You can read Part 1 HERE, Part 2 HERE and Part 3 of my Celiac story HERE.
A Wonderful Celiac knowledgable doctor at just the right time.
To Dr. Heidi Hook I went. She was a happy medium between the wacky doctor and Kaiser. She used blood tests to diagnose like Kaiser did, but she was trained in Holistic Medicine while also being a medical doctor.
It was refreshing, like a load lifted from my shoulders. Dr. Heidi spent 90 minutes with me trying to get to the bottom of my health problems. I truly felt like she was trying to heal my Celiac disease, not just prescribe me some new pill to quickly get me out of her office. The blood tests came back confirming what the wacky doctor said…and even more. I had 200 foods tested through these blood tests and ended up being allergic to mostly everything except meat, vegetables, and nuts. I was even allergic to RICE, my favorite food of all time with a close second of cookies and cream ice cream.
Knowing these specific allergenic foods helped tremendously. Dr. Heidi’s basic philosophy is that if you heal the gut, the rest of the body will heal itself…and it was worth a try.
I noticed a huge difference and my body began to heal itself.
I was taking some supplements that she recommended, specifically vitamin D and a probiotic. And, I also cut out every food that I showed an allergy to. My diet was very restricted, but I could tell my body needed a break from the foods antagonizing it. That meant no eating out at restaurants, and no exceptions to the food diet.
Extended family wasn’t all that helpful. I don’t think they believed me or could comprehend the anguishing nature of my pain. Specifically they didn’t buy into my “alternative” medicine theory after having a lifetime feeding at the nipple of western medicine. Some people went along with my special needs (but I know they went back to their house and mocked what they thought was my ridiculous restrictions). Others just ignored my needs and told me that the food they prepared for me was perfectly safe for me to eat. Then after eating it, I cried all night long in pain. I can’t say I “cried myself to sleep” because I could never sleep when the toxins were in my system. My body began to vibrate, get inflamed and sharp acid burning pains began to eat through my small intestine. Yep, thanks for the food. Needless to say, I began bringing my own pre-made food everywhere I went. I’d just bring a little tupperware sized meal of meat and vegetables with no seasonings during Christmas, Easter, special occasions, you name it…
Two years later:
Fast forward about two years on the same restricted diet, taking the same vitamin D and probiotic and I eventually felt like my body was back to the foundation of where it should be. But anytime I explored new food or changed my diet, the pain and symptoms returned.
Luckily, I found a new supplement named “Celiact” that changed my life. It contains the exact minerals, vitamins, and enzymes that us Celiacs need and are deficient in. I began to eat small amounts of dairy, soy, corn and RICE without any repercussions. I could go out to dinner now and enjoy my family without having to be the weird one with the diet restrictions. Yes, I could even eat ice cream again!
Now, I still haven’t tried wheat because I’m too scared of the consequences. Dr. Heidi Hook was right. She told me that if I heal my gut, that in time I should be able to introduce many of the foods back into my life and it was happening.
Honestly, I’m happy just being gluten free now. I don’t have a desire to eat wheat, it’s just not my thing. Plus my wife is such an amazing cook that I feel blessed to be eating her food, and wheat is just an afterthought now.
How I feel today:
Well, as of today its been officially 4 years and I feel like a regular 35 year old. I have my health issues, but my pain is gone, my diet isn’t restricted, and I possess my mind again. I feel like I’ve been reborn. Like God has given me a new life to conquer, a new passion has emerged and I have a desire to be a better person.
My politics have changed. If I was so wrong about Western Medicine vs. Holistic Medicine, then what else could I be wrong about? I’m on a quest to find real Truth. In all my pain, in all my ups and downs, two things were by my side the entire way. God and Shanti. They are responsible for me writing this right now, for they are responsible for me being here right now. There were days when I cried out to God to take me home and when I didn’t feel God at my side, Shanti was always there sacrificing her days and nights to comfort me and talk me down. And as I look back, God WAS there carrying me, meeting my needs in the form of my angelic wife, embracing me when I needed it most.
