Today I am so excited to share our Wellness Warrior Divya Dhawan. Divya is a fellow Sjogren's patient and Sjogren's advocate.
She is the Founder of Sjogren's Solution which aims to teach patients to heal their bodies using natural healing techniques and supplements.
Divya started advocating for Sjogren's patients because she saw a need and wanted to give back to the community.
Today Divya is going to share her story and offer some advice for individuals who may still be suffering with their Sjogren's.
We connected with her online and are so happy to have her here today to share her story and her mission.
Divya when were you diagnosed with an autoimmune disease? What age were you?
Although I was diagnosed about 8yrs ago, in retrospect, I had the autoimmunity developing slowly inside of me since I was a kid of 12yrs or so. I had health issues like acne, carpal tunnel, acid reflux, digestive issues, frequent headaches and eating disorders.
Since childhood and was never diagnosed at all, and my body kept fighting till my actual diagnosis happened. A couple of years before the actual diagnosis, I started having very dry eyes which also had the dry sand paper feeling. I also occasionally had corneal ulcers and no doctor ever diagnosed the disorder back then.
What was your diagnosis?
My diagnosis was Sjögren's Syndrome. It was found through blood work when I had a full blown flare up, I was 37 yrs old at the time.
How long did it take to get a diagnosis and which doctor or specialist contributed to your diagnosis?
I was having gripping pain in my joints and muscles along with dry and swollen eyes and mouth. It took around 2-3 months and 4-5 doctors which included primary care physicians, eye specialists and rheumatologists.
Finally after the 5th doctor a Rheumatologist was able to diagnose me.
How many years have you been living with your diagnosis?
I’ve been positive for Sjogren's syndrome for around 8 years now, and can happily say that I’m in remission!
What inspired you to share your story and start helping fellow Sjogren's patients?
I often see that people who are diagnosed with autoimmune disorders feel like they are trapped in this vicious circle of medication after medication for the symptoms, but the disorder can never really goes away, nor is managed effectively.
This is largely because patients are told after the diagnosis that there’s no cure, only management of their symptoms.
I was in the same place and paved my own path using holistic methods.
It was a long road of uncertainty for me but the light in the end of the tunnel (of finally being able to kick the Sjogren's thing in its butt) kept me going!
I feel it's my calling to help others fulfill their dreams of actually getting better!
If after reading this interview even one person feels inspired that's one life that changed!
What advice do you have to give to individuals who are newly diagnosed?
Do not lose hope and do your own research.
It's very important to keep an open mind and explore alternative modalities too.
Health coaching can be very helpful as the handholding and help with lifestyle, nutrition and mindset can really help in addressing the root cause of the disease/disorder, along with their regular conventional medical treatment.
What advice do you have for individuals who are struggling with their illness?
Although you have been suffering with Sjogren's for a couple of years now the root cause of all autoimmune is the same: Gut issues.
Unless that is addressed the symptoms can only be managed so much.
Therefore working with someone who understands the disorder, works on mindset, life-style and nutrition and is capable of leading you with love and patience.
It can be a long road but healing is possible!
It's very important to look at and work on healing the root cause of Sjogren's.
The symptoms are merely signs that your body is giving you to tell you that there’s something serious going on in the inside that needs to be addressed.
Picture: Divya and her family
How can other Sjogren's patients get in contact with you?
Wow. What a great interview! Thank you so much for giving us your time today.
Divya makes a really good point; what you put into our body becomes the building blocks of your cells in your body. If you have long been eating an unhealthy diet, your gut is likely inflamed, possibly damaged with leaky gut.
While medications can be helpful for many patients, they typically only address the symptoms and do not drill down to the root cause.
Eating a healthy diet can help to heal the gut, and like in Divya's case, put your autoimmune disease into remission.
Eating a healthy, low inflammation diet can be particularly tricky for those of us eating the standard North American diet that is high in processed fats and sugars. But cutting these items out will no doubt help your body in the long term.
We hope that this interview has helped to inspire you to today to take a step in a healthier happier way.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Heather and Marc
We strive to help educate and inspire autoimmune patients by sharing stories like this one, and sharing many resources through the website and our blog posts.
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