03.27.2013

How I became who I am today.

plans

A year ago…

Today I was experimenting for recipes for Easter for my family and then I remembered a year ago. It was just the beginning of my journey. Of course I have never had the best of health-read about it here, but something changed-my symptoms, my reactions, the way I thought about things.

Since I am the reason my family cannot have certain foods in the house (because of my severe allergies) I offered to make something special for them. Usually my mom makes “punchkees” polish donuts–but  you guessed it, not this year! Im making this- rice flour apple crumble cake.

apple crumb

They had been a tradition in my family for generations, how can I break this tradition? Or how can I make my family break away from this tradition? They are doing it for me, because they love me. If only I could give back to them for the times they have done things for me. That is what family is for 🙂

Were we REALLY healthy?

I cringe thinking only a year ago these donuts were made fried in grapeseed oil (the year before it was peanut oil!! yikes. It was only 1x a year so we thought it was “ok”), artificially colored cherries in the middle, and normal sugar. The Easter candy was regular jelly bellies with artificial dyes. The egg color were those pellets dissolved in vinegar (corn!). You see the point, is this how holidays are celebrated-toxic! This year, things are going to be different. We are using natural food based dyes.

Am I crazy or just sensitive?

Last year on Easter was the first day I realized how sensitive I was. I was in the kitchen as my mom was rolling the dough for the donuts. To roll them out you need flour on the counter, so poof-flour everywhere! Immediately I started to feel strange. My breathing got shallow and my hands started to shake. I was running out of air. My face got beet red and I spiked a fever. I had no idea what was happening.

I was smart enough that I know it was an allergic reaction. I had just gotten the little infrared sauna a few weeks before so I hurried my self into the little wooden box. I sat in there for 1 hour until I was dripping sweat. I HAD to get what ever toxins I had in me out-now! I did not know about charcoal, or clay baths, or anything about severe food allergies. I did have my share of food allergies, but I did not know the extent of them. God had a lot planned for me in the next year.

I found me.

This is the day I became me. I found myself. I found out what my body is capable of feeling. I have a gift of being sensitive. I don’t get “mad” at myself for being this way. I know that it is temporary and healing will take its course.

I got up the strength to go to Easter mass in the morning even though I did not feel well. I made if 1/2 the mass. I took the communion- at that time I was only taking the wine. Immediately after I felt dizzy and very similar to the day before when the flour poofed in the kitchen (just not nearly as bad). I prayed. I knew it then, that I was very very sensitive.

I felt alone. Everyone questioned me. “well how do you know?” “that did not touch wheat so you are ok, right?”. I did not know the answers myself. I knew I was allergic to wheat but I was not eating it, so how could I get sick? I know now it is because I breathed it in when the flour puffed in the air. There was cross contamination from the wine at church. It all makes sense now, but it made my head spin a year ago.

I smell…I react

We then went out to brunch together and I got some raw tuna. I felt sicker surrounded by all the pancakes and croissants. Of course- because the food was in the air and the reason why you smell it is because the particles are being released. By now you are probably like –thats crazy. But maybe there is even one person who understands what I am talking about. It is not just in the head, it is real. You can be sensitive to just touching, or smelling certain foods.

That concept drove me crazy. It did not make sense! How can I explain to people and my family not to eat wheat in the same room as me! Honestly I was very scared. I tried to figure it out on my own. It was not until I asked God for the strength that I found it.

My life became smaller but my heart became larger.

Let me just tell you something before I continue my story. In the process of healing I am learning what is really important in life. My good health was taken away from me. The outside world became a distant dream. Interactions with people, stores, outings are all a dream. I live in the now, laugh when I can, and soak in the moments that count. I still feel blessed even though it may seem like so much has been taken away. Honestly, I feel more complete then when I could do and eat and touch more.

dignity

The weeks go on.

