For two years Louise knew that something wasn’t quite right. And the day she was diagnosed with aggressive rheumatoid arthritis she seized the opportunity to shake her life up and set things straight so she could live the life she was meant to.
Louise had been going about life as we do, hustling about trying to get things done, but she knew something was wrong.
The pains in her joints – her hands, wrists and feet were excruciating. She was so exhausted, she spent months in bed.
Then one day in 2015, she was diagnosed with aggressive rheumatoid arthritis. She had suffered acute damage in the joints in her feet. She could have received the news any way, but she used it as the catalyst for changing her life.
“The next day, I handed in my resignation on my stressful and all consuming teaching job and made the decision to give myself the time and the space to try and heal my body naturally. I realised that for years I had been pushing my body too hard and not looking after myself properly or listening to what my body needed and I had to overhaul my life,” she said.
It was an extreme situation that called for extreme measures. She put the spotlight on everything, from her diet to her lifestyle choices, then got to work.
“After being determined to fight the RA naturally without drugs (because I hadn’t started a family and had just got engaged), I went on a strict anti-inflammatory diet; started taking supplements; invested in a range of holistic treatments and worked hard to change my mind set. I am now almost pain free day to day with only occasional flare ups, feeling well and have even cracked the extreme fatigue,” she said.
The road to better health
Louise lowered her stress levels, started working for herself as a private tutor, which gave her flexibility, and she focused on nourishing her whole self– body and mind with the right foods and activities.
Determination and hard work have been paying off. Aside from getting a handle on her pain, her latest x-rays show that she’s had no further damage to her joints in the last year.
“Before my illness, I was always someone on the go, constantly trying to do many things at once but I have had to learn a new way of living where I prioritise what I need to do and make time for doing things that I love but ensure I build in time for rest, relaxation and self-care. I found it’s been really important to give myself permission to rest and see it as a crucial step in my recovery rather than an annoyance and waste of time!”
Changing habits and ways of being have been instrumental in Louise making the progress she has. Aside from pain, pacing herself is still one of the biggest challenges she faces.
“It’s very tempting to do too much because I’m feeling better and then pay the consequences.”
My art has been healingI decided to turn the curveball of my illness into something positive Click To Tweet
A major part of her healing process has involved embracing creativity through art. She’s started producing a range of visually stunning mixed media art featuring positive affirmations. She’s set up an online shop too.
“I see my creative business as a big accomplishment as I decided to turn the curveball of my illness into something positive and actually do what I’ve wanted to do for years– starting my own creative business and building creativity into my everyday life.
“My art has been such a healing and transformative experience for me, grounding me, giving me strength, filtering out the doom and gloom and providing a place to find joy during the hard times, allowing my new mind set to take root,” said Louise.
Louise is also proud of her journey to where she’s at now and her commitment to improving her health (we know it’s not easy).
“It has taken a lot of strength to change my life (and stop eating sugar!).I am proud that I was well enough to have an amazing wedding day and enjoy every minute of it.”
She’s certainly come a long way, but it’s not all smooth sailing. When thing get rough Louise looks for inspiration.
“Many things inspire me but especially people who follow their hearts and create a life they love as well as people who harness their bravery and overcome adversity. My husband is also a big inspiration as he has shown me such incredible support, understanding and love on my journey and has taught me a lot about patience, acceptance and love.”
Louise is hellbent on living the life she wants and loves.
“I hope to continue building on my wellness to enable me to lead a full and whole life, doing something I love. I also would like to give hope and support to people with similar chronic health issues, who are looking for a way to tackle their condition using a holistic and natural approach.
“Finally, I hope to encourage others to embrace their passions and creativity and build a life they love.”
If her commitment is anything to go by, she’s well on her way.