This is a tough post for me to write. Partly out of vanity and partly because I tend to be a very private person. (believe it or not!!)
I have a feeling some of you might not be as excited for my “good news” as I when you actually hear what it is, but I hope that telling my story will inspire you and hopefully help someone along the way.
Although this is an important part of my life story, it is only a small portion of my extremely blessed life story!
This is my journey, and I thank God, Luvy, and my incredibly supportive family and friends. Okay so here goes… **deep breath**
To start from the beginning or high school, I have always eaten whatever I wanted. Oreos, pizza, BLT’s with burnt bacon (because I have never liked the taste of bacon), bags of Doritos, pop tarts, you name it. However, one thing remained the same, stomach pain, bloating, and discomfort. I grew up on The Standard American Diet (SAD), just like most of us did.
(nice to see not much has changed since I was a child…)
Like most people, I thought that pain and bloating were “normal”. Mood swings, acne, and extremely painful cycles were just a part of life. I never considered something might be wrong or off.
Fast forward to college, my stomach issues continued to get worse and worse. I always knew that dairy caused me trouble, but that didn’t stop my ice cream and cheese pizza binges. That was until I got really sick my sophomore year. No more dairy, well lactose anyway. Enter Lactaid. While Lactaid may help some, it didn’t help me. I felt so confused…
(can you pick me out???)
The last year and half of college, I decided to go vegan. This was fine for me, because I never really cared for meat and my Lactaid was tearing me up. There was no transition time, just me jumping right in. Can we say uncomfortable???
I was eating mostly raw foods and my body went into major detox. Acne, bloating, and all the other fun uncomfortable things that come with detoxing. I about threw in the towel, but I started reading more in the Hallelujah Diet book that Luvy had bought me. I decided to stick with it, and a lot of my symptoms went away. However, I still got bloated and I would still get some terrible stomach pains after I would eat. However, my skin never looked better!
Shortly after we were married, my stomach pains got worse after eating and I would sometimes swell up like I was pregnant after eating. I went to a doctor locally, and he said I had acid reflux and gave me medicine. The medicine made me worse, because it had milk in it! I just threw it away and tried to live through it for the next few months.
Finally, I found a wonderful primary care physician that refered me to a GI specialist. It was getting hard for me to eat at this point because I was so uncomfortable. Come to find out, my gallbladder only functioned at 12% and needed to come out. 12%… me? Really? I don’t eat fried foods, I’m not overweight, I didn’t “fit the bill” for having gallbladder trouble! On May 10, 2010, I had my gallbladder removed. Was I happy about it? NO.
The road to recovery was rough. When I ate, I felt like my stomach was burning or being scraped from the inside out. Weight kept coming off of me. One day, physican’s assistant gave me the name of her sister. She was a dietician that specialized in food intolerances. She thought she might be able to help me.
That is when I met Sandra and started the LEAP Program. Basically what that entails is getting your blood drawn. The then test your blood for IgG and IgE reactions to different foods. Foods are then placed into Green, Yellow, or Red categories. Red is a high reaction and green is a safe food. Thankfully, I didn’t have many foods in my red list!!
I also wanted to come off all my medicines that I could too at this point. Since I had lost weight, my birth control pills were making me MEAN. I think it was the loss of weight with the same dosage of hormones. I never reacted well to birth control pills anyway, and we had been looking into natural forms of birth control for a while.
This is when I started Delights and Delectables. Looking back at the foods I was “allowed” to eat, and seeing the odd and weird food combinations I had to make makes me want to gag! Plus, writing Delights and Delectables was great therapy for me… much cheaper than paying someone! :)
Even through this program, I continued to lose weight and have trouble. I was eating plenty, but for some reason my food wasn’t “sticking with me” per say. After tests and a lovely scope, I found out that I had a bad H.Pylori infection in my stomach. My stomach was practically raw, and I wasn’t absorbing much of what I had been eating. Lovely.
I took a ton of antibiotics and swelled up like a balloon, but I was on my way of getting better. At this point I was way underweight, and I had a long road to go….
Looking back, I knew I had gotten too thin, but I didn’t realize how bad I looked at the time. Everyone around me was concerned about my weight loss. The hardest part was acting like I was okay when I was scared to death about my weight. I didn’t want to be that small. I didn’t want to go clothes shopping because I felt like a little girl, but my own clothes were hanging off of me! Also, there was still no monthly cycle happening for me.
After finishing the LEAP program, I was still having some issues, so I got tested for food allergies. Turns out I had several.
It has taken me months to get a hold of all my food intolerances and allergies. I also ended up having to cut gluten out of my diet. I have not been diagnosed with celiac disease. However, I do react to gluten, so I stick with a gluten-free diet. I work with a great team of medical doctors, an acupuncturist/Chinese medicine doctor, and a chiropractor that has helped me to regulate my system.
Sometimes I still have bouts of stomach pain, but NOTHING like I used to! I eat all my foods that I’m allergic to or have an intolerance for EXCEPT for gluten and dairy products. I seem to tolerate everything pretty well.
I so SO HAPPY to report that I have gained over 10lbs, and I’m back to all my old clothes. What is even more exciting for me is that my doctor was able to induce a cycle on me for the first time in over a year!! I know it is really weird to be excited about that, but it is such a good sign for my body!
In many ways, these are just the highlights, and this is only a small part of my amazingly rich life.
I know that I’m not to the end of this journey. There are still problems to tackle and more hills to climb, but I wanted to share my story with you all. I realize that the problems that I have are not the most serious issues a person could have. I feel like there are many women (or guys) who have medical issues and are afraid to come out and talk about it. I want Delights and Delectables to be a place where we can support one another and hold each other up.
I praise God for continuing to see me through this trial in my life. I have learned to lean on him more, and to trust that He will sustain me and take care of me. Sure I still have issues, but I’m giving those to Him too!
I know this was a lengthy post and probably not the “good news” you were expecting! :) I just wanted to finally share some of the struggles I have been going through so that hopefully I could be an encouragement to other people who are going through their own struggles. Besides, I love to celebrate all of life’s little victories with the ones I love… and I do love you all!
Have any of you struggled with health problems or cycle issues?
Can any of you relate to having food allergies or intolerances?