011: You Don't Know The Half
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Hey! Thank you for tuning into Good Girl Gone OMAD, your go-to resource for learning more about your health and happiness through intermittent fasting in a world constantly telling us to do more, be more and eat more.
If you don’t know all ready, I’m your host Kay Dorelus. I’m so excited to be kicking off Season 2 today! I’ve been cooking up great content for you all. This topic that I’m going to discuss may feel overdue. Through my story, I’m going to help you identify a key tool to regain and maximize your health.
If you were to go on my instagram page @goodgirlgoneomad, you might conclude that I gained weight from having a kid, struggled with weightless, found success through intermittent fasting and voila! The end. But that’s not the end, my weight loss was just another beginning.
Today, I’m going to share with you my story of defeat and overcoming. I’ve had some very troubling diagnosis beginning at the young age of 7 and throughout my life. And I want to share with you… no, I need to share with because I think you should know what drive me. You’ve heard people ask, “what is your why?” For me, it’s not likes, it’s not followers, it’s not taking photos for social media, it’s not recording myself doing 75 burpees, it’s not even money. It’s none of those things. So today, I have no notes, I have no script, and because we are talking about health and the human body, things may sound graphic. That’s my disclaimer for today so stay tune to learn more about my journey.
So listen to my journey of overcoming. Just the other day, a very dear friend of mine asked me what motivated me to do intermittent fasting. If you’ve listened to my previous episodes, the surface level answer is that I was fat, I tried every diet, failed every diet and NOT eating was my last effort to lose weight before I waved the white flag. You know that and while all of that is true, it’s not the only answer. So my friend asked me why I started intermittent fasting, so I will tell you exactly like I told her. You’re like my best friend for the day. I can’t talk about weight loss without talking about health and I can’t talk about health without talking about my history when I didn’t have health.
At the age of 7 years old, I was officially diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I was too young to remember all of the feelings and discomfort but the visuals are still vivid to this day. Crohn’s Disease is inflammation of the intestines and like most diseases, the symptoms are not the same for everyday. My experience was all rectal… we are talking about the body, so if this stuff makes you queasy you may want to fast forward. So at the age of 7, being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, all of my bowel movements were bloody. Not spots of blood but pools of blood. Coca Cola red blood in my toilet was a very common, very everyday sight. But that isn’t normal, my afternoons were spent taking cultures and collecting specimens. Well, my mom did all of that work but the doctors were scrambling to understand what’s going on and how to treat me. I remember going to doctor’s offices and getting stares from the nurses because I’m a 7 year old getting regular colonoscopies meant for 50 and 60 year olds. The doctor’s faces weren’t too assuring either, they always looked puzzled. I went through a few doctors but I remember one visit where my mom was getting frustrated with the different tests and different medication and was like “I want to speak to some one who has answer, somebody who knows what they’re talking about”. And my doctor looks over at her and says, “I’m the head of the gastroenterology department and I promise I’m doing everything I can” At that time, I felt like I was in good hands. I remember him saying to stay away from leafy green foods because my digestion system wouldn’t be able to handle it. I’m thinking… “that’s it?!” Dude! I’m 7! I don’t eat anything green! And I didn’t, i remember leaving the office visit and eating a bag of flaming hot Cheetos. But do you know what he said really stuck with me. I avoided leafy green vegetables like the plague because I thought I’d do further damage. After months of some pretty awful medication, I went into remission. I thought to myself ok, unfortunately I want to get through life scott-free but “luckily” this Crohn’s disease is something that I don’t have to deal with on a daily basis. Defeat.
Fast forward a good 8 years, I’m in my teens. I’ll never forget meeting my mom to go to my annual eye doctor appointment. Side note here: I always wanted to wear glasses so that I could look cool at school but my vision was always good. I never walked out of the office with a prescription until… I go into this routine appointment and the practitioner grabs this puff gun thing. Do you know what I’m talking about? The little machine that blows a puff of air in your eye and measures your pressures. Ok, so my eyes are highly sensitive and I blink at everything that get close to my face. As soon as she approached my chair, blink! Blink! Blink! She kept telling me to hold still but I couldn’t. She used her thumb and finger and pryed my eye open and fired the gun. PUFF! I blinked. She’s tell me to relax. Well this went on like 6 times. I’ll never forget this, she goes “well mom (talking to my mom) her pressures are reading very high.” My mom goes, “how high?” “I’m getting 23 and 25” And then there was a long pause and the lady goes these are pressures of some one with glaucoma…………. but let me go get the doctor because you were blinking a lot” She giggles and leaves the room. Talk about dropping a bomb and then disappearing. But I wasn’t at all concerned. I couldn’t stop blinking during that test so of course my pressures aren’t reading normal. We didn’t fully understand what glaucoma was but it sounded important. So in walks the main doctor and she goes, “based on your reading you have high pressures and that could lead to glaucoma.” She pulls out this 3D eye ball and points to a nerve and says that my high pressure will damage my nerves over time. Then she shows me a pamphlet of a glaucoma person over-time developing tunnel vision and ultimately losing vision. All I’m thinking is that I can completely lose my eye sight at 16. She says, “but since you blink a lot I’m going to use a blue light to look in your eye, it’s not a puff.” I’m thinking, “Oh thank God!”
