How Did I Get Here? Part 2

“We have to let go of the life we have planned…to accept the one that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell

So it has been almost a year since I wrote Part 1. If you did not catch it, you can check it out here. It has taken me a while because life has been evolving and I have been just trying to wrap my head around it. Lots of transitioning, but I was very grateful for it all. I knew that God was hearing me and answering my prayers even though His answer did not look the way I envisioned it. Does it ever though? I’ve learned to trust the process so I am embracing the change. Also, I am still working on this transparency thing. I am a private person and usually choose to deal with life (especially life’s challenges) quietly. However, I was moved to share this so this time I am choosing to be obedient.

I’ll just start by saying that my original purpose for “The Journey” section of this blog was to document my journey to finding my purpose. My hope was to inspire you to seek and live out your purpose in life. However, at that time, I did not know that my life would lead me down a different path for this section of the blog. Maybe not totally, but definitely not the way I planned. So here goes.

I have been dealing with stomach issues for a while, several years actually. The episodes were very intense, yet very sporadic. I work out several days a week and I eat fairly clean (outside of my Chick-fil-A addiction that I’ve cut down to once a week), so I attributed the episodes to an occasional junk meal that maybe didn’t agree with me. More recently, I started waking up in the middle of the night with what felt like major indigestion and nausea. Since we get home pretty late, hence eat dinner late, I thought maybe I was lying down too soon after eating so I stopped eating after 7pm. Nothing changed. I started having a constant bloating/fullness feeling that lasted throughout the day and night and eventually, I could not eat or sleep at all. Over a span of 7 days, I got 7 hours of sleep. It was so bad that I even took a pregnancy test!! And if you know me, you know that it had to be bad for me to think that was even a possibility (and how I felt about that possibility). I was at the point where I was unable to function at work or at home so I made an appointment to see the doctor. I was praying through it all, asking God to just help me. There is no way I would have made it otherwise. I have never felt so bad for such a long period of time.

Several days later, I went to the doctor. My prayer going into the building was that God would give the doctors the wisdom they needed to test and properly diagnose me. More importantly, I prayed for the strength to handle whatever it was. After carefully listening as I described my symptoms, the doctor ordered all kinds of tests (blood and CT Scan). When the nurse finished taking half of my body worth of blood, I started praying again, “Lord, please help them to ask the right questions, help me accurately describe my symptoms to their understanding, just help us all, Lord.” About 5 minutes later, the doctor came back in and said, “I know we’ve drawn a lot of blood already, but if you think you can handle it today, I would like to do one last test. It’s for celiac.” I knew it was Him, so I obliged. Thank you, Jesus.

A few days later, the doctor called to let me know that I had tested positive for Celiac Disease. I had only recently learned about celiac after talking to one of my coworkers who mentioned that it could be what was going on with me. Celiac Disease basically means that my stomach is unable to process foods containing wheat, barley, or rye. In other words, I am allergic to gluten. What foods contain gluten? ALL FOODS! Lol. Not really, but I will get into that later. So she told me that she was sending me to a Gastroenterologist who would be able to properly diagnose me and provide more information. In the meantime, she mentioned that I should transition to a gluten-free diet which would help me feel a lot better. So I scheduled a visit with the specialist for a couple of weeks later and started researching this gluten-free thing. Honaaaaaay…

Ok. So I am a major sandwich kinda girl and you are telling me that my body can no longer properly digest bread? Or flour? Or a Chick-fil-A Chicken sandwich with pepperjack cheese with a small fry, and medium sweet tea?!! The madness! In short, I have to stick to eating meats (non-breaded), vegetables, and fruit. No bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, or certain potato chips. You can find the gluten-free versions of a lot of this stuff but still… At that time though, it didn’t matter what they told me to do. If they would have told me to stop eating altogether to help me feel better, I would have. That’s how awful I felt. I was just thankful that they were able to find something and that it was treatable. Long story short, I went gluten-free and after about 3 days, I felt 95% better.

Two weeks later I went to see the specialist. I went through the same spill with her, describing my symptoms. She was great and I love her so much. Until she told me that she needed me to start eating gluten again so that she could properly test and diagnose me. Of course, I’m a nerd so I had already researched and learned everything there was to know about testing for celiac. I knew that they would have to do an endoscopy, which means that they would have to go down my throat to look into my stomach. Basically, for those allergic to gluten, eating gluten flattens the lining of the small intestines, so obviously if I was not eating gluten, my small intestines would likely look normal and would not show signs of Celiac Disease. This would not allow the doctor to properly diagnose me. I knew all of this going into that appointment, but hearing her actually say it gave me anxiety. I just could not imagine knowingly doing that to myself again.

