• Home
  • About
  • Portfolio
  • Style
  • Life
  • Travel

Monday, 5 December 2016 What I Have Learnt in the Past Year

A video posted by Hannah Louise Clarke💃🏻🤓 (@clarkehl94) on

I look at this and think about how far I have come.

On a blisteringly cold December evening, I can luxuriate amidst Lush's ‘Shoot for the Stars’ bath-bomb. With the Cosmetic Warrior face-mask smoothed onto my agitated skin (the garlic in this facemask does wonders for spots!) I looked at my legs in the glistening water and thought about how different this scene would have looked at the beginning of this year. 

Rewind to 8 months ago, and I would have not been able to do this. I would not have had the confidence to take photos of myself and write candidly on a public space. You see, for the past year and a half (and this also explains my blogging quietness too) I have been recovering from a form of vasculitis. It is a condition that resulted in kidney failure at 18. There is no definitive cure or solution to it, only relief for the symptoms in the form of steroid treatment. It’s called Henoch-Schonlein Purpura.

On the NHS website, it says that “Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) is a rare condition in which blood vessels become inflamed. It typically results in a rash and joint and tummy pain…HSP can affect people of any age, but the majority of cases occur in children under 10.”

My doctors say that I am an extremely rare case as my HSP manifested itself after the age of 18, and this does also mean that the effects can be more severe. Thankfully, my kidneys are now fully functioning, but the the rash on my legs reoccured and the long course of steroids started. I have been on steroids for 10 months and will have only come off them for the first time since then in the next coming week.

I can't tell you how happy I am to come off the steroid treatment. The side effects from the treatment (as well as the HSP) have completely knocked my self-confidence over the past year. But I can safely say that I have tried my upmost to remain positive, and try to keep up with my usual happy-go-lucky self. This positivity has helped in regaining my confidence, but also led me to try out alternative methods to heal my immune system.

In the past year, I have learnt so much about myself. I have met so many different people who have each, individually, taught me something different. Here is what I have learnt this year: 

What I learnt from a Nutritionist:

I wanted to do all that I could to make sure that my immune system was as healthy as possible. Quite a few friends told me about 'Leaky Gut Syndrome', and how cleaning up their diet had helped them feel less lethargic, bloated and spotty! I thought seeing a nutritionist, was worth a shot, as it was a completely natural approach to health and there would be far fewer side effects.

After some research, I came across Hannah from Natural Health Forever. Although skeptical, I attended a consultation with her, explaining my medical history with HSP. She asked many resonating questions and provided refreshing solutions and explanations as to why my body was acting up. After 2 months of food diaries, it turned out that I have an intolerance to wheat, gluten and a slight intolerance to dairy. By cutting these out of my diet, it meant that my immune system had a chance to heal, instead of constantly fighting against the food intolerance. Did you know that 70% of your immune system is found in your gut?!

At first, cutting all of this out of my diet was difficult, but now, I have definitely seen the benefits on my health and wellbeing. I also take supplements, all of which have drastically improved the health of my nails, skin and hair, and I also rarely feel bloated anymore. I have learnt how to look after my body from the inside out, that will not compromise my immune system, but help it become the strongest it has ever been. 

Shout out to you Hannah! – Thank you so much J

What I learnt from an Acupuncturist:

Hannah recommended Acupuncture, as a natural method to further support my immune system. It is a recognised solution for Anxiety, back pain and arthritis (all symptoms of HSP) and I wanted to further indulge my curiosities. I found Denise via The BritishAcupuncture Council and called her for an appointment.

In our first meeting, we sat and discussed my medical history and where I wanted to get to. She took my pulse and said that my immune system was running “a little loopy” as a result of the long-term use of steroids (6 months at this point). She also noticed that my kidneys had taken a bit of a bashing and that it was not surprising that I felt anxious and a bit fragile after all of that treatment. After 5 sessions with her, I was able to confidently wean myself off of the steroids and also calm the side effects that the steroids presented.

As Denise could see how much my body had endured, despite my positivity, it was evident that you cannot pretend to be okay if you are not. I realised that you have to let nature run it’s course and let your body heal in the time that it needs. Through natural methods such as acupuncture, it provides support for that healing process. 

Thank you Denise J

What I learnt from joining a run club:

Joining a club made me fall in love with running. 

Not being able to, because of my HSP recovery, made me realise how much I missed it. 

After keeping my trainers in the cupboard for 4months, in October I started a ‘Beginners Run Course’ to regain the confidence in my ability. I am now 5weeks into the course and I have improved in leaps and bounds! As I learnt a proper method of running, my technique has significantly improved and I am starting to feel stronger every time I head out for a run. 

From picking myself up and throwing myself into a new group of runners, I have learnt to ‘just keep going’. I keep saying to myself I am doing so much better than when I started (in terms of health, fitness and running technique!). Although I may not be at my ideal as of yet, as long as I have a great support system around me I will get there. Shout out to RunVerity and Fareham Crusaders for getting me to this point!

What I learnt from Yogis:

I have also learnt the value of taking time out for you. 

I have always described a yoga class as a time to press that internal ‘reset button’. It gives you time to reflect on what you need, what you want and where there is stress in your life. Throughout the past few months, I felt like I have needed my yoga to really think about what I have been going through and what my body is asking of me. I have learnt how important it is to take the time out to reflect, calm your mind and 'reset'.

What I learnt about myself:

If anything, this experience has taught me that you cannot pretend to be someone or enjoy something. If your gut is telling you that something just isn't right - listen to it! Your gut knows best. 

The more you suppress that voice, it will simply just get louder and louder, until it cannot be ignored any longer. I have learnt this the hard way – everything does boils down to instinct. 

If you enjoy something, you will naturally do more of it. As you do more of it, you will naturally become better at it. Also, if you believe in something working, the more likely it is that it will work for you and that you will feel the positive benefits. If you think it is all hooey than it may not be for you! 

The most beautiful and happiest version of yourself, will blossom from your most natural self. 

That is why I have sought out natural treatments to help heal myself and also listened to what I enjoy the most.  Now, after all of what I have learnt, I will reach a natural remedy over a shop-bought concoction, choose natural ingredients to help my sensitive skin and think about the root cause of a problem, rather than masking the symptoms. I've found ways that will soothe my stress: grabbing my yoga mat and head out to a class; lighting a candle and snuggle down with a great read, or even run myself a piping hot bath with natural (and non-harmful!) bath oils in tow, smooth on a soothing face-mask and let my stresses melt away. 

That is exactly what I did on this cold December evening. 

Only you know what you have been through, and how to find your way through it.
I hope you will find some inspiration and light from what I have learnt :)

If you found this post interesting, would like to know more or have been through something similar, please get in touch! 

Thanks for reading - I know it was a long one!

Hannah x

Post a Comment

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I will try to answer/reply to any questions left here xx