Guys…GUYS…how in the world has it been almost a month since I have written? Geez Louise! So much to say, so much crazy happening in our world to keep me from saying it! We survived the frenzy of the last month of school, I turned 38 and went away to a B&B with my long legged lover, I dealt with tremendous physical trials (drama to unfold below), photographed two weddings and one maternity session, there has been much sorrow around us that has required my time and emotional energy and we wrapped up Life group for the summer. Whewwww…. May and October seem to be the months that go by in hyper speed no matter how much you say “no” to and try to simplify.
Lo and behold summer is here and I have three wee ones sun up to sun down so I will continue to juggle my days a little more. We have a wonderful summer ahead of us including visiting my brothers family on the mission field in Costa Rica next month! Can we take a moment and ooooh and ahhhh over my dear friend Kristin. Hands down she is one of my most favoritist people to photograph. She is just nuts beautiful and we have the BEST, most girly time styling and prepping each outfit.
Thank you, thank you, thank you all of you for your sweet comments on the blog, FB, instagram, emails, texts. I had no idea what a chord I struck with so many. I know I’m not alone in suffering for sure but I realize so many of us try to stick a cork on it when we are ready to burst and it takes someone sharing their story to pop that cork! Your trust and candor in sharing your stories with me is humbling. You are on my heart when I read and pray further into this topic. I can’t recommend this book any stronger. I got mine used for $2.00….so worth it!
As I left off not so cryptically I let you know that I am in yet another health battle of epic proportions. If only I could hand out tiny violins to all of you to play while I explain my recent drama. The background music would be so fitting.
On April 8th I was shaking my money maker at Bollywood class at the Y. This is my favorite class hands down. Seriously, SO MUCH FUN and average of 750 calories burned in the hour. NUTS! Anywho…besides the fact I would probably die of embarrassment if someone videoed me from behind I give myself over fully to each and every rhythmic bounce and shimmy. I’ve been doing this class for months so it was weird when about 45 mins in I thought I was going to pass out or vomit or worse. My stomach was a mess and it wasn’t until five mins after we left the Y that I had to have my friend make an emergency stop to McDonalds so I could go…ahem….you know. Praise God for empty bathrooms. No walk of shame needed when exiting. Last post it was Burger King, this one McDonalds. Clearly I am making a strong stance against fast food
By the time we got home I noticed when I took my seatbelt off that right below my belly button I had some acute pain. I mean I couldn’t put any pressure on my skin or it hurt, let alone stand up straight. It was disconcerting but I chalked it up to gas and took Rhett home because I knew he wouldn’t tell a soul what he was about to experience in the car or the privacy of our house. However, hour after hour went by and the pain intensified. After several rounds in the bathroom the pain had not moved down my intestines as I had hoped and I started to get alarmed.
I did what anyone else would do and yet we are warned not to do…I googled it. Hands down, across the board Appendicitis came up. I had 7 out of 10 “signs” and of course each website ends their description with “GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE”. Let me tell you. I don’t run to the doctor for anything let alone the ER. I’ve been around the block for 12 years with stomach issues so I don’t get bent out of shape about my stomach being wonky. However, this was different and I knew it. I called Ryan to run everything by him and let him know I was agonizing over if I should go or not. It’s sad but all I could think of is how much time is involved and our deductible not met. The thought of my appendix potentially bursting was enough for me to just go.
LONG story short. Five hours later, a cat scan, IV fluids and meds, and a bogus diagnosis of…wait for it….stomach flu with intestinal infection (no appendicitis)….I was on my way with my several thousand dollar bill to choke on. This was no flu and I knew it. What began that day was sun up to sun down pain in my stomach like I haven’t felt in years. Diarrhea all day long for WEEKS. I was miserable and had a hard time functioning or attending anything. The couch and I were BFF. I was trying to tough it all out until I met with a new doctor on May 1st for a full body work up. A few days prior to my appt. my friend Bethany said flippantly in a conversation “Don’t be surprised if he suggests gluten free for awhile.” Me in my cynicism and intolerance of all things “buzz word” just rolled my eyes. Isn’t EVERYONE gluten intolerant these days? Or so I thought. Shame on me. I’m thankful she mentioned it. She left my house and I…..googled it! Well jokes on me. My jaw hit the floor after I read articles like this. Debatably I have 9 out of 10 “signs” that chronically or frequently plague me for as long as I have been dealing with my intestinal issues. Never would I have put things like the “chicken skin on the back of arms” and my “PCOS” under the same umbrella. I sent the list to Ryan and he wrote back “It’s like someone did a case study on you!” NOW HERE THIS….. I am not saying I have gluten intolerance…..YET. I’m just saying I had an emotional reaction to reading about gluten intolerance and feeling for the first time that this COULD be the answer to my terrible quality of life. A major dietary shift COULD be my key to conquering what plagues me daily. I was 100% on board with eliminating all things gluten and seeing.
Sadly, the doctors appt. I had high hopes for turned out to be disappointing. I didn’t bat an eye when he diagnosed me with fibromyalsia. VERY typical diagnosis for someone who is gluten intolerant but I don’t think I have it. Yes in the nebulous sense of that diagnosis of chronic pain, bowel issues and fatigue that’s me…but could there be a cure?
