Ok, ok so you have stumbled across this blog and see this post and think that it is far fetched, unrealistic and possibly even ridiculous, and really, I don’t blame you. I want to explain how this concept has come about and what has led us to creating this far fetched goal of travelling around Australia with four children and a dog to practice Naturopathy. Yes, you read correctly, we eventually want to take to the road, live and work on the road with our four children in a caravan sharing the word about healthy living, travelling and our adventures. We want to start the journey now, so we can showcase our humble beginnings. We will be taking our caravan out as often as we can to practice, while I study and hopefully by the time we go in a few years, we will be ready and waiting. It is a BIG dream, a HUGE undertaking and something that we want SO bad. This is our dream, and we are spending our time gearing up to do this. We have been so lucky up to this point in our life and choices, and I really believe the culmination of our lives so far have been leading us to this point.
Living our dream
When it all began
Around 18 months ago, I had a major transformation in my life, which resulted in the pursuit of becoming a healer, specifically, a Naturopath, as a series of events had led me to see that I have ‘abilities’ in this area. For me this is not a natural progression as I had previously studied a Bachelor Communication and worked in the employment and promotional industries. I sucked at maths & science at school, and in no way shape or form did health actually interest me whatsoever, in fact, the sight of blood actually freaked me out. After a culmination of health issues plaguing my family members, I started to take matters into my own hands to transform our health, and the results have been nothing short of amazing. I wanted to share my joy, my discoveries and my passion for renewed living, and so began the long journey of studying to become a Naturopath.
Plagued by modern health issues
Since my eldest son, Cayden, was born (2006), he had suffered from fevers, seasonal allergies and other sensitivities. He was a sickly little boy, and had been in and out of hospital, without any answers. He had perplexed the doctors as he often had such low white cell counts (neutropenia) that he would be sent home in isolation due to such a suppressed immune system. The only answer we had was that he had some type of unknown auto immune disease that should be monitored and if he gets a fever beyond 38.5°c he was to come into emergency. This was no way to live, and I felt that we needed to look into this as his parents and start doing something about it.
My husband, Matt, has suffered with arthritis for many years, particularly in his lower back and hip joints. Having worked in construction since a teenager, he just assumed his pains were a result of treating his body so rough over the years. When he was only 32, he was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and would have bouts of being bed ridden with debilitating pain for years. We had only met around a year before, and the poor guy was just beginning his life, I will tell you though, he never once floundered or gave up, his courage has inspired me for years. Due to not being able to work in construction anymore, he gained weight, and looking back, steeped into a bit of depression due to losing his livelihood (who can blame him really, it did suck, a lot). In 2013, he started to develop nodules on his fingers and his bouts of being bed ridden were longer and more frequent than previously. A visit to the GP resulted in being told there was not much he could do, but rest during the painful episodes. He was told he was too young to have rheumatoid arthritis at 41, (without any testing or acknowledgement of his symptoms) which meant he would just have to suffer. The one thing that had impressed me with Matt, was that he never went down the pain medication road, something which would be awfully tempting for someone in as much pain as he was, although he did like a few too many beers when it was unbearable.
In August 2013, we were blessed to welcome our fourth baby into the world, Zachary. He was born screaming into the world on a cold night after a very short labour. What we didn’t realise is that at four months, he would break out into a severe rash that we ended up discovering was eczema. This sent me on a research mission to try and discover ways to alleviate our poor baby and his terrible skin.
Our second son, Owen has always had tummy problems ranging from constipation to diarrhea, pain and discomfort. I have taken him to the GP many times for this, only to be told it is normal for kids to have tummy trouble, and he will probably grow out of it, add more fibre, take a mild laxative, keep up the fluid, and his favourite, rest. I do understand this stance, kids get sore tummy’s, it isn’t serious most of the time, but it nags at me when my child is in pain, constantly. My Father being diagnosed celiac did open my mind to food intolerances. We had taken Owen off dairy with some success, but he still had his tummy complaints. Over time I realised he DOES have a gluten sensitivity, and he has been so much better since going gluten free. The interesting aspect regarding this is that if he does slip up at school or a friends house, he writhes around in pain afterwards for hours, his abdomen goes rock hard, and he can barely move. Recently, he ate fruit loops at school, that night he had hives all over his legs, and he was complaining of a sore tummy. I think he has had sensitivities for so long, I just never picked it up until recently.
