Seven years ago tomorrow night, I lay on the floor of a hotel room bathroom, in so much pain that I thought I was dying. I finally passed out while hearing fireworks going off overhead. Celiac had hit me hard and fast, with no warning. I had no digestive symptoms prior to that meal. My only symptom had been repeat miscarriage.
Following that night, I lost 60 pounds in ten weeks from wasting, and ultimately dropped 130 pounds before getting myself turned around. I went from 235 and a size 18 to a 105-pound size 0. At times I couldn’t stand up or couldn’t even move. I wasn’t able to hold down any appreciable amount of food for weeks on end. I’ve written about it before, and you can click here to read about the effects of celiac, adrenal fatigue, chelation for heavy metals and more. I had a long, slow climb out of a very dark pit.
So much has changed in seven years. I’ve started a business, my children have grown and I didn’t have anymore successful pregnancies after developing celiac. I always envisioned myself as a stay-at-home mom to a large family. We wanted six kids when we got married as we both loved children. Now I find myself as a work-from-home mom to two with six in Heaven. Life has a way of going in another direction, doesn’t it?
Lemons Into Lemonade
How could celiac possibly bless me? How could it possibly be a positive? Can any good come out of an illness? Absolutely. I learned not to be a Type A personality. I truly can’t control it all. If you try to, you only stress yourself out. I relaxed and learned to laugh at myself and enjoy life more. I still retain the drive, vision and stick-to-it-tivness of a Type-A, but I’ve let go of the control issues and I’ve become flexible. I learned how to deal when Plan A (and even Plan B and C) don’t work out. I roll with the punches.
I learned to be at peace when things don’t turn out the way I had planned. I’ve come to accept not having more children and not being a stay-at-home mom. I never thought I could be happy or in God’s will unless I was both, and I found out I was wrong.
I learned that God has plans for me that I can’t even imagine. Had I never developed celiac, I would never started this business, I probably wouldn’t have blogged, we would have never had a way to support our family through two long bouts of unemployment, I would have never met my closest friends. We would not have moved to our current location, as my celiac was the deciding factor in where we chose to live.
Had I not developed celiac, I would have never been able to help the thousands of readers who have stopped by in the last few years to get hope and help.
I learned to be positive and optimistic despite even great adversity. I learned to relax and smile more.
I am grateful that we found out about the celiac while my children were young so they wouldn’t have to suffer as I have. They can grow up in a gluten-free lifestyle.
I learned how strong I was. I learned how to pull myself up and get it done, because I had no other choice.
I learned that real food diets alone aren’t enough for everyone. Some people have to have specialized diets, and some people need further help.
I learned compassion and not judgement for those who are still struggling despite eating well. Food is an important part of the health, but it isn’t the whole story. Often times in an illness, food is only one component of the road back to health.
I learned compassion for people whose choices are different than my own. As my illness progressed, I found myself having to make all sorts of choices I would have never made before getting sick, due to the circumstances I was in.
I learned that the Lord can take you through some of your worst fears and on the other side, you find that He got your through it. I clearly remember thinking, “Anything but a digestive disease, Lord. That would be so embarrassing.” Having a digestive disease has been difficult and embarrassing at times, just as all health problems can be, but nothing that I couldn’t handle with some humor and a LOT of grace.
I found my passion. Your job doesn’t feel like work until it’s something that you don’t enjoy.
Our budget and our health has improved thanks to not being able to eat out. Because packaged and processed products weren’t an option due to the allergies, my children learned to eat and love home-cooked foods that most kids won’t touch. Once I was off of gluten, my tastes expanded immensely. I discovered international cuisine and began to accept foods and flavors I had never dreamed of trying.
I learned that ALL hardships have blessings in disguise.
So here’s to seven more years of seeing what the Lord has in store for my health and our family!