I’d like to open up about something serious that I’ve been dealing with the last little while. When I look back, it started about five years ago, but it really came to a head a few months ago. I can remember the first time I lay in bed late at night, crying, because the pain was so bad I couldn’t sleep. I felt like I’d eaten glass, and it was destroying my insides as it worked its way through my body. I assumed that I’d eaten someone bad, and when it finally passed, I was so thankful I didn’t give it another thought. I’d never had food poisoning like that before, but a Google search told me that sometimes severe intestinal pain could be caused by gas and bloating from certain food.
After that event, I would feel the same cramping and pain once in awhile. Sometimes it was seriously, but not always. I always shrugged it off as having eaten something I shouldn’t have.
In the last few months, it’s gotten worse. A lot worse, until it finally hit me so hard I missed days of work and thought I was seriously dying. I went to my doctor, armed with my Google knowledge of digestive problems. I was nervous about finding out I had cancer or something as serious. I was both right and wrong. It isn’t cancer, but it is very serious. It turns out I have a condition that will affect me my entire life. I’m not yet comfortable enough to share what it is, but I hope that one day I will be able share the complete story.
My reason for sharing my condition now is not to regale you with tales of my pain, but instead to share with you a food blog. Sounds like a strange turn of conversation, but it will make sense in a moment. When I found out about my condition, my doctors gave me lists of foods that I wasn’t allowed to eat anymore. It was daunting, as was the list of medications that I would need for the rest of my life. I was devastated and frightened. I know that medication use can have all kinds of affects on your mind and body, and a quick Google search of some of the ones I was prescribed gave some unsettling possible side effects. My fear sparked my determined to be as healthy as possible so that I could limit how many pills I would need. I tried to follow the food list my doctors gave me, but I struggled. Nothing seemed to go together, and my meals became the same daily. I was constantly craving things I could not have, and the pain never seemed to go away.
Then my sister told me about Ella.
My sister is sort of a wealth of knowledge. Her brain is full of random things that are not always super useful. This time, she threw out this blog that was responsible for the delicious meals she’d recently been sharing with me. Deliciously Ella is a food and health blog where the beautiful Ella has used food to help maintain her own health. She has a list of recipes and easy to understand descriptions of why she picks certain foods. And delicious! Holy cow, sometimes I couldn’t believe I was eating a meal that fit into my new food limitations, it was sooooo good. This insert is taken right from her blog… ‘Everything you see here is focused on whole, plant-based foods. It’s all about embracing the incredible foods that your body loves and what you can do with them.’
At first, I followed her recipes to the letter, sometimes omitting a thing or two if I wasn’t sure I could have it. But slowly, I started to understand better what food could do for my body. I learned what foods could help my digestive health, and I started feeling better and better. After awhile, I realized that the pain was gone! I spoke to my doctor, and we cut back on the medications. I worked hard at first, analyzing every meal, every bite, to make sure everything I put in my body would help me in some way. It was time consuming, and sometimes frustrating. But I felt so good that I kept going.
With Ella’s help, I’ve managed to get to a place where I naturally have foods in my fridge that I can cook in a pinch, and plans for what I eat throughout the week without having to spend hours pouring over it. I do sometimes have bad days where the pain returns, but for the most part, my body seems totally normal.
Ella’s blog played a huge part in my getting to where I am. I never believed, when they told me about my condition, that I could get to a place where I wouldn’t need the medication and I would feel this good. I feel better than I felt ever before this condition started to arise. And it really didn’t take that long to turn things around. I’ve dealt with my condition seriously for months now, and I only found Ella a short while ago. The medication I keep is for bad days only, and I’m able to do all the things I’ve loved doing my whole life. For a little awhile, I felt trapped, because going out to dinner with friends meant being around foods that would make me spend days in pain. I was not the sort of person who ever said no to hanging out, so I would use the medication to help. Not anymore. When my friends want to go out, I introduce them to all kinds of restaurants around me that cater to healthy eating. If we go out for drinks, I know which ones I’m allowed to have. If they want to go hiking, I can keep up without worrying about the strain on my body.
Dealing with pain due to your digestive system can be crippling in so many ways. Anyone with a condition like Crohn’s, Celiac or IBS know what it’s like. I choose those three because I have a friend for each. My friend with Celiac used to get so angry at people who said they were ‘gluten intolerant’ because of the Wheat Belly craze. She said that people who actually have Celiac deal with it every second of their day. Another girlfriend shares going through Crohn’s with her brother. She was in the hospital so long and lost so much weight once, that she knows the effect of not paying attention to your diet. I’ve recently talked to them about what I’ve been going through, and they were super supportive. One day I hope I will be able to share my story completely with everyone, but I’m not there yet. The place I’m at right now is thankful to have found someone like Ella, who knows how to explain it and share her own experience with health. I’m lucky to have found her so soon after I was officially diagnosed, and already I’m managing my condition.
I would recommend checking out her blog to everyone, even if all you’re looking for is a few healthy inspirations. And if you know someone going through something similar to me, she’d invaluable. It doesn’t have to be devastating to learn you have a condition like this. I hope my story, and Ella’s, can help people not lose hope. It will aways be hard at first. But in the end, it’s totally worth it.