So you’ve made it to my site. I’m so pleased.
Before you start browsing (and trust me, there is so much to look at), let me tell you a little about me and why I’ve set up Health Hacking.
So I’m Joanna. I’ve led quite an interesting life from serving in the Royal Navy to qualifying as a Fitness Instructor, to selling mortgages and being a fully fledged Communications and Events Manager.
I’m mum to Daniel who is aged 9 and is my absolute world. His current obsessions are Pokemon, Minecraft and Mario, and his goal is to be YouTube famous. Oh, how times have changed.
I have a husband, Chris, we’ve been together for 14 years now and he’s my absolute world. Through my life, I’ve had to deal with some pretty tough situations which I hope to reveal in parts through this blog, and Chris has been there for me every step of the way. He’s my best friend.
So you’re probably wondering what Health Hacking has to do with my life and why I’d set something like this up.
Where did it all start?
Health Hacking was born from a series of unfortunate events (excuse the movie quote). It really all started in early 2016. We’d just had our mortgage confirmed (our first home) and we were making steps to move everything from our rented house to our new home. Chris and I didn’t hire any help. We literally rented a van and did it all ourselves. It took about a week.
Part way through the week, I started to feel pains coming in my feet. I started having issues placing my feet flat on the floor and the sides were starting to swell with lumps forming. I assumed (as you would), that this was due to a hard slog of a week and that once the madness had calmed, so would the pain.
A week, a month, two months passed and the pain hadn’t been relieved. Instead, it had moved into my fingers. My knuckles and wrists. It was in my shoulders and my lower back. I literally remember, waking up of a morning, crying in agony. My husband helping me get dressed and then me having to fumble around the house as I couldn’t place my feet flat on the floor. The car journey was no better. Stuck in traffic for over an hour, my feet would scream in pain and once parked, my walk into the office would have me in floods of tears.
I literally remember, waking up of a morning, crying in agony.
I knew something was wrong. I never showed these tears to anyone. Before I went to my desk, I would go to the bathroom first, wipe my eyes, reapply my worn makeup and hobble to my desk. I do remember though, my boss calling me on the phone. She asked if everything was ok as I hadn’t seemed myself in a while. I knew at that point, I needed to do something. Clearly, the mask I thought I was wearing was starting to fade. I started googling my symptoms and very quickly came to the realisation that they resembled Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). I was devastated and immediately made an appointment to see my doctor.
I knew something was wrong. I never showed these tears to anyone.
As you can imagine, I had to go through every hoop imaginable only to be told, it’s hard to diagnose. That I was too young to have something like this and to stop wishing it on myself. And one doctor (after I had waited 30 minutes outside in the freezing cold for the doors to open), had the cheek to say, “you don’t have RA, else your knuckles wouldn’t be cold”. At that point, both Chris and I decided to sack off the NHS and go private. I started going through all the correct tests quickly however it wasn’t quick enough. A couple of days after meeting the consultant who was trying to diagnose me, I was rushed into hospital in immense pain. It was literally worse than childbirth. I couldn’t walk. My husband had to carry me everywhere. The doctors were so scared, they had me in the “at risk” ward on a morphine drip. I was discharged three days later.
The day after my discharge, I was formally diagnosed and then handed a bag of pills. I was told that this was my life now and that I should prepare myself as most people end up in a wheelchair within 5 years of diagnosis.
I left there in tears. Totally devastated. Oh, and by the way, I was diagnosed on my 30th birthday – Happy Bloody Birthday Jo. Chris and I researched hard on the medication I was giving and came to the conclusion that I would only commit to taking one of the chosen medications. There were three others in the bag. Instead, I would look to reverse my symptoms by changing my diet and my lifestyle. I notified my doctor, who was not happy (as you can imagine) and then started making the necessary changes.
I was told that this was my life now and that I should prepare myself as most people end up in a wheelchair within 5 years of diagnosis.
A year and 3 months after diagnosis, I’ve had confirmation that I’m officially in remission. This is purely down to a healthy diet and lifestyle and the small number of drugs I take (15mg Methotrexate).
The aim of Health Hacking
The aim of Health Hacking is to use my experiences and learnings to help other women. Diet and lifestyle are linked to so many illnesses and diseases and just having the knowledge and understanding of how to live a healthier life could help save someone’s life or just even change someone’s life.
I hope to act as mentor and friend to all my readers and I welcome any questions or help that anyone needs.
My posts will share more detail about my journey but I hope this gives you an idea of where I’ve been and where I intend to go.
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