There are people who claim to have died and seen God and then returned to Earth with a new found purpose and calling. Even though I don’t have some “white light” story, I feel like I do have a new life. There are some absolutes that I have come to grips with. God is real and God is true, but I don’t think religion is. That is, religion is man made, but my relationship with God is personal and pure. Many won’t understand this, but I recommend that you search God out before assuming He isn’t real. Lastly, Love is an action and not a feeling (Shanti embodied true love and I owe my life to her. Her tender devotion kept me fighting each day).
My kids also deserve my thanks.
They had to deal with a father that gave everything he had, but wished he could give just a little more. Each day they would pray for me. I can’t imagine the stress they were under as they watched their father waste away in a slow painful deterioration. They didn’t give up hope and they are a huge reason I never gave up. I love each one of them and am so proud of the character that has been built in the process.
Lastly, I plead with you. Give your spouse, your kids, your loved ones and friends a hug tonight. What has God laid on your heart? What has he gently placed on the surface of your soul? In the midst of pain and suffering, just remember that a broken heart is sometimes what is needed to allow the item God has placed upon it to fall into your heart and make you full. May the rest of your life be the best of your life…and may you live life as a Life Made Full.
If you’re looking for a naturopath in your area, HERE is a list of reader-recommended Naturopathic Doctors around the country.
Have you had struggles with your health? Share your story with us or leave me a comment so I know I’m not just talking to a wall here.
I get it. We adopted and my son had all of those allergies. He could eat meat, veggies and nuts! The difference is I struggled against the diet. I didnt want to change. But the more I learn(ed) I had to face facts. We all needed the diet. We all suffered in different ways. I spent a year mourning the SAD diet before I submitted to my body. I know why God gave us my son, and I never had a moment of experiencing him, but I have never felt alone. Through it all I know he is there. 🙂
This story brings back a lot of lunch time conversations I remember when Chris was in the midst of all of this, but I didn’t realize the extent of his suffering. So glad there alternative medicine for situations when the contemporary way isn’t working.
Jen Alcorn says
Hi Chris and Shanti,
Dan says hello – we read all of your blog. Thanks for sharing your story. Hats off to you and your wife. Beautiful story. So glad you hung in there and you two are stable enough to make it through. Grateful you found health. It took a lot to elliminate all those foods and be disciplined enough. I think my pain isn’t enough, so I do cheat. I went 9 months with supplements and illumination diet, and felt a little better, but was never symptom free. So I gave up on it. I haven’t found my solution yet. I have been passing these posts onto my sweet friend who is being tossed around by her medical
Doctor who does not know what is wrong with her. Our son Marshall also is showing food issues, and I’m grateful his ped MD who tested for food allergies and even though the tests came back all negative, she introduced me to the food intollerance world. And I’m grateful for that. I hope your story reaches many and gives them the courage to search new ways of healing. There’s a ton out there.
I’m glad you’ve been given your life back. Go get ’em!
Thanks for sharing your story in more detail. I can relate on many levels. It was fun the way you broke the story into four blog posts. It kept me coming back for more!
Thanks for the post! I go next Tuesday to see a Functional Medicine Specialist. I am almost excited to find out what she is going to tell me. I have been pseudo-Paleo for the past year and a half, but still feel very lethargic, moody, low energy, stomach cramps, gastro issues, you name it. I know one of my biggies is that I have allowed corn and sugar back into my life. Sadly, I need a specialist to tell me that so I kick those 2 habits. On my own, I just make excuses as to why I should still eat them. Honestly, I know God led me to find the Paleo diet on my own, with no doctor recommendation or even knowing what it was. My daughter has special needs and I found it by looking for diets that help special needs kids. I have discovered that my entire family has some level of gluten intolerance (daughter doesn’t eat for days if she has gluten, my oldest son gets physically ill, my spouse and I can barely move our joints and the other 2 kids do ok…but have some behavioral issues with it) and now know that dairy is OUT for me. I hope to show my hubby your articles so he can see that my struggle may not be solitary. Thanks, God bless and Happy Easter!
