From a Child of Chernobyl to a Holistic Health Junkie: My Health Story


Lately, quite a few people have been asking me about my path to natural remedies and essential oils, so I figured it would be an interesting topic for a post. There is a lot of personal information here, very vulnerable things, so it is my greatest hope that you will read it with the utmost compassion, consideration, and respect.


Many of you who follow my blog know that I was born and raised in Ukraine, but few connect that to the state of my health. I was born in 1987, not even a year after one of the biggest ecological catastrophes of the twentieth century – the explosion at Chernobyl Nuclear Plant. An event that surpasses any other ecological issue in impact, resulted in establishment of 30 km Exclusion Zone, and subjected millions of people to levels of radiation that were incompatible with health. While the Exclusion zone deserted an area of 30km radius, strong winds dominating in late April blew the radioactive dust way beyond what the government controlled Soviet media disclosed. Actually, the accident that happened on April 26 was not disclosed to the people until early May. On May 1, the Labor Day in USSR, people flooded the streets in light clothing for parades and celebrations, completely unaware that they had radioactive dust settling on their heads the entire time. People should have been told to stay inside, shut all the windows and doors, and take frequent showers. Honesty was not, however, the policy of the USSR.


The capital city of Kyiv where I grew up is mere 134km (two hour drive) south of Chernobyl, and Chernobyl is actually in Kyiv Oblast (an administrative district). So the capital and surrounding areas got hit pretty hard with all the radioactive residue that was flying around in the April winds. Shortly after the explosion there were all sorts of horror movie-worthy occurrences like cattle born with two heads, children born with various mutations and disfigurements, and excruciatingly painful deaths of those firefighters who were sent to put out the reactor fire without any radiation protection.


While not all people in Ukraine got affected to that extent, most were affected some. Lots of immune system issues, respiratory issues, and other conditions became more prevalent in the country. Many of us even had these identification cards that said “A Child of Chernobyl” and entitled us to getting certain medical treatments for free. The car became invalid as one reached the age of 18, which is legal adulthood. Because that is how radiation works, you know – it affects your health until you are 18, and then it leaves you alone. In my particular case, it was my reproductive system that got affected. I realized fairly early on that something was off in my body when at the age of 14 I started having dark hair growth on my upper lip. By the age of 16 it was so bad that my classmates, kind and respectful adolescents as they were, started calling me Bogdan Khmelnytsky (a famous 17th century Ukrainian military leader who sported a luscious moustache). I came back home from school crying every day, bullied for a condition I had no way of controlling. I pleaded with my mom and she took me to an OBGYN who dispensed what sounded like a death sentence at the time: polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The doctor explained that there are many little cysts on my ovaries that affect their functioning and normal hormone production. Because of this hormonal imbalance, namely lacking female hormones and having too much of male hormones, I started developing male pattern hair growth, masculine energy reflected in rigidity, inflexibility, and need to dominate and have the last word, always. It was certainly not a good place to be. They put me on a birth control pill, which is not something I was happy about. I actually tried going off of birth control one time, but the loss of period, intense abdominal pain and pain during intercourse made me crawl back to the doctor who did an ultrasound, said “Oh wow, you have PCOS alright!” (talk about bedside manners), and put me straight back on birth control. I have gone to another doctor after that, and his verdict was exactly the same: you have to stay on birth control. It doesn’t seem to interest any of them in the least that I am not comfortable with taking a hormonal medication, that I’d like to seek alternatives, etc.


Aside from the birth control issue, PCOS comes with a whole host of wonderful effects: the aforementioned male pattern hair growth, irregular and very painful period, acne, weight gain, and mood swings like you’ve never seen before. I have gone through many iterations of treatments for all of those, including a lot of money spent on laser therapy, burning my face off with Proactiv, and unhealthy emotional coping behaviors. Needless to say, all of this became old pretty quickly – especially since it wasn’t bringing about much result. With no help from the doctors I started educating myself. Well, it turned out all the toiletries and products I was using were in one way or another exacerbating my condition. I mean, have you read the labels on your shampoo, face lotion, and laundry detergent recently? So I started looking for natural alternatives: working with herbs, oils, castile soap, and other natural products to at least reduce the toxic load that I was shocking my body with. I also changed up my eating habits and movement regimen. I will share my skin and home care products, movement, and eating regiments in the next few posts.


All id like to share right now that I am feeling much better than I ever remember feeling. Stress level wise, digestive issues wise, with the appearance of my skin, etc. if you are interested in me sharing any other aspects of what I am doing to feel better please don’t hesitate to comment or email with questions.

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