Today is my 33rd birthday. I thought I'd take this moment to come out of my reclusive hermit shell and re-enter the world of blogging. This year was a rough one for me but I made it through alive. You may think that that last sentence sounds cliche (and it is) but if you have been around me in the past few months you can attest that survival is my biggest accomplishment. Its a long story but I'll give you the highlights....
Last year I started having this long crazy list of mysterious health symptoms. I basically became crippled by what the doctors guessed was an autoimmune disorder, although they couldn't find any specific diagnosis from labwork. I lost over 60 pounds in just a few months and went from a healthy size 12 to less than a 2. I developed large open sores and my joints would swell up, I felt like crap all the time, my hair fell out, I puked or had diarreah 24/7. I was depressed and overwhelmed. I went to every kind of specialist you can think of. Gastrointerologist, Immunologist, Rheumatologist, Allergist, Dermatologist, Psychiatrist, Pathologist, Neurologist, Osteopath, Hemotologist, Infectious Disease Specialist, Colo-rectal surgeon, Gynocologist, Radiologist, Podiatrist, Chiropractor, Naturopath....I could go on. I took every supplement, swallowed every pill, tried every therapy, read every health book or article I could get my hands on. They put me on Chemotherapy and steroids and painkillers but nothing made a difference. I got dozens of priesthood blessings, went to dozens of appointments, followed every lead I could think of and just got sicker and sicker.
I am 5'10" tall and I now weigh less than 120 pounds. I look like a bag of bones. Its such an odd experience to have become too thin, especially in light of the fact that I have battled obesity my entire life. The first time I enrolled in Weight Watchers I was 9 years old. I got up to almost 300 pounds after my first baby was born. Experiencing the entire spectrum of the weight issue in our culture is something I could write 5 books about. It is surreal. Everyone thinks I'm so "lucky" to have an illness that made me skinny. Believe me, there is nothing lucky about this illness.
I started to wonder if I would live. I wasn't suicidal, but just started to wonder how long I could waste away before my body just quit altogether. I was consumed with the horror of leaving my boys without a mother. I played out every possible scenario in my head. Would I just collapse in the grocery store one day? would I die in my sleep and John would just find me cold in the morning? Would I be hospitalized and eventually my organs shut down despite heroic medical efforts? Would I go unconscious while driving and die in a fiery crash? Its all so morbid. I am ashamed to even recount this stuff but its the only way I can tell you how sick I felt.
A few Sundays ago I hit rock bottom. Kristen came over and found me in the fetal position, white as a sheet, writhing in bed from abdominal pain. She called all of my family and had them all come over because she was so worried and didn't know what else to do. We were going to go to the ER but the doctor said on the phone that there was not much they could do at the ER and I didn't want to go. My brother Christopher gave me a priesthood blessing with my dad. I don't remember every word but he told me that I would be comforted, guided, and healed. I knew it was true.
The next morning I went to the Naturopath. Dr. Jason Porter NMD. I had seen him a few weeks previous and he had put me on some meds and supplements and a special diet. I went in on Monday to get an IV treatment. Basically it is a high dose of vitamins and minerals and everything you need to be healthy but straight into your veins. Its EXACTLY what I needed. My gut was a mess so we needed to nourish my body without relying on digestion at all. At this point I could go into detail about a condition called leaky gut that is the likely culprit in all of this. I'll spare you the details and just say that i have figured out what has been ravaging my body and I have a game plan to get better that has been working well beyond the expectations of even the most optimistic doctors.
I can not overstate what a difference it made. The treatment took like two hours and by the second hour I felt like I haven't felt in a year. The fog lifted, my pain began to subside. It was nothing short of miraculous. Since then I have continued to get better and better every day. I can't even describe how big a relief it is to have found this.
Its been a few weeks now and I have been getting these IV treatments about three times a week and I can now positively state that God has answered my prayer, and I am healed. Now its a matter of replenishing what my body has lost and letting my gut heal and rebuilding my nutritional life from the ground up.
My family has been amazing through all of this. I can't even begin to tell you all of the support I have received. They have cleaned my house and watched my kids and listened to me complain and paid doctor bills and researched and prayed and fasted and shown me the kind of love that very few people will ever be privileged to experience. I don't know what I did to get such amazing people in my life.
I have always preferred to make resolutions on my Birthday rather than at New Years. I'm probably the only person you know who has resolved to gain lots of weight this year. But more importantly I resolve to show my loved ones how much i love them. I resolve to count my blessings Even the little sneaky blessings like muddy foot prints on a freshly mopped floor or spaghetti stuck to the ceiling, because it all means that we are alive and thriving and getting where we need to go. I resolve to choose to love the process. the messes, the fights, the late bills, the snotty noses, the poopy diapers. I will make an effort to celebrate every day that God gives me as a mother.
Tonight I had to explain to Jack why two of our sea monkeys are stuck together. This is delecate territory so I played dumb "I dont know why in the world those crazy monkeys want to get stuck together. Maybe they are dancing. What do you think? he thought for a minute and then offered up that possibly the larger sea monkey is a cop and has needed to arrest and restrain the other one for the good of all the other sea monkeys. Hes on to something there. I cherish these conversations. I write down the kids brilliant thoughts. They are so much work but so much fun and the resolution that I hesitate to even mention is that I want to get healthy enough to have another baby. I want my baby girl. I know she is there.
So if you are wondering why I have turned into the biggest flake in the world, or annoyed with; me because I haven't checked Facebook for months or even listened to voice mails, I admit... I am flaky and lame and there are a list of people who deserve a great big personal apology, for now this will have to do. I'm ready to be a busybody back in the swing of things. Thanks for sticking with me.