Your story is so touching. I knew you had health problems but I had NO idea they were that bad! I’m so sorry for all that you have gone through and I”m glad that you are doing so much better.
It’s been a year and am still seeing Heidi and she is fantastic. Like you, I was a bit skeptical as well (as we’re trained to believe fully in Western Medicine and pump our bodies with whatever prescriptions they throw at us) but now I am a huge believer in healing with FOOD, not prescription pills. I am on quite a few supplements, I am recovering from Leaky Gut Syndrome, and have sensitivities (haven’t had a full food test yet to determine if I am actually allergic to them) to soy, wheat, sugar, and dairy. I have hypothyroidism as well so maintaining my thyroid levels are super important too. But I take it one day at a time. God has blessed me with a super patient husband who, while he might not understand why I eat the way I do (since he can eat ANYTHING except fruit which he doesn’t like), is 100% supportive of it. He has never batted an eye at the cost of my supplements or doctor’s visits, which our insurance doesn’t cover, of course. He always says “you do what you need to do.” So I do. If I need to buy the “fancy” type of chicken as he calls it (organic or pasture-rasied) so I don’t contaminate my system with gluten from their feed, then okay.
I’m so glad you shared your story. You and Shanti are a true team and wonderful parents!
Thank you for writing about your health struggles. I have intestinal issues that have always surfaced as appendicitis like symptoms. I had 3 abdominal ct scans in an 18 month period plus a colonoscopy with no answers. I started to hear about the paleo diet and started researching. Around August/September of last year I stopped eating wheat and gluten. A few month later I inadvertently ate some wheat, forgetting that red vine licorice is made with wheat flour. The following day I had hives and an upset stomach. Since then I have been even more careful of what I eat and through trial and error found that certain forms of dairy don’t agree with me. Eventually I might go to the doctor to confirm my suspicions but right now I am just sticking with my current diet as I feel much better.
Great story! Glad you are doing well. I have stomach issues. Every day before I knew what was going on I would go off to school with pop tarts or sugary cereal and every day I got stomach aches at school. My mom took me to the doctor and he jus said “Little girls just get stomach aches.” Not very helpful. I say I have a sugar intolerance. I can eat it until a certain point and then I’m miserable. It’s sugar and yeast. Then I also have a fish allergy. It’s hereditary. I have been told to tell doctors about it because I shouldn’t have iodine. When I was expecting my daughter, the nurse said “well I don’t think they’ll be giving you fish in the hospital. Then my son was born with acid reflux. I felt bad for him because he was miserable and people, even doctors said there was nothing wrong with him. He never said he was hungry for the first 2 years of his life. Eating out was miserable because he took forever to eat a couple bites and usually threw it up. People would stare like why did you bring your sick kid here? He took medicine for a while. Now he doesn’t have to and he actually eats. He tells me he’s hungry. We can eat out and he eats like a normal kid. It’s wonderful.
Awesome testimony!! Thank you for sharing! God is awesome!
Kathryn Arnold says
Definitely talking to me! I’ve been resisting giving up my comfort foods (even though I did it once for a year and felt better) mainly because everyone else thinks I’m a freak or a food snob when I won’t eat what they do. You’ve given me new determination.
I’ve felt recently like my mind and health have completely abandoned me. Yes, I trust God completely to use all the circumstances of my life for my (eventual) good and to His glory…but, also yes, I’ve been angry with Him that just as I’m learning what joy it is to live surrendered to His will I’m ready to pack it in and just die to have freedom from the pain, the disability, and the constant state of feeling unreliable because I’m so often depleted and sick.
