As I write this post I am hours away from a call with hopefully my last attempt to living life without wondering can I eat this? If I eat this how will I feel?
I going to just get super freaking honest here. I try to not be jealous of anyone. It happens, but usually, I take note and move on. But when it comes to seeing others just go to a restaurant and order, eat and leave feeling satiated or even elated I am green with envy. Seeing people look the same size after they eat their meals on a bad day can distract me from my ultimate goal which might piss me off more than the actual stomach issue. Being so distracted by how I feel, the pain and the embarrassment.
I should be clear I am not embarrassed that I have stomach issues. I might have in the beginning but maybe living in LA where everyone is on some weird diet has made me feel a little more normal. I get embarrassed because I will wake up most days looking and feeling like me. My clothes fit. I go to bed looking somewhere between six and nine months pregnant. It’s not super easy to hide. It also makes me exhausted and uncomfortable not just in my clothes, but in my skin and just finding a way to lay or sit comfortably sucks. It sucks when you’re traveling, teaching or not at your house.
As a person who hates repeated complaints, I practice what I preach. If you find you’re repeating a complaint go and face that issue. Dive in. What do you have control over? What can you do to fix the situation? So, for years I have been doing just that.
I started off with the top GI doc in LA when my first digestive spell occurred. If you missed issue #1 read it here. She dismissed me mostly. I was “too young and too healthy” to have any issues. She diagnosed me with acid reflux even though I had zero symptoms or complaints of acid reflux at the time.
I left her office feeling sad. If a doctor didn’t know what was wrong what was I to do next? I was introduced to a woman who worked in eastern medicine but used western tests to help judge how we were doing. It was a process, but eventually, I started to feel better. I spent a few months off gluten, dairy, soy, chicken, celery, grapes, and a few other foods I can’t recall now but all of these foods were showing reactions in my blood. I started sleeping better, feeling better, and looking better (skin, eyes, hair). I was never able to reintroduce gluten or dairy without inflammation, but I got through a couple of years without many digestive issues.
When I traveled to Brazil in 2012, I felt the best. I tried to continue how I was eating in Brazil back in LA, and while training for half marathons, I lived life a bit like the Whole30 authors encourage. Again, life was ok on that path until it wasn’t.
It didn’t just happen. I actually can’t tell you the date it wasn’t good anymore. Just over time, there were fewer good days. Fewer nights where I went to bed feeling as good as I woke up. I tried cleanses and went back to doctors. One told me my stomach issues would be cured if I avoided sparkling water. For the record, I have gone without soda since I was 18 and sparkling water has had many months not in my life, and no it did not solve my problems.
I went vegan minus the soy (not easy), I ate only potatoes for 30 days, I went vegetarian, and I went on a sugar reset. Oh, how can I forget the months I went OIL FREE! Yep, try cooking most things without oil. My hubby is a trooper. A common phrase in our household is “are you eating ____ right now?”
The sugar reset helped a lot but not completely. After dropping almost 20lbs in about six weeks (and not needing to lose one), I was back at the GI docs office. I found the new top GI office in LA and started all over again. Did every easy, regular, disgusting, painful and awful test they had. My blood results are the picture of healthy (not hard when you eat whole foods). While weird stuff showed up in some tests, it wasn’t enough to explain any of my symptoms. Plus, because of my weight loss, I was getting more inquiries into whether or not I was starving myself and not help in figuring out my issue. The latest journey with my docs left me feeling more like a crazy person than one who was a human with a health problem. If I didn’t have pictures or witnesses, I think I would have thought I was nuts, on drugs or hallucinating.
To be fair to the doctors after much of my research and demanding I did get one test that did show positive results for too much good bacteria. Yes, there is too much of a good thing.
To bring this all to the present I do my very best to avoid sugar which is what the good bacteria feeds on. I am still suffering from fluctuation in my gut as the day goes on. But, today! Today, I will find out some results that my doctors couldn’t or wouldn’t figure out. Today, I pray and believe is the day the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter.