Just over 3 years ago, I sat down for the very first time to write out my journey from sickness to health. The emotions were still very raw, and at the time, it was still very hard to look back on those memories. While my past obviously remains the same, how I see it has truly shifted. Now, I look back on those times and I smile and laugh, as my challenges have made me the woman I am so proud to be today. I believe that itâs not our struggles that define our lives, itâs what we do with them. I have lived through my own personal hell, and because of that, I now realize that I am unstoppable. Physically, Iâm incredibly strong now. Mentally, Iâm unbreakable.
At the time that Iâm writing this, on February 4, 2017, itâs been exactly 6 years since my last surgery, and exactly 4 years since I completely changed my diet and lifestyle, which in turn changed my entire life more than I ever thought possible. Growing up, food wasnât something that I looked at as important. I believed that I could eat whatever I wanted, because I was always very thin. It wasnât until I changed my diet 4 years ago, that I realized that this belief couldnât be further from the truth.
While changing the food that I eat has made an incredibly powerful impact on my health, looking back, I now realize that food wasnât the only thing at play. Food is truly just the beginning, and creating a positive mindset has been my golden ticket to health. Through my website, and all the work that I do, Iâm showing you step by step exactly how I took back control of my life. I teach only what I know and what I have personally lived through.
Whatever it is that youâre facing, know that youâve got this. It all starts with truly believing that ANYTHING is possible.
And now, I get the honor of sharing my story with you.
Itâs been an incredibly long and bumpy road, to get to where I am today. None of it was easy, but all of it has been beyond worth it. There were many times where I just wanted to give up and I didnât know how I would take another step, but I kept going, no matter what. I owed it to my husband, my family, my friends, and most importantly myself, to find my true health and a life that was really worth living. Countless doctors had told me that I would never heal, that I should expect to live my life sick, and that it would never get better. I was placed on medications that changed how I looked, that made me feel like I was going crazy, and that ultimately destroyed my immune system. My doctors may have given up on me, but that didnât mean I was going to give up on myself. I knew deep inside that there had to be another way. Switching to a paleo lifestyle has been one of the best decisions Iâve ever made. It was an easy change for me, because it made my dreams become my reality. I now have the health that Iâve been dreaming of for so long. Now you will see, why this lifestyle, that lit a spark in me, has now become my complete passion. Welcome to my world.
Health wasnât something that was given to me, Iâve had to fight for it since I was a kid. I fought incredibly hard, and I won. I was diagnosed with Crohnâs Disease at the age of 12, after dropping 30 pounds in a month, and I was already tiny. I was immediately put on all sorts of medications to lower my immune system, and hopefully put my disease into remission. At the age of 12, I was taking 96 pills a week. Not so much your ideal childhood. Unfortunately, back then I had no idea that the food I was consuming was literally killing me. My doctors never mentioned diet to me, so it wasnât important, right?
The conventional method of treating my disease (medications, hospital stays, etc) worked fairly well for while, but when I was 21, I really started to see and feel the negative effects of the medications I was taking. These prescription drugs began to take a serious toll on my immune system. I had just started my final 2 years of college, to complete my degree in fashion design, and I was so excited for what was to come. One morning I woke up with a terrible sinus infection, and had also lost my voice. My voice didnât come back for over a year and a half. Hard to even imagine, right? I was passed around from doctor to doctor, and unfortunately the most they could offer me were antibiotics, which basically worked like a short-term âband-aid.â Once my voice came back, the infection started to move into my ears. This is when I suddenly lost my hearing; I could hardly hear someone unless they were shouting. Letâs just say I became real good at reading lips. I had constant ear infections, and yet again, no doctor could treat me with anything but antibiotics. Antibiotics were becoming my way of life. I was frustrated, and life wasnât exactly what I would call fun.
Looking back now, I can see the exact time when the course of my life changed forever. Back in May 2010, I was admitted into the hospital with fungal growth spots in my lungs, caused by the medication I was taking. I was immediately taken off of that medication, but I was running out of options. Throughout my life, when one medication stopped working (as they always did), I would be placed on the newest version that had come out. At the time, I never thought it was a big deal, until there were no more new medications. This time, I was placed on an old medication that I had taken when I was 14. My Crohnâs immediately went out of remission, and I became very sick. A few months later, I had become so sick that I was forced to leave my job as a fashion designer. Life was like Groundhogs Day. Everyday I woke up with no energy, and everyday I went to bed with no energy. During the fall of 2010, I kept ending up in the ER with long hospital stays, due to obstructions in my large intestine. My intestines were so inflamed that the food I was eating could not pass. Obstructions are extremely dangerous, and my doctors were afraid my intestines would burst, which would cause my body to go septic. I had been told for months that I needed to have surgery to have my entire colon removed. Itâs not something I even wanted to imagine.
As I spent that Christmas in the hospital, I knew I couldnât go on like this for much longer. I had pneumonia for the third time, and an infection in my blood, which had come from my intestines. I was incredibly weak, but I put on a smile, and I kept going. My immune system was non-existent, due to 14 years straight of crazy, harsh meds. So I made the hardest decision of my life, took a leap of faith, and had surgery.
The picture on the left was taken February 4, 2011. The day I had my entire large intestine, and part of my small intestine surgically removed. I was placed on 100mg of prednisone, which is why I look all cute like a marshmallow. Visitors arenât usually allowed into the recovery room, but they made a special exception for my husband, as it was a major operation and I was a high-risk patient, with a next-to-nothing immune system. My husband makes my world go round, I will never know how heâs stayed so strong for over 10 years now. I told him that I would give him a âthumbs upâ when he saw me, letting him know I was ok. The âthumbs upâ was easy, letâs be real, I was drugged out of my mind.
This surgery saved my life. Leading up to surgery, my body was failing me. As a kid, I had no idea that the medications I thought were helping me, would eventually turn and show me their very dark side.
My doctors could save my life, but they couldnât make me healthy. They told me my immune system would rebound within 6 months of stopping the Crohnâs medications. That never happened. These meds are so powerful, they literally change the entire structure of your immune system. I had been sick for so long, and I was so tired of it. I was on antibiotics all the time, and my doctors told me to just accept that this would be my life.
See, hereâs the other thing. What my doctors didnât know, is who exactly they were saying this to. I had a life to live, and their words wouldnât stop me. Exactly 2 years to the day since my surgery, I took the plunge into this new diet and lifestyle change, 100%. Since that day, I never looked back, and I never will. Words truly cannot tell you how much this lifestyle has changed my entire world. Within a few days, I noticed that the inflammation I didnât even realize I had, was gone! Iâm by far the healthiest Iâve ever been.
Against my doctorâs advice, I havenât taken a single medication for my Crohnâs since the day of my surgery. Those drugs come with serious consequences that I will no longer accept, because I know I have other options. I know better, so I do better.
They said it couldnât be done. They still donât believe that a simple shift in my diet has healed me. They said none of this would be possible. All I have to say is, look at me now! Iâm so grateful to have my second chance!