As she weighed in at 84 pounds, new mother and wife, Kelly Haney was too sick for life-saving ulcerative colitis surgery. After being in the hospital for weeks at a time, fighting for her life, the large doses of immunosuppressant drugs helped stabilize her enough to go home, but this 29-year-old would not accept that she would have to be on these drugs for the rest of her life. Recovery wasn’t easy, but Kelly got fanatical about her health and determined to live a medication-free life. Through effort and research, that became her reality nearly a decade ago and she no longer has any active disease in her body.
Kelly is a survivor of a life-threatening autoimmune disease and her passion is with finding healing and living a healthy lifestyle. Through her blog, Crazy Health Lady, she informs and inspires others who have found themselves on a very similar journey.
In this episode, Kelly talks about her battle with an ulcerative colitis, the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle, and why she is driven to help others who face similar challenges with their health.
Overcomer Playlist Recommendation
Pearls of Wisdom
- The importance of having a healthy diet with nourishing whole foods.
- Why we need to manage our stress levels and make time for ourselves.
- How we should have fun and live our lives with gratitude as our mental, physical and spiritual health are all intertwined.
Tweetables“We get so wrapped up in down the road, or worrying about things that are going to be days, weeks, months from now, when really all we have is the grace and the energy to deal with today.” - @LIFEwithArwen Click To Tweet “We can't control our ultimate destiny, but there's a lot of things we can do.” - Kelly Haney Click To Tweet “The only way out is through.” - Robert Frost Click To Tweet
- She Handled It, So Can You!: An Inspiring and Empowering Financial Guide for Women
- Crazy Health Lady
- In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
- In Defense of Food Documentary
- Crazy Health Lady Facebook Page
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Connect with Arwen Becker
Arwen Becker: Well, in 1996, I got the best opportunity to be able to go study in the San Juan’s, from the University of Washington. So, I was studying zoology, and 15 undergraduates were chosen to go study there. We were going to be working on marine botany and marine zoology. And it was by far, I think, the best part of my youth, definitely the best part of college. And of the 15 of us, there was actually one guy that I really clicked with, he ended up being my partner when we had to do all of our labs and everything. We ended up running together and doing a lot of hiking together. And he was just awesome. I loved hanging out with him.
And there was something interesting about him in that he knew audibly every type of bird in the Pacific Northwest. So, he would hear a bird chirping off in the distance, and he would be like, Oh, that's a this, or oh, that's a that. And I was like, wow, that's such a fascinating skill that you've learned. And the downside was, he said, it's great, but I never just hear birds chirping, how many of us love that feeling. He was just like, oh, and the birds were chirping, and it was so happy. And all he would be like, Oh, it's that bird or it’s that bird or it’s that bird, so it’d constantly be on his mind, but there was something else about him.
And it was a kind of somewhat of a private thing that he battled during that time. And he had been diagnosed with a debilitating disease, ulcerative colitis. And it really dictated everything that he did. We had this great camp food. I mean, it was like, oh, the chef was so wonderful and prepared some of the best food. And most of the time, he couldn't eat it. He had to have a very strict specific diet, that was pretty bland, not very interesting. And oftentimes, a lot of what we did, say hiking or other things that we would want to be doing with other people in the group were dictated as to whether or not he had a bathroom close nearby. So, it really was this private battle that dictated much of his life. And today's guest knows this battle all too well.
Kelly Haney is a survivor of a life-threatening autoimmune disease and has an obsession with finding healing and in staying healed, and this has led her on an intense journey of discovery. She strives to live a life-giving countercultural way encompassed by healthy food and healthy lifestyle choices, homeschooling, adventures, I imagine some misadventures, as well. And she seeks simplicity wherever it may be found.
Kelly's driven by our passion to educate, equip, and empower others to take control over their health and over their lives. Through her blog, Crazy Health Lady, she informs and inspires many who have found themselves on a very similar journey. She thoroughly enjoys living the urban condo lifestyle with her husband and her daughter, just outside Washington, DC, the other Washington, about as far as our Washingtons could be. And the one thing I have to say is her husband, zero question, is her absolute biggest fan, because he is the reason that she and I are talking today.
Arwen Becker: So, Kelly, welcome to the show. I'm so happy to have you.
