The Lord reminded me how he had guided me to stop eating corn and white starches years earlier due to the high starch content. I didn’t even really understand what starch was and why it was important for me to do so, but I did what he asked. I felt his peace that he would walk through every step of this journey
Then I remembered the diet I had to go on to cure reflux. Bland, whole foods, no sugar, no caffeine, low acid. I had been treated for two years with reflux medication with no results. It was horrible. My throat hurt so bad it had become painful to speak. I was sent to an ENT and he advised me to stop singing completely until my throat healed. Failure to do so could render me unable to sing again. Talk about getting your attention! I finally sought the help of a vocal coach, and he suggested adding ginger tea with my meals. It was a miracle. After two years of being treated with medication and no results, only three weeks on this strict diet, including drinking the ginger tea with each meal, the reflux symptoms were completely gone! God is awesome!
God had laid the foundation of knowledge and understanding that would set in motion my journey of healing and recovery. I was diligent with the new program and miraculously, I didn’t have anymore RA symptoms and because the strong medication I was put on had begun to affect my eyesight, I decided to stop the medication. The RA was in remission and I did fine for a long time. Did I mention I used to smoke cigarettes? Yep. That’s was me. I constantly told myself I needed to quit—just as soon as things in my life settled down. Now then, what an oxymoron! Looking back, I was the epitome of stupid in full fashion to think my life would ever be completely settled down. Oh my! One step, two steps, three steps, four. Every day is one day at a time. At least, I’ve learned it sure makes life less stressful! I’m sure glad God doesn’t give up on us!
Five years would go by and no more RA symptoms, and I was still puffing away. The good eating habits I had maintained for so long had lapsed and the old had once again become the mainstay. In 2009, everything changed.
Sometimes, God speaks to us silently, within the consciousness of our awareness. Sometimes, he speaks through his Word and sometimes, he speaks “loud and clear.” As I was taking my son to school one morning, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Submit. Where much is given, much is required.” When I got home, I felt myself crumble to the floor. They were not simply words. There was a host of angels present. It was as if God had stopped everything he was doing and stood with me with his hand on my shoulder and had a “come to Jesus” meeting with his daughter. My words are not even adequate to describe the intensity that was bestowed on me and within me. I knew the time had come—the time for my future, my destiny had come and it was now or never.
God commanded immediate obedience and I did as I was told. At the same time, I was anxious about quitting smoking, because I certainly couldn’t afford to gain anymore weight. I had at that time tipped the scales at 255 pounds. Having been predominantly healthy most of my life, my blood pressure had started going up and doctor’s started showing concern that my cholesterol was starting to increase. How in the world did I let myself get to that point? Nothing was making any sense. At any rate, at this point, obedience was the word of the day and much better than sacrifice. I settled on trusting God with gaining understanding by and by. I heard the Lord say, “You can do this.” I believed if God said I could, I could trust him to help me overcome and rise above it.
I began eating much better and began to openly talk about my smoking addiction. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own. If I had been able to do so, I would have accomplished it years earlier. I sought the help of those at my church whom I knew would pray for me and not judge or condemn me. There are many schools of thought on how best to quit smoking. Nicorette gum is what the Lord led me to and it worked for me. In one month, I no longer had major cravings. In three months, I was off Nicorette. It has now been 8-1/2 years. It’s true what they say. Once you quit smoking, you can’t stand to be around it. I don’t know how I ever managed to breathe while smoking! Most definitely one of the best things I ever did for myself!
I began walking…and walking…and walking. I would get up at 6 am every morning and walk the roads around our area. Before you know it, I was up to three miles a day. What made walking seem almost effortless is that I used this time as my prayer time. I was free from the distractions of life around the house and was able to focus more on how God wanted me to pray. Much to my amazement, the weight began to melt away. I went from not being sure if my body would ever release so much stored fat to losing a grand total of 120 pounds in a year. I felt like a new person. My blood pressure went down, my cholesterol numbers got in line, I had as much energy as when I was in my early 20s. I felt as if I had been born again—all over again! I felt great!
I continued to eat clean, whole foods, low sugar, no gluten just like the Lord had instructed me to do so many years earlier. Fast forward to 2014. We had gone through a particularly difficult year. I was in a bad car accident in January 2013. I totaled my car, and hurt my shoulder. Five months later, I was laid off from work and it took four months to find work. Needless to say, the stress level was more than “normal wages paid for a normal day.” Most people know how too much stress can adversely affect one’s health. I finally found work with the Salvation Army managing their bell ringing ministry. The pay wasn’t high, and the hours were long, but I can’t remember when I felt so alive and useful.
