It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I was 13-years-old when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, I’m 31-years-old now. I was born and raised in a tiny northern California community, 75 miles from access to any specialist. Can you imagine my limitations to healthcare options?

It took the doctors 2 months to diagnose the disease, and by then I was extremely ill. Because of where I lived, I had to travel an hour and a half to see my Gastroenterologist. My GI doctor immediately put me on steroids and pharmaceuticals. The medications helped mask the symptoms, and I started feeling better.

I was eventually referred to a doctor in San Francisco who was up and coming with the latest medical research. That GI put me on a biologic drug called Remicade. For those of you who don’t know what biologics are, have you ever seen those TV commercials advertising for Humira or Remicade? Towards the end of the commercial the narrator spends about 2 minutes listing the scary possible side effects. Back then, there weren’t many of those commercials yet, at least not for this new type of medicine. In a moment of desperation, my parents agreed to give it a try. It would get my sick body into remission, right?

For a couple of years, every 6-8 weeks, I visited different hospitals and care facilities to get the drug. It’s given intravenously—through an IV—and it would take between 5 and 6 hours for the entire IV bag to drain into my blood vessels. It was painful and would sting. I was given Benadryl to knock me out (more drugs!), so I was able doze off uncomfortably while I waited for the medicine to finish draining.

Once I started college, I moved to another city and found a GI doctor there. I was in remission so my new GI took me off Remicade. Since the day I was diagnosed (up until 6 months ago), there have been certain medications I had never stopped taking. In the years to come, I battled with the disease. I would get sick, and my doctor would prescribe a new pharmaceutical or antibiotic for me to try or increase my dosages. Sometimes when I got well enough, I convinced my doctor to take me off the new meds and decrease my dosages. Throughout those years I was in-and-out of remission, and yet Crohn’s was always lingering like a computer virus waiting for its moment to attack.

I can’t tell you how often my family listened to my emotional pleas, crying and desperate for relief. It was messing with my mind and emotions. My moods were constantly up and down—tired, unmotivated, depressed…I had a mental fog hanging over me. And I was in physical pain. Have you ever had a constant pain that doesn’t go away? I was used to it, and I dealt with it, but I didn’t want to accept it. I frequently declined invitations to do things because I didn’t feel well. Furthermore, I was often physically incapable of doing what I desired and loved most: traveling. I worried in the back of my mind that I was becoming more and more socially isolated. Was this changing my friendly and outgoing personality? My mind craved to do things, but my body wouldn’t allow it.

Ever since I had been on medications, my liver showed early signs of sickness. During a check-up in college, a doctor found a nodule near my thyroid. A couple years ago, I suffered extreme headaches on either sides of my head. I had 3 surgeries in one year relating to Crohn’s. My wrist started squeaking and creaking one day, only to find out I had “arthritis.” I got a crazy rash attack on my face one summer. My hair and nails were fragile and weak, and my skin was dry. My weight was constantly up and down. And I was regularly sick with the common cold or flu. These were side effects and symptoms of imbalance in my body. My body was crying for help.

Eventually I got ill again, and the meds stopped working. My doctor’s only option was to put me on another biologic drug. I wasn’t going to allow that in my body again! So I became my own advocate. I found a Holistic Nutritionist, who I call my Angel. The minute I met her, I knew it felt right. After telling her my story, the first thing she said to me was, “I can help you.” I burst into tears. She was so positive of her abilities to help me, and I trusted her with my whole heart.

One year later, I’m happy to say I am in complete remission and off ALL pharmaceutical drugs! I’ve never in my life felt better—physically or mentally. I’m not going to lie and say it was a walk in the park. It took dedication, desire, and a strong will. But I did it—I dove head first into the Alternative World of Healing and haven’t looked back since. I absolutely love my new health protocol. And I feel GOOD about what I put into my body. I love the healthy food I eat, following a Paleo and Ketogenic diet. It has proven to work for me, without any terrible side effects. The only side effects I have are feeling better and better! And the side effects from the medications have since subsided and gone away. I took action, listened to my intuition and decided to do what felt right for me.

Why am I telling you my story? I want you to feel inspired, to take action and be your own health advocate! If you don’t like what your healthcare provider is telling you, get another opinion. Not all opinions are created equal. Not all health practitioners are created equal either. And not all practitioners listen and care about what you want. I want to stress this: IT IS IMPORTANT TO FIND A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER WHO MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD. Who listens to you. Who will work with you. Who will try what you want. It’s important to find the right balance for you. Finding my go-to person has been extremely rewarding because I trust her and I have a special bond with her. She’s proven to me (as my current health status shows), that by following her advice, my natural health protocol is working. I have the capacity/ability to continue getting healthier…it’s only a matter of time.

There is a ton of information out there, and it can be difficult to navigate through everything. Which brand do I use? Which technique is best? Which product do I choose? It can be overwhelming, all of the information we sift through daily. I’m not here to tell you what you should do. I believe each body is different, and what your body is asking for may be different than what my body needs. Since meeting my Holistic Nutritionist, I’ve found other inspirational health coaches who I follow and get information from—such as Mark’s Daily Apple. I believe he is a valuable and knowledgeable source, and has lots of information, advice and recipes, which have helped and guided me.

Seventeen years ago, Crohn’s Disease changed my life. But I’ve chosen to listen to my gut instincts (no pun intended) and do what is right for me.

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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