Kelly Haney: Thanks, Arwen. I'm super excited to be here. This is such a great opportunity. And thanks for having me.
Arwen Becker: Yes, absolutely. So, before we get into our conversation today, why don't you tell me what song you brought for our overcomer playlist? And why did you choose it?
Kelly Haney: Okay, so I chose the song by John Mayer called The Heart of Life. And many of your listeners have probably heard it, it's one of those that you'll turn on the radio and it'll be playing, but I love this song, even though it may be a little different from the other songs on your list, because I think it can come off a little melancholic at first.
Arwen Becker: Hey, we need that sometimes.
Kelly Haney: Yeah, but it's real, that's why it's encouraging. So, I'll read a few lines.
Pain throws your heart to the ground.
Love turns the whole thing around.
No, it won't all go the way it should.
But I know the heart of life is good.
So, it goes on from there, but that's the most powerful part because to me, okay, this song is real, it doesn't mince words. It acknowledges that life is painful, life can be really hard, and there are moments that throw your heart to the ground, but if you truly believe that the heart of life is good, then there's always hope. And there's always faith that even in this difficult moment, we can still say to ourselves, you know what, this too shall pass. And then eventually, we can look back and see the good that came out of it.
Arwen Becker: Agreed. Totally agreed. And I have heard that song. When it was written, I was like, I don't know, do I know that song? But yes, I definitely know that song. That's a great one. Good choice. So, why don't you bring us back? I think you said you were about 19, and you started facing some serious physical issues. Why don't you tell us all about that?
Kelly Haney: Sure thing. Yes, it was 1999. I was 19, in my second year of college, and I had been healthy by the standards of the day for my whole life. And suddenly, out of nowhere, it seemed, I just started having these crazy symptoms. And sorry to be graphic, but this is what the disease is, it is bloody diarrhea to the extreme, is a polite way of saying it. Pain, weight loss, all kinds of additional problems thrown in there, but its main characteristic is just not unstoppable, bloody diarrhea.
You were mentioning your friend who had it, needing a bathroom nearby. Well, that's, yeah, bathrooms are life for those of us who are experiencing this disease. So, anyway, it's an extremely long, detailed story that I did go into detail with on my blog, but for the sake of time, I'll kind of summarize those early years and that I was hospitalized, given my first colonoscopy, and diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. So, it's an autoimmune disease, and autoimmune essentially means your body is attacking itself, because something has happened that confuses it.
Specifically, the large intestine, the colon. And it can be either a small part of it, or it can be your entire colon that is impacted by these ulcers that just pop up for whatever reason. So, I was put on multiple medications, which actually got it under control very quickly. And I was able to go back to my regular late 90s teenage lifestyle, which as you can imagine, involved lots of junk food and McDonald’s and all that stuff that we all grew up eating at that time.
Arwen Becker: Trix cereal.
Kelly Haney: Oh, God, don't even get me started. Sometimes when I think about it, I'm like, how did any of us survive?
Arwen Becker: I know. Somehow, we did.
Kelly Haney: But yeah, so just, again, to summarize those next 10 years, I had some flare-ups here and there, some were more problematic than others, but medications are what pretty much kept me. It kept things at bay, I didn't have to be hospitalized again. We just have to go on rounds of steroids and antibiotics. And I had to constantly be on anti-inflammatories to kind of just make sure it behaved. So, it was always there, kind of in the background, but I could still live my life to an acceptable level at that time.
Then, after getting married, and several years, I got pregnant with my daughter. And thank God, I had a beautiful pregnancy, super healthy. She was born super healthy. I was very fortunate for that. And then, when she was a little over a year old, I had stopped nursing a couple months prior. And the funny thing about autoimmune disease is that our own hormones can really play a major factor when it comes to triggering the disease. So, this happens to a lot of women with autoimmune disease, once you stop nursing and after pregnancy, that natural shift in our hormones can cause problems and that's exactly what happened to me.
I started having a flare with minor symptoms, but it rapidly became major serious symptoms, to the point where it might vary. It was maybe a month went by, before I was like, okay, this is scary, this isn't going away. What usually works isn't working. So, I ended up going to the ER and needed to be hospitalized immediately, put on IV, massive doses of steroids, antibiotics, all kinds of drugs. And again, these drugs usually do the trick, even though they come with their own set of problems, side effects.