Our daughter, Stacey, is our only stealth warrior who doesn’t seem to have any food intolerances or issues. Maybe that will change, she eats a healthy diet, but doesn’t seem to react to anything in particular. Thank goodness there is one!
Research, learning and discovery
After hitting absolute rock bottom in 2013 with the plethora of health issues plaguing my loved ones, I went on a mission. I started intense research about ways to live healthier and assist Cayden’s immune system, Matt’s pain, Zach’s skin & Owen and my GI issues. I wanted some strategies for our overall health and wellbeing, so this became a bigger endeavour. The more I discovered, the more I delved and the more I delved the more I discovered. I spent a lot of time on pubmed, mercola, forums, and reading books. One of the main things I learnt is the importance of diet, which sounds very simple, but can be quite a complex can of worms when opened. I rearranged our pantry and started to get rid of anything processed, anything. So that meant no more pre-made snacks for kids lunch boxes, no more soup packets, pasta sauces, biscuits, ice-cream, cereals etc. I became a label scanner, alarmed that heaps of the food I used to buy had numbers and hard to pronounce ingredients. I began cooking everything from scratch, making healthy, hearty meals for my family, and home-made school lunches for the kids.
Through trial and error, I discovered that Zach’s skin flared up after I had eaten dairy or wheat, so I eliminated them from my diet, it took 6 weeks, but his skin started to clear and was looking much better. By the the time he was 12 months, we realised it was not just food but environmental allergies that plagued him. He would flare up after being on grass or rolling around with the dog. The main thing was that I could help him, his skin is still manageable now and we feel in control of his health at the moment. During this time, we began to notice that Cayden had not been sick for a while. He had come down with a cold, and we braced ourselves, ready with a themometer to check for high fever, waiting for his face to go white, sunken and gaunt, only it didn’t. He had a runny nose, bit of a cough, but like any other kid, was fine! I began correlating his sensitivities to additives and realising how much this had debilitated him. As of this time (August 2015) he has not been hospitalised since September, 2013 and has been very healthy, physically since my overhaul began. Matt and I also decided on an overhaul, my Dad had been diagnosed with celiac disease, and was sharing his symptoms which led to his diagnosis. I began to correlate them to my own GI issues, and decided it couldn’t hurt to cut gluten out of my own diet and see if there was improvement. Matt and I began juicing, making green juice to start everyday, and cut alcohol out for 30 days. Matt giving up beer for 30 days was a big call, but against all my expectations, he did it, and during that whole time did not have a flare up. After this cleansing, he noticed if he did have a beer, the next day he would end up in pain, and this test was done a number of times, just to make sure. He has since stopped drinking beer, and sticks to a glass of red instead. While Matt still does have bouts of pain, they are not as intense or as frequent as they used to be. He has lost nearly 20kg, and is feeling so much better. I now look at things differently, humans are complex organisms, made up of individual complexities that link together physically, emotionally and spiritually. All aspects need to be nutured for health, and balance is key.
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us “universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein
So how could I share my new found enthusiasm? How could I encompass this energy into a career? How could I learn more about natural healing and easing modern health issues? By becoming a Naturopath. I signed the dotted line in April, 2014 to undertake my Ad. Dip in Naturopathy and hope to be finished by 2017. My goal and hope is to travel around Australia with my beautiful family talking with and meeting people to share what I have learned and am learning. I want to share this with anyone who will listen. I hope you enjoy reading about my journey to begin living the dream, and while it will grow, evolve and change, Matt and I will work together as we have decided once and for all to have an extraordinary life.