Welcome to my very first Blog, I would love to hear your story, feedback and thoughts so please reach out to me on our social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook or comment below.
Putting myself out there and being vulnerable is a very confronting and a scary thing... but here goes!
Firstly, my name is Jess and I live in Bendigo, Victoria (Australia) with my husband, Dave. I studied Accounting at Uni and have worked in this field for the past 8 years and Dave is a Primary School Teacher and Personal Trainer. I have since studied with Changing Habits and have completed their Functional Nutrition course. I am now a certified Functional Nutrition Consultant. Dave and I have also both completed certificates in Wellness Coaching. Please continue reading to see how we began our business, Thriving Lifestyles and to learn more about us.
My long-story-short, road to discovering I had #MultipleSclerosis (MS), how it changed our lives and why we are going down the path we are today.
Disclaimer: I am in no way a medical professional so everything I talk about here is purely from my own research, understanding and experiences.
It was April 2014 when I was diagnosed with #OpticNeuritis in my left eye, Clinically Isolated Syndrome, which is a single lesion causing an episode of MS.
At this point, I was told that I could 'possibly' have MS but until I have another symptom/episode or new lesions on my MRI scan, I was not going to be clinically diagnosed. I was in limbo.
When we were told it COULD BE MS, I think it shocked us but at the same time, I probably didn't take it too seriously, denial perhaps? After about a month, I was back to normal, I felt fine.
After all, I was 24 years old, how could I possibly have Multiple Sclerosis!?
We did go and see a lady who had MS herself and was studying to be a naturopath. She explained to us her story about how sick she was with MS (fatigue, inability to walk at times, numbness), her struggles with going 'against the grain' of medication with her doctors and family, and how she regained her health through a holistic approach.
These conversations really resonated with me in that she was treating herself through her lifestyle and was not medicating. We changed a few things in the next 12 months but I wouldn't say we really got into exploring our lifestyle fully until my actual diagnosis.
After many specialist appointments and MRI's on my brain and spine over the next 12 months, and plenty of research (just-in-case), I was diagnosed with MS on the 10th of July 2015, at the age of 26.
This is where, without sounding too dramatic; our lives were turned upside down. Coming out of the specialist appointment at #TheRoyalMelbourne, I broke down. Dave was there to hold me up and tell me it was going to be ok. And you know what.... he was right! We were both bloody scared and didn't really know what we were going to do but this is where it all really began for us...
We were sent home, from this appointment, with pamphlets of all kinds of medication options but going down that path had never sat well with me, or Dave, who has always had my back.
Ultimately, my MS diagnosis has been a catalyst for change in my lifestyle and essentially my career path.
2 months after this, September 2015, I quit my job, which was one of the best moves I have ever made and not to mention, my family and close friends relief too. They could see how much of a strain this was having on my life and were so happy when I actually made the move. This was a job where I was travelling a lot, working overtime and on many weekends. It was a huge stress that I did not need in my life.
Since moving to a far less stressful 9-5 job, I've had so much more time to focus on myself. I have studied with #ChangingHabits and completed their Functional Nutrition Course, which I am now a certified Functional Nutrition Coach/Consultant. We started our own business; #ThrivingLifestyles and we honestly couldn't be happier where we are in life. Building this amazing community, our business and the life we dream about, is finally becoming a reality!
Our journey of discovering our Healthy Lifestyle was hard. We were essentially doing it alone. We researched everything and anything we could find in regards to reducing the inflammation in my body to maintain and strengthen the environment my body lives in. We tried so many different things as it was all a learning curve. Some failed, but some have been our biggest successes and have shaped where we are today.
We reached out to those who were living this way of life but when we reflect on our journey, one thing that was really missing was that on-going support, motivation and community to really encourage us along the way. Of course our family and friends all supported us with whatever we were doing but it was up to Dave and I to truly motivate each other and cheer each other on along the way... There has been plenty of blood, sweat and tears along the way, but we are now stronger than ever!
Having MS meant I needed to find ways to reduce the #inflammation in my body and that didn't mean just from the food I was eating. We have learnt that it is so much more than just our nutrition, everything in my lifestyle, exercise, stress, sleep, even cleaning products, makeup etc. can affect our overall wellbeing.
And believe me, we are still working on this every single day! The difference is, we now have such an amazing community of like-minded members within Thriving Lifestyles and sharing our knowledge and life experiences is something we are so passionate about!
If you had of asked me 5 years ago, where do you think you'll be in 5 years time? I could almost guarantee, it wouldn't have reflected my life now. But trust me, I have no regrets, it has been a crazy whirlwind of a ride so far but there has been plenty of amazing memories and light bulb moments, that have shaped where we are today!
I want to continue sharing our story/experiences, in the hope that we can inspire and motivate others.
Remember, whatever life throws at you, you CAN deal with it, things WILL get better and it has chosen YOU for a reason, YOU are strong.
Sending you love and strength always,
Ps. Next blog series - From the beginning - my Fertility Journey. Remember girls; Fertility is not all about babies but balancing hormones, learning your body/cycle and finding optimal health and wellbeing.
If you are interested in learning more about what we do, come over into our FB group or join our #ThriveTribe, our community of amazing women working towards their #HealthyLifestyle. Find out more here.