Getting Sober For Her Skin with Janine Begley
Episode 1026th November 2022 • Dr. Body Mind Soul • Jude Galea
00:00:00 00:36:56

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Dr. Jude Galea:

Welcome back to the doctor body mind soul podcast. My name is Dr. Jude. And this is a podcast which explores how we can integrate modern medicine and alternative therapies to help you get the holistic health care that you deserve. I will be speaking to healers and seekers, researchers and authors who will share their experiences and the evidence to help guide us all to Holistic Health. Let's do this. So this is a secret story with Janine Begley who is sharing her journey with Lichen Planus. Like in plain This is a rare chronic inflammatory disease which affects the skin and it's thought to be autoimmune in nature. The trigger for outbreaks are unclear and maybe viral. And this podcast is by no means to replace medical advice. Please see a dermatologist if you've been diagnosed with this condition. But we are sharing Jeanine story to give hope and inspiration to anyone suffering from a similar disease and who wants to explore a more holistic approach. So Janine, you were diagnosed with like complainants in 2019. And this diagnosis radically changed your life. Can you explain to our listeners how that all occurred for you?

Janine Begley:

Yeah, I do. Yeah, it was quite quite a wake up call, to say the least. Basically, yeah, my I started to get little tiny spots that were occurring all over my skin. And then there was one major one that was on sort of my torso area. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. But we were on holiday, it was quite hot. I figured maybe it was something to do with the sun. And obviously, it was quite strange, because it's really relaxing time of my life being away on a beautiful Greek island. So yeah, it was just quite strange. But holiday came to an end. And as I came home, it continued and they just kept spreading more and more. So I went to the doctor's first port of call obviously. And she couldn't really sort of say exactly what it was gave me some topical steroids sent me on my way, but I couldn't keep up with on you know, with with putting the cream on the stairs, on the spots. It was it was just they were just coming too thick and fast. At this point, it started to get really scary. Just because it felt like I was wearing a blanket stinging nettles constantly over my torso, the lower half of my arms around my sacrum and all down my legs. It was just horrible, continuous burning. So yeah, it was just a bit of a losing battle with the cream. So I went back and spoke to her again. And she was having really real trouble identifying what they were. At this point. Obviously my skin's darker. I'm mixed race. So in a rural, slightly more rural, quiet doctor's surgery in North Devon, it was a little bit bit more tricky. I guess she hadn't seen it on my skin. So one way I get when again, came back, and it was rife really, really bad now and what was really terrifying for me was that my skin's always been like my main, I suppose my main beautiful part of my body. I've loved my skin. It's it's a lovely soft texture. It's lovely in color. It's been complimented upon by numerous people in the past, and it was like a slap in the face. And it was just horrible. absolutely awful. So I went to see a different doctor. And actually this this doctor was a friend in sort of kind of outside of her workplace. And I was just in tears absolutely in tears. And she she said right, I think what we need to do is just get you on some oral steroids give you a chance to kind of catch a breath. See where you are. So we did that. And it was it was great. I felt a sense of relief. She also suggested that she thought it might be like an plainness at that point but wasn't 100% Sure. Speaking to her a week later, it was definitely that that she diagnosed me with. But what struck me again, when I left with the medic, the medicine I came out of the chemist and I had boxes of topicals oral steroids. I had like a stomach, stomach tablets and macros all I believe, and I had some calcium tablets. So I had this huge bundle in my hand and I was feeling really grateful that I can have something that would stop it but I was absolutely shocked at the amount I had and tablets to offset the steroids. So my mind started wearing at that point I'm thinking this is great, but I'm not sure how sustainable this feels for me. So I started on them. And that was great. Because within, I think within the week, exactly as she said, I caught my breath. I felt like I could, I could suddenly breathe. Like I wasn't continuously itching. I wasn't continuously stressed. I just felt a real sense of calm, which was so needed at that point, I'm not wasn't sure how sustainable taking the steroids was going to be for me. It just felt that it was a lot of medication. And yeah, I needed to kind of take charge in a way. But how could I do that? Because I was at a place where I knew the meds were working. But I knew what the other side felt like. So it was kind of, yeah, quite a thing to take on. But I felt like there must be options. So I did a few things. I decided that I could look at my diet, and potentially that could have an effect. What was I eating? What was I putting in my body? I was drinking a lot of alcohol at this time. And it had gotten to the point alongside being a busy wife, busy mother. busy at work, running my own business, it was all a lot. And I don't think I'd even realized how much it was until my skin screamed at me. It was yeah, it was it was almost too obvious to ignore in a way it was. It really did feel like a symptom of something so much bigger. Yeah, I couldn't ignore it.

