Sunday, May 7, 2017

My Celiac Symptoms...putting the puzzle pieces together...

Because some of you asked…
The day I went to the ER with left side pain.
Can you see why no one took me seriously?
Once again felt like I was crazy. 
For the last 4 years I have struggled badly with random ailments increasing in intensity. This is what spurred me to keep searching for a root cause despite numerous doctors failing to find anything, and the implication that this was “all in my head”.  Looking back on my life since I entered puberty, I see small signs that perhaps this was an issue for the majority of my adult life and even back in high school. The science is still somewhat vague on the complex subject of gut health and celiac.
I don’t pretend to be a medical professional. I’m just sharing my experiences, hoping that if you have a lot of the same unexplained issues it might point you toward your gut and perhaps healing. From my research online, in books and around talking with people around me I have found, celiac or gut dysfunction can present in many different ways.  I am still learning about this and have experienced a lot of trial and error on my journey. I hope that sharing it can help others get help faster than I did.

Symptoms I have experienced:

1.      Brain fog and dizziness ( not vertigo but feeling continually like I’m buzzed) and unable to focus    without concentrating extremely hard.
2.       My eye wandering and causing me to see double. ( I had this since childhood and it always is worse when I’m tired; but its not a classic “lazy eye” diagnosis; it ebbs and flows but has been very prevalent in the last 4 yrs)
3.       Feeling like my eyesight is failing; esp at night driving but not finding any change in prescription upon examination
4.       Constipation (life long)
5.       Moderate to severe lower back pain (life long)
6.       TMJ
7.       Headaches…a few migraines
8.       Anxiety
9.       Insomnia
10.   Stomach burning; pain; bloating; gas that could clear a room; pain that wouldn’t stop unless I laid out flat on my stomach (has gone on for years; just thought it was normal from eating junky foods; also I would say that stomach pain is like the frog in the pot…it increases gradually and you deal with it day in and day out until you don’t notice it too much; I would’ve said I don’t really have much stomach pain but having just small improvements at times over the last months has shown me I absolutely did!)
11.   Left side, upper under the ribs stabbing and on going for months at a time and then subsiding (this was bad enough to send me to the ER at one point…where they pronounced me fine except for colitis…gave me an antibiotic and sent me on my way; even at this point my GI dr didn’t find it alarming and sent me to my OBGYN assuring me it was a cyst problem)
12.   Weak, flaking nails
13.   Dark circles and puffy eyes even with enough sleep
14.   Chronic fatigue
15.   GERD, acid reflux flares (this feels like there is a lump in my throat and sometimes like its swollen up down there and hard to swallow)
16.   Chronic dry mouth
17.   Fluctuating weight
18.   Leg cramps
19.   Joint aches and pains
20.   Extreme neck and shoulder pain
21.   Irritability
22.   Loneliness and isolation
23.   Panic attacks
24.   Depression (attributed to post partum; major life event: moving)
25.   Loss of interest in activities
26.   Obsessive thinking
27.   Burning in foot joint
28.   Tingling in arms and hands; arm falling asleep often at night
29.   Hemorrhoids (figured that was just from having babies)
30.   Irregular heartbeat
31.   Sinus pressure and increase in seasonal allergies
32.   PCOS: lots of ovarian cyst starting after the birth of my first child; an un-resolving cyst in my  fallopian tube and continuous pain resulted in my having a full hysterectomy in 2015.
33.   Suggestions of insulin resistance
34.   Failure to metabolize estrogen well
35.   Canker sores  in my mouth
36.   Tooth issues: crazy bizarre infections that would not heal and stumped my dentist and oral surgeon
37.   Adrenal fatigue
38.   Off and on cycle of vaginal yeast infections
39.   Uncontrollable carb cravings
40.   Teenage acne that was BAD!
41.   Toe nail infections

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Letter to My Body

As I keep dealing with the process of healing from celiac one day at a time, I am actually doing a lot of personal growth too. If you've read my other posts this is pretty obvious. Anyway, I was inspired by my new friend  Kristina at the blog:  MsModify. She wrote a letter to celiac in her first year of dealing with her diagnosis. I was intrigued by this idea. But I realized today that I didn't want to write a letter to celiac, it was actually my own body I needed to write a note to. So I did. I'm sharing it here...because


why the hell not! I'm in this deep with my transparency, I might as well! ha! Maybe it will help someone, somehow. If it doesn't interest you, then don't read it. : ) Hugs to my sisters out there!

May 3, 2017
A Letter to my Body
Dear Body,
Boy, we’ve had a rough go lately! One thing after another and this celiac thing is really hitting us hard. I am constantly amazed at how you were designed and how you keep functioning with so much going wrong in you. I want to tell you I am sorry for treating you so poorly most of our life. I didn’t know what I was doing to us. I didn’t know how you worked and I didn’t ever stop to think about what hurts you. I am sorry for that and I’m really proud of the way you have kept me going all these years and grown and birthed 3 beautiful babies on top of it. You didn’t let me down after the hysterectomy surgery either, you keep on trucking despite your dismal lack of hormones and despite the bizarre foods I have put in you, and despite the big holes in your intestine and lack of villi. I’m sorry it took me so long to arrive at this place of understanding what gluten does to you. Who would of thought you could be so confused, and tricked into hurting your own self!? It’s a mess! I don’t blame you, you didn’t know. I do blame myself for not giving you better food to work with and for starving you on crazy diets just to look a certain way. I didn’t know I was making it so hard for you to function!
Will you forgive me?
Can we start again?
I’d like to help you heal. I’d like for us to form a partnership for the rest of the time we have together. I’ll take care of you and you take care of me and get me around to do all those amazing things God made us to do until it’s time to leave this earth. I’m going to start talking to you in a kinder way. I am going to start trying to do and give you what is the kind and loving thing. I’ll try not to starve you or shove into you things that you don’t like. I won’t punish you with brutal workouts that are too much for you. And I’ll try to find the things you like to put on your skin too.
You were made so amazingly. You are my gift from God…especially made to match my soul and spirit. I’ll stop bad mouthing you and thinking mean things about you. Together we are going to put celiac in remission and rebuild all your functions the best we can. And we are going to trust God to help us, because He made you in the first place and will guide us to all the stuff you need. I love you, Body. Thank you for being mine, despite our challenges, I would not trade you for another.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Where you been, girl?

A friend on facebook recently asked me , Where you been, girl? And as I reflected I realized it had been months since I blogged. The truth is all I had was vulnerability to blog about and I didn't want to share it.
But I had a little push today when I listened to this you tube clip from Brene Brown

So in the spirit of goes...
Its been months because since the first of March I have been in a dark place. No one likes to blog about the dark days. Its not cheery, its not encouraging, and in my world its a sucky record on repeat... that only the "privileged" ( poor things!)few get to hear.

Bla bla bla...I feel like crap,

one scary weird physical symptom after another,

 I strive and I struggle to keep myself eating within the restricted boundaries of my current doctor prescription.

 And I google and research more and more restrictions thinking perhaps if I just cut the right foods out then I will feel well.

In my fear, I harass doctors and nurses becoming the Elaine Bennis of Conroe.

I cry and cry to God.
 I isolate.
I try to shut the down the voices in my head that tell me:
 I will never get well.
I am alone.
No one understands.
You are so annoying to everyone.
Each new day I wake with dread, wondering what awful symptom will terrorize me today.
And the grand finale my body going to just shut down in a terrifying way that scars my family for life.
These fears are loud.
These fears make me feel like I'm going crazy.
These fears fill me with doubt.
And they make it damn hard to enjoy life.

I loose hours, days, weeks of my life...I don't draw or paint. I don't work on my coding. I don't engage with my friends or my husband like I want to. I don't reach out to new friends the way I want to. My quiet time is dull. But I try!

