Well, Hellooo DOLLY!

I said hello, dolly,……well, hello, dolly
It’s so nice to have you back where you belong
You’re lookin’ swell, dolly…….i can tell, dolly
You’re still glowin’…you’re still crowin’…you’re still goin’ strong
I feel that room swayin’……while the band’s playin’
One of your old favourite songs from way back when
So….. take her wrap, fellas…….find her an empty lap, fellas
Dolly’ll never go away again…

Forgive me, dear Louis, for co-opting your song, but I truly couldn’t have said it better. ;)

It’s been 10 months since my last post!  TEN!  As they say here in Maine, that’s wicked long.  As you know, I spent very little of 2013 online.  What you may not know is that I spent all that extra time on (wait for it…) roller skates!  So much time, in fact, that in September I tried out for Maine Roller Derby.  And made it!

To say this was the culmination of a dream thought impossible would be putting it mildly.  As someone who’s spent a decade contending with Meniere’s disease, who’s felt trapped in her body for seemingly forever, becoming a roller girl was nothing short of AMAZING!

SO.  I can hear you asking.  HOW THE HELL DID I ACCOMPLISH THAT??!!

Two words.  Drive and Diet.

First and foremost, I have faith.  I have faith in myself, and I have faith in God.  I’d longed to do derby for years.  It wasn’t just a random feeling.  I WANTED IT.  I’d never have taken such a huge leap without the faith and confidence that I was making the right decision and could handle the consequences.  Worst case scenario?  I get sick.  Been there, done that.   At 40, I was willing to take the chance, ultimately, because I knew it was either now or never.  I only have one life to live, and I refuse to live with regrets.  So I went for it.  WIN!

Next, diet.  In 2014 I will celebrate a decade living low-sodium and two years vegan.  I feel better today, at this moment, than ever before.  Giving up salt was simply a first step for me.  Giving up meat, dairy, and eggs, I now know was the goal.  Veganism may sound like the most restrictive and difficult diet imaginable, and I’m not going to lie.  It’s hard.  But you know what’s harder?  Feeling like crap.  After going salt-free all those years ago, veganism hasn’t been all that different.  You can’t eat out easily.  You can’t find a whole lot of processed food.  IS ANY OF THIS NEW??  Nope.  I’m still cooking pretty much all our meals at home.  I’ve checked and rechecked labels for so long, now I just look for other things to avoid.  There’s hardly a dimension I wasn’t already accustomed to.  But the benefits, not only to me, but the world at large..??  Holy smokes.  VEGAN FO’ LIFE!

SO. You may be wondering, WHEN DO WE GET TO SEE YOU KICK ASS ON SKATES??!!

Sadly, never.  Although I made Maine Roller Derby and passed my assessments, I left the team before starting contact (i.e., hard hitting).  Why?  Well, because I have Meniere’s.  Duh.  Hah!  In all honesty, making the team was my goal.  I knew that going in.  I wanted to be able to skate with the best, to hold my own, and to know that I was in every sense a roller girl.  As someone all-too-familiar with vertigo, I wasn’t willing to push myself further and risk winding up worse than before.  It just wasn’t worth it.  I am at peace with myself, my health, and my place in the world.  I was able to accomplish something I’d never thought possible.  That was enough.

I’m here to encourage each and every one of you to do the same.  NEVER GIVE UP.  Don’t lose your dreams.  I know what it’s like to be sick.  I know what it’s like to feel cursed, miserable, and hopeless.  But truly your darkest days are only that – days.  Unless you allow them to add up to forever, there are many brighter tomorrows ahead.  Regardless of your physical state at this moment in time, you are NOT your disease.  Your condition may challenge you like nothing else, but it cannot stifle your spirit unless you let it.

