This is what my autoimmune disease looks like to the public.
This is what a flare up looks like to anyone outside my circle.
This is what “really sick” looks like to the world when the world won’t and can’t stop because “you have a food intolerance”.
This is what it looks like when your body will only allow consumption of 5 different kind of foods at the moment (it rotates every 6 weeks because that’s when it starts attacking that food).
Confused yet because I don’t look sick? Me too.
Let me give you a glimpse into what my autoimmune looks like to me, my family, and I’d love to say close friends but autoimmune diseases, more times than not, strips you of those.
See, my autoimmune disease started with a food intolerance yes. I was born, as far as I assume, with Celiac Disease. For 28 years I ate the food (gluten) that literally ripped holes in the lining of my intestines (think fish net stockings) and put my body into a constant state of inflammation because it’s constantly in attack mode. With actual holes in your “gut”, food particles and other pathogens are able to leak through into your blood stream (this is known as leaky gut) where they should not be and your body attacks them because they are invaders and BOOM, more food and chemical intolerances are born. Leaky gut can also be caused by a number of things and you can read more about that here:
So, my gut is so damaged that anything I eat is currently making me sick. My current menu is chicken, broccoli, avocado and eggs. And I’m still getting sick on the daily. So much so that I’ve lost 5 or so pounds in a 2 week period due to malabsorption issues. Why does this happen? It’s a vicious, vicious cycle. If it’s not any of those foods making me sick, it’s probably stress. Stress can keep your body in attack mode and honestly, I’ve never been more stressed out in my life than I have been the last 6 months. I’ve learned to *try* to manage my stress but it never eases up. Teenagers, extended family, running a business, trying to manage a marriage, you know. LIFE. It gets messy and sometimes stays that way and I can’t stop it from happening.
What I CAN do is lean on Christ. Depend on him for guidance, for healing, for strength.
I CAN pray. I pray daily for him to sustain my body, mind & soul for the works he has requested me to do through my studio. There’s not an ounce of me that doesn’t believe that there’s not a spiritual meaning behind my suffering so I can and will do my best to show the face of Christ through my valley, through my pain.
I CAN say ME TOO! I’m not the only one suffering with an autoimmune disease or endless amounts of stress. At times it can feel as though you are alone and you feel isolated, don’t. If you are suffering, reach out. Find a support group, start a support group, TALK ABOUT IT!! Maybe enough of our stories will end the stigma behind invisible autoimmune disorders.
I CAN give all the glory to God. You know why? Because I’m still fighting, I’m still breathing and I can’t see that stopping anytime soon because I believe God’s still got a lot to accomplish through the gifts he has bestowed upon me and for that, I’m thankful.
My intent is to share more of my journey with you. I don’t want to just be another face of autoimmune, I want to be a voice of hope. A voice of understanding. A voice of victory. I hope you join me!