As the weeks went on I had other strange reactions. My mom scooped cat litter 2 rooms away= reaction. I swept the food =reaction. The dog licked me =reaction. I took a shower after my sister (she uses shampoo)= reaction. The list is probably a mile long.

The reason why I am telling you this story, is because I know I am not alone. I know there are other people out there who feel lost just like I did. There is Hope though.

I got reaction after reaction until soon it was every day. I finally did the cyrex #4 test which tests cross reactants for gluten. I was allergic to corn and potato too. My body sensed these molecules as “foreign” and caused an autoimmune attack.

What is a reaction?

When I say reaction I mean I could have any of these symptoms: swelling (got progressively worse each time), redness, fever, hives, eczema, anger, crying, phobias, just plain “terrified feeling”, stomach achs and bad pains, severe sinus pressure. Everyone is different, but it is not uncommon to have emotional and physical reactions.

It would take the rest of the day to “calm the reaction” I would either take a sauna or clay bath and then rest. I would exercise to get my lymph moving. I would flush my body with water. I was exhausted by the end of the day and the next day I would get a reaction and the cycle continued. This was not the way to live life.

family

This picture was from when my brothers hamster died. Even though my older sister and dog are missing, I love it because it was such a great picture, you can almost “feel” the support.  

 

I knew the truth, but did not want to admit it.

I knew what had to happen but did not want to upset my family. I was not sure they would understand. They would sometimes get irritated when they had to eat cereal in the basement so how could I ask them to get rid of all the corn, wheat, and potato in the kitchen? It may seem easy but EVERYTHING has corn in it. There could not even be a trace and NO cross contamination (like spices and even from coconut flour, etc.). Can you tell I used to be a “people pleaser”. I have finally learned to stand up for myself.

It all changed when…

One day I had a really bad reaction, so bad I was in bed for days. My family knew something was very wrong. They asked if there was anything they could do to help. I said yes and explained what I needed to be safe in my own house.

Together we brain stormed. I evacuated the house one day as they went through the kitchen-every cabinet and not only took out most of the food but my mom scrubbed so there were no crumbs left. Long gone were all the cleaners, the cat litter, the soaps, the sponges, the nonstick pans. They transformed the bar in the basement into their kitchen to cook all the “Caroline-un-safe-foods”. I still don’t go in the basement at all.

They have a little potable oven and stove top burner down there. They can cook pizza, baked goods, pancakes, whatever they please without it bothering me. Upstairs in the normal kitchen they cook mostly: meat, fish, eggs, veggies, fruit and anything safe I can be  around. Is still cannot be in the kitchen with the stove on-because it is gas, but that does not even bother me at all (its just the way it is).

Faith.

Some days I am not sure how I can make it. Faith that I will get better someday is my motive. I want to get healthy so I can give back to my family what they have given to me. This story may seem extreme to you- but it is very real. I had to get to rock bottom first before I could get better.

I only just started improving. Though if you see my healing updates #1, #2, #3, #4 you will probably think I have gotten worse. I know my body and I am improving in the long run. To me it is not about each day, it is about my progress. It takes time to research and learn and figure out your own body. I am finally fixing the “root” of my illness.

A hard year, but well worth it.

I have figured out and learned so much in the past year (more then I have in the past 19 years). It was the scariest & toughest year of my life. God only gives us what we can handle and I guess He knew I could handle alot. I need this to happen to me so I can learn-when I experience things I understand and research it to its depths.

A year ago was when my journey really started. I had no clue what was in store for me- and Im happy I did not because I don’t think I would have made it. I live one day at a time. I cannot say I am even close to living a normal life- but hey who wants to be normal anyways 🙂

A year ago…

I was afraid to speak the truth. I was embarrassed of who I was becoming. I did not trust my gut feeling. I blamed me.

Only time and experience could teach me to stand up for myself. I learned to live in the moment and embrace each hour because I do know know what is around the corner (literally). I am not scared though, because I trust my body will fight. I do everything I can to protect and heal my body and the rest I leave up to God.

