Live Wide Open: Finding Peace with the Process of Chronic Disease *Guest Post*

    **Today I am so pleased to welcome Becky, whom I have had the pleasure of working with as a Deuter Ambassador for the past few years. Besides a Deuter ninja, she also happens to be a pretty amazing woman….despite her intense struggles. Please welcome her warmly!** 

    Live Wide Open: Finding Peace with the Process of Chronic Disease *Guest Post*

    I didn’t talk about it much for the longest time. 

    For the past 9 years, I’ve battled the downs and unknowns of chronic disease. I have Sjogren’s Syndrome, Hasimoto’s Disease, and Biotoxin illness due to mold. The latter, most likely the cause of the others. For the most part I look fine, but the pages of my story scribe joint pain, eye infections, face rashes, weight gain, and exercise problems due to lack of oxygenation. Not to mention the emotional taunts of guilt, inferiority, and shame. I always felt that if I just exercised more or ate better, I’d feel better and look better. I was afraid deep down that this is 35…fat and slow. And while that holds some bits of truth, the problem was so much deeper than that. My doctors are still working on it and so the saga has continued on for years. 

    I’ve always approached my health journey as a balance between accountability and acceptance. There are things that pose constant choice at every meal, every hour I stay late in the office, every time I go to put on my running shoes and want so badly to put them back on the shelf. And then there are things I can’t control like genetics, autoimmune confusion that for unknown reasons has gone haywire, and symptoms that creep in, in whichever sideways times and ways they want. But like most things in life, accountability and acceptance are two things worth keeping on an even teeter.


    I didn’t talk about it much because I was afraid. 


    I was afraid of the belief that sick meant being weird and gross. I was afraid of the judgement of not being strong enough, not able enough, not fit enough, not something enough. I was afraid of not being scheduled for work shifts or not invited to adventure with friends. I was afraid of what social media would do to my image as a badass woman in the wild. 


    But, now I know better.


    I understand the importance of being completely honest about who I am, because I’ve realized the value in the whole me; the whole struggling, imperfect, beautiful me. I’ve learned to appreciate the experiences that completely crumble me and help me rebuild a slightly better version of myself. 

    My adventures have become much more micro these days. Bagging peaks and spending long days on the mountain bike are few and far between. I’ve come to accept that I have a new threshold and it’s not anywhere near the athlete I once was. And I’m learning to find peace with that through this slow and hard process of rebuilding. 

    So, with chronic positivity, I truck on with resilience and strength as we uncover new potential ways to crack my case and find remission. In the meantime, I’m chronically able to overcome. I’m chronically able to endure. To progress. To Inspire others who may not feel at their peak either. To chronically love myself even when I’m not at mine. This rocky road has taught me a few things about the long haul and sheesh, I’m so chronically thankful for that.


    Now I feel confident talking about it, everyone can know. 


    It’s better this way. I’m thankful to continue my journey of healing with less fear, more sharing, and a greater spray of positivity. I am still a badass woman in the wild and no disease, ever, will take that from me. So, I live wide open with chronic gratitude… and as much strength and peace as I can muster on every given day.


    Becky is an explorer, creator, do-er, and inspirer. She attributes her love of wilderness to her early days of playing in the forests of New Jersey with her family. Since then, she ventured on to Colorado for school, guided all across the West, rode her bicycle across America, and continues to find as many personal-growth opportunities as possible. She’s currently the Marketing Manager for Deuter backpacks: combining her love of gear, the outdoors, and human connection. She’s a strong believer in creating the life we each dream of.

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    Live Wide Open: Finding Peace with the Process of Chronic Disease *Guest Post*

    © 2018, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

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      1. Thank you for sharing your story with others Becky!

      2. Loved reading your story Becky!
        For the pat 10 years I’ve struggled with chronic joint pain but I haven’t let that stop me going out on the trail and hiking all over U.S. and beyond. The feeling I get while out there on the trail is like no other, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything. It’s reassuring to read someone else’s story who understands the challenges we face and the dreams we want to live.
        Many thanks to Janice Molinari for sharing this on her FB page and bringing it to my attention.

      3. I’m in the same boat as you – trying to balance what I want and wish I could do with the reality of a chronic disease. I have Crohn’s Disease – and while it doesn’t let me do everything I want, I’ll be damned if it’s going to stop me from trying LOL.
        Good Luck to you in your battle. Keep fighting and getting outdoors.

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