A few months after Christmas, that which remained invisible for ten years presented itself unannounced and with a vengeance. My first and middle fingers became swollen like a sausage, on both hands. It became painful to walk and I could not lift my legs at the side more than about 30 degrees. My hands became so painful and my grip became weak. I was miserable and I had not yet worked long enough to get insurance so I couldn’t go to a doctor. I noticed it seemed to come in cycles. The swelling would go down but then come back. I was tired all the time. I felt I had aged 20 years in just a few months. The joy from the previous holiday season had escaped my disposition. But I was determined not to give up or give in.
I was finally able to see a doctor in the Fall. RA was confirmed and I was put on methotrexate. It is a very strong medicine used also for cancer patients. The sad news was, this was not a cure. At best, it would only slow down the progression of the disease. I heard the Lord say, “I have healed you.” I began to speak my healing to myself, even through tears for not knowing what the next day would bring. The doctor was sympathetic and listened to all my concerns. The next blow that came almost did me in completely. I was ready to go off the grid. With the combination of the methotrexate and a doctor’s valiant attempt to get my body in balance, I began losing my hair. Every time I combed it. Every time I washed it. It just kept falling out. My pleading with the doctor to help me find a solution to end the hair loss was completely fruitless. I swore I would become like my son and wear a hat everywhere I went. But God…
I went to breakfast with some friends of mine and one of them prophesied over me. In effect, she said through this God would be glorified and that this too shall pass. Another friend told me of a hairdresser she used and told me I should talk with her about getting extensions. Here’s the part where I tear up every time I think about it. This friend then said, “And I’m going to pay for it.” From the depths of my soul, tears flowed.
I know, I know, being so concerned about how you look is vanity. Yea. Not. Some are okay with being bald. Not me. A woman’s crown is her hair and needed mine back badly. I held my breath when the hairdresser looked at my hair. “I don’t know if they’ll hold, but we’ll try.” After about five hours, I had hair again. Real hair. Woohoo! Oh, pure joy!
I stopped part of the medication I had been placed on due to the hair loss but I was warned not to stop the methotrexate for concern the disease would progress even more. I never stopped looking for answers. “There’s got to be a better way.”
Here’s to Good Health—Chapter 3
In January 2015, I saw a feed on Facebook about a new product called Zeal. It’s a powder you mix with water that is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins made from….drum roll please….you got it….whole foods. Zeal is absorbed 100 percent by your within 20 minutes of drinking it. Sounded a little too good to be true. As a consultant, you not only earn an income, but you get product at a discounted price. The Lord spoke to me and told me to “Do it.” Now, after going through so much with the Lord and learning that delayed obedience is disobedience, one might be surprised why I told the Lord, “No. I don’t want to do it.” I went on to discuss with the Lord my reasons for not wanting to “Do it.” I was finishing up my ordination level of classes through school of ministry with the Assemblies of God. After it taking me so many years to get to this point, I wasn’t about to allow anything to hinder my completion. Besides, I knew how much work was involved in doing a business like this. I had been in Amway and Mary Kay before. I knew at that time, I didn’t have time. So I didn’t.
I’m so very grateful God doesn’t give up on us. Through his loving kindness and continued nudges, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Just try it. So, I said, “Okay.” “I’ll try it.” I bought a canister on Amazon. Not bad. Tasted pretty good, actually. I took it as directed. For the first time in a year, I felt as if I could actually get through a day without falling out from fatigue. Amazing. The Lord said, “Do it.” So, with two months left in school, I “did it.” When school was over, I made an unbelievable discovery. I was walking without pain. Anywhere. I had been taking so many NSAIDs for pain, my kidneys were paying the price for it. After being on Zeal for almost three months, I was able to raise my legs with full range of motion and—no pain. I was speechless. I decided I needed to let people know about how great this product really is, so I “did it.”
Even after my RA numbers were improving after adding Zeal, everything began to shift in my body again. Methotrexate was no longer working. My hopes of cure from this disease was waxing and waning with great intensity. This time, I was referred to a highly respected and highly recommended rheumatologist. He stopped the methotrexate and started me on Humira. This immunosurppressant works differently than methotrexate. This medication also helps decrease inflammation in the gut. After many years of research by many, many people, it is finally become prevalent that inflammation is the underlying cause of disease. At any rate, this medication is supposed reverse the disease.