I remind my daughters frequently that each decision we make has an impact on our health.  Even little things that don’t seem to matter, do, when you do them often enough.  One day’s worth of cigarettes isn’t going to cause cancer.  A single sundae or big slab o’ cake won’t put you out of your pants.  But if you chose to indulge on a daily basis, it will get ugly.  The same can be said for healthy choices.  Make exercise and diet a priority and you’ll be amazed at the changes in your life.  You will look better and feel better than ever before.  Set small daily goals and stick to them.  Walk for 30 minutes a day for 30 days.  Give up salt, and adapt your cooking to meet your sodium restriction.  If you fall off the wagon, so to speak, get back on the next day – don’t go freaking crazy and think I’VE FAILED!  I CAN’T DO THIS!!!  You can. It’s hard to change.  It’s hard to deprive yourself of things you’ve always believed were “givens.”  But people never regret the wise choices they make, only the poor ones.

Part of the reason I’ve come out of hiatus is to share what’s been going on in my own life.  Maybe you think I’m a whackjob for doing derby with Meniere’s.  Perhaps you think veganism is too extreme.  Fine.  I’m not here to brainwash, simply to share my own life experience and say hey! world.  This works for me.

I plan on resuming regular recipe posts. Unfortunately, my beloved camera broke last year, so unless I can snap it with my iPhone, it’s not getting photographed.  The good news?  I have lots of great recipes to share from the Everything DASH Diet Cookbook – which has been selling well (yay!) even though I don’t get a penny in royalties (boo!)  At least you all know why I can’t afford to get my Nikon fixed….  But no worries.  Life is bright.  And I hope that 2014 is even brighter.

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19 Responses to Well, Hellooo DOLLY!

  1. Christy says:

    PS: MANY thanks to everyone who has emailed me, subscribed to the site, left a comment, asked a question, etc. I appreciate each and every one of you and promise I will be responding in turn. THANK YOU!

  2. Cara says:

    Love your post. As a 38-year-old with Meniere’s, a lot of what you wrote resonated with me. I have benefited greatly from dietary changes (low sodium, little dairy, little wheat). I struggle everyday with Meniere’s and it helps to know there are others who get it. Best wishes from Ontario, Canada.

    • Christy says:

      Thanks so much, Cara! Can’t tell you how much it means to know I’m helping others who struggle w/ Meniere’s. Thank you for taking the time to write. All the best to you. Christy :)

  3. Katie says:

    I want to say that you give me hope and are an inspiration (a badly needed one). I have rarely felt sicker than I do now and am a psychological numb wreck of a woman–and it is hard to stay positive. In fact, after being told I have Meniere’s for three years I am being now told I have inner-ear damage to one ear, BPPV in the other, a vestibular-ocular reflex disorder related to Vestibular Migraines and maybe cervicogenic migraine (none of it causes headache, it causes vertigo/exhaustion and brain fog). I have done everything asked of me for MD this year–no salt (use your recipes LOTS), no alcohol, little caffeine, a series of intratympanic shots in ear, a round of antivirals, antidiuretics and vitamins and I am worse than ever with daily constant vertigo. I am embarking on PT and a new migraine diet and exercise program. Because I know you have spent so much time sick and feel healthy now, I have hope! Thanks for sharing your journey.

    • Christy says:

      It’s my pleasure to share the journey with you, Katie. I only hope and pray you get some relief – and soon. I know what it’s like to feel horrible and how hard it is not to give in to depression. PLEASE don’t give up!!! I have a friend who went on a migraine diet last year and it’s helped her tremendously. Personally I cannot say enough about diet and exercise. It’s very hard to think of doing much when you’re dizzy, but if you can, try just to walk daily. If nothing else, the fresh air does wonders, especially on sunny days. Taking a daily walk clears my head, keeps me centered, AND helps me make vitamin D! Win-Win! hahahhah

      Hang in there my friend. Thinking of you. XO

  4. Tina says:

    Yay!! Welcome back! I can SO relate to your story. I’m 44 and was diagnosed with MD a little over a year ago. Despite feeling like crap it prompted me to do something I love but had given up — horseback riding. Everyone thinks I’m nuts for riding with vertigo but on my good days it makes me SO happy. So much so that I bought a horse for Christmas! It’s a promise to myself that I have something to look forward to and that I’m not giving up just because I have a disease. I’m also vegetarian and low sodium. Getting closer to vegan all the time so I can’t wait for your recipes!! Congrats on Roller Derby! You rock!