I’m not celiac, though grains are surely an issue. I do many healthy food and toxin avoidance things that help, though in my broken health my finances have long since been devastated beyond organics or supplements being an option. My problem, at least the outstanding one at the moment, is a state of toxicity due to twenty-eight years of trusting doctors and believing in the many prescriptions they handed me. The classic prescription cascade that ended when I tried weaning off everything.
I was in constant pain and weakness anyway… dying… what difference could it make? Three weeks into the weaning process I felt so much better I realized it was the medicines making me ill. I thought, if just getting off the medicine is making me feel so much better, what would happen if for the first time in my life I ate right? I purged the kitchen of sugars, salt (I was ignorant of sea salt then) and put myself on what I called the Adam and Eve diet… If I held it out to them and they didn’t know what it was (this included flour), I wouldn’t eat it.
Over the next year I lost over 90 pounds of the weight the medications had put on me and I felt distinctly better. But toward the end of that year my committed walk with Christ began and so did attending a church. Not infrequently I was mocked for my strange and rigid food habits and gradually I returned to most of my old favorites, including sweets.
I should mention that it all began with a tranquilizer for anxiety. Well, God is my tranquilizer now. It took many herbal and homeopathic products to successfully wean me off the pharmaceuticals. Since learning that it initially takes a deliberate act of will, of faith, to trust God I’ve since enjoyed so many proofs of His faithfulness. Only occasionally must I resort to material remedies for my state of mind…for stress our depression. I’m believing that finding this blog and your story is another proof of His care. You’ve inspired me to begin again my abstinence from processed foods, grains, legumes, etc.
A favor? Could you ask your sources how I could find similar doctors in my neighborhood? (SE Raleigh, NC region) Most specifically, I must find those who are open to charitably testing/treating a disabled widow on Social Security (translated, I’m in abject poverty). My toxicity is great enough that any chemical exposure (even briefly touching the plastic window film I tried to use to reduce drafts through the windows of this old apartment) causes vomiting, sky rocketing blood pressure and terrible headache).
I guess it’s time to do another kitchen purge of off limits foods. In my own strength I can’t do this. I thought I did it myself the first time, but God had shown me that on my own I don’t have the self-control to take off even a few of the pounds that have crept back on. It was Him the first time and it must be through Him again now.
Life Made Full says
Hi, Kathryn! I’m so sorry to hear about your health struggles. We feel your pain! Here is a list of Naturopathic Doctors around the country–it looks like I have 2 there from North Carolina. Possibly try giving one of them a call, and they may be able to help you at a reduced rate! http://www.lifemadefull.com/reader-recommended-naturopaths/
Good luck, and keep me posted on your health!
Kathryn Arnold says
I should have mentioned that at the time I began, against medical advice, weaning off the medications I was regularly using fourteen different prescriptions including five for my state of mind. I currently use no prescription medicine and have no doctor because I either don’t know any I trust or can’t afford those I might trust.
If you know anyone needing a top notch physician, an M.D. who gets it and has fought the establishment and won, Dr. Rashid Buttar is one I would crawl from Raleigh to Charlotte to see, if I could afford him and/or the treatments he advises. Check out his book.
My, oh my. Sounds like my life story from age 16, but never figured out til age 50. Allergic to onions , can’t figure that one out. I too was tested at one point and allergic to everything. Amino acids were suggested as my “new diet” never went that far, but still struggling. I am hoping to find Holistic Dr once I get over this bout of Diverticulitis. Stay well!!!
Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I have 3 kids, 2 suffered from food sensitivity.
My oldest son now 21 years old, started when he was in middle school. He suffered with vertigo, pain in his back, weakness in his legs, extreme loss of weight. He had gone 5 years with going in and out of emergency room. Doctors always felt he was seeking pain medication. Even though he never took any pain medication. Always told there was nothing wrong with him.
By accident, finally diagnosed with tethered cord and had the surgery.
Through this his immune system was compromised. I think this is what all started with all the food allergies.
We were introduced to the Paleo diet, and our world changed after that. No more ER visits.