My Journey Toward Health

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.

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(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.  

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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…

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(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!

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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….

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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!

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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?

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45 thoughts on “My Journey Toward Health

  1. Thank you for sharing your story! We all definitely have had our own struggles and it always feels good to know you’re not alone. I’m lactose intolerant and I’ve been tested for celiac. I had a GI doctor tell me that I needed to “handle my stress” and that’s why I was having such stomach issues I could hardly eat. I saw a nutritionist, starting paying attention to what and when I was eating and how my body felt after. Now I eat mindfully and mostly real foods and I feel SO much better!

  2. It is hard to know how much to put on a blog isn’t it? I struggle with this myself.

    I read a bit about your LEAP stuff and thought about it for myself. I feel like a lot of food makes me sick, but I am also under ridiculous stress. I even struggle with elevated blood pressure despite being active, having a fairly healthy diet, and being healthy weight.

    My biggest health issue that is also cycle related: uterine fibroids. To be honest, it is hard to express some of the emotional pain that comes with them. For the vast majority of women they never cause a problem. For me, they have been nothing but a pain in my rear to the point that I take more hormones than I ever thought I would just so I don’t have to be debilitated.

    But to you:

    First off, congratulations on the healthy weight gain. While never being underweight I totally understand the importance of healthy weight and frankly the concern around being underweight. It is a big deal. And getting a healthy cycle often matters greatly to us women.

    There is nothing like feeling like food is the “enemy.” And when it feels like everywhere you got it is making you sick that can be really frustrating. I wish you the best in this journey!

    PS. I LOVE acupuncture. It has saved me in many ways.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about that!!! That sounds painful. It is so hard to decide what to blog or not to blog. I felt such a sense a relief after posting! I can’t say enough about how much acupuncture helps! We need to chat more!

      • Absolutely! Ironically I am trying to get into acupuncturist early this week. I realized it would help out my ankle. 🙂

        But yes, I find it amazingly helpful in balancing hormones as well. Definitely a saving treatment for me.

  3. First of all, a big hug to you for having the courage to write this and share your story. That must not have been easy, because this is obviously a very difficult topic for you.

    I just wanted to say that I’m so happy that you are on the right path and have “given it Up to God”. I cannot imagine the frustration you’ve gone through with all the pain, doctors, and medications, but am glad that worst is behind you. That indeed is “great news”!

    Keeping you in my prayers!

    p.s. no matter how much you weigh, over or underweight, you are gorgeous!

  4. Thanks for sharing your inspirational story of how you’ve dealt with the adversity that you have faced. I’m sure you’ll help quite a few people who may be dealing with some of the same issues!

    I suffered for years with anxiety-related IBS, until I got serious about treating that underlying cause. Tired of feeling sick and tired, as has been said so many times by others. It’s SO nice not to feel at war with your body, isn’t it?

    • It is amazing how so many different issues can affect your stomach! It is amazing when food can actually be medicine and your body can function the way it is supposed to!

  5. Wow I can’t imagine having to go through that. You really have held your faith through it all which is remarkable. I am just glad you are on a healthy road where there is hope to be able to eat how you want to!

  6. shoot. you know i can’t have the dairy stuff! but as long as i stay away from cheese, straight up milk, and icecream, i can eat almost everything else in moderation. thankfully i have you to take me out for “froyo” (sorbet) and watch out for me when people try to get me to eat things like queso dip!

  7. you know how similar we are and i am so thankful that we can support each other through this journey. But what i love more is how GOD gave you strength through it. AMEN to cycles and AMEN to healing! I should check out the LEAP program.

  8. Thank you for sharing! I am so happy that you’re on the road to recovery and that your stomach is feeling better! My fiance’s brother is having similar problems, and the gastroenterologist has been no help so far. I’m hoping that they do some allergy testing and he gets some help soon too! I might show him this post!

  9. I am SOOOOO happy for you girl! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know that it can be helpful to so many people! My brother has Crohn’s disease and I was diagnosed with IBS after high school (although I don’t often have too many symptoms anymore)…so I’m very used to hearing about and dealing with stomach issues. I’m so happy to hear that things are becoming better for you. I know that God will continue to help see you through all of this! 😀

  10. Hi Brittany! First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on your weight gain!! Boy, I can’t imagine going through life struggling with so many stomach issues! But, you are a true warrior! Due to my eating disorder, I, too, got down to a really unhealthy, dangerous weight of 85 Ibs. That was three years ago. Today, I weigh 115 Ibs, and I couldn’t be happier. Sure, the road to recovery was extremely difficult, as I am such a control freak! I couldn’t have done it on my own. It’s only by the love and grace of God, the unconditional support and the outpouring of love from my family and friends that I live today, healthy and happy. I’ve still not had a cycle yet so I’ve dedicated myself to engaging in low-intensity workouts (this is so tough as I just want to hit hard and get my heart pumping!), eating lots of healthy fats, and also taking herbal medicine. My husband and I really want to start a family soon, so I’m hoping that my cycles will make a comeback very soon! However, I recognize that my mind’s overly consumed with thoughts of period and pregnancy, that I have to pray constantly for the Lord to take the wheel. I just repeat Proverbs 3:5 over and over again in my head. I’m so thankful for those words..

    • What a testimony you have girl! I would love to chat more with you! It is so hard waiting for your cycle to come back, and it will. God is in control and HIS timing is perfect. Hard to swallow this at times, but He will never let us down!