Arwen Becker: Right. Yeah, I was wondering about that. Sure.
Kelly Haney: Oh, absolutely, but it's a matter of which is worse at that moment. At this time, I was completely unresponsive to the medications, completely unresponsive.
Arwen Becker: Wow. Can I ask? I'm curious about one thing. Your pregnancy and nursing, the hormones that were being released in your body during that time, were they actually helping to hold it at bay? Were you actually healthier until that time kind of came where your body was no longer having to divert energy to nursing and being pregnant?
Kelly Haney: Exactly. I've read a lot on it, I'm certainly not an expert, but just to answer your question, I find it fascinating that our bodies essentially are doing whatever it takes to protect us during that time, so that we can protect our children. Isn't it amazing?
Arwen Becker: Wow, it gives me total goosebumps.
Kelly Haney: Right, but yes, unfortunately, when that protection was not as necessary anymore, is when my body said, Oof, alright, now we can pull this off.
Arwen Becker: Now, we're going to divert the energy to something that’s, yeah, this thing over here.
Kelly Haney: Now, we're going to attack ourselves.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, right. So, you're in the ER, and now you're battling, and the stuff that they're giving you is not working.
Kelly Haney: It's not working. And I'm in the hospital for weeks at a time at this point. And they keep pumping me full of drugs, sending me home, I keep crashing again and having to go right back. It was awful. Anyone who's been in this kind of situation, where you have a chronic illness that is out of control, your life is taken from you.
Arwen Becker: And you’re a new mom.
Kelly Haney: Exactly. That was the heartbreaking part was, I couldn't be a mom, I couldn't be there with her, and actually, coincidentally, the time when I was in the hospital, this was the winter of 2010, when we had the H1N1 situation going on. So, children were not allowed in the hospital. So, my husband couldn't even bring her to come visit me during the weeks when I was in the hospital. So, as a mom, you obviously get it, that was the worst part of the whole thing.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. I would imagine so. What was that kind of that effect on your husband, too, at that time, because he's probably still trying to work a job and then be a dad and then try and take care of his wife who's dealing with a major, major chronic illness and is hospitalized. I mean, that had to have been really hard on him, too, as a new dad, too.
Kelly Haney: It was extremely hard on him. Exactly. And we'd only been a year into this parenting thing, neither one of us really knew what we were doing. So, suddenly, it was, okay, now you have to figure out everything. And thank God for him. Thank God for my mom, who was a huge help. I mean, we wouldn't have made it without her either, but yeah, it was hard. I mean, especially since we didn't know, it got to the point where we didn't know, if I was going to come out of that hospital alive. That's how serious it was.
Arwen Becker: Jeez. Were you fearful that you were?
Kelly Haney: Oh, absolutely, because when you see your body doing these things and, I mean, to put it in perspective, I was always thin, I was very thin after breastfeeding and getting back to pre-pregnancy weight, and then some, since breastfeeding tends to burn a lot of calories. So, I was thin when this started, and I had lost about 30 pounds in the course of probably about a month. At one point, they weighed me and I was 84 pounds.
Arwen Becker: Oh, my God.
Kelly Haney: That puts it in perspective as to why it got to the point where we were like, you know what, I don't know if I'm going to make it. And what usually happens in this situation is a horrible thing, but it can be lifesaving as essentially, your whole colon has to be removed, and then you live the rest of your life, without your large intestine.
Arwen Becker: And that means you have to have a colostomy bag?
Kelly Haney: Yes. And there have been a lot of advancements in recent years in terms of surgically correcting some of those things, but at the time, it was, you lose your colon, you have a bag for the rest of your life. And the blessing in disguise at that moment was that I was actually too sick to have surgery performed. They didn't think I would make it through the surgery. So, I still have my colon because of that.
Arwen Becker: Thanks 84 pounds.
Kelly Haney: Great. Blessing in disguise, as they say.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, and they're always there. We just don't know until we see a little further down the road.
Kelly Haney: Right, exactly.
Arwen Becker: So, what was the next step? So, here, you couldn't have surgery, here, you're nearly dying, here, your husband standing on the sidelines, being a husband and a father, probably terrified. Where did you go from there?
