Waking up to intractable pain August 4, 2013, I found myself stunned and unable to move – not to get out of bed, not to turn over, and I was NOT able to feel my right leg at all. I barely made it into the fetal position – OUCH, to say the least – let alone getting up to get ready for another stressful day! What was happening to my body? Why was this happening to me? Seven emergency room visits, three hospital admissions in six months, five doctors and no answers. Looking back four years later, those six years would catapult me into a quest for truth and knowledge. Truth and knowledge beyond what the traditional medical community could provide me, unfortunately
At the time of that paralyzingly painful awakening in my bed, I was a very successful young woman with “everything going for me.” I was working on my doctorate and at the height of my career. At 27 I was in rooms with powerful people that wanted to know what I thought! Working with admirals and senators and doctors researching regulations with the FDA, even working with a badass that an Ebola movie (cough*, OUTBREAK, *cough) was based on.
The peak of the Ebola outbreak was upon us, and we were working fastidiously trying to approve and create a vaccine to protect American lives! BIG TIME SCARY IMPORTANT SHIT, as I used to refer to my big job and big ego about my big job…..eye rolling now that I realize it was all just one more rounding of the messy downward spiral. I had no idea the dive into a mental, emotional and physical breakdown was quickly approaching.
That morning, my career both professional and academic flashed before my eyes. What was I going to do? I had a flight to DC in three days to meet with a room full of the top regulators and researchers at the FDA. We were striving to find a vaccine to fight the Ebola outbreak and I couldn’t get out of bed, let alone get dressed. You know what else flashed before my eyes, $225k – that was the current balance of my student loan debt for the three degrees and the fourth degree I was in the middle of working on. Get up, you have $225k of student loans and Ebola to deal with today. Your health will have to wait – again.
Today, I am going on my third year of disability after two failed spinal cord surgeries by the top doctor in the world. The failed surgeries resulted in a condition called arachnoiditis, one of the most painful rare diseases known to man. My life is entirely different than it had been originally projected – the control freak doctoral student had to learn how to let go…it WAS. NOT. EASY and at the time, I HATED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!
The path I am on now hasn’t been easy to find – or navigate. I hated the universe and everyone else involved in my disability – the doctors that did this to me, the stressful career that forced me into illness, my body and mind for not being able to cope with my “new normal” – GAWD – I HATE THAT TERM, “new normal.” That is all anyone would say to me… “Well, now you have to find out how to live with your new normal.” What about the jerk that operated on me assuring me that I would be up and back at it in about three months post op – can I make sure he has a “new normal” to deal with daily?!! After all the pain, medications, anxiety, depression, separation, isolation, abandonment, I found my way through the bullshit. You CAN TOO!!
I am now an advocate for educating others about how to live Mindfully ToxFree! What does that mean exactly? Well, I was fighting against the gifts the universe was giving me, fighting against the education the world was providing me. Once I let go and started doing the hard stuff, I found a whole new passion and power consuming me! Living Mindfully ToxFree is first about understanding what is behind your pain and letting go of it all to allow the universe to show you what’s next for you. It’s also about empowerment of knowledge – what is in your soap and why it’s important to rest, restore and rejuvenate. It’s about facing the reality of what is in your heart and in your moisturizer.
Why can’t companies just put what’s in the bottle on the label? That doesn’t seem to be the case as many companies find it easier to deceptively leave off ingredients to boost sales. Companies also list paraben-free or sulfate-free, natural or organic on their products without actually being any of these specifications. Getting away with this deception is easy, because, as you recall from the paragraphs before, there’s no government regulation or rules to abide by when labeling products. Money, sales, marketing and advertising in most cases, take precedence over transparency and safety. Self-regulations of industries associated with human health repeatedly have failed and continue to endanger consumers’ health.
The most recent example of a recall due to safety concerns was not instigated by the company, but rather by a concerned mom that had her child’s makeup tested. The Florida-based retailer announced a product recall a few days before Christmas, after a Rhode Island mother grew concerned about the ingredients in glitter makeup she had purchased for her 6-year-old daughter and sent the samples out for independent testing, NBC 10 News reported.
We will dive into why my former employer, the FDA, can’t regulate and recall products that are harmful to you and your health – we will look at why stress and anxiety of a high powered career can knock you on your ass and lead you into three rare diseases and an auto-immune disease. Mindfully we will intentionally seek knowledge to empower ourselves and our community to create a better life, create a better world for all of us to live in together, Mindfully ToxFree!
We'll be having Mini-makeovers with Makeup artists and a little coupon for anyone that brings in a product you think is toxic at the Holistic Health Expo. We can look up the ingredients and have a little clean swap convo and chat about efforts to require ingredients on personal care products.
See you at the Holisic Health Expo!