My husband, Gary, and I have a catch phrase we've been using for years -- ever since the day we got married 9 years ago, in fact. Our entire relationship has been one of spontaneity, so whether we implement that phrase after declaring "Road trip!" on a whim and heading out to points unknown, or making a wrong turn and finding ourselves in uncharted (at least to us) territory, or perhaps trying something totally new, we often laugh and proclaim, "It's an adventure!".
Webster defines adventure as "an exciting or very unusual experience". To be sure, Gary and I have found that life is full of both exciting and unusual experiences. It is the attitude with which we confront those experiences that makes the difference in how we handle the various twists and turns, the highs and lows, the expected and the unexpected.
Our most recent adventure began long before we met, and it began with me. My family has a history of autoimmune diseases, and I was diagnosed with Lupus years ago. In fact, I have struggled with my health for as long as I can remember, and have developed quite a collection of conditions such as Osteoporosis, Hypothyroidism and Asthma, in addition to Lupus. Though pain, fatigue, recurrent infections and lung problems have been my constant companions through the course of my disease, I have enjoyed relatively good health over the last few years, and was happy to be able to throw myself into a fulfilling career as an HR Professional at a company I loved.
Two years ago, however, I noticed that my gut was hurting all the time and the nausea that had come and gone throughout most of my life was more intense and unrelenting. After completing the series of tests ordered by my gastroenterologist, I was referred to a surgeon for an evaluation and to schedule gallbladder surgery. In October of 2010, my gallbladder was removed. I was pleased to find that the upper abdominal pain I had experienced for two years was finally gone.
My happiness was short lived, however, when debilitating fatigue, severe joint pain, abdominal pain and rapid weight loss signaled a real problem with my health. Seeking help from area doctors yielded no answers, while my nights were filled with agonizing pain and my weight plummeted to the lower 90's. To get out of bed each day was a painful chore and I scarcely had enough energy to do my job. Something was definitely wrong with me. When I knew I couldn't continue to push myself any further, I talked with my boss and reluctantly turned in my resignation. I was going to stay home and rest, determined to find answers and to get well.
My mom has Celiac Disease, so my sister and my niece attended a local meeting to learn more about Celiac and Gluten Intolerance. The more they learned, the more they suspected that it wasn't just our mom that was suffering from gluten sensitivity...my sister and I as well as several of our children shared some of the same symptoms! The link between gluten sensitivity and autoimmune diseases was simply too compelling to ignore. My niece sent me some information with links to some videos so that I could learn for myself, and I couldn't tear myself away from the computer! The series of links that my niece sent me led me to the HealthNOW Medical Center (located in Sunnyvale, CA) website (see the link below), and I requested more information and a free consultation. Dr. Vikki Peterson, co-author of "The Gluten Effect", called me within 2 days. I shared what was going on with my health, along with some medical background, and after about 40 minutes, Dr. Vikki told me she thought they could help me. She asked if I was willing to find the root cause of my problems and I assured her that I was not only willing, but eager to do so! That phone call was my first step into this new adventure, and I feel so incredibly blessed to be on such an exciting journey!
Gary and I had been praying that God would lead us to the right place at the right time in order to find help for my deteriorating health. We both believed that this new connection to the HealthNOW Medical Center was the answer to our prayers. Now...to find a way to get to the clinic in California for a full evaluation and answers. The first step was to get there, and we had no doubt that all the rest would fall into place. All we had was the will to go and the faith in a God who provides to get us there...and that, we believed, was enough.
Okay...so have you ever read a book series that started with a book or two that you just couldn't put down and then when you finished it, the next book that revealed all the secrets hadn't gone to print yet? Or perhaps you've watched a mini-series (I know, I'm showing my age) that left you hanging in the middle of the story, only for the mystery to be revealed (and whatever was unresolved, resolved) the next week? Frustrating, isn't it? But you keep reading and you keep coming back, because you know the culmination of what you are waiting for is about to come. I hate to tell you, but I am going to do that to you today. There is so much more to my story, so stay tuned...you'll be glad you did!
See you soon!