Kelly Haney: Yeah, so the next step was immunosuppressant drugs, which are exactly what they sound like, they suppress your immune system. So, they're big and bad, and they come with a whole lot of problems of their own, they come with a whole lot of side effects, but we had no choice. That was our last-ditch effort to do that, coupled with even higher doses of steroids, which again, all of these medications cause their own problems.
Arwen Becker: What were some of the other problems it was creating to try and fix the problem you had?
Kelly Haney: Well, there's long-term effects of the immunosuppressants. Naturally, when you shut down your immune system, we're talking about, oh, you don't have an immune system. Talk about a problem, especially in today's world with COVID, that's so catching all kinds of illnesses, your body not being able to fend off even the most minor of things. Steroids call all kinds of, I mean, just constantly my heart's pounding out of my chest, I couldn't sleep. And when I did sleep, I would wake up drenched in sweat, because your body's trying to deal with the toxic load of these drugs. It's essentially poison, that all of these things are poison as most drugs are, of course, but you always have to say, Well, is it worth it? And in this situation, it was worth it, the drug saved my life.
So, the immunosuppressants, they got me finally stable enough to go home, but I wasn't well, I was still bedridden for months. And even when I was to the point where I could start living my life, again, I wasn't well, I was still not in remission. And then even when I kind of did get in remission, it was like, well, how long until it's back? So, that's kind of the fast-forwarded version of from the time when I left the hospital to the time when, in talking to my doctor, after going through all these things with all the different drugs and seeing all these side effects and just feeling like garbage, after having been through all that, and then have to, after having to take these medications every day. And I said, how long am I going to have to be on these immunosuppressants? And I'll never forget, he looked at me and he said, Oh, for the rest of your life. And it hit me. I was like, Whoa, what kind of life is that going to be though? At the time, I was 29 years old. I had a baby.
It scared me, and not just because, okay, you're going to take these drugs, and you're going to have to deal with whatever effects which is long-term effects or increased chances of cancer, just all kinds of problems, but also, they're probably not going to be 100% effective, and you're going to keep having flares, and you're going to have to keep dealing with this for the rest of your life, however long that is. So, that moment really struck me, to say the least. And I made a decision that I wasn't going to accept that, I wasn't going to accept, as silly as that sounds. I said, you know what, that's not going to work for me.
I decided I was going to figure this out, I was going to do whatever it takes to be able to get off these drugs and to learn how to heal naturally, and to more importantly, learn how to stay healed and not have this own me for the rest of my life and own my family and hinder me…
Arwen Becker: Dictate everything you did.
Kelly Haney: Everything, absolutely everything.
Arwen Becker: Did you know that, I mean, from the moment that he said, I mean, it was like, the moment that those words landed out of the doctor's mouth, was that kind of like the next thought that went on top of it, like, no, I refuse, I cannot accept that as the rest of my life? Or was it processed for a while and then, days later or weeks later, whatever you're like, No, I'm not going to let that be my story?
Kelly Haney: I think that the thought had been there since the moment I read up on immunosuppressants. And I think the thought was there, but I didn't feel like it was within my control, I didn't feel like I had any power. And I thought I'm just going to have to accept this, and I'm going to hate it, but I'm going to have to keep going in for those infusions, but then, I think over probably a short period of time, I hated it so much. Each time, I hated it more and more that that kind of led me from this is just a thought in the back of my mind, that I'm not going to accept this too, no, I'm not going to accept this. I'm going to do whatever is within my power, which… We can't control our ultimate destiny, but there's a lot of things we can do.
Arwen Becker: Absolutely.
Kelly Haney: So, I started on my journey, and that involves just researching, reading, watching anything I could get my hands on that came, that had anything to do with natural healing. And believe it or not, I mean, we're only talking about 11 years ago, but there wasn't a lot out there at the time, especially with autoimmune disease, because that’s what exploded in the last decade, which is why there's so much information now. So, it's the opposite problem now, where there's too much information, and it's actually conflicting now. Back then, it was work but kind of out of nowhere.
Arwen Becker: You didn’t just type it into Google and get everything that you needed, and then some.
