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It Is Possible

I can eat anything. 

I have to keep telling myself this over and over again because it’s nearly impossible for me to believe that it’s true. After a lifetime of restrictive diets and different digestive therapies, my recent food sensitivity testing came back totally clean.

I have suffered with digestive problems since I was in elementary school. Constant stomach aches, bloating, diarrhea, headaches, were my normal. My mom took me to the doctor innumerable times and she would prescribe me one thing after another, but nothing ever made much difference.

Eventually my mom took me to a naturopath (when they were virtually unheard of) where I was diagnosed with food sensitivities and leaky gut syndrome. I was told to avoid wheat, dairy, corn, potatoes, kidney beans, sugar and honey (there might have been other things, but these are the ones I remember).

I remember feeling completely lost and overwhelmed. My diet consisted of mostly cereal, sandwiches and pasta, how was it possible to not eat the foods on this list and still survive?

This was the late eighties and there were no gluten-free snacks. There were no cheese alternatives or sugar free options. My mom took me to a health food store a couple of times, but it was just too hard and over time was forgotten.

My stomach didn’t forget though. I continued to have stomach problems, was often tired and sickly and struggled to gain weight. I worked diligently to ignore my health and forced myself on through willpower.

Then, I caught malaria (traveling alone in Ghana, but that’s another story). Malaria wiped out my system completely and very nearly killed me. I returned to Canada weighing just 84 pounds (I’m 5’8”) and spent the next year in and out of the hospital sure I was going to die.

My liver was trashed from both the malaria and the quinine they’d given me to kill the malaria and my stomach was worse than ever. 

Eventually, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and Interstitial Cystitis (I was 23 years old). I thought that now that I knew what the problems were things would get better.

It wasn’t that simple.

I was prescribed medication for Crohn’s, but it seemed to make things worse instead of better. So, I tried again, and again.

Eventually, a friend suggested that I see an herbalist who had been helpful in her health journey and finally, my healing was able to start.

I did an elimination diet over the next six months and eventually found foods that I could eat without feeling terrible and herbs that could help soothe pain and other symptoms.

When we moved to Winnipeg I continued on with natural medicine and over the next few years slowly rebuilt my health. I think we had a party when I got to 110 pounds and was no longer anemic.

I continued to try different diets and remedies over the years, trying to find something that would take me from surviving to thriving. I’ve had many different tests for food sensitivities and they have always come back with a growing list of things to avoid.

Until now. 

Now, my sensitivity testing came back clear. I’ve been slowly adding all the different foods back to my diet without any digestive upset. I can eat anything! 

But, why now? I’ve spent the last nearly three years debilitated by my vaccine injury and now my stomach is cured?

I will never know exactly when or how my digestive system became whole again. It had been about a decade since I had last done testing, so it could have been this way for a while (although the changes I had noticed in my stomach were mostly in the past few months). 

Even though I can never say for sure, I feel like the Wim Hof Method has had a big part in my recovery. I’m sure the quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables I eat has played its part. I also imagine that the infrared sauna and red light therapy has had a role and the anxiety medication I take has also helped.

I’ll never really know the why. But, I do know the what now.

Now, I’m going to continue to eat healthy meals with a wide variety of foods. But, I no longer have to worry. I don’t have to bring my own snacks and meals everywhere I go because I can eat all the foods!

I am going to continue with the Wim Hof Method and explore more deeply the relationship between breath and healing.

But, maybe most importantly, I am going to live with renewed hope. If after more than 40 years of struggle, I can heal my stomach, then anything IS possible. 

I can get better.

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