All disease begins in the gut. – Hippocrates
Over the past two years we've had long journey of healing a leaky gut and determining food sensitivities. It has been difficult. If you are having problems similar to my daughter's then my biggest advice for you is to keep searching for answers even if it seems like you are hitting a wall. Today my daughter eats all foods again except for gluten. She's still battling for a normal life but we still see slow progress in her energy and abilities (Update Nov 2016)
A year ago . . . Celiac Disease
Last December(2014) after several months of severe gut pain and other symptoms, my oldest daughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease and has been wheat free since then. For two months life was great.
6 months ago . . . mysterious joint pain showed up to join the party
A rheumatologist said she had Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and so she did physical therapy all summer. We saw improvement in her pain levels but not a lot.
2 months ago . . . an experiment of eliminating dairy.
She felt SO much better after two weeks off dairy. We thought we had found the problem.
For about a month . . .then the pain and fatigue was back.
We went back to her primary doctor who diagnosed her with fibromyalgia. She is 19. It seems beyond comprehension that she would be this sick at this young of an age. Since then Elizabeth has avoided taking the medication recommended for living with fibromyalgia due to the possible side effects.
People with fibromyalgia are typically treated with pain medicines, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and sleep medicines. (source)
A few weeks ago . . . New Medicine & food sensitivities
There is no way to describe how exhausting pain is to the body. It just zaps all of your energy and drags your attitude down in the process. The pain was beyond bad and we were so frustrated with the situation. Instead of visiting the ER for stronger pain medication Elizabeth chose to start Gabapentin which is a medication that affects the nerves in the body.
Over the next few days she gradually saw the pain decrease. HUGE blessing! At about the same time we felt led to do more research into autoimmune diseases.
Most autoimmune disease is caused by the immune system losing the ability to differentiate proteins belonging to your own body with proteins belonging to a foreign invader (like a bacteria, virus or parasite). What causes symptoms is the build up of damage to cells, tissues and/or organs in the body–damage caused by your own immune system attacking those cells. Which proteins/cells are attacked is what separates once disease from another. In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the thyroid gland is attacked. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, the tissues of your joints are attacked. In psoriasis, proteins within the layers of cells that make up your skin are attacked. However, the root cause is the same. (source)
Food Sensitivity Testing
A friend of ours has been having severe digestive issues for several months and went to get food sensitivity testing done. I went along and felt that this could possibly be the answer for Elizabeth.
We have suspected that the source of her problems was in her gut. The only real improvement we saw was when she avoided different foods.
So to find out what foods were causing her problems she had the testing done. We hoped that it was a short cut to know which foods are lighting the fire of inflammation(pain) in her body.
There are other options like the GAPs diet and the Auto Immune Paleo(AIP) diet that would have worked on healing her gut at the same time as finding what foods she was sensitive to. These are a lot of work and take time.
Since I am facing surgery in December we wanted to balance helping her heal with not overloading me with time in the kitchen standing on a hip that is already unable to do much.
Elizabeth has been avoiding rice, corn & eggs in addition to being gluten and dairy free for 3 weeks. She didn’t test sensitive to dairy but is hesitant to add it back in yet. The reality of surviving while you have food sensitivities is not fun. It seriously limits the enjoyment of eating.
Update 3 weeks after limiting foods
We are seeing improvement.
The fatigue is less. She is back to physical therapy. I see more smiles and less depression. There is hope.
Plan for the future
I hesitate to make any bold statements of healing because we've seen her feel better before only to have her relapse. The goal is to do this for 3ish months. The Gabapentin is still helping with pain and she is going to keep taking it until we feel her gut has a chance to heal.
There is no reason to add foods that she has an inflammatory response to until her gut can handle it. We are still hopeful someday she can have some of her favorite foods again.
It's a downer to do this in the midst of the holidays. Many of our favorite recipes have to be scrapped.
We do more looking for new recipes than revamping old ones. Nothing tastes the same without the old ingredients. Last week we found 3 YUMMY recipes with NO gluten, dairy, rice, corn or eggs and it was HUGE blessing.
A gluten, dairy, corn, rice & egg free Thanksgiving menu coming soon!