 O I try so hard to be well and to be happy and to not think!

 I smile, I say "Hi, I'm fine, how are you?"  when I walk the children's pick up line at school.
 I try to be a "normal" mommy to my kids and keep the slow burning anxiety out of my countenance as I take refuge in the mundane chores of afternoons and evenings.
But I dread when they all leave for school and I am left alone with my thoughts and myself all day.
Some days are better than others...I work out, I enjoy some music, I walk with my friend and laugh about random nothingness, I go to my volunteer time at the college, or bible study. I feel normal for a time.

But the question haunts me...will I EVER feel well again!? Will I make it out of this alive with my marriage and family still intact?

And all I can do is keep telling myself..YES YOU WILL. By the grace of God you will rise from these ashes and be the whole beautiful creation God made you to be.

So this raw junk...this raw junk post is for you girls out there who are struggling...anyone who can relate to this place....who sometimes thinks I cannot try anymore...I cannot put one more exhausted foot in front of the other.

All I can say is, ME TOO!
You aren't alone.
I ate a full package of gluten free oreo type cookies after the other...
And I laid on the floor and cried awhile...
And its okay...

I haven't been consumed yet.
I will get back up and keep going.
You get back up and keep walking too, ok?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quitting Coffee Again...the difference is Night and Day!

Watch this clip from one of my new favorite movies, Knight and Day. This is how I laughingly picture God talking to me in the experience I want to share with you below...

Hi everyone,
I just had to share the latest in my adventures with God and my body! So, if you have read my blogs about my food, you know that I began a journey back in August where I began to surrender control over my eating and trust God to lead me with my body and food. This January 1st I attempted to cut coffee and all sugars from my diet. It did not go well. I bombed hard after 12 days. So fast forward a few weeks and I am still struggling over wither or not to keep coffee and fruit in my diet. I had talked with a few friends who mentioned that they were cutting out fruit as well as all other kinds of carbs. The thought made me grumpy and you all know where I was on the coffee. But still I wasn't feeling great, my stomach was still hurting, and my energy levels were awful. I was using coffee every afternoon to get through the bewitching hour of kids coming home from school through the routines of homework, activities, dinner, and bedtime.

Finally, it occurred to me that I had said I was going to trust God to tell me what to do for me. I realized I hadn't asked Him.

So, February 2nd,  I sat at my kitchen table with my journal,a cup of coffee,and my bible and I wrote out my questions to the Lord.
And waiting to hear His response.
 I like to write down what I hear the Lord say to me, so I am copying exactly what we said to each other that day.

Me:"Do you want me to stop drinking coffee? "

                The Lord: "Child, are you depending on it to get you through the day?
Me: yes
               The Lord: Is it healthy psychologically?
Me: umm, no.
               The Lord:"It is making your tummy feel good?"
Me: no
               The Lord:"Do you feel emotional resistance to giving it up?"
Me: YES!
               The Lord: "Will you trust Me and give it to Me?"
Me: " I don't want to , Jesus! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
               The Lord: "Remember I said I would withhold no good thing from you. My anointing is on                  you to do this. You failed last time because you tried to do it without ME. But I am teaching                    you I am for You and You can do it."
Me: But I'll be so unhappy...I'll have headaches and no energy....Can't you just make me hate the taste?"
               The Lord: " 😉I could, but I choose this way. Will you trust Me?"
Me:"But what can I have instead?"
               The Lord,"Trust Me."
Me: When can I have it back?
              The Lord: "Trust Me."
Me: "I'm really weak Abba, I need You to give me a boundary of days."
              The Lord: "Here Daughter, take one last sip of that cup you just made, then I am asking you to               give me the coffee to hold until your birthday. on that day we will re-convene on the matter."
Me:" ok"

I want you to understand the gentleness of His Spirit as He asked me to do this. It was very similar to a story I heard during a Women's retreat many years ago about a little girl and her fake pearls. The little girl loved her fake pearls and wore them always, even to bed. Every night when her Daddy kissed her good night, he would ask her for the pearls. She always laughed and said no way! But finally one night she agreed to give them to her Daddy and in return he pulled out a strand of real pearls he had been carrying around waiting to give her. So this is the way I felt God's heart  towards me, as He asked me to give Him my coffee. He knew how much coffee meant to me.

