It’s time to meet my next guest, the lovely Jamie Pirtle. Enjoy her story!
Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you…
I was born blind in one eye and with a condition called nystagmus, where my eyes continually move. The doctors are not sure why, but have suspicions that it could be because my mom smoked and had mono while pregnant.
I grew up in the south eating meat, potatoes, gravy and biscuits almost every meal. My way of eating was pretty much carbs, carbs and more carbs. A meal without a potato was pretty much a sin.
As a teen, I started to eat junk food, including diet coke and snickers for lunch and the diagnoses started coming in during my late 20’s.
Conditions you have been diagnosed with:
- Mitral Valve Prolapse
- High Cholesterol
- Arthritis (in remission)
- Lupus (in remission)
- Ankylosing spondylitis (in remission)
- Endometriosis (had hysterectomy)
- Thyroid cancer (removed and now take meds)
I can remember staying in the bed all day one Mother’s Day crying because I couldn’t play with my 2-year-old daughter or go see my mom. The pain and unpredictable bowel movements were just too much.
I didn’t get to take vacation from work because I used all my time off going to specialist and staying home sick.
I can’t wait to hear about YOUR progress!
At about age 49, I started following a health coach on Facebook and listening to him talk about how what we eat results in autoimmune diseases. This coupled with returning from a cruise so sick I missed another week of work, I decided I had to do something
I first went gluten free and started eliminating junk food and diet cokes. Next, I cut out all aspartame, high fructose corn syrup and most fried foods. This helped, but there was still something missing.
Then I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. When you hear these dreaded words, your world stops. I remember sitting in the parking lot of the doctor’s office talking to my husband on the phone and saying, I have to figure out what is causing this.
I started studying everything I could get my hands on and decided the only way to go was to eat whole, mostly organic foods. I also cut out as many carbs as I could and cut way back on sugar.
After improving my lifestyle, I feel SO much better in my 50’s than I ever did in my 30’s and 40’s. I went from taking 9, yes NINE daily prescriptions to just ONE (my necessary thyroid medicine) and eliminated the pain associated with several autoimmune diseases.
One fascinating fact about me is:
I went back to school at age 53 and became a certified health coach so I can help others get healthy and not have to live in pain like I did. I also beat cancer and plan to stay cancer free!
My symptoms/condition began…
In my late 20’s. (born with the eyes)
My diagnosis process was…
Long and tedious. The doctors just kept telling me I was too stressed at work and I needed to learn to relax. I also knew something was wrong with my thyroid and it took almost 2 years for doctors to finally find the cancer after I insisted on a sonogram and biopsy.
The hardest part of living with my illness/disabilities is…
People think I am ignoring them when I cannot see them out of my bad eye or they think I’m drunk or high as my eyes move. When I was in school the teachers thought I was day dreaming because it was easier for me to focus on them by turning my head and creating a null point that made my eyes stop moving. It is also hard to do fun activities like bowling due to some joint pain from time to time.
A typical day for me involves…
Eating healthy and making sure I drink lots of water, take my supplements, use essential oils and remember the food makes a HUGE difference in how I feel. I work a demanding manager job with a large aero defense company and have a side gig as a heath coach and blogger.
The one thing I cannot live without is…
My glasses for sure! But also, healthy foods and supplements – I take lots of supplements.
Being ill/disabled has taught me…
That life is precious and we really are what we eat. I have also learned not to push myself and to try to destress as much as possible.
My support system is…
My husband, family and friends. I have also found joy now in my health coaching clients. It is such a great feeling to see them losing weight and regaining energy.
If I had one day symptom/disability-free I would…
Go watch a 3D movie! They don’t work for me with my bad eyes.
One positive of having a chronic illness/disability is…
It has made me strong and made me a lifelong learner. I can no longer rely on others to make medical decisions for me and research everything a doctor tells me.
One final thing I want people to know is:
Food is a HUGE factor in your health and how you feel. Unfortunately, many doctors want to give you a pill and not educate you on the importance of good nutrition.
My links are:
Free recipe book with 23 gluten free and Keto friendly healthy recipes: