My favorite blog post to write each year is my yearly reflection post on my vegan anniversary. I had thought of a few topics to cover for this year’s post but a few weeks ago all my plans went out the window and I knew exactly not only what I wanted to share, but needed to address for this year’s highlight.
My journey with veganism started 1,126 days ago. For a recap on the beginnings CLICK HERE
I know there is a stigma associated with being vegan. I read the hateful comments, I see the mocking memes, I hear the scoffs, I feel the judgement. Thankfully, I am surrounded by supportive friends and family, but I am not immune to meeting people who don’t agree with my lifestyle.
Once upon a time, a guy I was dating told me he no longer wanted to see me because he couldn’t cook for me. As if I ever needed or asked him to? If a man doesn’t know how to cook broccoli and rice, he ain’t no man at all and he surely ain’t no man of mine.
I won’t say I haven’t had my own doubts. Even at the beginning of this year, I was thinking about why I am still vegan and what vegan really means to me, am I making the right choice, do I qualify as certified crazy? The latter is still up for debate. However, just like that, the flashing neon sign appeared. A diagnosis.
Actually, THE diagnosis.
The diagnosis that validated every snarky comment, weird look, scoff, eye roll and awkward breakup I ever endured.
Last month after a visit to a new hematologist, I was diagnosed with a disease called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura or ITP for those of us without medical degrees.
ITP is an autoimmune disease that causes my body to kill off its own platelets thinking they’re harmful antibodies. This means my platelets are almost always low and my immune system is consistently struggling to keep up. Having a low platelet count is life threatening at certain numbers, as I unknowingly experienced years ago, and in combination with my other health issues this diagnosis explains so much about my health history. From the chronic fatigue, bruising, and mixed lab results, it all finally made sense.
I flew back to Michigan for the appointment last month and the results took a week to get back so I was already back in California when I called my dr for an update. He confirmed I tested positive and we talked over some details and treatment options, which I have none available to me at this moment in time. However, after I hung up and did a little more research on my own, I was overcome with relief. And I’ll give you a wild guess of the two main things you should avoid if you have ITP… meat and dairy.
I am always nervous to tell a medical professional I am vegan because it’s commonly not a popular diet among the medical elite. Although the landscape is changing, I just never know the reaction I’ll get. I worry they’ll blame all my health issues on my diet and ask me to come back when I am not vegan. Okay… see ya never!
When I told my new hematologist about my diet, he nodded along. Nothing more. He was genuinely un-phased by my dietary choices. He asked if I drank gin and tonic, which perplexed me until further digging as I found out tonic water is a no-no for ITP-ers due to the quinine.
When I received the diagnosis he said he wasn’t surprised based off my symptoms, and that I read as a classic case. He recommended sticking with my vegan diet as it’ll give me the best chance possible of controlling what I can with this disease. Music to my ears!
Most people might be upset over a diagnosis like this, but I felt so much relief! I’ve always known something was wrong. I just wanted the formal diagnosis. It’s been over 10 years of looking for an answer that I had almost accepted I’d never find.
I find it amazing that my body rejected the foods that didn’t serve its purpose. All the foods I’ve naturally gravitated to over the years are all the ones that my body needs most. Divine design at it’s finest. I just had to learn to listen and when I did, that’s when my life changed, three years ago.
All of this to say, be kind with what you put out there. On social media or in every day conversation. You don’t always know the full reason behind someone’s dietary choices… they might not fully either but knows it’s working, just like me!
The choices on someone’s vegan plate might seem unconventional by your perspective but it works for them. It also works for the animals. It also works for the planet. It seems like the only person who it doesn’t work for is the person lying to themself who still believes cows will overpopulate the Earth if we don’t eat them and that plants have feelings, too. But that’s a story for another time…