You Got 2 Choices. To give up or find a way to survive.
I started this micro diary to share my journey raw & real, with its ups and downs. I decided to reflect on my first year since my health problems began, so I can come back every year in February and see my progress.
COVID-19 Threat vs. Mysterious Symptoms
It was early February when my first health issues started to kick in. Fatigue, abdominal pain all day every day, brain fog, water retention, nothing to envy. COVID-19 was taking over Europe, and there were seemingly more important issues than my symptoms.
But since I have previously experienced severe allergic reactions, I felt something was off. But more off than usual. Something so off that I kept waking up in the middle of the night due to the severe pain my body was in. And so by the time the curve of the first COVID-19 wave flattened, I knew there was no more time to lose and scheduled an appointment with a gastroenterologist.
From Friend to Foe in a Matter of Seconds
And then the results came in. Aside from GERD, I developed severe food intolerances that left me with little to no food options. I was stunned. A single piece of paper was the verdict that (I will most likely) forever struggle with food. Food and I were always in a love-and-hate relationship. Food poisoning, sleepwalking, vomiting, or sleepless nights have been somewhat “normal” since I was a child. But this took our “relationship” to a whole new level.
Within seconds, food became a life-threatening enemy. If I don’t eat according to this extremely restrictive diet, I will most likely develop cancer within 20–30 years. If I do eat according to the diet… I run a serious risk of undernourishment.
I felt paralyzed with tears in my eyes, feeling a massive lump growing in my throat with all the self-pity, despair, and anger. Why did my body decide to give up on me? I felt deceived. How am I supposed to live? How on earth am I at serious risk of malnutrition in 2020?
After months of pain, nausea, and lethargy that made my energy levels drop drastically, all I wished for was a set of clear instructions how to solve this issue and finally move forward. All I was given was a drug prescription and a lukewarm advice “you need to find out what works for you.”
I swallowed self-pity and told myself I will give my body all the love and time it needs to heal. Carefully try and seek until I find the right way and patiently accept all the changes my body undergoes during this process.
Months later, this still represents the biggest challenge I have ever encountered in my life, often leaving me clueless when despite all my attempts there is no or little sign of improvement.
Despite being determined not to give up, there are blue days when I miss the relatively carefree feeling of …having a nice meal. Without the constant pain, the always-present stress of what the food contains, or the intensity of the possible allergic reactions.
But after every storm, the sun always shines, and as helpless as I may feel now, I still know one day the fruits of my hard work will pay off and I will live a happy & healthy life.