Dr. Jude Galea:

And I know that and, and you couldn't ignore it. No. Ignore it. You, you address your diet. You cut out alcohol, which I think we'll touch on a little bit later on. And I know that you actually went to go and see, coach.

Janine Begley:

That's right. Yeah. So

Dr. Jude Galea:

what kind of spurred you on to see a coach at this stage, because it's not often discussed or talked about that coaches really help you manage physical illness. And so I'm just really curious about what led you to, to do that?

Janine Begley:

Sure. There was a couple of points of real magic in that actually. So I started to follow her on Instagram through my sober journey. She was, you know, sometimes you just see people on those platforms that you vibe with you connect with, you can see yourself in them. And I can very much see myself in her and her story. So I followed her. And it was it was an amazing experience, actually, the whole using of Instagram because I changed it entirely, to feature sober accounts when I was quitting. And that's how I did it. I read and I used Instagram. So it was like a little pep talk every day, she used to crop up. And then I see realized that she was offering coaching. Prior to this, I've been speaking to my mom, who was incredible through all of this, but had kind of been watching from the sidelines, everything that I've been going through. And then one day, I've gotten all too much on top of the skin and everything else. And I remember just sobbing into her chest that I couldn't do it anymore. I remember saying I can't do it anymore. I can't take this anymore. It's too much. And then I'd spoken about this lady and what she kind of offered. And we spoke mum and I spoke properly about it. And I, for a moment thought, this is something I could actually do. And I said to mum, all the money that I spent on basically killing myself, I could redistribute into something that I can really help nurture myself with. Like I haven't worked with anybody or for anybody. For 10 years. I've had two kids on top of that. I'm running the home, being wife and doing all of that stuff. But I haven't been working with anybody who's provided any feedback, guidance, anything. Either be at work, or personally I haven't even had anybody to talk to for the last four or five years that I've been working on my own. So how incredible to be able to work with somebody who can do that for you, when you're trying to do it all by yourself and to see all of that off it was, it's kind of game changing like anybody who was self employed, struggling, feeling a little bit lost. I can't Yeah, I can't, I can't say how much coaching really did change that, it really made a huge difference.

Dr. Jude Galea:

So by hiring this coach you she helped you do what he helped

Janine Begley:

me identify where my feeling of stuckness was coming from. So I was feeling really stuck, really uninspired. She helped me see really the root, that's what I find so interesting about all of all of this symptomatic stuff. There's a deep rooted reason, and it's often from long ago, and there's layers and layers and layers of other stuff on the top of that, that create a manifest disease, exactly, as you said. And I remember coming across that as, as a term early on, and it blew my mind. It's so simple. But disease, that's exactly what it is.

Dr. Jude Galea:

And I think this is super interesting to explore and gather, Marty really references this sort of way of thinking that, you know, the root, as you say, of these symptoms, are often much more deep seated, and often traumatic. And a coach really can help uncover who you are beneath all of the noise, and the expectations, the roles that we find ourselves in that we often fall into. So it's really lovely to, for anyone who's never really used a coach or is unclear about how coaches operate. I've used several in my life, and I have found them to be so supportive in my own journey for bringing me into alignment. And I think that it's a missing often a missing piece that we don't often discuss in the healing, healing journey, especially when we're talking about physical symptoms. But as a as a support for really allowing you to get to the heart of you. A coach is a wonderful ally.

Janine Begley:

Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. Yeah, she was. She was integral, absolutely integral to the whole thing, really, because that's what allowed me to start understanding myself and allowing to be myself. Yeah, and to work out why, you know, to work out the whys. That was what and you mentioned, Gabor, Marty, he was also a huge player in my healing, reading his work, understanding trauma and addiction. Actually, you know, we, we put all of that down to really massive stuff to you know, like, our, it's terrible. But actually, we've all got it, all of us have gotten a little bit of that behavior going on within us, but it just looks different.

Dr. Jude Galea:

I completely agree. And actually, I just want to highlight that, you know, you say you were drinking a lot and, and you were very functional. You know, you were, as you said before your wife, another business owner, and I think we are many people within our society, socially drink a lot and often more than the recommended daily amount and is often a coping mechanism or it can be a coping mechanism for us to numb the misalignment that we have in our lives, it becomes easier to cope with, when we are less aware of how jarring our life actually feels. So alcohol is 111 device that we can turn to that some people turn to but also there are so many others as you're talking about, as you mentioned, like news, media work, all sorts of things that we turn to to numb us from ourselves. Because actually, if we really got intentional who really got clear with who we are and who we want to be so often, it feels too jarring.

