There is still hope. There is always still hope.
I received the below message on Thanksgiving Eve this past year. It’s long, but because I know my readers, like 75%+ of you reading will be able to identify with her story on some level (she’s been through it all).
I have started to write you many times since I found your blog some months ago, but have always hesitated out of fear that I would come across as “that nutty girl that found me on the internet.” The first time I read your story, it brought tears to my eyes. I immediately showed my husband and said “look! She’s ME! (or…I’m HER? Not sure…)” I will tell you my story by way of summary, so as not to bore you.
I spent a great deal of my 20s sleeping. Not that “OMG I feel so refreshed and ready to tackle my day!” kind of sleeping. That “I think I took an entire box of Benadryl and now I can’t keep my eyes open and imma sleep, like, right HERE” kind of sleep. I was constantly inflamed with joint aches and muscle pains and hair loss. When I would wake up from my “naps,” I would literally have to use one arm to move the other arm and my legs to get my body to move. On the plus side, I was losing weight like nobody’s business – I mean…pounds. falling. off. Of course, that was likely because I was crazy in the throes of disordered eating but, you know..details.
Life got worse. My symptoms got worse – like WAY worse. Worse like I didn’t even know existed. For years. And then, one day, my life (at least as I know it) changed forever. I couldn’t tell you when, exactly, that day was…just that it existed. And it existed sometime while I was in law school. My entire body completely freaked out – I mean, like FREAKED out. The primary culprit? My gut. “Good grief!” I thought…what on EARTH is going on in there?
Four years later (seriously – no joke), I finally had what I thought was the answer to my prayers: my doctor, after multiple tests and endoscopy said: “you, my dear, have Celiac disease!” I thought that was the greatest day of my life. Can I fix this by avoiding certain foods? Sure, that kind of sucks, but I’m totally in! Let’s do it!
And it worked…sort of. But I was never actually 100%. That was in 2007 and to this day, I have never been “normal.” After a period of time, some of the non-gut Celiac symptoms subsided. But my gut? It was a hot mess. Constipation. Chronic bloating. Some foods made the symptoms worse, so they were eliminated. Inflammation. Headaches. Depression. Weight roller coaster. Really, just…etc.
I saw doctor after doctor. Smart doctors. Crazy-smart doctors. Mayo Clinic doctors. NYC doctors. Kansas doctors. Denver doctors. Medication after medication for constipation (“Oh, you have slow transit time – we can fix that!”). They did nothing (can I just paint the picture of what it’s like to take a hospital administered laxative after not having pooped for 6 WEEKS and have NOTHING happen other than feeling like a bomb went off in your gut?). Then there was “hey – you have pelvic floor dysfunction! Not to worry – we can fix that!” Countless sessions of physical therapy. Girl, let me tell you…this isn’t like physical therapy for your knee. Ahem.
Then it was “hey – you have SIBO! Not to worry – we can fix that!” Multiple rounds of antibiotics, all to no avail. Pelvic floor trigger point injections…where NO needle should ever, EVER be. Every invasive radiology test known to man. Sitz marker, anal-rectal manometry, defecography, barium-based x-rays, stomach-emptying studies…you get the picture.
Every possible diet: low carb, low FODMAP, no salicylate, more food (feed the bacteria!), less food (dear God, DON’T feed the bacteria!), no: gluten dairy soy nuts eggs legumes artificial sweetener garlic onion rosemary (breathe!).
And still…nothing. I wake up looking like I am 6 months pregnant (also, I’ve had people actually say to me…strangers, even…”congrats – when is your baby due?” You gotta be joking me, dude.). Every single piece of food I put in my mouth sets of a reaction – I can actually feel the bloating happening. It starts in my lower abdomen and gradually moves its way up to the point where even my bra is cutting off my circulation. I gain weight, I lose weight. Every single part of me is constantly inflamed. I’m still chronically constipated. And, just for kicks and giggles, my thyroid now seems to be jumping into the mix.
My current diet consists of plain chicken, carrots, green beans, and bananas. Which I could even tolerate if eating those four foods made me feel better. But they don’t. I still feel like death warmed over every. single. day.
I don’t share this story with you, to which there are still other components that I won’t bother you with, for sympathy. I actually share it with you for thanks. Because in my darkest days, which come somewhat frequently, I read your blog and have some glimmer of hope. That feeling this way ISN’T normal, and that I’m not just imagining these symptoms (my last conversation with my GI was…maybe I’m just crazy? I mean…seriously…am I?!), and that maybe, just maybe, someone, someday, somewhere, will be able to make a proper diagnosis and help me heal. I don’t pray for perfection, or even happy…I truly just pray for peace – physical and mental.
So, on this Thanksgiving eve, I just wanted to say that I am thankful for you…and from a total stranger I just simply say “thank you.” Thanks for giving this Kansas girl a glimmer of hope that peace is possible. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
I’m sharing this message today for the Sunday Reflections because I want you to know that I am constantly getting messages like this, and I want to tell you that if you are where she is at today, know that there is still hope.
One of my favorite posts I ever wrote on hope was Hope from March 31, 2013. It’s short and to the point, but if you’ve never read it, check it out.
Listen, I’m not Tony Robbins. I’m not Jen Hatmaker. And I’m not yet the blog/voice that is able to reach millions.
But I am still here…..writing and sharing very openly and honestly on all parts and pieces of my journey with the hopes that when you read any of the storylines you will feel hope when you need it.
Even if it’s the 24th hour, you should always still have hope because the best might be right around the corner.
If you don’t have time to read these posts daily, but don’t want to miss them, be sure to follow via Bloglovin’ and/or join my personal e-newsletter HERE. I am doing my best to send a once per week email recap of prior week’s posts.
If there is a topic surrounding change that you would love for me to include in this series, please just CONTACT ME.
Previous 101-Day Change Series Posts
- Beginnings are Scary
- Change Pain Point
- Making Sense of Change
- Gratitude Journal
- Love Your Baby Girl
- Little Things Add Up
- House and Home
- Sunday Reflections
- Chocolate Shake
- 3-Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake
- Chaos is a Temporary State
- Thirsty Thursday
- Month One
- The Nudge to Connect
- 11 Favorites from 11 Years in California
- One Box at a Time
- Good Enough is Enough
- There is No Dishwasher
- WWDW Number 8
- Move Initiated
- Sharing My Journey
- Back with the Tribe
- Small Town Grocery Shopping Part One
- January 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth
- Patsy Clairmont is My Spirit Animal
- Let There Be Light
- Forgot About Rae
- Coconut Oil Makeup Remover How To
- 9 Ways to Embrace Winter
- Escaping People
- Coming Home
- 105 in 1,095
- 40 Before 40
- When Change Was Coming
- Behavior Correction
- Embracing Motherhood
- Two Things for Lent
- Gluten Free Recipe Roundup Six
- Breakdown to Breakthrough
- 18 Things About Me