*Continuance of “My Story” starting with Blog #1: When your life flashes before your eyes in a flood gate of memories…
Our family sat gathered together at our table, we prayed before digging into our meal of hamburgers (or cheeseburgers for some). As I looked down at my plate I saw my plain hamburger sitting on my plate with no open faced bun, no ketchup, and no additional tomato, onion, or seasonings (because they contained Gluten). My expression showed my feelings about this meal; displeasure. What’s a hamburger without a fluffy bun, crisp lettuce, a juicy tomato, finger licking good ketchup with a dab of mustard to compliment it, and perhaps a taste of mayonnaise?
I grabbed my fork as Mom watched me from the corner of her eye, as I was still hesitating to dig in. Dad and Troy were already eating with a vengeance. I avoided eye contact with both of them. They were oblivious to my struggle of watching them eat what I wanted to also be eating, but couldn’t because of so much being eliminated from my diet.
“Kelly, why don’t you have some mustard with it so your burger’s not so dry?” I’d never had just plain mustard, it was always mixed with ketchup because they complimented one another. But, it was mustard or nothing. Here goes nothing, I thought. Much to my surprise let’s just say that I fell in love with mustard then and there(and to this day, I still love it)! This experience was just the tip of the iceberg on my learning curve to altering foods that include ingredients that I couldn’t eat. (It was, and is, a process. And with time, you’ll see this too changed along with my mind set).
Changing my diet was NOT easy. Dairy, Gluten and Sugar were the hardest categories to give up. But, did I do it without cheating not even one time? Yes! Again, it wasn’t easy, especially in moments that I craved eating something that I couldn’t have. The first couple weeks were the toughest because the cravings were so strong. Just one bite isn’t going to hurt you. One bite won’t make a difference. My mind was easily my biggest enemy at this time. Being the type of person that likes to do things the right way, cheating just to have something that I craved or wanted wasn’t a choice in integrity to give into. I’d committed to myself that I was NOT going to give in because my health depended on it, and one bite would make a difference. Look how far you’ve come, you can’t give in now, were words that would immediately ran through my mind when I wanted to give into the cravings. I had my mind battles.
Looking back I smile at how beautiful a choice that I had made from the very start of my journey that helped me to keep on the straight and narrow path as the days, weeks, months, and years continued.
Two weeks from my initial appointment, Mom and I were back sitting in the Acupuncturist’s office. She asked me questions such as: “How have you been feeling in the last two weeks? How is the elimination diet going? Do you feel any different? Better? Which symptoms are better? How in the pain in your left side?”
I told her, “Within 3 days of starting the elimination diet that you recommended, I felt so much better! I had less pain in my left side and abdomen. My headaches decreased and I didn’t feel like I needed to cover my head from the light when headaches got severe. I’m still bloated and gassy, although it is less. I have more energy as a whole.”
Over the next two and a half years, I continued to meet with the Acupuncturist. I didn’t have SEVERE left side abdominal pain during this stretch of time, but there was pain. I was gassy, and ultimately became more bloated over that time. I figured that had to do with food allergies and intolerances, so I’d disregarded the symptoms. I’d lost over ten pounds just by cleaning up my diet.
Every couple months I’d make an appointment with the Acupuncturist to see how my Pancreas and Stomach were functioning. At times they tested okay. Other times, weak. My Pancreas, however, never seemed to be functioning as optimally as it should have been. I had other organs that weren’t functioning as optimally as they should have, too. My Liver, Gallbladder, Spleen, Adrenals, and Kidneys were all affected at different times. The Spleen, Liver, and Adrenals were each having a hard time functioning a majority of the time, but not as bad as my Pancreas. She’d said they were “stressed.”
Looking back, I didn’t know what it felt like to feel well or healthy.(I’d lived with headaches, gas, upset stomachs, and bloating since childhood, so that was normal to me.)
As the symptoms became more severe during those two and a half years, I lived life without my health holding me back. Rarely did I get a cold or the flu during that season of time. I completed two Triathlons one of those last summers with the Acupuncturists also. However, my diet kept getting more restricted.
I had further foods eliminated from my diet in the course of that time which included: ALL Grains, all Night Shade Vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, Egg Plant, Peppers, etc), all hot spices (Cayenne Pepper, Pepper, etc.), all Nuts and Seeds, Sprouted Seeds, Eggs, and all Pork products. I was taking nutritional supplements on a daily basis (2-3 times daily) and they seemed to help, but I didn’t understand WHY my symptoms were increasing when I was doing everything the Acupuncturist had recommended. I asked her WHY on one visit to her office. Her reply, “Over time the food allergies and intolerances should improve. For some individuals it just takes longer.” That being said, I kept eliminating foods out of my diet that weren’t agreeing with me (if they didn’t agree with me I’d have escalated symptoms of gas, bloating, nausea, hot and cold sweats, abdominal pain (left side from under my ribs, down just below my belly button), abdominal cramps, and low back pain.
Through the course of these few years, I still lived a “normal” life doing “normal things” like “normal” people. I ran, worked, played, spent time with family and friends, did activities I enjoyed and loved. I’d always been active, spending lots of time on the lake skiing, swimming, kayaking, and fishing. I liked to hunt, downhill ski, work in the garden (now as an adult-NOT as a child!), help with landscaping projects and much more. Life went on, and so did I.