She shuts off the blue light and turns on the overhead lights and said, “well I am getting 21 and 23 so they are slightly elevated”. I said, “ well that is close to 20/20 vision… and she goes, “even the slightest pressure will cause damage to the nerve. I’m going to give you a prescription for eye drops, because there no were damage we’re going to say you are a glaucoma suspect. Do you know that I took my prescription and walked outside and started looking at everything! Because I’m thinking if I’m going to lose my eyesight in the next 3 years or so I need to take it all in now. I’m so silly, I went home and blindfolded myself to see if I could navigate around the house without being able to see…I cried! I felt sorry for myself, I didn’t want to be a blind teen. That was a lot.
Going back to Crohn’s, fast forward another 5 years, I hit a wall. While I was in college, I started experiencing severe discomfort. Meaning my stomach was constantly uneasy. I always felt like I had to go to the bathroom, like a real urgency to go but nothing would come out. It was really bad, I would try to go through out the day as if everything was normal but it wasn’t. My boyfriend, now husband picked me up from my college town apartment and drove me across state, back to the city to go to ER. I was borderline kicking and screaming…. I didn’t want to deal with doctors but he meant well. But this is where it gets real. I was admitted for over 5 days, no food and they conducted every test under the sun but I didn’t hear from any one. It was the craziest thing. There were a lot of nurses in and out, but no results. On day 5, my mom was visiting me that morning before going to work and as we were talking there was a knock on the door. In walks this doctor with a very casual look. He had on a collared shirt and a stethoscope. He walks across the room, glances around and says “you can come in”. In walks 7 surgeons in white coats standing in my room and the main doctor says “based on a reading from a test you did, your results from the radiologists, we need to remove a section of your small intestine.” What! I’m staring at these surgeons… 7 of them… in bright white coats. So clearly, at this time it took me a minute to understand what he was saying. So I say, “I don’t feel any discomfort where you are describing, I’m not getting surgery”… there was another long pause. The head doctor asked all the surgeons to step outside. And now, I’m confused, why didn’t he tell them to just leave. He sits down in the chair next to my mom and starts to explain that in my images, I have a section of my intestines that is telescoping into itself and it needs to be removed. He then starts listing symptoms of telescoping intestines like: lots of discomfort, throwing up consistently… none of which I was experiencing. And we told him that. He goes, “well it was relayed to is that you have this going on and if you don’t feel it now you will soon, then it will be too late. Those 7 surgeons outside are not just any surgeons, they are emergency surgeons and they are here to preserve your life and even though you might object, they aren’t designed to really listen. I can’t just tell them to go away. They aren’t leaving without a body. So what’s going to happen is that they are going to make an incision in your abdomen and remove the part that is telescoping. Normal recovery time is 12 weeks.” Can you imagine? I mean I came here because I am having issues doing daily activities like sitting in class, going to eat but I didn’t come into a hospital to have surgery in an area that I’m not even experiencing any issues and to make this even more stressful is that they are basically telling me that there is no negotiation.
He goes, “look I’m not suppose to be in here for this long to talk about this.” As soon as he said that one of the surgeons knocked on the door and looked down at his watch as if to say hurry up. I said, “don’t they have a bullet wound to tend to.” He said again, “no, they came up here to get you” and I yelled “but they haven’t even fixed the pain that I came in here for.” Suddenly his pager went off and he says he needs to step out and take this. I literally stared out the window and said this can’t be happening, lord fix this. He walks back in and said the page that he just received was from the radiologist saying not to operate on me. He goes, “well you still have telescoping but it’s not severe as they initially read but if you eat something and throw up we will be back.” And him and his team walked away. First thought I had was thank God, the second thought was I gotta get myself well and get the hell out of here.
