Get my health issues in hand? Check.

18th January 2011

This series was hard for me to write. The process was emotional, and made me feel pretty vulnerable, as you could probably tell from all the jokes.

As always, you’ve made this worth it. So many of you are reaching out to say you’ve had health issues too, that you’re trying acupuncture, or exercising for the first time, or just taking better care of yourself because of something you read here. And if I thought writing the posts was emotional, reading your comments, emails, and messages on Twitter has been a bit of a roller coaster. I want all of us well, and I’m thankful to play any role in that.

Checking this off seems profound and flip at the same time. It feels like saying I’ve achieved perfect health, but it’s more an expression of gratitude. I finally have systems in place to help me cope when things go awry. I don’t ignore what my body needs anymore, and I do things every day to take care of myself. That is such a dramatic shift from where I was a few years ago, it’s a little breathtaking to look back.

If you need to improve your health, here’s the whole health series at a go:

Part I: The Obstacles
Part II: Acupuncture
Part III: Teeth and Dental Issues
Part IV: Exercise
Part V: Diet and supplements

One thing we didn’t touch on much is stress. I’ve learned that stress is a huge trigger for my immune system to revolt, and the love and support of friends and community is as healing as anything else I’ve tried.

So thank you for loving up on me all these years, and please take good care of yourselves. I like having you around.

47 thoughts on “Get my health issues in hand? Check.

  1. Martha

    Thanks for sharing it all, Maggie. I really enjoyed reading it. It definitely made me interested in checking out acupuncture if I need it someday, but thankfully my health is pretty good now!

  2. greyfavorite

    Thanks for sharing this. Health issues are personal and sensitive, and the shame of dealing with them in public can exacerbate that. (Even going to the doctor seems public to me – let alone the gym.) You are an inspiration!

  3. jillian

    Thank you for this series. I can relate and am still in the thick of getting through things right now.

  4. mandy

    Thank you for sharing your journey. When you’re in the middle of these things it seems like everyone else is “normal” and healthy but yourself, so it’s good to hear of others dealing with crazy problems.

    Stress and anxiety cause big, weird health problems for me. I found relief with homeopathy, yoga, exercise and journaling – but it’s a constant process to keep up with it. Good luck to you!

  5. Mary Burk

    I am having huge peri-menopausal issues and after reading about acupuncture I have started down the path towards acupuncture as a way to get a handle on the insomnia, muscle and joint aches and general moodiness. I am getting some chiropractic treatments first, before they can do acupuncture, but I am so hopeful that this will be the answer that I have been looking for! Thanks for giving me the nudge to follow the voice in my head that was telling me that I should give this a try.

  6. Grammar Snob

    I “exercised” to Just Dance 2 on the Wii with my 9 year old daughter today. That’s 27 minutes I would have just been sitting on the couch. Baby steps, right?

  7. Margo

    I’ve read all of your health segments and taken each to heart. Because of you, I’m ready to try acupuncture instead of settling, at 30, for knee pain as my new normal. But, this section touched me to my core. My 32-year old sister has just gone on full-disability against her own wishes because of her rheumatoid arthritis. The one thing that she says has helped her cope is her support system of family and friends. I imagine that’s what you’re referencing when you talk of having your systems in place. Thank you, for using your voice to help others find theirs.

  8. Michelle

    This series was so well timed. You’ve given me the courage to make the tiny changes that will greatly reduce my stress levels (leaving work on time or even early, getting to bed at a decent hour, turning down even good opportunities if I know they’ll stress me out).

    All of this is having a snowball effect on my diet, my health, and my life. Thank you!

  9. Bonnie

    I’ve started to comment on this series several times, but couldn’t find exactly the words. Maybe we all feel like even small health struggles are secret and shameful sometimes? The teeth section especially amazed me because I have never written about my own dental type epic struggles.

    But I have gotten a handle on some things this year too and I just can’t believe the weight that lifted. What if I got a handle on more lingering concerns, I keep thinking. Seems like just not having something hanging over my head anymore releases so much creative energy. I’m going to stop now, because this comment is a weird collection of metaphors, etc… but thanks for writing this series. I loved itl

  10. Daniella

    You go maggie. We are all having to make adjustments and hearing/seeing yours makes it seem possible for me to start on my (much needed) adjustments!
    Oh and hank is delicious…

  11. Kim

    I haven’t visited your site in awhile as I’ve been dealing with my own stresses. I admire your ability to look at the things that are impacting your health. My husband was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease about five years ago and I just placed him in November. I had no idea the impact stress was playing on my health. We have two young girls, 12 and 14, and the transition has been difficult. I had abandoned blogging and was just trying to survive. I think I will start writing again, because it is so therapeutic. I’m looking forward to the future and am glad rediscover your site. Thanks!

  12. Steph

    So funny, I clicked to comment and landed on Tracey’s comment which is EXACTLY what I was going to type. So ditto to Tracey at #5 — thanks for the inspiration, for being vulnerable, and for sharing that gorgeous, gorgeous photo of you and Hank.

  13. fancypance

    I have loved this series, so please know that your efforts were truly appreciated!

    My mom (and her whole family, really) is terrible at self-care. I was just not brought up with that sort of mind set. So, everything I do from regular health check-ups, to even applying make up has been by me finding my own way. I still struggle with taking good care of myself since the thoughts do not naturally occur to me. A series like this is great for getting me thinking positively.

  14. Tabitha

    How much do I love you Maggie? How proud am I of you for writing such an open, vulnerable series for all of us to learn from? The answer to both: so, so much. I have struggled with taking care of myself on top of running my own business, being married and growing two young boys. I have neglected myself for years now, and have seen the effects in both subtle and increasingly awful ways.