Kelly Haney: Yeah. I mean, it sounds silly. It was only 11 years ago, but it was a different world 11 years ago, but I can't even remember how this book kind of fell into my lap, but it was written by a woman, a physician who wrote a protocol for her daughter had the same disease, and it was basically a natural healing protocol, super restrictive in the beginning, but she explained the science behind, this is why you need to do this.
So, I embrace that 100%. And I continued to research on my own as well as, okay, what do I do next? What do I do next? What do I do next? And I came off the medications. And it was terrifying, but I was working really hard, I was 100% committed. You couldn't have tempted me with anything, any sugary dessert, like I was committed.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, you're like, do you know the hell that I've been through? That doughnut is not worth it for me, thank you very much.
Kelly Haney: You want to talk about motivation? I had motivation, so.
Arwen Becker: I'm sure you did. Jeez, 84 pounds, I think would motivate just about anybody.
Kelly Haney: For sure. So, I came off the medication.
Arwen Becker: Was that your start? So, was that kind of from that book, was that the real launching point? I mean, you were probably doing a bunch of research surrounding that, but was that the book that you really felt was kind of the first part to give you a framework to really work off of?
Kelly Haney: That was the launch of it, yeah. And because the main takeaway from that was, oh, okay, we're talking about real food here, we're talking about not eating the way that our culture has determined, it's okay for us to eat. We're talking about real food, and foods that aren't going to be constantly provoking our diet. So, yes, that was the launching point. That's what sent me on my journey.
And from there, it just built and built and built. And as I said, I came off the medication, and I didn't get sick again, I didn't. Not only did I not go backwards, but I kept every day, I was healthier and stronger. And I mean, there were still a lot to deal with, with just the after effects of the medications and yeast imbalance, and just gut irritation from all the antibiotics and the steroids and everything, and took awhile for my regular immune system to just get back into shape, but every day, I got stronger, and I get better. And then, I got more and more encouraged and motivated. And it wasn't long before I look back, and I'm like, Okay, I see. I see what works here.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. And how long was that? I mean, at what point from your lowest point to when you actually started feeling consistently good? I mean, how long of a span was that?
Kelly Haney: Well, after a year of being sick, and then almost another year of dealing with the medications and not being critical, but not being super well and dealing with the medications, I would say it was probably another year after that. And I hadn't arrived yet, I hadn't figured everything out, but I’d figured out enough to feel better. And my digestion was functioning the way that it should, and I had energy, I could keep up with my little girl, I could do whatever I wanted again, and I kept every day. I mean, not a day would go by that I didn't, what can I read today? What can I watch today? What can I find out? How can I learn?
Arwen Becker: Just consuming, yeah. Did you find that with that specific disease, were there times that it was difficult because it's something that other people, I mean, of course, when you were in the hospital and you were so thin and everything, I'm sure people could look at you and say something's not okay, but was that part of what made this journey difficult, because it's not like I have a broken bone or something that was really obvious for people to see, yet it dictated everything that you did? Was that hard? Did you ever feel resentful because other people were healthy, or resentful because you didn't think people took it seriously? Or do you know what I mean?
Kelly Haney: Yeah.
Arwen Becker: Was that a hard part of that?
Kelly Haney: Oh, definitely. I mean, one of the things that I found the hardest actually is that people don't like to talk about it, because of the part of the body it involves. And I'll tell you when you're in the hospital with people poking and prodding you, you lose all pride, and then there's no, you know. I'll talk about anything now, nothing embarrasses me. So, that was actually hard because people didn't really want to ask questions. And people, yeah, they didn't understand it, because like you said, there were certainly points where I looked perfectly healthy. And like, what do you mean? Or what do you mean you're going to the hospital? Or even when I was initially sick.
Arwen Becker: Why can’t you have this? I mean, come on, it's not a big deal, or maybe giving you things that you're like, great, I'm going to have to regive this to somebody else, because I can't eat that.
Kelly Haney: Yeah, exactly. It's a lot of explaining. And again, especially back then, this is before gluten free was a trend, and people were like, what do you mean? I mean, I started out not eating any grains, period. And people just thought that was super weird. And like, oh, you're…
Arwen Becker: Yeah, you're the difficult one we have to take to the restaurant things.
Kelly Haney: Right.