That experience changed me. I have this condition but I no longer wanted be to part of another mix up like that again. I didn’t trust them. They sent me home with a gang of antibiotics… ugh but when I tell you I took those things faithfully. I sure did because I wanted to avoid ER at all cost. I was on antibiotics over 3 months and while not ideal, I was starting to feel better and more normal. I called in for a refill and my nurse flat out refused and said I needed a follow up appointment with my gastroenterologist. I was happy to report that I was feeling better but I let him having about that ER surgeon experience that he missed. This is when tells me that I can’t be on antibiotics forever and that he needed to switch me to a drug that will help me longterm however it will lower my white blood cell count and will require weekly blood work. I flat out refused. That solution didn’t make sense. I walked out with out a prescription. I made do with the left over antibiotics that I had and that was the last time I saw my gastroenterologist.
Fast forward about 8 years, after having my daughter and having her in pre-K it seemed like she was sick every other week. Which means, I was also sick every other week but this one time I could shake it off as easy. I had this lingering cough that wouldn’t go away. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, I just kept stock of Mucinex and meds like that… until I noticed one day I was having a conversation with my coworker and I was hacking my way through the whole thing. Trying to take sips of water to control it and then I just coughed so hard I threw up on myself. Yep, super embarrassing. I should’ve known it was serious because there are some nights I’d go sleep propped up on 4 pillows with my cell phone in my hand to call 911 because I was scared something would happen and my husband wouldn’t be able to help me in time. At that point, I knew I had to see somebody. I called and made an appointment with a pulmonologist. Within the first 5 minutes of my visit, she goes, “you have asthma” I have what? I was in disbelief, I had no idea what to do with that diagnosis. She was very concerned about me. She handed me a bag of inhalers and pills and says that this is the most medicine that she can give me before admitting me to the hospital. She even gave me the choice to go to the hospital, saying they have stronger medicine there but of course I didn’t want to go that route.
One of the best prescriptions she gave me, which sounded insane at the time was that she wanted me to start to workout. I laughed, but she didn’t. I said, “I can barely make it through a conversation without coughing and you want me to try to exert effort to work out?” She told me I had to try. Those were so very rough months for me, I remember thinking that I may never be able to play with my daughter without having to sit down because I’m too winded or too winded. It felt very defeating.
I remember joining a gym and thinking that the likelihood of the population inside the gym had asthma and they seem to be ok. So that became my goal, to eventually get through a workout without needing my inhaler. Well, the more I worked out the less I needed my inhaler. I was going months without using my inhaler, I felt great. I didn’t go back to my pulmonologist because I felt like I was managing very well and if I started having complications I would schedule an appointment. I remember at some point I needed my medical records for something. I can’t remember but they faxed everything over to me and that is when I read my file, “patient is noncompliant, has not taken medication as prescribed, has not made follow up appointment” That really hurt me to read that. I guess I was hoping to read, patient reports feeling better, doesn’t need medicine, she’s doing great but I guess that is not how it works in the medical world. I would hope that she would reach out to me and ask me “hey, can you tell me what you did to rid yourself of symptoms because I have a similar patient”… but no. This was the alarm I needed to really tune into my health and try and help myself feel the best I can because seeing a medical professional does not guarantee care. And I’m not telling you all this to say that doctors are bad, or don’t go see one when you need to. I’m telling you this because I’m not a good patient. I’m not. I’m not built to be in the cycle of sick-care. See within all of those stories I’ve shared with you there was a moment where the weight of it all just knocked me on my ass. Flat out but in each instance, I said to myself. No not me, this is not going to be life. Now whether I knew it to be true or not was not a factor. I just whole heartedly believe that God didn’t put me on this planet to swallow pills everyday and feel less than what he created.
I didn’t start off thinking, I’m going to defeat Crohn’s Disease and Glaucoma and Asthma. No… whatever treatment they prescribed, I followed but in the midst of following, I have a plan. I have a plan never to leave my health in the hands of some one that can profit off of my sickness. I have a strong mindset, that these labels are not permanent. I call BS on any practitioner that fails to provide natural remedies along with prescriptions.
So going back to your “why”. Weight loss, my photos, my posts gets you interested but won’t keep you interested. I decided that I will put my own health and wellness into overdrive. With over 2/3 of the US adult population living with chronic disease (Resource: Pew Research Center), I decided that negative health reports are no longer in my future. I’m not casual about health, I’m very passionate about it. Your why has to be more substantial than just losing weight. Once you hit your goal weight, then what? Are you really doing this just for a number? What does that number mean to you any way?
I enjoyed sharing this with you today. If you are interested in continuing the conversation and talking about your own health concerns and sharpening your mindset, go to goodgirlgoneomad.com and click coaching, you’ll have access to book some time on my calendar. I’ll call you and we can chat. Until next time, bye for now.