One of my favorite sayings is, “my wilderness is my wisdom.” Nature, and the forest, has always been my teacher, my source of inspiration & healing, and for most of my life, I’ve been lucky enough to also call it my home.
Before coming to live at my current farm, which is 500 plus acres of forest with a lane way over a mile long, and where I raised dairy goats and sheep for several years, I lived at an animal sanctuary for special needs and abused dogs and farm animals, where I dedicated my life to caring for them, and also learning about rehabilitation, disease treatment, and management, and palliative care.
I also ran a rabbit rescue for almost a decade. I took in, cared for, and found homes for over 100 rabbits.
I have taken in a lot of special needs farm animals and rehabilitated them, or cared for them. Animals have always been my passion in life, and my heart.
Like everyone, I’ve had my set of challenges to face, we all do. I watched my mother suffer terribly and eventually die of cancer, and was orphaned by 16. By 25 I had already had several surgeries thanks to Endometriosis, an devastating, and often misdiagnosed and mistreated & managed disease, which eventually lead me to a full hysterectomy at 25, being unable to bear children, and still needing three more major surgeries, because of damage the disease had done even after the hysterectomy. Seven surgeries later, I had some relief.
But afterwards I was diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases. Very often when you are diagnosed with one autoimmune disease, you will have others, since several of them go hand in hand, and also several of them are easily confused with each other and share symptoms. I have Inflammatory bowel disease, Lupus, Sjogren’s Syndrome and also gastroparesis. I take plenty of medications to try and manage flares, including several immune suppressant medications. I have been on prednisone for years now and have adrenal fatigue because of it and am dependent on it. It’s a constant challenge to manage the flares, the symptoms of the diseases and the symptoms of the flares of the diseases, as well as the side effects of all of the medications, most of which I have ended up taking other medications to help manage. I believe very much in natural healing and the power of it, but I also believe in modern medicine despite it’s failures at times, because without it, I wouldn’t be alive still. I have almost died twice in the past few years, and at 29 almost had a stroke, thankfully I was in the hospital when it happened and they saved my life. Shortly after, my husband died from a sudden heart attack without warning, and I was thrown into dealing with the grief from that, the loss of my support system, possibly my home, all kinds of legal & financial issues, and a million things to oversee and manage, during one of the hardest times in my life.
It is a struggle, a daily one, but I have learned how important it is to share not because I want sympathy, but because I want understanding, and not just for myself, for the thousands, millions, of people, suffering from chronic illness and disease around the world, every single day…. especially young people, who are misunderstood. It’s harder for people to accept and believe that young people can be so ill, especially since a lot of chronic illnesses, especially autoimmune diseases are easily hidden, or sometimes even invisible. And it’s important to me to remind people that despite our set backs, and our challenges, we can still lead full lives, we can still have hope, we can still find happiness and we still have purpose. We are all warriors in our own right. And all of us, are much stronger than we believe.
Over the past few years I have had to sell most of my animals, stop gardening, and all of my homesteading activities, as managing my health (or trying to hold myself together more like it) has been a full time job, as well as managing legal affairs, and working with many unknowns in my world. All of those things continue but I am beginning to move forward, to learn new ways to cope and work with my limitations, and body, and to move forward with my dreams in a new direction, and new way.
I look forward to sharing my journey with you, and I hope if you take anything from me, or my writing, or site, it’s just a simple reminder to do what makes you happy, follow your heart, and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Tomorrow is never promised – your health is not promised, nor is having the people you love with you – so try not to wait. Don’t take the little things for granted, because they are what matter most anyway, and don’t ever forget to make sure the people you love the most, know it.