This is my badge of honor

This is my badge of honor, not my badge of shame like some people may see it. Though, I still hesitate to post it because the lady at the grocery store check out the other day asked me if I wanted to try a cookie and I declined with a “no thank you because I’m nursing my dairy and egg allergic daughter.” She asked how old she was and I blushed “3”. The look of shock on her face said it all. It always does. But, let me tell you, I was fortunate to get to nurse my daughter at all, for so long, and for still getting to. We struggled so much at first with her tiny mouth on her 5 pound premature body and she has a condition called FPIES (food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome) and she would not have been able to tolerate most formulas and IF she would have been able to take one it would have bankrupted us, as it has so many other FPIES families. I have sacrificed my diet and my social life for 3 years now to ensure her health and I take no shame in it whatsoever. “How do you do it?” they ask. You do. You do as you know you can and have to for the sake of your baby and I do it because I know there are many magnificent mommies out there who couldn’t. I do it because this is my life and my child and right now it’s what works best for US. Cheers to all the moms out there doing what’s best for them and theirs 🍻

This is my badge of honor

The Fear of Sharing my Essential Oils Story


I first told myself I needed to write this post back in May, so this is a long time coming. Not just because I love oils, or because they have changed my life in so many positive ways, but because I’m absolutely terrified to share my story. And, well.. This is mostly a blog about overcoming my fears. So, here goes. 

First, let me tell you why I’m afraid to share my story. Because I know people are judging. I’m scared of being judged. I like people to like me, or at least not dislike me. I know it can be questionable when you hear of someone using alternative means of medicine, or alternative means of anything conventional, for that matter. Some people think that we ONLY use natural methods and forgo all forms of science and scientific evidence or logic. That we willy nilly throw oils on anything and everything. And yes, those people do exist, but I’m here to tell you that is not all of us. I’ve always been a little on the hippie side and that’s not always come off as a good thing to all people, but it’s just kind of who I am and who I have always been. I love my Birkenstocks, people. But, I’m also a researcher. It’s easy to take whatever a medical professional says literally until those medical professionals fail you. That’s when I started questioning everything and doing a bit of my own medical research. This came with age and experience, but I don’t jump in head first into anything anymore and you’re about to find out why. 

I started to get very sick in my adult age. Actually, it sort of started around 16 and then increasingly got worse after I had hip surgery at 18 that resulted in a blood transfusion, which I would later find out suppressed my immune system. Topping out around 25 when I was in the hospital on NINE medications, unable to feel my hands and feet, draped over a hospital bed, getting a spinal tap at midnight from a doctor who had been awake for over 48 hours. I was panicked. I had no family in the area and I thought my body was giving up on me. I felt like I had no say in what was happening to me. 

After the spinal tap was over and the doctor left without a word. I waited for hours to be released. They couldn’t find anything wrong. NOTHING. They think it may have been a reaction to one of the nine medications I was on, but it wasn’t any big deal they said and I was told I could keep taking this medication if I wanted it to help me sleep.. Which by the way, was not at all what it was prescribed to me for. So, I was sent home without any instructions and ended up with a week long debilitating spinal headache. That was MY moment. My sudden AHA realization that these medicines were what was killing my body. How did I get here?! I was more sick then, from the medicines that were trying to cure (or at least hide) the illnesses that started it all. I needed to make a change MYSELF, because a doctor wasn’t going to help me. I went home and started to read and read and read. I stopped all the medicine. I started to heal myself with food. I started to remove all toxins, all chemicals from my life. I was no longer willing to take what was thrown at me haphazardly. I was ready to heal. 

Now, you may be thinking haphazardly?! But, these are doctors. Who have gone through medical school. Who have taken an oath. Who care and heal and make good practice with their patients. Maybe some. Or l can even say most, if I’m being generous, but that is not my experience. Rarely could I ever get a doctor to REALLY listen to me. Even in more recent years I brought in a list of issues to my doctor and asked if we could do some tests to find out the reasons behind the issues. He told me it wouldn’t be worth it and offered me several medications. I refused and he continued to push. I finally said “listen, I don’t want any medications. I just want to know what is wrong.” He responded with “You don’t even want something for sleep? Are you sure?” I left feeling defeated. Turns out those symptoms were there because I have hypothyroidism and yes I needed a (different) doctor to diagnose this. I have since learned to trust my own instincts and ask a lot of questions. I am the ultimate skeptic.