Before I went to my doctors appt on May 1st I put myself on a gluten free lifestyle on April 26th. The relentless pain I had gone through for three weeks stopped within three days. I’m listening body…..I’m listening…..let’s do this.
What I did not understand or begin to anticipate is the EXTREME level of detox my body would and continues to go through to rid itself of decades of toxins locked away in the intestinal lining. Some people only detox for a week or so while others can cycle in and out of detox for up to a year. IF I were a betting woman, knowing that my intestines are so severely damaged for 12 years, that’s going to be my story. I spent the better part of May in some of the most excruciating physical, mental and emotional hell I’ve ever encountered. Who knew extracting gluten would tip a domino in my body that hasn’t stopped banging into the next domino. I was a MESS…A MESS PEOPLE! I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t function. I knew eating a loaf of bread wouldn’t stop it. I was committed to this dagnabit….but I was about to lose my ever loving mind.
I also began taking Juice Plus. Something I have had ACTUAL people in my life take for years and see incredible physical and mental healing from. It’s just never been in the budget before. Well while we are at it overhauling our cabinets with food I couldn’t pronounce before…let’s just get the ole Kelster on some JP too. That’s a post for another day. Those who take it are fanatical about it. I hope to be one of them some day. I have high hopes for JP aiding in my journey to heal. We are working up to getting the family all on it. Does anyone want to buy Rhett so we can do this? Kidding…sort of.
I was so overwhelmed at first trying to figure out how to afford a gluten free lifestyle, make time to teach myself how to cook TOTALLY different than I normally do. I typically make Paula Dean proud with the amount of cream based, comfort food I pump out in a week. Don’t worry, there’s a side salad to balance it out! Those around me were so helpful to pass on links and text recipes but I was drinking from a firehose of information and my brain was shutting down. I was so fragile due to detoxing that I would just open the cabinets and cry trying to figure out what to do.
I grew up in a home that didn’t eat fresh vegetables….that’s just the way it was. You want peas? Grab a can and open. Don’t forget the butter and salt! I had never eaten kale or brussel sprouts in my life until just recently. It’s humbling to say at almost 40 that you don’t know how to cook common vegetables or what something tastes like that you’ve passed in the produce department your whole life. The problem with me is I am a food snob. I don’t want to buy it or eat it unless it will be full of flavor and I know I haven’t wasted time or money. Browsing Pinterest for gluten free recipes couldn’t guarantee I would like it. I’m so thankful for my Juice Plus distributer. She goes to my church and is passionate about seeing people come to full holistic health through diet, nutrition and Jesus! She actually opened up her house for a few of us JP clients and did a cooking class. I was thrilled. I am such a kinesthetic learner and I want to TASTE first. So this was the lottery for me.
I fell long and hard for my new food BFF…quinoa. Never had it in my life. Now I want to make out with every bowl I see.
I was also gifted the BESTEST EVER cookbook by my friend Sarah for my bday. This has been the KEY to me getting organized in my pantry and focusing my energy on just her recipes at this time. Let me tell you. I make at least one recipe a day and they are not just good but a virtual party in my mouth delicious! ( I haven’t gone vegan but we are definitely eating much less meat and by default of the recipes hardly an ounce of dairy or refined sugar!)
I am still “detoxing” but the intensity and the frequency are starting to space out. I mean who has two thumbs and has had her “monthly time” THREE TIMES in the last 37 days….this girl. A hormonal wrecking ball I am….BUT… I can see small windows of a few days where I have more energy and my ability to concentrate and be present is SO MUCH better. I feel like the little engine that could.
I am becoming a more confident cook as well. I am surprising myself how I can time manage better and also how many things my kids are eating now that are super dooper healthy and I don’t have to threaten them to get them to swallow it. That’s how tasty these recipes are. Even Ryan has jumped on board with me and is eating things I never dreamed he would put down his mouth.
So here we are at the beginning. I still have a long, long, LONG way to go. Gluten has a half-life every 90 days. My intestines are sick, very sick now for 12 long difficult years. I’m in it for much more than this 90 days. I am trying to adopt the mindset that this is the way I need to eat permanently. I would be shocked if I am not gluten intolerant. In the fall I will add some gluten back in for a few days to see what sort of reaction if any I have. I am really giving myself a full year for results because I think I need to be realistic from the starting place I am at. I’m hoping once detox ends that the weight will also start to come off. So far just a few pounds but the more I understand about how the gut works its no wonder my body is holding on to its “protective layer” so hard and fast. Go easy on advice on this. I am giving you a very broad stroke of the last few months but I have had much counsel, much reading, much praying, much crying, much pleading, much relenting of old ways to get here. Know that there is more to these decisions than I have space/time to write. I’ll take your encouragement though!
So there it is…..I’m still in “it”…I’m just not over my head like I was in April and May. To end this let me quote Catch Me if you Can.
Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse.
and I hope I am! I hope next May I am obnoxiously in your face having crawled out of the bucket with new found health and quality of life. Time will tell but this is my path.