Exercise & Fitness

Jennifer Plas: 5 Lessons from My Journey

You might know Jennifer Plas from her cute and sassy Shawnee Mission Kia commercials on TV. You might not know about how she overcame quite a few difficulties in her past. Read on…

{1} You Are Not the Disease.You Are So Much More!

Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Being diagnosed with any type of disease is a party no one wants to be invited to. When I was diagnosed, you didn’t see commercials every two seconds on television about this disease. I had no idea what I was up against. However, I realized I was at a crossroads. As Andy Dufresne said in “The Shawshank Redemption,” get busy living or get busy dying. Even though I feared not being able to take care of my family or myself, I made a pact that I would never let this disease control me. I would set my goals high in life and never let any disease get in my way.

{2} Take Your Health into Your Own Hands.

I’ve had my ups and downs. My worst was in February 2012. My body had an adverse reaction after I discontinued a medication. By April, I had a flare-up, along with other symptoms that included dry mouth, chronic uterine bleeding, migraines and acid reflux. Doctors wanted me on a drug for every symptom. My poor husband looked me in the eyes as lovingly as possibly and said, “You look sick.” He was right.

Even though I decided long ago not to give into my disease, I had to acknowledge that it was there and prominent. However, I believe God did not intend for our bodies to live life sick. I refused to give in to the fact that I would slowly decline in health and live on medication. So, under a medical professional’s care, I decided to forgo the medication route and attempt to heal my new symptoms through alternative means. I knew deep down my body was smarter than all this, but it was up to me to make the change.

{3} Create Your Own Little Greenhouse.

I started a strict plant-based, gluten-free diet. I juiced two times a day and ate whole foods at night. Other ways I healed my symptoms were weekly chiropractic care with Dr. Amanda Campbell to fix my spine and whole-body communication along with aquatic physical therapy and Ai Chi with physical therapist Scott Hankins. I also drank alkaline water daily, walked in the sun, meditated and prayed, had an early bedtime, enjoyed coffee enemas (sense the sarcasm?), detoxed with raindrop therapy, drank keifer water, soaked in Epsom salt baths, took supplements and much more.

Within three months, I was relieved of migraines, heart burn, dry mouth, regulated my menstrual cycle, lost 30 pounds and gained so much energy. It’s not easy as a working, married mom of two to take so much time for myself, but I had no other option. Thank God for my amazing husband, Joe, for encouraging me and being the best father and partner I could ask for.

{4} You Are Not Alone.

One thing I highly recommend is research. Many of us live in silence embarrassed about our health. We fear people will treat us differently because we are “sick.” However, there is a whole slew of people in our world who have healed themselves of disease. Please note, I’m not suggesting medical doctors are never needed. I love my rheumatologist, Dr. Ann Warner. She encourages me to take care of my body the best I can but is there to suppress my disease while my body heals. If you are sick, in any way shape or form, please know you are not alone. You are not hopeless. You can get better. I mean that with all my heart.

{5} Hold Your Goals Close to Your Heart.

The process of healing your body isn’t a quick fix. It takes a lot of dedication and education. I’m not perfect. I still I have lots more growing and healing to do, but each day I try to be accountable to my goals. I have experienced how making healthy choices can heal your body and improve your life. Know you are not your disease, that you do have control, and know you are never alone. Here’s to health, love and light!

“5 Things” features a Kansas Citian who takes a leap of faith by setting a goal, pursuing it with passion and accomplishing it with class. To recommend someone (maybe yourself!), contact Katie Van Luchene at [email protected]