I walked around with my leg out of my hip joint for about three days before visiting my chiropractor and asking her to pop it back in place for me.
For the next 10 years, my hip didn't heal. The leg felt loose in the joint and the center of the joint felt spongy and inflamed. I walked with a limp. The instability in the hip joint spread to the tailbone and lower back. I was able to manage the pain and disability, but not to recover from it.
I had two sons during those 10 years. In 2005, my then-almost-6-year-old accepted my disability as a fact of life. He'd never known me when I wasn't careful of my body. He'd never seen me run or rollerblade or do any of the physically active things that I still felt were a part of me.
I tried all sorts of things to heal my body during those 10 years. I exercised as I could, exercises to strengthen the muscles and realign the hip area. The pain waxed and waned but never really left me.
Finally, I ended up in the office of a naturopath, Bobbi Spurr. After our intake interview, she said that my body was constantly fighting a losing battle. She recommended that I go through extensive testing for food allergies.
$1200 dollars later, I was presented with a list of the foods I was allergic to. The list was extensive: all dairy, eggs, most beans (including green beans), corn, almonds, soy. I cut the problem foods from my diet.
Within two weeks, my health changed dramatically. The pain in my hip left me, the rash on my face went away. I felt decades younger. I had energy and felt really good for the first time in 10 years.
It's been 5 years since Bobbi Spurr gave me that list of my food allergies. In that time, I've reclaimed my healthy body. I've worked off 80 pounds. I've lifted weights and danced myself to close to the best condition I've ever been in. I look and feel great.
It's a small miracle, the transformation of Heather Madrone from a disabled, obese woman to the springy, energetic, toned person I am today. A small miracle, taken one bite at a time.
Food runs my life. Every day, I need to avoid even trace amounts of the foods I am allergic to. When I don't successfully manage to avoid them, my symptoms return for a few weeks. I also have to manage my calories closely to keep my weight in line. It's a job every single day.
An ongoing miracle. A work in progress.
People tell me they could never change their diets as radically as I did. It is a nuisance, but I am grateful every day that I know enough to have the choice. I can eat right for my body and be well or I can eat carelessly and live with chronic pain and disability.
It doesn't feel like a choice to me. It's a blessing to know at last what I need to do to keep my body well. I'm grateful every time I can dance. I'm grateful every time I move without pain. I'm grateful when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I'm grateful when I look down at my body while I'm sunbathing. I'm grateful when my husband holds me in his arms.