Janine Begley:

Yeah, sure. It really does.

Dr. Jude Galea:

And that's what you really noticed, isn't it when you got sober you really noticed the malalignment in real life which led you to seeking a coach who helped you to live in alignment.

Janine Begley:

Absolutely. I was bizarre because I wrote down a little timeline of I was trying to think about what exactly this journey looked like for me. And I remember going back on my phone looking in all the pictures to see when about it was that I was diagnosed. And it all the photos before that were just kind of the kids, you know, day out here, you know, something that just boring kind of regular photos and photos, I've noticed there was hardly any color. And then when I quit drinking, and I was on the skin journey, this so many pictures of nature, like I, I clearly through my back myself back out into nature, and I noticed tiny little things, tiny details in life, the color that pops up, after I quit drinking on my camera roll. Honestly, it's insane. It's it's so much more present so much more present, like, absolutely everything was mind blowing, I'd forgotten how beautiful life is, you know, just as it is, it doesn't need any other stuff. Like when you just intentionally place yourself back there and notice and be present with it. It's mind blowing, mind blowing.

Dr. Jude Galea:

And just to what was happening with your life and playing this I saw you didn't give it given up drinking. See that is a huge physical and emotional and psychological will have all impacts on all of those domains. So I can really notice a new change in your diet. Again, to be more intentional with what you were eating, and you'd started seeing a coach. So what was happening with your like completeness at this point.

Janine Begley:

So at this point, I was decided to taper off the steroids. So I really wanted to come off them. So I was feeling quite strong. I was feeling like I'd done like I was doing other things that were making me feel different. Like in my own bodies, I wasn't feeling stressed. I was able to kind of make a plan I'd been offered. Also a light therapy treatment, which I wasn't sure how effective that would be. But I figured give it a go. But it involves traveling quite a big round trip to go and have done three times a week to stand there literally in a booth for a minute. Which felt odd. But anyway, I did it. And I decided to do that at the same time as tapering off the steroids. So I made basically I made a plan. So I did that so as to tell the steroids became less, I was having a bit more intensive like treatment, and then we were coming into summer as well. And I was doing all of the other things, just trying loads of different things to chill myself out. Honestly, I was saying that's all it all it was I was doing things like Gong baths, I was doing more yoga, I was trying to meditate. I say trying, just practicing. I'm no great meditator but just being present and more still and karma and in my body. And then yeah, I came out of the other side kind of off the steroids. And I remember feeling quite exposed. Concern concerned, worried. And every little itch I was like an every time it was just an itch. And it's literally just been an itch since the summer of 2019. And I haven't had any other medication. I use an incredible cream. I'm too scared to stop using just because it was the best cream I found is called balneum. And it was like an anti itch cream that the dermatologist recommended and I get that on prescription. And it's lovely and easy to use as always Dreiser In fact, that's one thing I should have done plenty more of when I was younger, moisturize. And yeah, I don't have I think I've got one tiny, pinhead sized lesion on my leg currently. And that's it.

Dr. Jude Galea:

So I really love hearing it or is it a real integrative approach? So it was using the steroids in order for you to just gain a bit of control, get a bit of relief allow you just to come out of the panic and the confusion and the discomfort of having this rash. And that then could allow an exploration of a much deeper exploration of you know, what is going on? Why is this happening? And using, you know, allowing that exploration to occur alongside the use of steroids to use cream to use light therapy. And using everything combination that I think is really supportive. So what's the one thing you wish you'd known when you were diagnosed with Lichen Planus,

Janine Begley:

I wish that I'd known that you have an option to not stay on steroids. I wish I'd known that, whilst maybe many people will say that you can't be cured of it, that you will always have it. For me, I was under the impression that my body was attacking itself and that that was going to continue. Regardless, I wasn't given much hope that I that I can have it different, to be fair, and then when you do start looking around for information, obviously, most people tend to find Google or forum. And what you find on forums and Google is many, many people suffering and struggling. So not many stories of success, but more, you know, discussions of Yeah, of distress and, and discomfort and disease and what people are trying and this that the other and it can actually create more anxiety. For me anyway, it felt like that. And I wish I'd known that there aren't that you can do it. We do have it all within us. But we have to be prepared to go a little bit lower than topical steroids.

