Wow! What a year 2014 was for my family and me. It started off with a bang in January when we were surprised to find out that my wife was pregnant with our third child. We had two beautiful children and thought our procreating days were happily complete. I went quickly from scheduling a vasectomy to buying a mini-van. We were blessed with a beautiful baby girl on September 10th. I did have that vasectomy in July. I started a new career with a new company in February which is always a stressful change. I started a part time photography business in August and am elated with the results. Not only did it bring in a little extra income but it brought a new sense of self worth to me that I have never experienced before. It also allowed me to tap into my undiscovered creativity. More on that later.
With all this great and positive stuff happening in my life I took on a giant personal challenge in 2014. On December 31, 2013 I swallowed my last prescription medication that I hope to ever have to take the rest of my life. In 1988 when I was 16 years old I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, Colitis, and just about every type of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) possible. From 1988 until 2007 I was a sick person and prescribed many different types of powerful medications that ranged from steroids, anti-inflammatories to immune system suppressive drugs. I was in and out of hospitals for many digestive related issues. My weight fluctuated constantly. I had to strategically know where a bathroom was literally every place I visited because I had minimal control over my bowels. My quality of life was poor. In 2007 I discovered and began a relationship with Bikram Yoga. Bikram Yoga is a 90 minute yoga practice consisting of 26 poses done in a very hot room. Some call it a torture chamber. I call it my medicine room. I also have a strong Vinyasa style yoga practice but Bikram is my maintenance exercise. I noticed a change in my condition for the better soon after my discovery. By 2010 I started doing things with my body I never thought possible.
I was feeling great and my yoga practice was continuing to develop and evolve. For many years I had been taking a drug called Imuran which is an immune system suppressive drug and Colazal which is an anti-inflammatory drug. Both of these drugs have many crazy potential side effects. None of which I ever want to experience. I discussed the possibility of me ever being able to stop taking these medications with my Gastroenterologist specialist and they said absolutely in no way would they ever recommend me coming off these drugs. I was not satisfied with this answer. Towards the end of 2011 I was fed up. I pretty much said to myself, "it's now or never" and began to ween myself off the Imuran and Colazal. Over the course of 2012 and 2013 I slowly lowered my dosage with each month that passed. My goal was to be off both meds by the beginning of 2014. I am by no means suggesting you do this but I did not keep my doctor informed of what I was doing. In my years of experience with many MD's and many highly trained digestive specialists I have learned that they don't like suggesting going off meds, ever. As I sit here writing this blog on new year's eve of 2014 I feel amazing. I have lost over twenty pounds this year. I have a virtual endless well of energy and I owe a great amount of gratitude to yoga for that. It is my fountain of youth. My goal for the last three years has been to do 200 Bikram classes per year and I have been successful at fulfilling that goal.
2014 was also a year that I discovered my creativity through my camera lens. I became a "light chaser" realizing that the best photos are made with the best light possible. The moment I gave myself permission to explore my creativity with my camera great things started happening for me. I am sure that this has also contributed to my well being. Point being. Get creative! Not destructive! Finding and getting in touch with your individual way of being positively creative will feed your soul with goodness.
During my journey of becoming a more healthy creative person and healing myself of this horrible disease has also come with deep sadness and difficult decisions. I have had to cut close people out of my life that have caused me and my family unnecessary and unwanted stresses. I call them flow holes. Flow holes do everything in their power to take you out of your good and positive flow of life. They also do their best to suck the fun out of life. If you have a flow hole in your life don't be afraid to rid yourself of that person or people. There is a good chance it will be the best thing you ever do. I am positive that flow holes and unnecessary stress were the largest contributing factors to my IBS. It's not a coincidence that my health improved greatly once I cut these people out of my life. Life is also about surrounding yourself with people who will bring out the best light in you.
Statistics show that 15% of the worlds population has some sort of digestive disorder. That is an astounding amount of people. In 2015 I am going to do everything in my power to inspire people with IBS believe that they can live a healthy life without powerful medications. If I can inspire just one person then I will consider myself successful but I hope to inspire many. I feel that this is my calling.
Many thanks to Bikram Yoga Asheville for another fine year of yoga. I don't know where I would be without your beautiful studio being such a big part of my life. Also many thanks to my amazing clients and friends that supported my photography this year. I cannot even begin to explain how humbling of an experience it is to be hired for something I love so much. The pleasure and satisfaction I receive from capturing an image with my camera that has the capability to move someones soul brings me a satisfaction that I had never felt before.
I wish you a tremendous 2015. Get out there and chase some light!!! Thanks so much for reading this blog and happy new year.