The story of the month for May 2010 comes from Patricia Hamilton of Patricia’s Wisdom.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Patricia through her blog and online interactions. Patricia has been addressing various challenges in her health and has overcome many obstacles. In her story, she shares what events in her life have inspired her to make health changes, and where her health is presently.

Patricia’s story makes us take a deep look at our own past, and why we may find ourselves where we do today when it comes to our health and lifestyle habits. Her story is rich with challenges, but she inspires us to rise to those occasions and come out better than ever!

Here is Patricia, sharing her story of evolving wellness with us:

Area(s) of My Health and Wellness that Needed Change

When I was born, I could not be delivered in the local hospital because the Catholic Sisters would not permit cesarean deliveries and I needed to be delivered that way because my mother had delivered c-section 2 times previously. It was a good thing because I came attached to a cancerous tumor as big as I was and that had to be removed. I was born in a little clinic and had my first surgery about 5 blocks away from the house I live in now.

I was the “sickly” child. I was a fussy and unhappy baby. I was my mother’s pest.

I got defined as the “sickly” one and that was my story, through years of ear infections, bronchitis, and a twisted leg at the hip joint on one side and an infirmed knee on the other side. My Mother was always attempting to make me strong and healthy with vitamins and 3 glasses of milk every day, while balancing the robust children who needed to go outside, play and do sports.

The teen years added migraine headaches, muscle spasms and nearly constant nausea. I just did not feel like doing much of anything. I was always observing life and on the side lines. Swim team was finally a place that I could interact with the world. I think that the chlorine acted like an antibiotic to my system, until my body started to reject the chlorine absorption and overload in college.

I also could sing and that opened many a door for me to find friends and activities – unless I was too ill to do choir tour or perform in the school experiences.

I was extremely thin and my nickname was often “bones.”

I was highly and routinely dosed with vitamins and cod liver oil.

I arrived at college and changed my name from “Patty” to “Tricia” and was determined to change my life to be able to participate and be involved. I was going to defeat the constant fatigue and sickness and be just awesome.

I would interject here some other important information that just does not fit into the other questions. My older sister is very close to my age and my older brother is nearly 7 years my senior. They both had problems with reading. My sister had a very difficult time reading for herself and gaining understanding, as long as my Father read aloud to her and discussed what was being read she could learn just fine – he managed to do this even all the way through her college years. She became a reading specialist, special education teacher. In third grade, she developed Nephritis, a kidney disease, and she spent nearly 2 years at home in bed. I think it would be real to say that my sister hated me from the moment of my birth and was very abusive to me. My role was to be as smart as I could be, not be so lazy, and to watch out for my sister at school – her protection.

I did not know I had Dyscalcula until I was 40 years old and did not understand numbers or space properly (it is a miracle I can swim and drive a car). There was no name for this learning problem – though my family called it LAZY. I was able to read Russian Novels by age 5 and the whole encyclopedia, so my inabilities must be of my own making.

I was determined/driven to be seen as a competent, functioning, high energy adult.

My Father died 30 years ago of liver cancer at the age of 63. Folks did not understand Fatty Liver Disease then. He thought it was from the DDT used on the dairy farm where he was raised by his aunt; all of his farming relatives were dead in their 60s. He made me promise to figure out what this disease was; it’s environmental components on his death bed. Of the 5 promises I made to him, this promise may just save my life and future.

Strategies I Implemented & Their Results

After I had 3 iron kidney stones during my senior year of college, I learned how to study a body and make changes. The doctor who did the surgery and removed the tumor from my right kidney was a teaching surgeon. He hauled in all of his Interns and they discussed my case right in front of me and they let me participate. Every day for 3 weeks I learned so much about my body and how it was speaking out loudly to me. I believe the student was ready and the teacher came.

I was given a vegetarian diet and all dairy products were eliminated. For the first time in my life the fatigue was lifted and the stomach upsets left. I remained a pure vegetarian until I became pregnant with my oldest child and was told I was eating incorrectly to have a healthy baby.

I have always set my goals on researching and learning everything I can, when my body tells me something new. I listen carefully and thoughtfully. I interview people I meet and enjoy learning their stories and discoveries. I made up my mind to not believe any commercials I heard on radio or TV – “prove it to me” that this is true and now have translated that motto to nearly all incoming information.

Where as, I do not stick to my goals when it come to ice cream! Nothing said “loving” from my Father more than a walk to the ice cream parlor on a Saturday night. I know it is just what might be killing me, but when I feel down or rejected I immediately turned to ice cream for solace.

How My Changes Benefitted Me

Being open to research and exploring the questions my body poses to me has definitely made me more open and receptive to old and new modes of healing. I am very flexible and progressive in my outlook and I try not to limit myself from possibilities. I do not dash willy-nilly into the fray; rather I have an intuitive structure for discovery. I am open to gaining each new puzzle piece even from the things I reject; I find understanding and answers in the most amazing places.

I am an excellent counselor and an awesome mother, who is able to model change and success with dexterity and love to myself and towards others.

Next Steps on My Health and Wellness Journey

I have always been able to do for others, healing, fundraising, listening, cooking, but I find it extremely difficult to do for myself. My first goal is to let go of the past and become self focused.

I am currently working on finding the ultimate eating regime that works for me. I know I will have arrived at it, as the excess weight I carry will start to melt away. This of course means that my knee stiffness will be recovered enough for me to get up and at ‘em on my favorite lake walk daily and getting my endorphins flowing!

I am hoping to conquer this dis-ease and heal my liver and kidneys back to prime functioning and good feelings. I really want to stop being so hard on myself when I fall back into the life observing mode rather than actively out and about doing and becoming.

I planning on succeeding in this venture so that I can model this success and teach to others the skills I have learned and just what it takes

Wisdom & Inspiration for Others

Truthfully, I am hoping that folks will follow my writing about this journey on my blog – Patricia’s Wisdom, because this is the why of my sharing - this healing journey.

Offering words of encouragement for those of who would like the bigger picture, here are the most important steps to take within your own framework and style:

  1. Understand your emotions and how you use them to your benefit and detriment.

  2. Give up excuses and worry – be brutally honest with yourself on these issues.

  3. Learn to listen to your body and interpret what it is saying to you.

  4. The whole world is teaching and talking to you all the time – listen and figure out what it is saying.

  5. Start and end each and every day with GRATITUDE.

Every morning I open my eyes and I need to find thanksgiving for still being here in this realm. Some mornings are easy and full of sunshine and optimism, other days are a struggle to confirm and rise above it, and some days, even some days, I wonder how I am still present – each condition requires rejoicing and choice. Choice is a gift to keep close.