Dr. Jude Galea:

You said that you felt you know you were doing things like Gong baths and yoga and meditation to feel more relaxed. In my personal experiences only having done those therapies I had, I realized how stressed I'd been. So which I which is just taken so for granted. And we sort of can find ourselves going through life in this state of chronic stress that we don't even realize we're carrying until a diagnosis for example, like you experienced that actually stops us in our tracks that forces you to slow down. Do you feel like does this is that does that ring true for you, that you or did you feel that you were Did you know how stressed you were before this all happened?

Janine Begley:

I had absolutely no idea. And I do remember clearly saying to friends after after it all lifted, and I started to feel more peaceful. I remember saying to friends that I was existing in this period in this sort of bury, you know, barrier of stress right at the top here. And I was living all the way out there all the time. And of course, if you live there for long enough, you know, no different. So that is normal to you. If that is what you know. And I was one of those people I'm really busy. I can't I'm just really busy. I'm really busy. And you don't know you're doing it because you're there. You're just busy doing it. And then suddenly, when you are forced to Yeah, come out of that zone, you realize there's a whole different zone. And in fact, I think the pandemic in some way gave that back to many people. You know, that force of being switched off back down into the home went into your normal everyday life, nothing going on. It was it's kinda like that, like, Oh, what's this? Like, I didn't know this was here.

Dr. Jude Galea:

Yes, yeah. I think a lot of people can really relate to that. And I think I don't want to labor the point too much because it's not I'm not I'm actually not a teetotaler. But I think that we can, as I say, said before us all sorts of manner of manner of ways to manage our stress that we don't realize that we're carrying like because we're in the zone, and we've always actually been in the zone. So to cope with being in that zone, we maybe buy too many things online, we drink probably too much. We zone out on our phones, we zoned out on Netflix, for far too long. That's actually healthy, but it's the only way that we may know of to actually Come on nervous systems down just a bit to tolerate being in that zone.

Janine Begley:

Yeah, it's a very clever thing we do, you know, naturally find a coping mechanism. And that was one thing as well actually, with the, with the quitting drinking and, and on that point, just allowing yourself to not feel guilty, letting go of the shame of that too. Like, if you do realize that you scroll too much that you shop too much that, you know, you like having sex too much that you whatever you do a little bit too much is your coping mechanism. It's okay. Like you can let go of that shame. But there's better stuff on the other side.

Dr. Jude Galea:

We know that actually that chronic stress is relating to inflammation. And inflammation is becoming increasingly highlighted to be so key to so many disease processes that are going on in our bodies. So it makes total sense that when we're living in this zone of stress that we take for granted that we don't really pay attention to that we've just learned to cope and manage, in suboptimal ways, manage. And we do it because we don't even know it's bad for us. We're doing it, because it's the way that we that we cope. But it's probably a really, you know it in some ways, Janine I don't know if you would agree with me, but like, perhaps it was a gift really, that that your skin really broke out in the way it did. to force the pair to to force you to pay attention and redress your whole life to bring you out of that zone adopt so much healthier. coping strategies to not just not, you know, not just survive your life because Janine now you really thrive in your life. Can you tell the listeners because it's really amazing to to see you live this new life that that we get to do on Instagram. It's really inspiring, actually.

Janine Begley:

Thank you. Yeah, I just yeah, 100% is a gift. It has been the biggest gift it really has, like I I feel like those zone from when I was in my late teens in all honesty, up to my late 30s, where I was just existing just in that zone of doing all that stuff. And you're right, the inflammation is real. Like if you are producing that much cortisol and all the time to you know, cope with just your life, just your every day, it's going to inflame the hell out of you. So I'm not surprised I blew up like a bomb. Really not. I'm really not. But it's been the biggest gift. And what's happened on the other side of that is that I've remembered my inner child and she's wild. And I found her again. And yeah, it's been amazing. Like, yeah, just doing stuff. That was fun. When I was a kid, I think, simply that's all we've got to do. We do. Like I, I often look at sheep and I say, Oh, they're so boring. And then you look at lamb lambs of fall of life. But similar to a human that kind of gets fun gets absorbed out over the time. And we just need to go back to that inner lamb. And,

Dr. Jude Galea:

and yeah, do that through mountain biking. Paying and just really looks like you have embraced the power of play.

