My Journey Monday: Writer Jessica Aspen


Today’s Monday, and I have another writer’s story to share! Jessica Aspen talks about her health issues and journey to Paleo!


So… I’ve been trying to figure out where my journey to Paleo begins, and I realize it’s tough. Do I start with all the childhood ailments? The teen age ailments? The twenty-something ailments? Every year it seemed like I had another symptom of something, but overall I was learning and working and doing okay, wasn’t I?

Well, let’s see. By my twenties I was tired all the time, anxious and depressed. Dealing with chronic migraines, ovarian cysts, acne rosacea, and the ups and downs of a sugar habit. I was also busy dieting my weight higher and higher on a series of low-fat diets that never quite worked.

So where does the event that moved me toward Paleo happen? When did I finally figure out that something might be really wrong?

I’m going to say my journey began that day when I was nearly 200 pounds and pregnant with my first child. It was my fifth month, I was exhausted, barely able to get off the couch, and my blood work came back that I was anemic.

But that wasn’t the scary part. The scary part was that my platelets, the portion of the blood that helps with clotting, were super low. In the 5,000 range. (Normal range is 165,000-145,000). Yes, those numbers are right. That’s the first time someone asked me if I might have Lupus.

I didn’t really know what that was, but I knew enough to say, “No.”

My hematologist, said he thought he knew what I had, but we’d see if my platelets came back up after I had delivered. (They did, but at their highest they stay between 90,000 and 100,000. Still not normal.) He said we could always do a bone biopsy later, and if I had what he thought I had (he wasn’t specific) I could go on Prednisone or have my spleen out. WOOT!

I wasn’t anxious for any of this, so I stuck my head in the sand.

Several years, two c-sections, and one less gallbladder later, I actually had a positive test for Lupus. Now there isn’t a yes or no test for Lupus, this was an inflammation test. By now, I also had many of the symptoms of Lupus. The neurologist very gently told me I’d tested positive, but since my MRI didn’t show any lesions in my brain, she wouldn’t diagnose me. I should…“keep in touch”.

And then she sent me home.

As Dr. House says, “It’s never Lupus.” That was the day I decided I didn’t need a diagnosis.

That was the day I decided there must be some way for me to manage my own symptoms. I tried lots of different diet and exercise methods, including South Beach which was so low carb I had severe headaches. (Now I know I was addicted to carbs and sugar and was having withdrawal.) I was vegan for two years, but the only thing I figured out was that when I ate carbs I got sick. I started cutting out wheat, and soy, and discovered there wasn’t much to eat when you were a wheat free vegan.

Since going (mostly) Paleo last year, I’ve lost twenty pounds, been able to reduce my migraines, and I feel much better. I still have some symptoms, especially when I don’t manage my stress. The second half of 2013 was a doozy! My stress was constant as it seemed life kept throwing me fast balls. I rolled into 2014 exhausted, emotionally drained, and sick. And now my body is back to where I was years ago. Tired. Just plain tired.

Needless to say, when you’re dealing with migraines, chronic fatigue, and other health issues, it makes working tough. Even something I love to do, like staying home and writing. Some days my brain is fogged and I have trouble. I find myself re-reading the same paragraph over and over. And when I’m so tired even sitting at the computer is difficult, I move to the couch, and fall asleep! My “Not Lupus” makes holding a regular job and dealing with regular life unpredictable. When I’m feeling good, things are doable, and when I’m not, I’m riddled with anxiety and stress.

But this time, I’ve got Paleo up my sleeve!

I’ve started the Auto-Immune protocol, and I’ll update you on how it goes. (Just let me recover from giving up the coffee first!)

Have you ever had doctors not diagnose you? What about when you know there’s something wrong, but they give you that ‘look’ and send you home? Have you ever denied you might be sick just because you get the feeling it’s serious? What’s your Paleo story?

About Jessica Aspen

jaspenJessica Aspen always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing spicy, paranormal romance, and twisting fairy tales. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies.

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Jessica Aspen’s non-spammy, new release email please go to:


Thank you so much, Jessica! It’s always great to hear another writer’s story and how they’re taking steps to become healthier!

Inspired? Visit What is Paleo/Primal and Getting Started to start your journey to thrive as a writer! Have you also come to this style of living due to a health condition?



  1. Hi Angela, thanks for having me here as your guest and letting me share my paleo journey. 🙂

  2. Carole St-Laurent · · Reply

    I’m late to comment but I kept open the internet tab so I could read your story, Jessica, and it’s on this rainy Sunday morning.

    I find it so offensive when doctors don’t know what’s wrong with you, and in your case, send you away with a no-diagnosis. I wonder, how do they sleep at night? How do they do not dig in, research, come back with something? Anything? Maybe I’m too harsh and some of them do lose sleep, but from the point of view of the afflicted, it looks like they don’t care. The affliction is outside the realm of their knowledge and it gets swept under the rug.

    Of course, now I’m more educated than ever before in my life. It might make me a tad more poky. (poke, poke, doctor No.)

    Jess, I hope you find health and energy with the AIP. I’ve been on it – unwittingly – for almost a year now, and though I’m still fine tuning some issues, I feel the best now at 48 than ever in my life, There’s hope, girl!


    Hope to see you soon.

  3. Thanks, Carole! I do feel better, I slept through the month of February and now that we’re into March and I’m well into week three of AIP I am making it through most days without a nap. One of the things I get with my symptoms is that I don’t think they are enough to get diagnosed, they’re just enough to be a PITA for me! With many auto-immune issues you need to be very, very sick to get a diagnosis. I just had a whole new round of tests from my allergist, we’ll see if I’m “high enough” to get a diagnosis. Frankly, I don’t really care, but what I would like is a doctor to help me figure out what works for me. I feel like I’m on my own. Luckily there are lots of Paleo blogs and new books to help out on the internet!

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