  11. I have dealt with health problem and cycle issues. In fact I am going through that now. I had lost a lot of weight (needed to) and had about 55 more to go and for some reason decided that it was going the way I liked so I went on an extrem calorie restriction diet lost the rest then went vegan still on the restriction and now I am trying to stay at the weight I am but i have lots of medical problems because of what I did. I developed disordered eating habbits and turns out most of my vitamin levels, proteins levels, and white blood cells are low. Also because of what I did I have not had a cycle in over a year. So I am no seeing a nutritionist and we are working through it the natural way. I have a long road ahead of me because of how bad I treated my body this past year. I also have had issues with food intolerances. I have known that I have an issue with dairy and thought it was lactose but it turns out that I am allergic to casein. Then I find out I was allergic to eggs. Finding that out really helped me understand why I get pains if I have certain foods because so many thing have eggs in them lol.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Have a great weekend 😄

  12. Brit I am so so happy that your finally feeling better! I’ve been following your blog for awhile and knowing you for as long as I have it was heartbreaking to hear what you were struggling with. I’m glad your getting back on the right track. Its good to know that you have such a wonderful support system and a fantastic husband to be there with you every step of the way! Thanks for sharing your “great news!”

    • Thanks Bobbi Jo! It is so therapeutic to finally talk about it openly, and even more therapeutic to now let my friends know what I have been going through. 🙂

  13. Hey love! I’m so glad you have shared your story. We all have different ones to tell, but there are commonalities within them that help us further connect–if that makes any sense? There is so much more I’d like to chat about than is fitting for a blog post comment….good thing I’m thinking a road trip to Louisville really might happen over the next couple of months…

  14. I can so very much relate! Thank you for sharing!

    I’ve got many allergies & intolerances. Also my body has the tendency to “change” those intolerances around — I mean if I eat too much of one thing I will get intolerant to it. Very annoying and it’s confusing to me too!

    I’ve had anorexia in the past & apart from the torture of having an ED it’s especially not a good idea to get an ED if you have many allergies & intolerances! My body completely shut down on me at that time (about 6/7 years ago) and I still haven’t been able to put the weight back on. I have problems with my liver & pancreas which make it hard for me to digest foods properly – even with medication & food supplements..

    I’m so glad you’re feeling better! You look great too (in that picture on the beach – which is you at the moment I assume :))! Also that wedding picture is so cute!!

    ~Love, Leanne

    • Thanks so much Leanne! I completely understand about intolerances changing. Have you ever tried a rotational diet? Feel free to e-mail me anytime!! I can’t imagine having to deal with food intolerances plus an ED. I’m here for you girl… anytime! xoxo

      • Thanks so much for your sweet response!
        I’ve never tried a rotational diet. I’ve read about it before and I’ve thought about adapting such a diet, but I must admit I’m just to “lazy” to incorporate such a strategy. But maybe I should look into it a little bit more and give it a go 🙂 Have you tried it?

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your story! Big hugs!! xoxoxox I have my own issues, and I know it will be a continually growing experience the rest of my life! Yay for having your cycle again, that is great indicator that things are getting better for you!

  16. Sweetheart! I am in tears right now! Actually bawling my eyes out! I seriously am just so exceptionally excited for you. Despite what you think, this is the best news I could have heard all day. I don’t know you well/in person, but I got the impact from you through reading your blog/you commenting on my blog that you were striving for weight gain AND YOU DID IT!

    I am beyond happy for you. Speechless. God has you in His hands and only wants the best for His Brittany ❤

    I love you

    CONGRATS

    • Thanks Meg! And you just brought tears to my eyes! 🙂 I’m so thankful that God brought you into my life. You are such a source of encouragement to me! Love you friend!

  17. I went through something similar in my early twenties. I grew up eating those same foods (especially poptarts!) but never had stomach problems at all, until last year. All of a sudden, it seemed like EVERYTHING bothered me. I kept a food journal to try and narrow down what it was and I thought it was dairy. But eliminating dairy didn’t help. Food was going right through me as they say, and I dropped 10 lbs fast. My stomach wasn’t absorbing any nutrients! I got tested for Celiac’s as well, but it came back negative. I decided to try a gluten-free diet anyway, especially since the testing for Celiac’s isn’t always 100% accurate, and it’s worked for me. I got back to my normal self, and can enjoy any food except gluten!

  18. Hey Girl! I am behind on my reading. I’ve been struggling all year with being too small with the same feelings you expressed here. I’ve gone to the doc my blood work is perfect, I am so passionate about food so an ED is not the issue plus I’ve been eating like non stop for months now with still no progress. Thank you for posting this! My stomach does weird things too maybe I should look into have allergy testing done.
    Congrats on your weight gain – I hope to be joining you soon.

  19. Wow, what a journey! I am so sorry that you went through all that! That is crazy. I have had stomach problems forever now, and they still don’t know exactly what is wrong. I just call it IBS and I have acid reflux too. I’m glad you are healthy and so much better now. You look great 😀

  20. Such a beautiful post. Congrats on the healthy weight gain!
    I know all about allergies/intolerances – i can’t eat gluten/sugar/dairy/eggs/soy and some other random foods. Luckily there are still a LOT of great foods out there that i can eat – you just always have to be prepared (i always have food in my bag!)

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