Tag Archive | asking God for help

My Food Journey: What I didn’t know could hurt me

road

 

I guess I’ve been on an unintended hiatus. I don’t know how it happened and I don’t know that I’m ready to be here, but here I am, for today

 

 

It was around 2008 or 2009 that I started developing a cough. It was a random cough. There were times it was worse than others. There were times it was so bad that I choked and gagged. Those moments were jarring because I couldn’t breathe.

At the “mildest” of moments, I didn’t even know I was coughing. I simply had no idea I was doing it. What was worse was the “dirty” looks I would get. The “Are you sick?” “What’s wrong with you?” questions followed much later by just “Go to the Doctor!”

Oddly, I didn’t feel sick….not even close. The “hacking cough” wasn’t alleviated by chewing gum or sucking on cough drops. In fact, not only didn’t they help, I sometimes wondered if they made it worse. My frustration level was rising. The cough I had initially attributed to seasonal allergies wouldn’t go away! It was there even in the Winter…The Winter!

During a physical with my Doctor we went over my health history and family history. I lost my Mom way too young. She was too young to die and I was too young to be motherless – some of which I’ve already written about previously.

During the course of our conversation, The MD and I mutually decided I should have an endoscopy. For those that don’t know what that is, it’s when a Gastroenterologist takes a medically designed camera inside you and down your GI tract. It wasn’t something I was looking forward to, but we agreed it was for peace of mind.

I had the procedure in October 2012. But I so was nervous about the results that I ended up waiting nearly 10 months to follow up with the Specialist. Yes, 10 months (August 2013)

When I finally did go in, that was one of the most intense evaluation sessions I’ve ever sat through.

At that point, I found out I had Acid Reflux (AR). I believe it’s also commonly known as GERD. To be honest, when he initially presented his findings to me, I was totally disgusted. I honestly didn’t believe him. I couldn’t believe Reflux was possible because I felt no symptoms. I felt perfectly healthy. I really was questioning his opinion and findings. I really grilled him, I wasn’t ready to give up and give in to something that just didn’t seem to fit….

But, then…the more he spoke – the more questions I asked and insight he gave me – something “clicked.”  And not in a good way….

The more he addressed really detailed, technical stuff about Acid Reflux: how it works, what it does, why my body was doing what it was and what ALL this might mean in the bigger LONG term picture…..Acid Reflux if left unchecked, un-managed and ignored for too long can lead to cancer.

What he was describing to me took me back to 1983. In his description of my condition, he was talking about my mother in reverse. I don’t have her records to refer back to, but her demise (stomach cancer) was (essentially) esophageal cancer.  Esophageal Cancer is cancer of the esophagus, the GI tract. The GI tract leads to the stomach.

All these years later, I had wondered how this could have happened to her, with seemingly little warning. Seemingly because we didn’t know what we didn’t know. We didn’t know what to watch for. We didn’t understand what could be trigger points or aggravators.

Here I was, listening to the Dr tell me what my Mom didn’t have the chance understand or learn about.

Pair all that together with my gut instinct (pun intended) and that’s good enough.

 

Now that the appointment with the Specialist was over, I had a small supply of “sample” medication to see me on my way.

Fabulous.

I’m not really a fan of prescriptions or meds in general. I found out why, FAST. I took the medicine I received for 2 days and starting on day 3, I knew something was wrong!! I woke up feeling lousy. And only got to feeling worse throughout the morning. I still can’t believe I did, but I called my Dr about it. I was told a reaction was rare, and it could be a virus since there was a virus going around. I should stop taking it immediately for 48 hours. If the condition lingered longer than 48 I had a virus, if the conditions stopped, it was a reaction.

24 HOURS LATER I WAS FINE.

UGH.

For 3-6 months I flip flopped between my General Practitioner, my respiratory specialist (where I found out I had near perfect lung capacity) and even had allergy testing done! (With no significant allergens of concern).

GET THIS: With all that being said. With all the time that had passed…my cough still lingered. It still wouldn’t go away. Seriously!

 

I went in for my annual physical this past spring. May 2014. We went over everything, all over again. Symptoms hadn’t changed.

Everyone I knew said something was “WRONG” with me (a great thing to hear on an endless basis). I was getting tired of finding no answers. I felt like a dog chasing its tail. That’s not a pretty picture but it accurately portrays where I was.

I had tried nearly everything the 3 Doctors and Allergist had suggested….and that’s when I looked my MD in the eye and said:

I’m tired of trying. I’m tired of meds that aren’t cutting it. I don’t want to bother with them anymore. What else can I do. I want to stop this….there’s got to be a better way!

Let me say this – I have always liked my Doctor. I ask a lot of questions. I challenge her with my doubts about “modern medicine” and she antes up. We have had some great chats!

But this day, this particular conversation was a game changer!

“Well, you might be able to eventually come off the meds, in time, but you’d have to make a major change.”

“Like what?” I replied.

“You’d have to stop eating gluten”

“What do you mean? Why is that?”

“Gluten can be a major contributor of Acid Reflux. In your case, it’s likely aggravating the already high acid levels of your stomach and that’s why you’ve got GI damage.”

“Are you saying if I stop consuming gluten I’ll be able to discontinue the meds?”

“What I’m saying is you need to take the meds AS you are quitting gluten and get your damage healed. Once you’re gluten free we can reevaluate and see if with the combination of taking the meds and lack of gluten, if your body can then maintain that balance on its own.”

The conversation above happened in May. We are now in September.