    • Christy says:

      WOW! Tina, that’s AWESOME!!!

      I can totally relate to people thinking you’re nuts. But I’d rather be HAPPY, than to be cautious and miserable. It’s hard to understand what it’s like living this way – unless you’re living this way! You need to, must do, should do everything in your power not only to promote health, but happiness. And sometimes that means going out on a limb.

      I wish you all the very best w your new friend!! May you have many amazing rides this year! Wahoo!

  5. PJ says:

    I found your website a year ago when I was diagnosed. I was scared, hopeless and very frustrated. I was in my senior year of college, working full time and batteling 2-3 vertigo attacks a week. Your website saved me. I honestly mean that. If it hadn’t been for this website I would have been so lost as to how to approach this lo-so thing. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to think about it on my own (work, school, internship etc..) and having a go to site like this, that wasn’t all “Meniere’s ruined my life and now all I can do it lay around dizzy”, was what I needed to keep me going. I am happy to say that it has been 9 months since my last vertigo attack and at least 8 months since I’ve had any sort of dizzy spell. You don’t know me, we will most likely never meet but you have had a major impact on my life! I’m so happy for you for going for something considered “crazy” for a Meniere’s disease patient. I’m glad to see you back and bloggin and am really looking forward to more recipes.

    • Christy says:

      PJ, I mean it in the very best way possible when I say your comment brought me to tears. WOWZA. I cannot think of a better way to spend my life than by helping people in such a significant way. Your words have shown me all these years have not been wasted. Thank you for taking the time to share that. It really does mean so, so very much. PS: CONGRATS ON 9 MOS DIZZY FREEEEEE!!!!! Fabulous!

  6. Tracy Quinlan says:

    Roller derby?! That is freakin awesome! The women I run with have joked on and off about forming a roller derby team! I, like you have Meniere’s. Luckily, mine is being controlled with diuretics and a low sodium diet. At my last appt, the dr said my hearing was within normal range. My vertigo has subsided as well, but I’m always wary of it returning. At the slightest light headedness, I panic. However, I cannot realize my secret dream of becoming a roller girl because of my career as a Sign Language Interpreter. Injury to my arms or hands could be the end for me. Kudos to you for realizing your dream! You realized it for some of us as well.

  7. Marcia Luly says:

    Like many others I discovered this site shortly after I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. I was diagnosed last September . Your story and wonderful recipes helped me enormously during those early dark and lonely days. I follow a low sodium diet and take medication.
    Hopefully I may be able to drop the medication in the future.
    It’s truly wonderful that you were able to set a goal and achieve it.
    My goals are small….but each day I move a little closer to reclaiming my former life.
    I look forward to working my way through your recipes,
    Many thanks,
    Marcia

    • Christy says:

      Marcia, you are so very welcome!! I am SO happy to know I’ve helped you – and hope to continue to do so. Small goals are great bc they are easily accomplished. They help keep you on track and build confidence and positivity. And that’s really what’s important. Keep up the wonderful work, my friend!! :)

  8. Sara says:

    I’m so happy you are back. Just the other day I thought of you and are glad you achieved a dream. I’m also proud of you for backing out. I look forward to your e-mails.

  9. Lucy Garcia-Storey says:

    Hi Christy,

    I’m so glad to see you back. I have missed you and your wonderful recipes. Thanks for an update and your encouraging words. Looking forward to whatever you will throw our way. I’ve gotten a bit off track with regards to my low sodium eating. My cardiologist will not be happy with me. That is why I’m going to get back on track. See ya around!! Yay!

  10. Roz says:

    I’d love to donate to your food photography fund! Do you have any pay what you want digital products? You know, like years worth of blog posts? :)

    • Christy says:

      WOWZA, Roz! You’re amazing for the offer. Not sure what you mean though by “pay what you want” digital products?? You mean making the site subscription only?? Or charging for posts? Am I missing it/getting it??

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