That brings me to now. My appointment for the endoscopy is in 3.5 weeks. I tried eating gluten for the first two days after that appointment (first meal was Chick-fil-A ?), but I felt so bad and could not sleep. I could not imagine doing that to myself for another 4 weeks so I have decided that I would wait and do it for the last week or so before the test. With the way that I feel when I do eat gluten, I feel like if I do it a day or two before the test, they will see it.

I am a very optimistic person by nature, but over the last several weeks during times of frustration, I have wondered, “Why me?” But I quickly check myself and ask, “Why not me?” Although I don’t understand it, my faith makes me believe that there is a reason and know that God has a plan. My prayer is that God will use me to help others who may be going through this or something similar and encourage them to trust the process, trust Him.

So there. This is my journey that I will be documenting. If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading! ❤️

 

 

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7 thoughts on “How Did I Get Here? Part 2

  1. Nichole says:

    Hi Gabrielle! I completely understand your diet woes. I’m 35 now, but since I was 16 yrs old I suffered from extremely difficult menstrual cramps. I mean I had sporadic, debilitating cramps which kept me on edge every month. There were times in college I had to quickly leave in the middle of listening to a lecture just to rush back home in agony. I’ve even taken sick days in the middle of work because I couldn’t function.

    On top of that, I found out last year that I have hormonal imbalances (low progesterone) that have made conceiving my first child challenging. I remember asking God why is this happening to me, but then I realized that He was setting me up for a powerful testimony.

    After doing a TON of research I was convinced that changing my diet would not only help with my painful menstrual cramps, but help balance my hormones so I can conceive naturally. So, over time I began transitioning to a vegan diet. And the last 3 months I’ve successfully transitioned over. Coming from someone who was a carnivore I didn’t think I would last without at least eating chicken, but to be honest I don’t even miss eating meat. Consuming dairy, meat, processed wheats, and soy wrecks havoc on my body resulting in internal inflammation and hormonal imbalances.

    Since the transition, I no longer have to take pain medication for my cycles and I no longer get bloated or experience PMS, which means my hormones are beginning to stabilize. I also understand what it’s like to feel vulnerable, but I know the importance of sharing my fertility journey on my blog and SM. I’m hopeful my story is going to help women so I’m willing to put myself out there.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s very encouraging to know other women have similar struggles and are finding ways to overcome them. I enjoy following your IG by the way, very fashionable. That’s how I found this post!

    • gbsmith06@gmail.com says:

      Thank you so much, Nichole! Good for you for transitioning over. That’s huge! So far the gluten free diet has made a world of difference. I’m so thankful! Thanks for the encouragement. Part of our journey consists of sharing that journey with others as a way to inspire and encourage. That’s my prayer. I am cheering and praying for you too as you continue on your journey to conceiving. I am inspired by your strength and courage to put yourself out there. Thanks so much for the love on IG too! Through IG and the awesome community there, I have learned that fashion is my passion. One of them, at least. ? Much love and be blessed. ❤

  2. Pipes says:

    A good friend of mine has Celiac Disease. I don’t think she suffers quite as much as you, but the Lord doesn’t give us more than we can’t handle. Apostle Paul also had a thorn in his flesh and he asked the Lord to remove it, but the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2nd Corinthians 12:9. I’ve experienced similar things before with my voice and only when I cling to Christ, He is made perfect in my weakness. Thank you for your courage and willingness to obey and share your life. I hope I get to meet you some day here on this earth. If not, I know I’ll see you up there!

    • gbsmith06@gmail.com says:

      Amen! Thank you so much for that! I’m going to “sticky note” that scripture. Your voice is perfect. We definitely have to meet here so we can have the party before the “after party!” ❤

  3. Jen Todd says:

    So glad I asked for the link… I’ve been having almost exact same issues for a couple years. Took many pregnancy tests, even had my gallbladder removed and started taking Zofran to help relieve from nausea. But I still battle nausea, stomach pain, and vomitting. I’ve cut back on a lot of greasy foods etc., but hadn’t thought about this. I’m gonna start gluten free diet and see how that helps! Thank you for sharing this !

    • gbsmith06@gmail.com says:

      Girl! You just made my day! When I posted this, my prayer was that by putting myself out there, I’d help someone else. Woohooo! Yes, definitely try removing gluten completely. It’s a little challenging at first and it may take a few days before the gluten has been removed from your body and you start feeling a difference. But I tell you that it’s worth it. I had not felt like myself for a long time. I felt like a brand new person! Please keep me posted. I’d like to know how it goes. ❤️

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