Arwen Becker: You're like, Yeah, can I just not go to the restaurant, please? So, I don't have to explain to the waitress what, I mean, have happened.
Kelly Haney: Oh, yeah, that went on for years.
Arwen Becker: I’m sure.
Kelly Haney: It is very isolating, because you feel like a little bit of a freak, especially then. Again, it's different now, so many people have adopted special diets or learn that they don't do gluten well. It's very different now, but even 10 years ago, I was a little bit of an anomaly for sure.
Arwen Becker: It kind of just as I have all boys, so I think about how boys love to talk about bodily functions. And it really doesn't matter so much what age they are, to be honest with you. And so, it's somewhat interesting to me, as you say, that's a part that people don't want to talk about, but yet kids have no trouble. They love talking about poop. They love talking about that kind of stuff, but yes, it becomes like the taboo subject. It's just like, where a lot of men get uncomfortable when you start talking about going to a gynecologist, and there shouldn't be any shame around that, it's part of the natural body function we all deal with. And you just were dealing with a very, very severe disease that was affecting that part of the body, but it's interesting that that provides so much shame because it's seen as dirty. And yet, I so commend you for starting your blog and for talking about it, because there has to be so much power that you received when you finally started to meet and dialogue with other people who knew what it was like to go through that.
Kelly Haney: Yeah. 100%. And like I said, now, I'm not shy about talking about anything, but I think, even then, there were so many people that had this diagnosis that you didn't know. And even after starting my blog, people who I consider friends were like, Oh, my mom has that, or my brother has that, or I have that. And I mean, like I said, it's a lot more acceptable now, but it's still a little bit taboo, and it shouldn't be.
Arwen Becker: Do you think that there’s anything throughout this journey that you wish that people would have said along the way? Or questions that they would have asked that would have been helpful for you to just not feel like you kind of have to keep it so private?
Kelly Haney: That's a hard question to answer, because in that moment, going back to when I was so, so sick, for a while there, there just wasn't anything that anyone could have said that would have been helpful, unless you had a magic pill that was going to get me up out of that bed and home to my baby, but I think just the listening ear, which in any issue in life is always so important. Just someone who doesn't necessarily have to say the right things or ask the right questions, but my friends who were checking in on me every day, and just listening to whatever I needed to get off my chest, that's what mattered and that's what made all the difference in the world to me, because I knew they weren't going through it, they weren't understanding, they didn't know what to ask, but just having them, even though it was definitely hard to get those texts or calls every day that said, any better today? And for me to have to say, no. It was them checking in meant the world and it reminded me that, okay, people still care about me, the world still goes on outside of these hospital walls.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, I think that is such an important point that I just want to emphasize because I've talked to so many people who, like a girlfriend of mine whose daughter battled through neuroblastoma, and she just said it was amazing how many friends we lost in that process because they just didn't know how to handle it. And so, it was easier for them to just remove themselves from the situation. And I think what you said is so important for people to remember that that is what empathy is, it's trying to understand what somebody else is going through, even though you yourself haven't been through it and even though it makes you uncomfortable asking, but you said the right thing, they didn't need to say something specific, you just needed to be reminded that they hadn't left you and that they still loved you and that they were still there to support you, even though there was nothing that they could physically do for you, but just being present was really important during that journey.
So, what's your health? So, this is health now, I mean, so here we are, that 99 has all kind of really started. And then, we had a number of years following that where we were in severe dire straits. And then, you start learning these different techniques and ways of eating and healthful living. So, kind of walk us through how are we now at this point?
Kelly Haney: So, it has now been 10 years since the end of what I refer to as the mother of all flares. And I have been off medications for nine years. Yes, I have had no flares, no active disease.
Arwen Becker: That’s awesome.
Kelly Haney: I mean, it is awesome, yes, but it is truly a miracle. I mean, if you're being as sick as I was, and the fact that… Ever since I was 19, it came and went, but it certainly didn't go away for that long, it is truly a miracle. And I've done a lot of work, I've done a lot of hard work, but I can't take away from the fact that I need to give credit where credit is due, and it is a miracle.
Arwen Becker: And do you think for you personally, that that miracle would have been ushered in had you not done the work?
Kelly Haney: No, because I think this is all the point. I think the point was, I need to go through this and then I need to do the work and I need to figure it out and I need to have this information imparted to me over these years, so that I can turn around and share it with other people.
Arwen Becker: There's a scripture that says faith without works is dead. A lot of times people think well, I mean, if it's God's will, he'll heal me, but if you're sitting on the couch or eating potato chips, you're doing all the things that you know you're not supposed to be doing, you're not doing your part. And so, I think that that's so important to recognize. You did the work, you rolled up your sleeves, you dived in and tried to figure out, where is there some glimmer of hope? Somebody’s researched, somebody's done that can give me some direction today, that might help me down the road tomorrow. So, I think that that is so valuable, that people know that and whatever that might be.
And why couldn't you be one of the first people to be able to get to this point to say it’s a miracle, I've been completely healed totally. And then you're doing what it is that you're doing now, where you're saying, Okay, now I've walked through that. Now, I don't get to just ride off into the sunset, that would be a very selfish thing for me to do. Now, I get to turn and go back and be that helping hand to individuals behind me, who may be going through personally, or have a family member going through it, that can find hope in my journey and where I'm at today. So, I commend you for that, and I'm so glad that you're willing to give that to people because so many people need it.
Kelly Haney: Yeah, I mean, it's a gift to me, I have to say. I don't see it as work or a challenge, it's a gift, because if you had told me 10 plus years ago, I was lying on the hospital bed, like, all right, a decade from now, you're going to be 40 and you're going to be the healthiest you've ever been, and you're going to be helping others, how desperate would I have been to have someone come to me in those moments and say, “Hey, I went through this. You can, too.” So, it's such a gift, it's redemption. That’s the word I like to use.
Arwen Becker: Yes, absolutely. So, when you look back on all of these years and everything that you've been through, what would you say are a couple of those things that were the really big key things that you took away from this experience?
Kelly Haney: So, just kind of a very brief summary of me saying, Okay, this is what I've learned. The journey, yeah, it was difficult, but in the end, what I learned was actually pretty simple. It all comes down to how we eat and how we live in terms of our lifestyle, and that is, we need to be eating, lifegiving, nourishing whole foods, we need to not be eating the processed, highly processed junk foods that masquerade as food in our society, and they're not. It's not food, it's toxic to our bodies.
And there's really nothing extreme there at all. People often think, oh, you must be on this crazy diet. I'm like, No, I wasn't in the beginning, but now, I'm not, I just get really, really good choices when it comes to the quality of my food. And then, it's also how we live, it's learning to manage our stress, it's making time for self-care, it's not overworking ourselves, and it's having fun and actually, enjoying our lives and finding gratitude. All these things really add up. And all this is not for just our physical health, this is mental, emotional, spiritual, I mean, they are all intertwined, and we can't ignore any of them.
Arwen Becker: Not at all. And that is so true, I mean, when you take care of yourself in one area, and it ricochets into other areas. And then I have to imagine, the way you were eating also very much benefited positively your husband and your daughter, right?
Kelly Haney: Oh, absolutely, yeah. We all are really healthy now, which I'm super grateful for, because I'm so glad to have learned that when she was so young to be able to get her pointed in the right direction.
Arwen Becker: Right. To appreciate that the basics of food and not the overprocessed, all the things that you and I were talking about, like growing up in the 80s that were acceptable. We need to see the commercial, and it's like, part of a healthy breakfast. You're like, Trix cereal with orange juice and milk and toast. Awesome.
Kelly Haney: And then a soda on the side.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. That was for the afternoon. That was the Capri Sun that was in your lunch. Oh, I think that's so good, that it's so good. And I just know that that's going to really bless a lot of people, because when we go through those challenges, it's how we deal with them, and what we learn on the other side, and then being able to impart that into other people. So, that's so great.
So rapid fire, final three questions. I know your husband as a financial advisor. So, I don't know, maybe he helped you with something. No, I'm just kidding. So, best piece of financial wisdom that you've been given?
Kelly Haney: Yeah, well, I came up with this one on my own.
Arwen Becker: Yes.
