My journey began in my teen's. My family was not familiar with it or it's impact on the mind and body. Crohn Disease is a part of a group of digestive disorders called IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease), that includes Ulcerative Colitis. Combined, over 3 Million Americans have been diagnosed with IBD.
I first began noticing symptoms of fatigue, low energy, and abdominal pain, when I was 15 years old. As a young girl I was enrolled in and excited about school sports and social events, I didn't want to disrupt my life so I kept my experiences to myself. Soon my symptoms increased to nausea, diarrhea, bloody stools, lack of appetite, weight loss, and malnutrition. Before I knew it, I could barely walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath.
I finally told my parents something was wrong, and we saw I doctor.
I was rushed to a children's Hospital where I got an emergency MRI, and Colonoscopy; we recieved the diagnosis of Crohn's Disease. I had lost so much blood that I spent the next month and a half in the ICU for blood transfusions, IV Steroids, and finally receiving IV Infusions of medication to reduce the inflammation of Crohn's and put me into remission.
The downside to Crohn's Disease is that there is no cure. Crohn's goes into remission, but I will always have it and it can, and does flare up from time to time throughout my life. Having programs like Wellness Retreats and Personalized Coaching to attend, helps me through those flare ups and the tough times.
So, what exactly is it about the Wellness Retreats and Personalized Coaching that has helped me, and can help others through Chronic Illnesses? They provide a sense of community, emotional support, a space to practice self-care, allow you room to grow, help you learn new tools to heal, and they help bridge the gap between from patient to doctors.
Radect's Wellness Retreats are a great way to not only have a fun, relaxing, vacation-like experience - but they also provide things to help you heal, learn, and grow!
Yoga Sessions: When you sign up for a Wellness Retreat you'll be treated to Yoga, Meditation, and Breathwork sessions; all designed to help with IBD symptoms - Cramps, Bloating, Abdominal Pain, etc.
Nutrition: Throughout each retreat there are cooking classes and presentations that focus on what to eat, recipes to share, and how to prepare food to help relieve and minimize symptoms of IBD. This information can help guide you through flare ups and times in between. Just by learning what foods NOT to eat I was able to limit the amount of flare ups and decrease the intensity of symptoms during a flare.
Social Stressors: Group sharing circles, journaling sessions, and art projects that address the social and mental health issues that as patients we come across and yet don't know how to cope with. Something that isn't often addressed is our mental health as patients; we will focus on our physical symptoms and the physical disease, but what about our mental state? Being able to share my feelings with others helped me navigate through anxiety and depression. I also recognized deeper feelings by writing them down through journaling session and expressing myself through art projects.
Self-Care Extras: We all know that taking care of yourself is difficult in normal settings much less as a patient when you're focused on healing. Radect's Wellness Retreats provide a variety of self-care options each day so that you can finally take the time you want, and need, to spend on you! The retreats are held at locations that can accommodate, or be near, Massage & Spa Services, Hot Tub/Swimming Pool, and access to the outdoors for hiking, walking, and more. Anything you might need to take a moment for yourself. One of the best things I did for myself as I was recovering from a Crohn's Flare was take time out to pause, breathe, and do something for me. At the time, that was going for a short walk. Most days it was only a few minutes and at first I could only walk down the block and back, but over time I could walk more and longer and the effect it had on my mind and body was powerful!
In addition to all the amazing services you'll receive at the Wellness Retreats one of the most beneficial is the opportunity to sit down with an Ambassador for a Personalized coaching session. During the coaching session, the Ambassador will get to know you and work with you individually on your goals for healing and design a program (which you'll have the option to sign up for, becoming a Radect Member, at the end of the retreat) that is specific to your needs; they'll provide you with which yoga classes to take, which nutrition recipes would be good for you to try and help you plan your meals, and assign a variety of activities to participate in that will help your mind and body.
Radect's membership program, if you choose to continue with us, helps to bridge the gap between patient and doctor, by providing you with 1:1 connections to Yoga Ambassadors, Physical Therapists, Social Workers, Family Health Services, Clinical Dietitians, and quick easy ways to access all your health record services.
By having access to an entire team of care, and having access to all health records in one location; you - like myself - will be able to begin taking steps to over come your illness.
My journey began in my teens, and continues now in my 30's. Because of the services like Radect's Wellness Retreats and Personalized Coaching, I have been able to happily live with my Crohn's Disease. My symptoms are manageable, flare ups are further in between, and when I do experience a flare up I now have the tools to handle the pain and discomfort with limited use of modern medicine.
Written by: Desiree Schmidt RYT-500