Hypothyroidism would be one of two diseases I would be diagnosed with over the years. The other being stage 4 endometriosis. These are diseases that can be exacerbated by or even caused by: stress, environmental toxins, artificial sweeteners, hormone disruptions, smoking, poor immune health, poor diet (especially increased estrogen intake from things like dairy, meat, and soy), and that’s just to name a few. I have read and continue to read everything I can on these two diseases and it has been clear to me that I need to rid my body of chemical toxins. This includes my environment since skin is the largest human organ and can absorb almost anything. I need to regulate my hormones. I need to de-stress. These would be my goals now and for the rest of my life. 

I really started to make vast improvements in my health in my late twenties. I had gone through elimination diets and figured out which foods triggered some of my severe symptoms. I was eating the most healthy I ever had in my life. I threw away all of the chemicals under my sink, in my medicine cabinet, I changed laundry detergent and threw dryer sheets to the wind. For several years I hardly used anything at all to even clean. I was too scared to. Any time my body came in contact with a chemical of any form, it sent my health spiraling out of control and would take me ages to get it back to OKAY. 

My first introduction to oils was when I went into labor at 35 weeks into my pregnancy. My water broke at 2am and I was immediately ill. Violently ill. Within 30 minutes, I was at the hospital, dialated to 5cm with my doula at my side waving peppermint oil in my face to stop my nausea. It was working. I do not remember much from my 18 hours of labor, which included 8 hours of on and off pushing and an epidural at 10cm to get my baby’s head around the bolt in my hip from a previous surgery. But, I clearly remember that wonderful smell of peppermint oil. I didn’t give oils another thought for sometime after this because I was busy with a sick, premature baby.

I then started to dabble in becoming a minimalist. Clutter was always a mind block for me and there was no sense in having a bunch of things around that made me sick. I still try to stick with this lifestyle, but there were a few things in my life I felt like I needed and/or wanted. Things such as, face wash. I had now been washing my face with vegetable glycerin soap for YEARS. Too terrified to put anything else on it because of what consequences could come. I decided to try a few different things last year because the vegetable glycerin no longer seemed like enough. I wanted a glow! I chose naturally based products and havoc broke loose on my face. I was shocked, but should have also known better because these products included “fragrance” as an ingredient. According to FDA.gov “FDA requires the list of ingredients under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act(FPLA). This law is not allowed to be used to force a company to tell “trade secrets.” Fragrance and flavor formulas are complex mixtures of many different natural and synthetic chemical ingredients, and they are the kinds of cosmetic components that are most likely to be “trade secrets.” So, I was potentially putting synthetic chemicals on my FACE. No thank you. 

Cleaning products were huge on this list also. I have tried just about every “green” cleaning product available to the market. Most of these are just as bad or just slightly less than their conventional counterparts. I tried making my own with all of my Pinterest finds and they were not making the cut. Then, I started my own cleaning business when I couldn’t find a cleaning company to clean my new home without chemicals (unless I paid a very steep price). I started out using Method products. We had been using these at home for some time. They seemed to work well, but we didn’t use them too often because they still had a bit of an overwhelming smell. When I started cleaning client’s houses with them, I would cough endlessly. I felt as if someone was siphoning the air from my lungs. Then, a client introduced me to Thieves household cleaner. At this point I had already tried out some more oils and settled on Young Living because of their Seed to Seal guarantee. That way I always knew for certain what I was getting was pure. I had to know where products came from to make sure I was getting what I was told I was getting (remember, biggest skeptic). I was using and loving the Young Living oils to make my home smell good, but the cleaner changed everything for me. I could clean (and clean really well) and feel perfectly healthy afterwards. This is when I truly fell in love with Young Living.

I finally found a company that made products I could use. Not only could I use them, but I could feel good after using them. The ingredients were simple. Oils are one ingredient. Blends, may be a few of those simple ingredients, and their other products also don’t have hidden synthetic chemicals inside. Now, when I have something going on in my home; perhaps a bug bite, or a stain on the carpet, a pimple, or a scraped knee, I don’t go for a bottle of whatever I used to use because Lord only knows all that’s in them. I go for simple. I have a reference book, an app, and a well educated community to help guide me in times when I’m uncertain. And that feels great. 

I spent every single year of my teenage and adult life being sick for weeks and weeks on end. After I started cleaning regularly with Thieves, diffusing it, and using other Young Living products, I went through last cold and flu season without even getting a cold. Colds used to last me 6 weeks! I had my first full year of my adult life without an emergency room visit for my failing immune system. 

I feel good! 

So, there it is. This is a lifestyle change for me that has brought on a lot of positivity and I welcome all to share their journey here with me. Please introduce yourself and tell me how you found oils and how they have changed your life or ways you would like for them to help you. Thanks!! 

Sending love,

Jen

The Fear of Sharing my Essential Oils Story