Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner.
Sometimes dietary changes can bring miraculous healing. And sometimes you need to take charge and tell your doctor to find the horror-movie monster that is strangling your intestines.
Ziesl had had stomach pain for as long as she could remember. At four years old, she had surgery for a ruptured appendix. Throughout her whole childhood she spat certain foods into a napkin because it hurt too much to eat them and became a vegetarian at ten years old because meat was too painful to digest.
Now Ziesl is a forty-year-old nurse-practitioner and mother of two. Until recently, she has lived with persistent abdominal pain accompanied by acute, debilitating attacks of severe bloating and weeks of diarrhea. The acute attacks could include paralyzing pain, cold sweats, and fogged vision that immobilized her for hours.
Ziesl visited multiple GI specialists searching for a cure. The diagnosis was always irritable bowel syndrome, which essentially meant “Your stomach hurts and we don’t know why.” The advice was to avoid dairy and be well-stocked with TUMS and Mylanta.
Over the years, Ziesl experimented with several diets. In 2009, a low-carbohydrate, whole foods, anti-inflammatory diet made a real difference and reduced her symptoms significantly, but she was still left with persistent discomfort and some acute attacks.
With fewer symptoms on the new diet and more information from studying GI disorders, Ziesl developed a new theory about her pain. She realized that even when she went on a juice cleanse where she ate no solid foods for days and had no pain at all, an area on her right side was still always painful to the touch. She also noticed that her occasional acute pain was usually focused in that same area and would pass if she moved into different positions. All this led her to believe that she had an internal blockage. It was then that she went back to her physician and convinced him to do exploratory surgery. What they found was amazing.
“He found an adhesion, but not just any adhesion. Adhesions are usually thin, mucusy tissue from previous surgery that connects scar tissue to internal organs. This one was enormous. It had generated its own veins and arteries and tangled up around my right ovary, several loops of my large and small intestines, and part of my liver, and then pinned all of that tightly against the right side of my abdominal wall. It looked like a separate organ – or something out of a horror movie. The doctors said they were surprised I could eat anything at all,” says Ziesl.15
The surgeon removed the adhesion, which seemed to have been growing since Ziesl’s appendectomy thirty-six years before, and, just like that, the constant pain she had suffered for decades was gone. She has had no acute attacks since the surgery. The underlying food sensitivities are still there and she still needs to eat a very clean diet. But when she does, she says, “I am basically living totally pain-free for the first time in my life. It is just miraculous.”
It turned out Ziesl’s bowel was “irritable” for a reason. It took her doing her own research to figure it out. Her advice to anyone facing a difficult health condition: “Learn everything you can. Get all the help you can. Try everything and never give up.”16
»» For Today ««
What could you do to learn more about your health condition or get more help to think creatively about how to address it? Schedule time in your calendar to take those steps.
This is the 18th in a series of excerpts from the first section, Take Charge, of my new book, Everyday Healing. To start your journey on Day 1 and read the whole book: Everyday Healing: Stand Up, Take Charge and Get Your Health Back . . . One Day at a Time please visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local independent bookstore to pick up your copy today.
As always, if you have any thoughts, feedback or questions, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let’s talk!
To your health,