Ever since I made some changes on my blog, I noticed quite a few new readers popping up. First, I want to thank you all for stopping by.
I thought this was also a good opportunity to share with all of you my story.
I know I have my “About Me” page which explains a lot of who I am and what I believe, but I don’t think I ever really dedicated an entire post to explaining my journey with my health, illness, and recovery.
I’ve always had an adventurous spirit. It came without surprise that growing up, my exploratory personality ventured into my food choices. I remember specifically being the only 4 year old who would beg her parents every day to take her to Wendy’s, not for the chicken nuggets and fries, but for the salad bar.
I continued to develop a passion for food and cooking as I got older. I began to appreciate the aspects of cuisine and wanted to learn more about it. I fell in love with the kitchen and began designing and creating my own recipes on a daily basis.
- Me and Toly Senior Year Homecoming
It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that my relationship with food suddenly went corrupt. I started to notice some digestive issues that became pretty severe over the course of just a few months. I became ill and lost a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. After a year of battling with doctors telling me my problem was simply IBS and that there was nothing I could do about it, I started to fall apart, physically and mentally.
The nourishment that I used to love and cherish was now my worst enemy. I slowly began to hate food. It was killing me inside and out and the only way I could remotely find solace was to place complete control and restriction on my diet. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about nutrition so my restriction was drastic.
I not only eliminated the foods that were bad for me, but I also stopped consuming key nutrients that my body needed to function. I became emaciated, malnourished and completely depressed.
It wasn’t long that my family convinced me to seek professional help. I started to see a doctor at an in-patient eating disorder clinic, a nutritionist, and a therapist. Even though I never actually associated my disordered views on food with my appearance, I still maintained a very corrupt relationship with eating. It took about a year, but after heavy influence from these professionals, I finally began to build back my nourishment and mental health.
- Me at a very low weight
Things were going well for the next several years. I started to feel better, I figured out a diet that was manageable with my intolerances, and I was starting to get healthy. But there was still one major factor that didn’t make sense….I was not able to gain weight. The doctor’s told me it would take time and to keep working at it but it seemed that no matter how hard I tried, the scale wouldn’t budge.
I just kept going in life with the realization that I was small but healthy. Things were good. I had graduated college, got married, bought a house, landed a full time career and was ultimately happy. That was until two years ago.
I went for a routine surgery to have my wisdom teeth removed. After a terrifying experience with the surgery (which is a whole different story in itself), I resulted with a mass infection that ran in my facial nerve. To rid my body of this infection, I was placed on numerous antibiotics. The day after I started taking the medicine, I noticed an unpleasant reaction and knew something was not right. Over the next few weeks I became very ill. So sick in fact that it lead me to yet another doctor, a Gastroenterologist, who eventually diagnosed me with Proctitis, a form of intestinal disease in the lower intestine.
- A surgery gone wrong
I was placed on yet another medication and within days, found myself even more ill than when I began. This time, I was rushed to the hospital where they ran countless tests to figure out what was going on. After almost two weeks in the hospital, the doctors finally gave me my real diagnosis….Ulcerative Colitis.
I remember feeling in a way relieved when I heard this. I finally had an answer. They were misdiagnosing and thus mistreating me for years and now I would start to find relief.
I was placed on a heavy drug treatment plan immediately. I can’t say I was exactly crazy about taking intense drugs for the rest of my life, but at that point, I would do anything to feel better and get healthy.
I was also placed on a low residue diet that allowed me to only eat low-refined white carbs and non-fibrous foods until I could repair my colon. So basically, I went from thriving only off vegetables and fruits to eating eggo waffles and white rice.
Eventually, my colon got better and I started to rework nutritious foods back into my diet. I also slowly started to feel more like myself with every passing day. My health was coming back to me and more importantly, I started to see something I had not seen in years….an increase in weight. Apparently, my body was not absorbing fats, therefore, I was unable to keep weight or build muscle.
- Stronger, Healthier, Happier
It has been a long and very intimidating road, but I can honestly tell you I live today the healthiest I have ever been. I now eat a balanced diet that includes the foods that are right for me and my body. I know what works best and I know what my body needs in order to maintain my level of health. It’s not right for everyone so I never try to force my choices on anyone else’s lifestyle but I do hope that through my experience, I am able to shed a sense of hope on anyone who might be struggling with a dietary illness or problem.
I know what it’s like to feel controlled by food. I know how difficult it can be to step on that scale and feel like you’re never good enough than what the number tells you. I know how hard it can be on your soul when society is working against you.
But I also know that being healthy and happy go hand-in-hand and that the only way to achieve ultimate health for yourself is to keep going and do only what is right for you. I had to take many hits until I reached a level of happiness with myself, my body and my health but I never gave up. I hope that people today see me for who I am, who I always was, and who I will always be…and that is strong.