Healing: Taking charge!

Healing history part 1.

I always had digestion issues.  There are things that I recall now that makes me wonder what was going on when I was a kid.  I was not breast fed; it wasn’t the ‘in’ thing for my mother’s generation.  I recall her saying that I was allergic to the baby formula.  I am not sure what a mother did in 1962 when that occurred.  How did she feed me I wonder?
Being raised in the 2nd grouping of seven children, I was in the mix with three brothers.  I recall our going food shopping with Mom and them begging for some a sugared cereal.  When we got home they would open the box and it would be gone before the first morning. I didn’t really care, I never ate cereal anyway.  Now I realize it was because the milk bothered me.
Years later in college I would have yogurt for lunch each day.  I would then run to the toilet at dinner time.  It took several months for me to realize I had to cut out the yogurt.
I was young and stupid.  Taking care of me wasn’t important.  I hadn’t learned yet how good it feels to feel good.
I never played sports, didn’t like to exercise, and grew up in a home where meat and potatoes filled our plates.  Vegetables were just an over cooked tablespoon of mush on the side of the plate.  Salad was iceberg lettuce with tomato smothered with a fatty gloppy salad dressing.
I did start to move toward better food diversity and cooking methods after I got married.  When Peter and I started out he was having intestinal problems so we tried vegetarianism for a short while as well as the diet from the book “Fit for Life”, food combining, where you don’t eat carbs and protein at the same meal.  I did pretty well with this diet and was my skinniest in my adult life until I got pregnant.  Then I just wanted beef! (Low in iron is my guess now).
I was overweight after my two pregnancies.  I carried the ‘baby weight’ for about seven years.  I always promised myself if they ever offered Weight Watchers at my work that I would join it.  In 2002 it was offered, surprisingly I kept my promise and joined.  It was new in our building so there were a few success stories going around the office when I joined so that may have motivated me.
I did very well with weight loss on Weight Watchers.  The counting point system really suited my anal engineer mentality.  I started the program in spring of 2002 and by November I had lost 40 pounds.  Unfortunately I had gained something as well, diarrhea with bleeding. I started December with a visit to my doctor and referral to a gastroenterologist.  By Christmas I was told I had ulcerative colitis (UC) and was put on 12 pills a day of a prescription medicine (with several others prescribed as needed).  The worst part of this diagnosis was being told it was a chronic disease, I would have it all my life, and to expect it to get worse. Was a colostomy bag in my future?
Something inside me didn’t like being told my future.  This doctor didn’t know me.  Somehow I was wise enough to know I didn’t have to believe everything a doctor tells me.
This reminds me of an earlier run in with doctors that shows me I was already independent in my thinking when it came to healthcare and my own thoughts on my own well-being and that of my family.  I had complications during my pregnancies.  I had gestational diabetes, as well as some signs of pre-eclampsia including high blood pressure.  When I was in the hospital with my new born baby they wanted to put me on blood pressure medication.  I was told this would disrupt my ability to breast feed my son.  I refused to take the pills.  A nurse yelled at me that I was to do as the doctor said.  I still refused telling myself that doctors are not always right.  My blood pressure went down on its own in a couple of days.
Back to life with UC … the pills eased the bleeding very quickly.  But, I still had symptoms of bad diarrhea, swelling, weakness, and I became very anemic.  Stresses in my life brought on severe episodes.  Over exertion did as well. I recall days coming home from work and just having to lay on the couch for hours from exhaustion as well as the need to rest my body to try to stop running to the bathroom.
The gastro doctor I had for the first few years was supposed to be a leader in his field. We never seemed to connect.  I saw him every couple of months.  He dictated the schedule of appointments and tests.  I could never make sense of his decisions.  If I was feeling good he would say ‘see you in a month’ and he would want to run more tests.  When I went to him ill I would not see him act to change my treatment and then he’d not want to see me for 3 months. Things were not working and I needed to take action for myself.
In 2006 I started to make changes.  The anemia had become severe, my red blood cell numbers were very low.  I was bleeding mildly with UC at times but also severely with my period.  I tried iron supplements but they made me ill.  I was sick all of the time because my immunity was low.  Every month when I had my period I would have cold, flu, a cold sore, or something.
I began seeing a homoeopathist.  I didn’t find his treatments helped me but he gave me a great solution to my UC, he recommended a book (another story of the significance of books in my life).  It is called “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gloria Gottschall. In the book she describes what is now called ‘leaky gut’ and recommends food as medicine in the diet called the ‘specific carb diet’.  I started this diet in spring of 2006.  I felt better within days.  My symptoms eased.  That summer I had a procedure to deal with my excessive bleeding with my period.  I was on my way to getting stronger and healing.

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