Food is such a central part of our every day lives. Everywhere, people gather together around food. I notice it in my own circle of friends who share pictures of delectable meals on social media that tantalize my taste buds. All around me I see people coming together in pubs, cafes and restaurants; down every block, around every corner. Aromas drifting down the street from the food carts in the area have taken on a whole new meaning and I usually take pause to inhale the goodness. My observations are more keen these days because this world of food and gathering places has suddenly become obsolete for me.
The way I eat and enjoy food has taken a new twist. My health suddenly plummeted and it became nearly impossible for me to eat. I feel like my body is betraying me. I never know anymore how it will behave each day. I’ve sustained myself on some limited food choices that do not give me problems. As I begin to feel better my choices are increasing, but it is slow going as I move into the second month of my health battles.
What began as annoying pain and discomfort when I ate became complete misery in a matter of days. After too many days of painful lymph node swelling in my neck I decided a visit to the doctor was necessary. Instead of making an appointment with my primary doctor who is inconveniently located for me and tends to dismiss my health concerns, I chose a clinic in my neighborhood that took my insurance. I thought this would be a quick visit with a doctor who would give me an antibiotic and I’d be on my way back to health. Oh, but that was not the case at all! I was suddenly thrust into a world foreign to me; that of hospitals, specialists, endless blood draws!, strange tests and more doctors. The results were two severe diagnosis’s that would be life-changing. It would also require surgery.
Once this battle became a discussion about slicing open my body, I sought out the opinion and care from my primary who doubted both diagnosis’s. My own research had already given me doubts with one of the diagnosis’s so of course I liked what she was saying. However, her minimal observations of my physical symptoms and her dismissal once again of my concerns left me with a ridiculously mild diagnosis that I knew was incorrect. I left her office with a treatment plan of pharmaceuticals I had no intention of filling, tears of frustration streaming down my face feeling desperate to find out what was wrong with me. At this point, my diet consisted of about 12 different foods I could tolerate. The amount I ate at one time greatly diminished, I was uncomfortable and in pain often. Most concerning to me was my steady weight loss, yet my primary barely raised an eyebrow to an 18 pound weight loss in just two months without trying.
This traumatic medical journey led me to an Naturopathic doctor (thank you to my employer for offering alternative care coverage!) who not only listened, she showed concern with my plummeting weight and she correctly diagnosed me. I was given a treatment plan that I knew would lead me toward real healing. She did share some similar opinions to my primary doctor as far as treatment, which meant I was going to use drugs I’d never considered. Lots of research and discussions led me to believe those drugs had the least amount of man-made compounds and were the most mild of the pharmaceuticals in those same categories. So, I took the plunge and it was really traumatizing. I hated every second of putting those drugs into my body. And, my body took it’s own sweet time to respond. It did however, and I am beginning to feel relief. It is precarious and while my diet is improving slightly in variety and amount, I still continue to lose weight.
It’s a strange feeling when I look in the mirror at my steadily shrinking body. This is not healthy weight loss, but I can’t help but feel a sense of happiness as a thinner body emerges. I’ve officially dropped one clothing size. I continue to effortlessly lose weight and am now down nearly 25 pounds. My follow up appointment with the Naturopath will reveal any more pounds lost. While I am so close to a goal weight I have had for many years, I do hope a reason for this rapid weight loss is discovered and that the loss slows a bit.
Even though my food choices have become so limited, I still manage to get creative with what I can have. I do my best to mix it up and I’m happy to say I just took my eating to a whole new level. I made a Paleo breakfast bar with ingredients I was pretty sure I could tolerate. I was right! This is the first baked combination food I’ve been able to eat and tolerate in over a month so I’m really excited about it! This means my treatment plan is working and my body is beginning to heal.
My diet has become very strict and one small slip could lead to unadulterated suffering. Sometimes even when I do everything “right” I still have miserable gut issues. It is a delicate balance that I’m still learning as I trek the journey back to health.
Let me share some things I’ve been enjoying. It may not qualify by pub and food cart standards but it is leading me back to feeling good and that’s all right by me!