Kelly Haney: But he definitely agrees with me, I should say, and because I know this is an issue that, again, is talking about our society and its backwards ways. This is an area, where he sees and I know you see on a regular basis, the advice is just live within your means. It's so simple, but we just don't do it. We're encouraged and essentially bombarded with the opposite suggestions on a regular basis, and then talk about leading to stress and health problems and everything that comes when you find yourself underwater. So, that advice is very meaningful to me. I mean, my husband and I, when we were very young, we made mistakes, just like everybody else that we had to dig out of there. And I just remember feeling like, I don't want this, I don't want to have to dig out of financial issues that I've created for myself.
Arwen Becker: Right, exactly. That's very good, it is. It's so simple, but it's not always easy to do. What about a favorite book, and why?
Kelly Haney: Okay, so my favorite book, this is not financially related, but it's one that I have to recommend, is really, like we just said, it's all connected, right? So, it's In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, and there is actually also a documentary with the same name. And I recommend this book to absolutely everybody, just because if you've been studying health and diet for a decade, or if today's the first day you've really thought about it, read this book, because he's such a gifted writer, and he breaks things down in just such simple ways that really will get you thinking about things that we all need to be thinking about, when it comes to our lifestyle choices.
Arwen Becker: Do you know where you can get that documentary? Is it like on Amazon or Netflix or something? Or do you know?
Kelly Haney: I think it used to be on Netflix. I think it might be on Amazon now. It might not be free on Prime, but whatever. If it's a few bucks, pay it. It’s very good.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, and we'll definitely have the links in the show notes as well. Okay, and then finally, a quote.
Kelly Haney: Okay, so a quote, I love quotes. So, it was hard to choose just one, but this one.
Arwen Becker: Well, if you wanted two, go for it. I like two quotes, too.
Kelly Haney: Well, this one is very meaningful to me. It's attributed to the poet Robert Frost, and it's the only way out is through. And I love that because it's a reminder that this journey is not over, like, every day, we have to choose lots of things, we have to make the right choices to stay on the path and to stay well and continue to grow, and there's no magic pill, there's no shortcuts, we have to go through it.
Arwen Becker: Yep. I love that, so good. So, how can we get a hold of you? Why don't you tell us a little bit more about your blog and any other thing that you want to offer our listeners?
Kelly Haney: Yeah, so my blog is Crazy Health Lady. So, it's CrazyHealthLady.com, and on there, I share my entire story and then I share a lot about what I've learned in pretty good detail, but I also talk about topics including minimalism, simplicity, homeschooling, wellness, in general, and kind of all things related to a lifestyle of wellness. And again, this is just based on things that I've learned along the way and that I found to be effective for myself, and that I really feel can be effective for everyone.
And then, I do have a Facebook page as well, Crazy Health Lady, that you can find the page, and you can actually message me there. I would love to hear from your listeners, anyone who has thoughts, questions, comments, or if you just need that listening ear, please message me, reach out to me. And you can also do that through email, my email is email@example.com. It's my personal email, but please feel free, like just reach out, I'm happy to help.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, it's nice for people to know that they're not alone. And so, honestly, for any of you out there, I think that it would be really important if this is an area that you're struggling in, or you're feeling very alone in, to be able to have somebody who can be that helping hand and that positive word of encouragement and at least help with some resources to be able to direct you as to just what to do tomorrow.
That's the hardest part about any sort of major crisis, health crisis, marital crisis, financial crisis, whatever that might be that we get so wrapped up in down the road, or worrying about things that are going to be days, weeks, months from now, when really all we have is the grace and the energy to deal with today, and do whatever that little small thing is to potentially get us to that point, like you did, or just one day you weren't healed, you didn't wake up in a hospital bed, healed the next day, it was through a series of choices, daily choices over and over, they call it the compound effect. Right? So, that's very, very important.
So, well, my dear, it has been such a joy. And as I said, your husband, nothing like a husband who is the biggest fan of his wife. I mean, he could not have said more wonderful things about you and really said that this story needed to be heard and told. And so, I just appreciate you taking the time, being so honest and open with your journey and what you've been through. And I know that there's a woman out there who needed to hear it, and is going to really inspire her. So, thank you very much.
Kelly Haney: Well, thank you, Arwen. Again, this is a gift to me. So, I'm really grateful for the opportunity, and I'm grateful for what you do on a daily basis and empowering women in such an important area. So, thank you.
Arwen Becker: You're welcome. Thank you.
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