I finally “initiated” my attempt at being gluten free this summer. It was either May or June. I was not thrilled by the idea BUT, it was an idea I hadn’t taken seriously or even contemplated.

Two weeks into the process – yes, two weeks in, something was different. My coughing was subsiding. By August, my cough was gone. What I didn’t realize was that I was a good part of my way already into a gluten free lifestyle. Flour and flour based products (wheat) are full of gluten (think bread)

I don’t like bread

I don’t often chose to eat bread.

I don’t even care for the bread basket at restaurants.

My biggest hurdle? That’s been baking!

Yes, one of the many reasons I’ve not been on here as much as I intended was this gluten free lifestyle change. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought. Maybe that’s because I know where this road will go if I don’t take it and I’ve already seen what can happen! As much as I’d rather not have to deal with checking ingredient labels, it is so nice now that I’m not coughing, clearing my throat (or hacking). But the biggest reality is the (hidden, unseen) internal reaction my body has to gluten. I DON’T WANT to GO back there!

What have I discovered through this process? I can still love my homemade chocolate chip cookies. I just use a combination of AP GF Flour and Coconut Flour. While I’m not really supposed to have chocolate because of GERD, if I need a nice chocolate “fix” I can always make a flour-less chocolate cake.

 

I don’t generally eat supermarket ice-creams. Have you ever read those ingredient labels? If I want ice-cream, I need to pull out my ice-cream maker.

The biggest culprit in all this though (for me) has been the bread and bread products. I ate two bread based sandwiches a few weeks back (because I didn’t have lettuce around to make a wrap) for lunch and dinner one day and the effects were nearly instant. Within a few hours, I was coughing and I couldn’t stop. It was baffling until we reviewed the day in full.

People reading this may believe gluten allergies or sensitivities aren’t real. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But, where modern medicine and allergy testing couldn’t get it right (and there is no official “test” to determine a gluten intolerance or sensitivity)…I’m glad I gave myself the chance to try!

 

 

 

Dear Father:

I am forever grateful for your unending blessings. Whether or not I can see what you are doing in my life, I know you are GOOD. Your strength carries me from day to day. My purpose, my reason for being here is only found through you. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for Shining YOUR light on my path.

I ask you to bless every person who reads this with your Love and Peace that surpasses ALL understanding. Help any who are lost to find you and seek your presence. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

-Kenzel

 

 

 

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Writer’s Wisdom: Letting go of “the dream”

 

 

 

“It’s time to stop running.”

“What do you mean, running? I’m not running from you.”

“I want all of you.”

“You have all of me.”

“No, I don’t.”

 

and that’s when the Holy Spirit got to work on me.

 

“Let go of the book.”

“But why? It’s the only dream I have left…”

“Whose dream?

“Mine!!”

“Are you sure?”

 

(Radio Silence)

 

“Lay it down.”

*Sniff*

“Lay it down.”

“The only thing I’ll have left to write then is the blog.”

“And do you remember why you have that?”

 

(Radio Silence)

 

“Lay it down, HE needs you to LAY it DOWN.”

 

So, I sat in front of my laptop and relinquished my childhood dream. I gave up on writing THE BOOK.

I felt a strange mix of sadness and grief, a bit of mourning and anger. I hadn’t understood WHY HE was asking me to DO this but somehow I knew I needed to comply.

Moments after, I was enlightened to the “why”

 

The Carrot and The Heel

 

I have lived 3 decades with the hope of writing a book. Something to honor my Mom with. I guess I figured it would be like a tribute to her.

But an underlying reason was to make her proud of me….and that was my downfall – for all the wrong reasons.

 

Proverbs 16:17-18 (NLT)

17 The path of the virtuous leads away from evil;
    whoever follows that path is safe.

18 Pride goes before destruction,
    and haughtiness before a fall.

I’ve said before that the enemy is cunning, manipulative and sly.

I’d never seen that the BOOK I believed I wanted so much was actually him, the enemy….dangling a carrot in front of me.

He’s obviously known this weak spot for a while because I’ve worn it like a ball and chain forEVER.

Honestly and freakishly, in the hours and days after I laid down, relinquished and presented this “desire” this “dream” to God – I felt the chains of a burden release. This happened last week.

In hindsight, I am speechless.

God asked me to start a blog. He didn’t ask me to write a book.

I WAS THE ONE who was led to believe that I should write a book – by my oppressor.

And he masked the dream so well….

See, many weeks ago I asked God to help reveal the unexposed sins in my life. To reveal to me, to help me see anything that was causing me to falter in HIS sight. Anything that might be an Achilles heel. Anything that was weakening me as HIS tool.

Please note, until now, I’d forgotten I’d even prayed that prayer. I guess God didn’t.

I’m not upset about THaT book. I’m actually relieved. I now see that what I thought was a “dream” was actually a carnal desire  – an illusion if you will. I really wanted to taste “authorship” and see my work in print. But without God’s guiding hand involved in the process…it was never going to flourish or bloom.

Satan knew my WEAKNESS but God knows what I NEED and what will both bring HIM glory and be a blessing for me.

So, until HE tells me, shows me or otherwise instructs…I guess this blog is HIS venue of choice.

Dear GOD,

Thank you for giving us “exit doors” and evacuation strategies (made possible by your son’s sacrifice). You continually prove to me YOU are a God of your WORD. I don’t know what you expect of me. But I know whatever YOU need me to DO – you will prepare me and equip me for it.

As your WORD states:

21 may he equip you with all you need
    for doing his will.
May he produce in you,
    through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
    All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.

God is GOOD ALL the time, and God is ALWAYS GOOD

-Kenzel