless I cheat, and when I cheat, the consequences are not detrimental anymore because I come from a place of years of healing. If I feel like my fistula is coming back (which has been my scariest symptom), I will take Oregano Oil, drink bone broth every morning, take shots of Apple cider vinegar, and keep my body as alkaline as possible to alleviate any potential bacterial overgrowth, thereby keeping my body from inflaming and also preventing an abscess. Acupuncture has been one of my biggest healing agents and I have also been seeing an incredible naturopathic proctologist that has helped to alleviate my stricturing (I wish there was one of him in every city in the country!!!). And honestly… turning to spiritual healing like Reiki has helped me work on clearing negative pathways in my body and allowing more healing ( weird, I know…but seriously so helpful!).
I have a tendency to overdo it. I love biking and running hard, and I have a lot of energy! But when I feel a flare coming on, I need to remind myself and force myself to slow down, or the flare can get worse. Its okay to not be as productive as you were hoping, or to not make it to the gym. And, its perfectly okay to sit in bed on a sunny day if your body is telling you it needs to rest. This took a very long time for me to accept.
“At birth, we are red-faced, round, intense, pure. The crimson fire of universal consciousness burns in us. Gradually, however, we are devoured by our parents, gulped by schools, chewed up by peers………The lesson of the beet, then, is this: hold onto your divine blush, your innate rosy magic….” part of a paragraph in ‘Jitterbug Perfume’, by Tom Robbins.
I hold this quote dear to me. During those tough times in my life when I feel like the world is crumbling down on me and testing me… It reminds me that there is still a more innocent, softer, bouncier, happier side to me that will always shine again, despite that darkness I am feeling in those moment.
Find Laney | @honeypalettebakery