Brighter and brighter, my personal new normal.

I could get used to this.

I wake up rested, don’t drop from exhaustion at 1, 2 or even 3pm each day and I am getting things done, like actually folding the clean laundry. Did you see that I slipped in the fact that the laundry is clean, like that is no big deal?????

I have stayed up past 10pm night after night and even watched a little TV with the family instead of just trying to keep my eyes open in my bed past 8.

Looking back on the last few years, I realise that I have been half asleep when I was awake. The brain fog and physical state of tired were beyond compare. I always just assumed that adult humanity felt this way because life is a hard slog sometimes. Little did I know how much I was affected by low iron and vitamin D levels until I had an iron infusion and a couple of weeks of high dose supplementation in me. There is really no better way to describe it except to say that I feel brighter. My mind is clear and my heart is happier.


On top of the medication I needed, twice a week I am taking pilates classes at the new Authentic Pilates Melbourne studio in Hampton. When Michaela inquired about my rates for photography, I sent a quote for my full day rate and without even waiting for a response, offered to do the brand imagery in trade. Now, I am not a gym goer. I hated yoga classes and I run because it is not something I need to schedule. I have no idea what it was that made me suggest a trade, but I must have sensed that I needed this training. If I had been paid in cash, there is no way I would have prioritised my health by reinvesting the money into pilates classes. Oh, how I would have missed out had that been the case. I am now obsessed with going to the studio to train with Michaela twice a week. I am feeling stronger and taller and more fit each time. Right before my surgery, I swear I saw an ab where I have not seen abs since early 2004! If you have ever considered a pilates class, or even if you have never given it a thought, I would encourage you to try. Next week I might be taking a class alongside a man in his 70s. Anyone can do this.


It is life, so I guess there has to be a down to my beautiful up… Maybe the reason I suddenly got better is so I am now able to take on just how dark things had gotten for Clover. Could that be why I have been granted this reprieve from my own pain? Clover needs us now to help her through her days because she is absolutely done with feeling so hurt and sad. Chronic pain is a virtually invisible illness that people brush off way to quickly. Yesterday we found one of the culprits!!!! Fructose. As simple as her body being unable to absorb fructose has caused all this terrible pain. We are thrilled to have something we can fix, but are overwhelmed with the process. Reading labels isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Sugar is in everything, but what kind of sugar is it? I don’t think she is pleased with the idea of just surviving on plain rice while I get my mom sh*t together! Looking to get all the great tips and apps and web resources together in posts here soon. Please link me up with anything that has worked for you!!!!!!!


I shall be sharing here what we are doing not just to document it for others in the same situation, but to help people see through the happy facade those of us who are living with chronic disorders constructed for society. We smile, we go to the movies and we also sit at home and cry just hoping for the day that we can feel normal again. I have figured out what was causing my issues. We have named Clover’s zebra and now I am laser focused on getting my baby girl better.

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  • Nuala - Hi Rachel
    Great news about your health. I’m thinking of trying Pilates (I’ve done a bit through my Physio) after being plagued with physical injury for the last couple of years. Maybe I’ll try Authentic Pilates. Anyway, just wondering if you’d considered getting the advice of a nutritionist to guide you through a low FODMAP diet for Clover. Or consider the Monash University (they’re the ones who devised the low FODMAP diet) Low FODMAP app available on the App Store? I know a couple of people who have had incredible results with it and are now pain-free! I know one woman who was plagued with chronic pain for years and with the help of a nutritionist following low FODMAP, and a process of elimination, found the culprit to be onions!
    All the best on your journey xJune 16, 2017 – 1:21 amReplyCancel

  • Robin - Wow! So glad for both of you to start naming zebras and fighting back! Do they think that is the entirety of Clover’s issue or just a component? Or will you not know until you have treated her for some time? Regardless, glad you were persistent and got somewhere with it all.June 16, 2017 – 2:05 amReplyCancel

    • sesame - Probably the source of the pain, but she also has parasites so that is probably the cause of the elevated eosinophils!June 16, 2017 – 7:44 pmReplyCancel

  • Andrea - So this is a big thing for Clover because practically everything she eats contains fructose.
    Well I am not sure if this will help http://www.livestrong.com/article/263938-vegetables-fruits-that-contain-fructose/ it said the lower the fructose the safer for fructose intolerant people, I suppose its down to what works for some might not work for others.
    At least you know whats made her unwell poor Poppet, lets hope you and her dietician can work together on this HUGs xxxJune 16, 2017 – 2:54 amReplyCancel

  • FourInchHeels - I share Clover’s pain! I’m also unable to process fructose, and spent the better part of a decade hurting with no idea why.

    The university who did the original FODMAP research put out an app that’s been a lifesaver – search Monash University Low FODMAP Diet. They break down each food with a red/yellow/green light, and identify which sugar forms it has in what level. Such a game changer.

    I spent the first six months after diagnosis obsessively reading Pinterest (fodmap recipes are more common than I thought!), and checking every food through the FODMAP app. It’s a steep learning curve, but gets easier with time.June 16, 2017 – 6:28 amReplyCancel

    • sesame - I had not thought of looking on Pinterest for recipes! Aren’t you clever. Off to create a new Pinterest board! Thank you.June 20, 2017 – 12:19 pmReplyCancel

  • Rebecca flisher - Rachel, I have been fructose intolerant all my 38 years but only worked out what the cause was about 5 years ago. Just something to brighten your day… after cutting out all fructose and letting my gut and insides heal, I am be able to tolerate small amounts of fructose again without a problem. Do you have the monash university FODMAP app? It’s very helpful. Stick to Whole Foods and check with the app which fruits and vegies are low fructose.June 16, 2017 – 8:12 amReplyCancel

    • sesame - Thank you!!!! Whole foods is the key at this point…otherwise it is too easy to slip up!June 20, 2017 – 12:19 pmReplyCancel

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