First, allow me to recap why I have begun this Journey to Better Health. A few years back I began struggling with swallowing and an experiencing an array of other health challenges such as stomach distention, severe stomach cramps, chest pains, severe heartburn, painful food impactions, hives in conjunction with the feeling that my skin was on fire and excruciatingly painful to the touch, overall body and face swelling, increased joint and muscle pain, muscles jerking uncontrollably throughout my body (especially when I was at rest after a long day), loss of grip, vomiting, diarrhea within moments of eating, and continuous hunger. I didn’t know what was going on exactly but when I began choking on my own spit in my sleep and awakening fighting for breath I started to get far more concerned and honestly, a bit scared. During the same time period I could no longer swallow much of anything solid, which made meal time very unsettling for me. I was also choking on small sips of water and felt like I was losing my strength and energy quickly. I pretended more and more to not be “hungry” during meal times but truth be told, I was starving. The water episodes came more often. When Louis witnessed one of my choking episodes from a sip water he quickly realized something was seriously wrong and he immediately began to make phone calls to get me in to be seen by one of the very best Gastro doctors in our area. They made an immediate appointment and there my world began to feel like it was spiraling out of control.
Emergency exploratory surgery was scheduled. This is where it all began. This is where I would learn I had Eosinophilic Esophagitis, or EoE for short, with EGID tendencies and later I learned about the other underlying auto-immune issues my body was facing as well. Auto-immune disorders wreak havoc within a body.
Within time I began to gain more and more specialists to join my team. All working hand-in-hand together for the betterment of my daily life. To them I owe my life. Even though I continue to struggle daily I am getting the care I need and I know that I have them to call no matter what is going on and no matter what the time of day. In fact, they treat me like family, as do my incredible nurses that come alongside and assist me in every way possible. By my first visits with each doctor I had lost so much strength and all of my energy. On my very first visit I could hardly stand up straight or walk. I was a mere shell of human existence. I had waited too long. I have a stubborn streak and I always try to deal with the challenges on my own. Independent natures can do more harm than good sometimes. I had to learn to find that balance, for I could no longer refuse help.
Here we are, a few years later, and it is still a struggle for me but I have learned to persevere through it all despite the fact that food and my Eosinophils don’t seem to respect one another yet. Unfortunately, those with Eosinophilic Disorders live with a great deal of medication just to get through each day. Medicine such as pump steroids to swallow and coat the esophagus, acid reflux meds, Prednisone, anti-nausea meds, pain meds, epi-pens… well, the list goes on. I’m a chick who prefers living as naturally as possible so this was when I felt I was losing ground. I hate taking medicine for anything but I have had to go this route to maintain a better life and regain strength and energy as we learn how my body reacts to food, environmentals and everything that touches my skin. Everyday is a study of my body and how it functions and reacts. Everyday I am my best advocate as I take what I can in my own hands and take charge of my own life again with my doctors and my family as my biggest cheerleaders. I am truly blessed.
So this is a quick overview of what this journey to better health is all about. Now follow me as I share my struggles and my successes in hopes to help myself and others fight against this wretched disorder. My prayer is that this journey will be a step towards better health and that it can help someone find JOY even in the most difficult challenges they face in life. Welcome to my personal world we call “Char’s Journey to Better Health”.
Now, lettuce eat!