    Because of this series, and a desire that started late last year to be the person I know I can be, I am back on track to taking care of me. I have gotten help for my chronic back pain (which is now way under control in a way it hasn’t been for a million years), visited a dentist for the first time in five years, eat breakfast every day, drink water every day and eat more veggies and fruit every day.

    Because of your willingness to share, I shared with my girlfriend this weekend how poorly I had been treating myself. We both got misty eyed and sad about how bad things had gotten, but then we celebrated the small changes that have already unfolded.

    Thank you, Maggie. Thank you.

  15. Alison

    I’m so grateful you wrote this series. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your vulnerability and transparency will be rewarded one hundredfold.

    I have struggled with migraines and related issues since I was 11. They run in my family and you can’t get rid of a genetic predisposition, only manage it. 25 years later, after trying EVERYTHING, I know that the only things that work for me are stress management, never sleeping in, walking a lot, 400mg of magnesium a day, and, in a really bad spell, acupuncture. And? Talking about them. The isolation makes everything so much worse – literally. We’ve never met but I’m proud of you for putting yourself on the line in this series. Know you’re changing lives.


  16. Matilda

    Thanks to you, Maggie, for sharing this with me. I’ve been struggling to carve time out of my day for at least 20 minutes of exercise a day, to generally eat better, and go to the doctor/dentist more regularly (for years!). I love your focused approach and it’s been really inspiring to me.

  17. Analise

    Thank you for offering up your experiences to the world. That takes real courage, and can so profoundly affect other lives.

    PS – Last week I tried accupuncture for the first time, to address my chronic migraines. I’m so excited to be taking action for my wellbeing!

  18. Katie

    I’ve been using your grid paper trick to get my but off the couch and its really working (so far). I really like knowing i get to put an X in one of those boxes.

  19. dani

    Thank you for putting this out there. It’s gotten me all pumped about being healthy and listening to my body and what it needs. I’m on day 4 of taking my vitamins regularly thanks to your posts.

  20. dgm

    Girl, there is nothing you write about that isn’t fascinating and inspiring. I’m happy for your for checking this one off your list, and I’m grateful that you are so willing to share.

    As for your stress, let it go, man.

  21. Tina

    Just now catching up on this whole series. Amazing. This is truly awesome and inspiring that you are doing this.

  22. Laura

    It’s been such an important, supportive, generous series. Great job and thank you for doing it. I forwarded links to the posts to my Mom who is really struggling to get control of her long-neglected health stuff right now. I embarked on a similar journey in the last few years and it’s been so, so rewarding. Bravo!

  23. Starry-eyed

    Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. You express yourself beautifully, and your words are very inspiring. After two years of poor health, I have recently started an anti-candida diet, and am already finding it hard by week two! (I’m a wimp, I know.) But I think what you said about it being an attitude shift is so true. I think the road to health might be a long one, but my immediate aim is to finally learn to listen to my body and treat it well. Well done for all your hard work.

  24. Sonya

    Thank you Maggie for publishing this; it almost seeems providential. I’ve become tired of not feeling right even though the tests say I’m fine. So I finally talked to my dr. about it. I think I felt encouraged to talk about it, because the first step you made put you where you are now. The Dr. & I have have a plan and we’ll see if it works, if not then we’ll try something else. It feels good to have made the first step and actually admit to my dr. I’m not fine. (I still need to make that dentist appt. though…)

  25. Paul Perry

    I’m a longtime follower, Maggie and I love all your ‘work’. Your personal health talking hit me hard since I don’t blog or share too much with others. You are awesome and you say often what I’m thinking or feeling, and you don’t even know me, for cryin’ out loud! Keep Calm and Carry On.

  26. Andrea Russo

    You are very brave for sharing so much with your readers. In a way it makes all of look within us and listen to our bodies better so thank you for that bit of inspiration. Your site has been something i look forward too everyday. I love your style and sense of humor. Great job and thank you for your work!

  27. Jill (mrschaos)

    I love that you shared this. I have gone through similar health battles, and while I have chosen similar solutions, I am grateful to see other options or different ways of looking at these things.

    Thank you.

  28. Meg

    My sister is currently having all sorts of health issues and getting the big old run around with doctors. After reading your entries I suggested she try a homeopathic route and she’s willing to give it a shot. So thanks for sharing. Here’s hoping your health stays in check!

  29. Michelle

    I love that picture so much. You look at once very capable and like you are just barely holding everything together. That seems about right for most of us, doesn’t it ;)? Well done Ms.Mason and best wishes for a healthy new year.


    Maggie, I am just catching up now on this series! The Uiverse seems to be waving the acupuncture flashcard in my face right now. Your link to your post on acupuncture has just nudged me over the edge… I’m going for it! Thanks for sharing yourself in such an honest and vulnerable way.
    A few years ago my heart was broken when a doctor told me I would never have children. I decided to pursue alternative health care and found an amazing Chinese Dr. in the city I was living in. The holistic approach inspired a shift on every level – particularly nutritionally, emotionally and spiritually. I calmed my urgent “need” for a child and focused on my health in an integrated way. 2 years later I was blessed with our sweet babe – who arrived to a calmer, more grounded mother than she would have without all the preperation for her possible arrival.
    We would now love to have another and my body seems to be in need of some major support to concieve. We have since relocated and I no longer have the connection to the amazing Chinese Dr. that I grew to trust and admire… I have been skeptical about finding another practitioner that could be as effective. Your post, along with some other serrendipitious events this week have just made up my mind. I just booked an appointment and I’m ready to commit. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Oh my god, what if you just got me pregnant?! Indirectly of course… :)

    Lovely, lovely photo of you and your boy.

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