Not a lot of people know that I have a disabling permanent spine injury. I get anxious when I address this, ‘cos some find it hard to grasp. I look able when I’m with friends, and people don’t see the “sick” side of me. I’m going to share parts of that side of my life now, and promise to make this post as less nobela-like as I can. If this helps at least one of you reading this now, that would mean a lot to me.
About three years ago i was diagnosed with a painful spine disease. My back started hurting to the point that simple things like getting up from bed and walking to the bathroom was difficult and painful. I’ve improved since then, but I still live with a lot of physical limitations up until today. One wrong move (or if I over stress myself) could keep me bedridden for days (the longest was 3+ months). I was even hospitalised several times. I can’t walk, stand, sit for a long time like I could before. And since I still need to function everyday, I experience constant pain. It’s irreversible. My doctor can do an operation on me but there’s a risk that it will just worsen, and there’s no assurance that it will heal me.
When you go through something like this, where you feel pain constantly or when you suddenly have to change your life ‘cos there’s a huge road block of restrictions laid in front of you, it’s easy to feel beaten down. Like I should just stay in bed and not move from there. I thought my life was over. I had to give up careers I wanted to pursue. I felt useless when I couldn’t get up and work. I’m discouraged when I have to turn down blog opportunities ‘cos my body can’t handle all my activities that day… the list goes on forever.
Before and After photos. I have few “before” photos. I was very insecure with my body
so I hid from cameras lol! I think this “before” shot was taken when I had just started going to the gym. I was heavier pa before this.
HOW I GOT INTO
Thankfully it got to a point where I told myself, “my sickness just can’t be it, there must be something else out there for me, God please help”. I could either stay down defeated, or move forward. My doctors said I have to lose weight to make it easier for my spine to hold me up. I was overweight then, and weight loss was going to be a problem — (1) I loved Chicken Joy and hated working out (2) my spine condition limits exercises I can do (3) my Hypothyroidism and PCOS made my metabolism slow, weight loss will be extra hard (4) I was clinically depressed and I had social anxiety, going to the gym felt like climbing Mt. Everest.
But I really wanted to get better so I kept going. I went to the gym with my physical therapist thrice a week to do light exercises – less cardio, more weight lifting, and core exercises like planking. I changed my diet gradually. The best thing i did was stop eating rice which was hard. I replaced white rice with brown rice… then red rice… then vegetables. I’ve completely let go of my craving for rice after two years. I did the same with meat and eat mostly chicken and fish now. I’ve lost around 30 pounds since then and I’m within my ideal body weight. Exercising and eating healthy changed my life in more ways than one. The endorphins I get from it help me with depression and anxiety. Losing weight and strengthening my muscles help aid my back pains. I can walk, stand, sit longer than I could when I first got sick. I still have bad and painful days but I’ve learned to deal with it.
If you’re going through anything similar to what I went through, my advice to you is much like what this gold Avon bracelet says believe in yourself. You can make your situation better. Don’t let your limitations stop you from trying. Focus on a goal. Consider your weaknesses, not so you’ll feel weak, but so you can determine exactly what you need to work on to be stronger. Then work on it. When you hit another road block, keep moving forward.
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