Janine Begley:

Yeah, I just move a lot. Now I just do a lot of movement. Things started as just a bit of fun in the garden. I remember doing it as a kid and then put some music on and it just got really cool and fun. And yeah, like obsessively. Yeah, you can just have so much fun with it. I've got some roller boots. So I'm going to skating again. And then the mountain biking journey started. Which kind of came out of nowhere. I used to kind of hang out with the BMX boys and stuff when I was a lot younger. I must have taken a lot of stuff in just watching. I did a bit of stuff, but kind of I don't know the kind of teenage anxieties kicked in, so I didn't bother doing a lot of it then. But I didn't have any of that now I've shed all of those anxieties and I've really feel like a sense of it's now never so yeah, I don't have a lot of fear. The fear is gone and I'm just throwing myself I've done stuff with some control. And mostly getting away with it and having some fun.

Dr. Jude Galea:

So okay, that's so key. I think so. And so what advice would you give someone who has just been diagnosed with Lichen Planus?

Janine Begley:

My advice would be, to get to as much as possible to get back in touch with yourself to have a look. And don't discount anything that may comes come up for you as trauma, things that you might have been through in the past something in your life. That doesn't sit right, something's not sitting, right, you're not in alignment somewhere. So how can you really take a step back? And look at where you are existing how you are existing? And what can you do to take back the power that you do have within you to become more whole again, I really do believe that like a lot of autoimmune dis ease that people have is that jarring that out of alignment of body and mind. And we have to be brave enough to look, look at it to look at our behaviors to look at what we're doing on a day to day basis. How happy are we? Because the body tells so many truths, it really does. And it has a way of getting our attention, like you wouldn't believe. And anybody who's had an or has an autoimmune condition, I'm sure can relate to that feeling of being made to pay attention to sit up and notice. So my advice would be what's it trying to tell you? Listen to it. listen intently, it's telling you something. And in there are the answers. Because everything else you will base all of your other decisions on that. Should I continue on steroids? Should I just try some different creams? Should I go and book that weekend retreat? Should I go and have a massage? Or should I just go and take the dog for a walk down the beach? Instead of sitting here on my phone? Those kinds of things. Just question yourself, because you have the answers.

Dr. Jude Galea:

And hire someone for example, a coach who can really support you, yeah, decisions because we can be so out of touch with what we want or need. We may have ignored for all of our lives, which may have got us into a situation that we perhaps are in and GABA Mati talks a lot about the immune system and it representing our sense of self. So I think when there is an autoimmune challenge, actually taking the time to really look and examine your sense of self and who you are. Underneath all the shoulds is actually a really important step. So I really love I really love that you've said that. And what are the best resources that have helped you along the way?

Janine Begley:

The best resources a good dermatologist to start with was was key. You know, somebody who could diagnose it, look at it. Yeah, just provide those kind of instant relief. That was That was great. And the creams I had no idea about the creams. That's been wonderful. Aside from that, I'm the coach. Absolutely hiring a coach was was integral. It really was she was just amazing. Like, exactly as you said, she asked the right questions, which then allowed me to continue asking myself good questions as we've gone along. And just doing things that interest you again, getting back like getting back to you. What is it that lights you up listening to the soul? Listening to the soul, we all we all have one and it's trying to get our attention all the time, but life gets in the way, but

Dr. Jude Galea:

sometimes we ignore the whispers and so the body needs to scream. Yes. And I think that I think that that's what really drew me to your story. Janine is that You really did take a body mind soul approach to this diagnosis, and really took it as an invitation to get curious about yourself, and why this may have happened to you. And then you really took action, you really took action and you did change your diet and you stopped drinking and you started reconnecting with what it was that really lit you up, and started living from your soul's from from your soul, you know, that's what that's what it means when you're living to light yourself up is that you're living from your, from your soul, soul's calling in that space. So, thank you so much for sharing your secret story. I think it really speaks to using a holistic and integrative approach. There's a place for all of it for the use of steroids for the use of creams for changing your diet for looking at your biases for looking at your stress, and and then really paying attention and taking action. So yeah, I really hope there that if there are any listeners who are struggling with an autoimmune condition, and want to adopt a more holistic approach to that, that they listen to your story and find some real inspiration. And if you if you want to get inspired and check out Justin's Instagram, where can we find you on Instagram Janine?

Janine Begley:

Oh, thank you. I'm Janine, underscore Nya, which is nga IO. I'm sure you've already

Dr. Jude Galea:

put the link to it. I will do I will do nd so

Janine Begley:

much. It's been a pleasure to share my story with you. Thank you so much for asking me.