You will never heal your body without loving yourself.
LOVE comes first.
If you read my About me page, you know that I have struggled with pain and complications from surgeries gone wrong and medication that has caused different body parts to stop functioning properly. The healing process is something that takes time, proper rest and a healthy state of mind. In order to heal, self love and acceptance comes first.
While training for a triathlon, I broke my sesamoid bone and elected to have foot surgery. After the surgery, however, my foot never healed properly. I’ll never forget the day I woke up and tried to get out of bed. As soon as I planted my foot on the floor, the pain I felt was unbearable. It felt like my foot was on fire and, when I looked down, I saw my foot... bright red, immensely swollen... with puss oozing out from where the doctor had made the incision. This is not the sort of thing you want to see first thing in the morning. When I went to the emergency room, I learned that I had a staph infection. I was treated with antibiotics via a PICC line delivering the medicine straight into my veins. I stayed in the hospital a few days and was discharged.
I kept waiting to feel better and heal but that never happened. My foot continued to become more and more swollen and the pain never stopped. After about a month, I learned that the staph infection had gotten into my bones and I had to have an emergency surgery to clean out the infection. After the surgery, my life continued to change for the worse. I was on a PICC line receiving antibiotics for a total of 5 months, I spent 2.5 hours a day for 4 months in the hospital receiving hyperbaric treatment and I had 2 nurses that would visit me at my home weekly to dress my wound and administer more medicine. At that point, I wasn’t able to be the mother and wife that I wanted to be. I wasn’t able to do much for anyone. I was attached to a PICC line and a 7-foot pole holding up bags of antibiotics that took 7 hours a day to administer. I couldn’t play with my 3-year-old daughter or my 4-year-old son. I missed out on snow days with my kids, baking with them, making play-dough with them and playing with them the way I envisioned.
After about a year when things started to look a little better and I was able to be more independent, I caught strep throat from one of my children and was back on antibiotics. This was the final straw. As soon as I took the antibiotic, something in my body stopped working. It seemed that my gut couldn’t take any more antibiotics. My stomach became distended and I reacted to everything I put in my mouth. My digestive system was not working. I was lethargic all the time, foggy, and not myself. I became depressed and still had pain in my foot! I went from doctor to doctor and no one could understand why I was so distended or why my body was storing so much fat despite being on a low-calorie diet. I was diagnosed, misdiagnosed, and diagnosed some more. I tried western medicine doctors, functional medicine doctors, doctors that studied integrative medicine, natural healers, acupuncture, Ayurvedic doctors. I tried every diet you could think of. One year went by, two years went by, three years went by…. Still my body was not functioning properly and my foot was still in pain. I was angry and confused because my body was not healing.
During this chapter in my life, I met a body worker in Arizona who touched my foot and asked me if I loved myself and if I loved my foot. I could immediately answer the question about whether I loved myself… that was easy, I do love myself. Answering if I loved my foot, however, was much harder. I realized that my negative feelings were preventing me from healing. I was upset with myself for choosing to undergo an optional surgery. I was upset with myself for trying to rush the healing process and I was upset that I was getting worse and not better. I was discouraged when I looked in the mirror and saw what was happening to my body. After my time in Arizona, I made a truce with myself. I decided love both myself and my foot. I decided to be kind to myself and I forgave myself for having elective surgery. I let go of the anger I was carrying and I started to love my whole self. That is when the true healing started. Being able to let go of negative feelings opened up space in my heart to heal. I realized that I have always had everything I have ever needed. I just had to connect to my true self and disconnect from the negative feelings I had been holding onto. I was able to accept myself for who I had become and accept what was happening to me in the present moment. I could now respect myself and I trust in my healing.
To date, I am still not 100% healed, in fact I am not sure I will ever be. My body's reactions remain a mystery. In many ways, my healing journey has helped define my life purpose. It has changed how I live my life and inspired me to reach out to others. I have learned to find a deeper love within myself, one so powerful that it makes me want to spread it throughout the world. We cannot heal without loving ourselves and accepting ourselves for who we are at any given moment. As Huey Lewis says… “it’s the power of love”.
Have you ever stopped, quieted your mind and connected with yourself to answer this question… “What do I love about myself?”
Go ahead and answer it. Hold on to it and shine for the rest of the day!
Ryann Morris is passionate about food and nutrition. She strives to inspire others to be more mindful of food and the effects it has on their bodies. She is a graduate of both the Ayurvedic Nutrition And Culinary Training (ANACT) program at Bhagavat Life and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) where she was certified as a holistic health coach.