Kami Lingren: Living well with chronic illness

Introducing you to Kami Lingren from Living Grace who is a truly beautiful soul. Kami has been diagnosed with Lyme and a handful of other diagnoses, with dizziness, head pain, bone and joint pain as the most debilitating symptoms. At its worst, her list of symptoms from her illness had grown to nearly 80, which she know so many others can relate to. Thankfully she’s been finally improving this year and her symptom list has become much smaller! Find out how she is living well with chronic illness by reading more…

Living with Lyme and Multiple Sclerosis

Some of Kami’s first symptoms began when she was as young as 6 or 7. She had random ER visits from growing up into college years and then experienced her first major episode in 2010. She remembers feeling certain she was facing the last moments of her life, such were the intensity of her symptoms, at the young age of 23.

After about a year of testing she was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and was told she could go on to lead a fairly normal life thanks to a daily injection. But her life, however “able-bodied” she was, just didn’t look the same.

Initially, she was able to work part time and later full time, but then found her health crashing again in 2013. She could no longer work a normal job, contribute much to the household needs, or actively engage with what little community her and her husband had. While she did what she could to remain hopeful, it was a devastating process to go through.

Using Neuroplasticity Practice, Self Care and Soul Care for Wellness

More recently, however, things have been on the improve. She attributes her incredible progress to a neuroplasticity based program she joined.  She has found that implementing brain-supporting practices is critical to her healing journey. She aims to spend intentional time doing brain-related exercises every day – which can include visualization, meditation, gratitude journaling, or listening to affirmations. She has also found regular detox, green smoothies, and coffee enemas to be so helpful too!

Then there is emotional self care and her favourite: soul care. She thinks so often it can be easy to get wrapped up in the outside care of her body through supplements, detox and gentle yoga which can result in her emotional and spiritual needs being put on the back burner.

She has recognized that being outside is incredibly calming and soul-filling, so when she starts to feel like her tank is empty she tries to get outside for even 5 minutes. Or go for a walk. And when her emotions are on edge, it might mean she needs more intentional rest. Or that the work for today needs to be postponed.

She tells me “Whatever it is that supports each aspect of a healthy me is important and deserves to be given the time and space they require to refill my battery”.

She still has further improving to do, but she is now able to work part-time from home hosting her podcast, The Wellness Crossing (which you should check out by the way), as well as selling leggings, blogging at Living Grace Blog, and freelance writing.

Overall, she does her best to prioritize her health and the practices that support it, which she says is “honestly a trial and error process”. Some weeks she has lots of extra energy to give to working from home, and others she needs more time spent taking care of herself.

Kami’s experience, not unlike my own, is all about listening to ourselves and learning to respect whatever boundaries our bodies need!

Living well with illness is about listening to ourselves and respecting whatever our bodies need Click To Tweet

Advice for others

Kami’s advice is that, if you don’t have community, her encouragement to you is to start there. From hearing what treatments others have tried, to finding solidarity with others who really “get it”, having a community (even if it starts online) can be so healing.

Her second tip is to listen to your body. YOU ultimately know it better than anyone else. If a certain treatment doesn’t resonate with you, find one that does! Or if your doctor doesn’t jive with you or you have this gut feeling there has to be hope in some other way, search for what that might be. Switch doctors if you need to and learn to be your best advocate.

I asked Kami in what way has her illness been perhaps a good thing?  She says “If I’m honest, I struggle with classifying the illness I’ve experienced as a good thing. And I believe finding the right language for ourselves is important, so I instead say that I’m grateful for how I’ve grown in spite of illness. I’ve seen compassion multiply in me, confidence begin to bloom, and have been able to pursue some of my passions. Friendships I have today may have never come about had I not shared this common denominator of chronic illness. And for that I’ll always be thankful, too. Life will always have struggle in some form. My hope is that I continue to reach for defining my story by how I handled myself in the midst of it, how I treated others, and how open I was to growth in spite of all the unfair, the pain, and the darkness”.

Define your story by how you handle yourself, how you treat others and by your growth Click To Tweet

What the future holds

Her future holds a lot of unknowns, but as her health continues to improve she has dreams of visiting Spain with her husband. This is a trip they been hoping and dreaming about for over 5 years and the fact she can actually physically handle the journey is exciting!

It’s also Kami’s dream to help others reach new levels of wellness through her podcast and eventually through one-on-one support. She’s currently studying Reiki energy healing and is really looking forward to supporting others through individual sessions once she completes her training!

Kami wishes all our readers strength, hope and wellness.  Thank you Kami for sharing your insights with us, we wish you the same too 🙂

Join Kami over at her blog at Living Grace!

Tune in to her The Wellness Crossing Podcast!

Or connect with her on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

For more stories on living well with chronic illness, click here.