So what happened, You see up there that I agreed. I took one more sip and then I dumped my coffee out. But the next morning, I took back the coffee. I just couldn't do it. I was so grumpy about having to give up one more thing that I loved. And do you know, the Lord did not strike me dead. Instead, He gently pursued me like this:

Feb.3rd I received a surprise package in the mail. It was an adorable gift box from my friend Leanne and inside it was TEA! It was a cardboard box that contained photos of us over the years, her sweet note, and a graphic that said, "Sip Joyfully". I immediately thought, God, this better not be a sign that you really want me to give you the coffee. Then I thanked my sweet friend and went on my coffee sipping merry way.

But Feb 4th, feeling bored, restless, grumpy and unconnected, I had another conversation with God.
And it went like this:
Me: I'm tired. Lord, I'm kinda scared to enter into conversation with You right now after the other day...did I hear right or wrong? have I disobeyed drinking coffee?
are you angry with me?
            The Lord: Daughter, I am not angry with you. I just want you to know I'm willing to take your               "fake" pearls and give you real ones. "

Me: "I'm such a mess!"
But I was not ready to surrender.

Feb 5th found me at church. In our class we were wrapping up a series from Andy Stanley on making Wise Choices. These words he said pierced my spirit.
"The Goal isn't to just know what I should do, but then to DO it."
"We easily trust in the laws of this earth: ie: physics, gravity, etc, yet we struggle to submit to the Creator of it all."
"A wise decision comes from submission to the Author of Life."
"Sometimes to understand why, you have to submit to apply."
We ended the lesson with this question:
Have I surrendered my will to God's will?
And there we were again.
 I realized that I had taken back my surrender. That I had stopped surrendering to God my body and food like I had told Him I would. No wonder I was struggling. Still I wrestled with the surrender all that afternoon and into the evening. Right before bed I was googling Adrenal fatigue...we all know how smart it is to be randomly googling your ailments before! Yet, God arranged for my search to land me on a site that had the testimony of a woman saying everything fell into place for her with her physical issues when she gave up coffee.
 And that was the straw that broke this donkey's back! I got up Monday morning, drank tea instead of coffee and I have not looked back since.

 It will be 3 weeks tomorrow since I had coffee. Have I missed it? only a couple of times.
Honestly, my experience this time is Night and Day different from those 12 days in January. The first day, I was tired and had a headache but then starting the 2nd day until now, I have had more energy and more clarity and my stomach has felt so much better. I cannot even express the improvement in how I feel! And naturally, as with any relationship, when you trust someone and follow their instruction, it brings you closer together.

 God is so so good and He is so so kind.
 If you don't get from this story anything else, get this:
           The God who made us and this whole world, not only loves us each in very personal real to life ways, but He also is long suffering with our ignorance and stubbornness. He pursues us with such love and care.

Romans 2:4 says
"Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"

Consider for a moment, can you see a place in your life where God is gently, lovingly, and relentlessly pursuing you to surrender to Him?

If I know Him, He is.
And if I know Him, its for your good.
So learn from one stubborn donkey...surrender its always worth it!


Monday, January 16, 2017

Free Coloring Sheet

Hi There,

I decided to take a stroll through my Pintrest boards yesterday.
I found inspiration for this adorable snowman drawing. It makes me think of my parents buried under many blankets of snow in Colorado right now.If you are stuck inside on this winter day, print off this sheet and let your creative side out! 
XOXO, Michelle