Hi. I’m Hilary. I want to welcome you to the story of My AutoImmune. It starts with my story and the twists and turns that brought me on the path to healing my autoimmune disorder.
Let’s get started:
Fifteen years ago, I started to experience some severe gut issues. After meeting with my general practitioner several times, I wasn’t getting any answers. My pain levels and gastrointestinal symptoms (some uncomfortable to talk about) continued to escalate until my general practitioner sent me to the emergency room, where I was admitted to the hospital. Later I would receive an official diagnosis; I had a chronic autoimmune illness called Crohn’s disease.
At the time of my diagnosis, the doctors I saw were very clear in their assessment of my condition. They told me that there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, so I would need to take medication for the rest of my life to control the symptoms (which can include fatigue, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and fatigue), and there was nothing else I could do. That was it. I was stuck, and I’d be on medication with no end in sight.
I didn’t anticipate where my journey would lead me. Where I’d end up was far from what those initial doctors ever told me would be possible for my health.
Taking Control of My Health: First Steps
Initially, I trusted what my doctors told me and faithfully took my medications. My doctors made it a point to say that diet had nothing to do with my symptoms, which I could not accept.
Also, at the time of my diagnosis, I was studying an MSc in public health nutrition. This contributed to my own research on diets, found some with reported success for Crohn’s patients, and added them to my treatment protocol.
I researched everything I could. I may have gone over the top.
Here is just a quick list of some things I tried:
- Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- Autoimmune Paleo diet
- Elimination diet
- Making my own fermented foods, kefir, and bone broth
- Functional nutrition testing and supplement plans
- 10-day fasting (this helped!)
I’ll be honest, while I’ve read incredible success stories for some of these interventions, none worked for me, aside from the extended water fasting, which did seem to provide some symptom relief.
There had to be a way to get better; I was sick of going through cycles. Sick of flareups, sick of stomach pain, sick of being sick. I was determined to find something that would help.
I had exhausted all my previous research on the topic. But I was desperate to find a solution. So I decided to try something I had never thought about before.
I would learn about an ancient healing practice: Traditional Chinese Medicine, which would change my life.
Healing Holistically: Finding Relief Through Natural Sources
When many people talk about holistic health, talk of diet, supplements, and other mainstream treatments will come up. And while my diet had changed from before to more GI-friendly foods, my experience with TCM would have the most impact.
I met with a practitioner who would look at my tongue, check my pulse, and look at root causes through the prism of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Then came the treatment plan: a mix of acupuncture, an elimination diet, which only included one thing, and extended acupuncture symptoms. I’d bring that same compliance I had for my medication to this new treatment plan, and it was rough sometimes.
I didn’t experience anything at first. Then after my third acupuncture session, I suddenly had a miraculous remission of symptoms. That lasted a week; then all my symptoms returned. After that, the process of healing was gradual.
Eventually, I’d get to what I consider a cure, which includes a complete remission of my symptoms and being medication-free for over five years.
An idea started to formulate in my head, one that would sit in my brain. How could I help others who were struggling experience the same relief I had? How could I help them get connected to practitioners who could help them?
Years later, this idea would turn into an action plan. An online platform to help those struggling with autoimmune issues, by connecting them to research and practitioners that could help them. My Autoimmune. And so, a new journey started.
My AutoImmune: Bringing Together Practitioners & Patients
It started with a concept and turned into a business. A directory would include holistic practitioners explicitly experienced in helping people with autoimmune conditions: functional medicine doctors, health coaches and nutritionists, acupuncturists, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, and more.
Building this bridge between patients and practitioners is critical. I spoke to struggling people, and access and information were a huge pain point.
My AutoImmune is meant to be more than just a directory; it’s intended to provide real, reputable resources for those looking to learn more about holistic health. New and emerging research in this space, as well as an exploration of various health topics relevant to the recovery process.
Very often, people who are struggling feel alone and uncertain. My Autoimmune hopes to help change that paradigm, connecting those struggling to practitioners who understand them and resources that help on the path to health.
Wishing you so much luck and success on your pathway toward optimal health!