God is great! And he never does anything half-way. I really thought I was on the final leg of my journey to healing and wholeness. I really thought I was. I discovered the spiritual aspect of healing and learned to pray in order to break anything that may have caused an open door to me having this disease. I learned to be very selective in my food choices, knowing foods high in carb content would give rise to inflammation—quickly. A new level of discovery came when after eating one fruit juice gummy candy. Just one mind you. Not even two tummy gummies. Just. One. I began to itch—first in my wrist, hands and then to my feet. “What is it now, Lord! Okay, I guess, it just has too much sugar for me, right??” Before I knew it, just about anything I ate caused me to itch all over. “Okay, Lord. What are you trying to tell me.” The doctors had no clue either.
I started fasting—again. My body once again was going through changes. Through my discovery, I looked through old medical records trying find anything. Then I found it. I had gone through allergy testing some 15 years earlier. Among normal environmental allergies, the doctor marked that I was highly allergic to Candida. Stunned. I didn’t even know what Candida was until a few years ago. AND…everyone has it in their bodies. However, by God’s grand design, I happen to be one of those people who is allergic to it? “So, does this mean I’m allergic to sugar??” This is abnormal. This is not okay. Technically, I’m not allergic to sugar, but to the effects of it. <Silence abounding.>
My journey has been far-reaching only to discover that what God told me so many years ago—no corn, no white, no sugar, low starch—was his perfect loving way of taking care of his little girl. Everything he had told me at every pass, at every interchange was the culmination of my need to avoid high carb intake. Period.
The next leg of my journey brought me to other great discoveries. I discovered Paleo. Another knew diet fad? No. It’s what cavemen eat. In other words, you eat only what cavemen would have eaten. Simply put, whole foods, no dairy, no sugar, no grains, nothing fried and absolutely no processed foods. Studies have showed that people in countries whose diet is mainly whole, naturally grown foods have a low rate of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and malnourishment.
Leaky gut is very hard to diagnose. Even most doctors will tell you there is no test you can take that will diagnose it. You have to listen to your body. When leaky gut is present, what you eat eeks through the lining of your intestines and goes directly into your blood stream. This means, lack of nutrient absorption and even toxins leak into your blood stream, again, giving rise to increased inflammation in your body and causing disease. This is also associated with autoimmune diseases. Even my rheumatologist confirmed that celiac disease can cause rheumatoid arthritis. Celiac disease is caused from gluten found in wheat, rye and barley. Because of over processing of these foods, the gluten becomes indigestible for many, and those who are sensitive to it, this in turn, can cause many health issues. There are so many, many variables and too much information to put on this blog. Even after hours and hours of research, my journey to truth continues.
Sugar free is not necessarily sugar free. Learn to read the labels well. I know I’m still learning. I made a recent discovery of maltodextrine. Wow. I won’t even begin to describe all the ill-effects I had to this additive. Maltodextrine is a thickener and sweetening agent used in many foods, especially those labeled sugar free. It is made from the starch of wheat, rice, corn and potato. It is highly processed and has a glycemic index of 85-130. Standard glucose has a glycemic index of 100. If you have the need to stay low carb, maltodextrine becomes like a heart attack waiting to happen. There are other additives in sugar free and fat free alike that should concern us all.
I know, we live in a fast-paced world. We’re all busy, busy, busy. If we don’t slow down and listen to the still small voice telling us “don’t go that way” willingly, at some point, we will find we are forced to dig a little deeper to find satisfaction in getting back to what the basics offer us. But the rewards will lift us higher into the life God so desires for us.
I adapted into Paleo almost effortlessly. I had, basically, been doing it for a long time—for the most part, at least. I learned to give up traditional sweets a long time ago. Through trial and error, I’ve found Monk Fruit to be a good sweetener and even developed a few Paleo recipes to satisfied the sweet tooth, but the thought of using cashews to make a cheesecake makes my liver quiver.
So, after a little over 13 years after diagnosis of RA, I’ve found the disease process itself has its ups and downs. I still call myself healed and as a daughter of the Most High God, I will never accept anything less. With great humility, the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is how so very much the father of all creation loves his children—and how much he loves me. Through every step, he was guiding me, telling me “If you’ll just do this I ask of you, it will go better for you.” Was he asking too much of me? No. Of course not. I certainly do not have all the answers, even as much as I have searched and tried. I’m still using Zeal. I love it, and I met some really great people along the way. In truth, only God knows why he directs us as he does. I’m learning trust does not always have a clear explanation. I’m so glad I trusted God to send me to Zeal. Another great decision.
I would love nothing more than to wake up one day and hear the doctor say, “It’s gone.” I’m believing that will happen.
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