I learned to trust. Trust my instincts. Trust my family’s loyalty. Trust God.

I know that I still have so much to learn and anticipate each and every day because I know that it is a gift.

 

I will leave you with the verse I live by each and every day.

~For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

~Stay Gutsy, Caroline

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Comments

  1. Hey there thanks for your honesty . I do not go through all you go through daily , but I am still battling health issues yet again after thinking I was healed . I know how you feel at times. The bible verse is very true and the truth is so much of a firm foundation that we need to stand on . During times of sickness and other struggles it is so important like you say to Keep faith in God and as a christian , I have faith in Jesus Christ. Really Faith in Gods word is a big part of pushing through each day and reaching for Joy, love , peace and Hope when we want to give up . Thanks again !

    • Leah, sometimes the body goes in waves of healing and recovery, that may be a sign of overall health- your body is strong enough to detox. It can be frustrating but like you said Faith is very important!

  2. Steph says:

    Beautiful, Caroline. It sounds like it would be simple but it really takes a lot of courage to tell people what you need from them sometimes. You are brave and I applaud you! Proverbs 31:25 is one of my favorite verses. So important to remember to not live with a spirit of fear. Its a struggle for me and that’s why I loved this post. <3

  3. I’m glad God crossed our paths last year through Judy Dudich! It’s been amazing to see how you’ve been handling these changes in your life and how you’ve grown through it. You’re right…God knows your path, even if you don’t understand it all. He sees the big picture of our lives and we get to see it bit by bit as it’s revealed. 🙂

    I’m praying for you on this path God has for you. Praying for your healing and that above all things you’ll keep the great outlook on your life as God has designed it for you!

    • I love how you put that “God knows your path, even if you don’t understand it all” very very true and i need to remind myself that each and every day. I too am so happy that we met!

  4. Debbie says:

    Thank you for your inspiring words Caroline!

    When my health started spiraling, I was mid-life and many of the same symptoms that you describe happened to me. I was deeply ashamed, wondered if I was just going crazy and why couldn’t I get it together. My journey has been much longer than a year. I too continue to read, research and try things very, very slowly when I use to try most anything! The gaps has been the best answer so far and this is my best year yet (I’m just 53 and this all started when I was around 45)
    Sometimes I get frustrated, depressed and hopeless of wondering if I will truly heal, yet I know the overall progress shows that I am healing!
    Thank you for owning who you are; I too have come to that place and I speak more boldly about my body and what is going on with family members who often look at me as if I’m wacko. I appreciate your blog and with God’s help, WE. WILL. HEAL! 🙂

    • I have had this journey longer then a year too but it was only this past year that I got “true healing” Im sure you know what I mean. Yes I believe our minds and prayer are powerful and you too will heal. Each in our own way!

  5. Caroline, I assume you are Catholic, since you mentioned Mass? I just wanted to say that if so, the wine usually has a tiny piece of the host put into it. Also, if you can’t receive , do you know that you can make a spiritual communion any time you want, and still receive the graces of the sacrament? All you have to do is express that desire to The Lord. It’s pretty amazing. Reading about your journey is inspiring to me. I have been on a health journey of my own these last couple years, and even though I haven’t had the severity of symptoms you have, it is nice to know that I’m not alone in the journey. God Bless you, and Happy Easter.

    • Colleen yes I am Catholic. Yeah I did not want to go into detail but there is one cup that has the host in my church and it could have been that one. Thank you for that reminder, i know my mom gave me a prayer to pray too. Sadly I cant even go to church because of the people and candles but I can pray it at home! Thank you for saying im not alone- it helps 🙂 Yes Happy Easter!!

  6. Norwegian reader says:

    Thank you Caroline…! Your honesty is inspiring and beautiful. I feel the love of God in your writing. You are truly beautiful. God bless you.

  7. Justine says:

    lol, it appears you HAVE! Sorry…..will have to read your posts 🙂

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