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This Stage in My Life: My Journey To Recovery and Balance



Joined: 5/31/2012
Posts: 1
LaurenSWYNTS
My Stage of Life:
Hi everyone! My name is Lauren and I blog at www.saywhatyouneedtosayblog.com. My site is an everyday journal of all things me including my passion for fitness, health, love, happiness and how I acheive balance and purpose every single day. Like many, I have gone through years of trying to discover that perfect balance and although the road has been tough at times, I'm finding that as I grow older, life is less about trying to be and more about just being.
At this tage in my life, I am 26, married, and live in Southcentral Pennsylvania. My 9-5 job is working for a large financial institution as The Director of Financial Literacy where I have the pleasure of teaching and speaking to young adults on financial education. Aside from a full time career, I also balance several other jobs that include a working at my gym as a certified fitness instructor, managing two health food companies social media sites, and maintaining my own personal blog.
My Stage of Health:
I’ve always had an adventurous spirit. It came without surprise that growing up, my exploratory personality ventured into my food choices. I remember specifically being the only 4 year old who would beg her parents every day to take her to Wendy’s, not for the chicken nuggets and fries, but for the salad bar.
I continued to develop a passion for food and cooking as I got older. I began to appreciate the aspects of cuisine and wanted to learn more about it. I fell in love with the kitchen and began designing and creating my own recipes on a daily basis.
It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that my relationship with food suddenly went corrupt. I started to notice some digestive issues that became pretty severe over the course of just a few months. I became ill and lost a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. After a year of battling with doctors telling me my problem was simply IBS and that there was nothing I could do about it, I started to fall apart, physically and mentally.

The nourishment that I used to love and cherish was now my worst enemy. I slowly began to hate food. It was killing me inside and out and the only way I could remotely find solace was to place complete control and restriction on my diet. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about nutrition so my restriction was drastic.
I not only eliminated the foods that were bad for me, but I also stopped consuming key nutrients that my body needed to function. I became emancipated, malnourished and completely depressed.
It wasn’t long that my family convinced me to seek professional help. I started to see a doctor at an in-patient eating disorder clinic, a nutritionist, and a therapist. Even though I never actually associated my disordered views on food with my appearance, I still maintained a very corrupt relationship with eating. It took about a year, but after heavy influence from these professionals, I finally began to build back my nourishment and mental health.
Things were going well for the next several years. I started to feel better, I figured out a diet that was manageable with my intolerances, and I was starting to get healthy. But there was still one major factor that didn’t make sense….I was not able to gain weight. The doctor’s told me it would take time and to keep working at it but it seemed that no matter how hard I tried, the scale wouldn’t budge.
I just kept going in life with the realization that I was small but healthy. Things were good. I had graduated college, got married, bought a house, landed a full time career and was ultimately happy. That was until two years ago.
I went for a routine surgery to have my wisdom teeth removed. After a terrifying experience with the surgery (which is a whole different story in itself), I resulted with a mass infection that ran in my facial nerve. To rid my body of this infection, I was placed on numerous antibiotics. The day after I started taking the medicine, I noticed an unpleasant reaction and knew something was not right. Over the next few weeks I became very ill. So sick in fact that it lead me to yet another doctor, a Gastroenterologist, who eventually diagnosed me with Proctitis, a form of intestinal disease in the lower intestine.
I was placed on yet another medication and within days, found myself even more ill than when I began. This time, I was rushed to the hospital where they ran countless tests to figure out what was going on. After almost two weeks in the hospital, the doctors finally gave me my real diagnosis….Chrons Disease.
I remember feeling in a way relieved when I heard this. I finally had an answer. They were misdiagnosing and thus mistreating me for years and now I would start to find relief.
I was placed on a heavy drug treatment plan immediately. I can’t say I was exactly crazy about taking intense drugs for the rest of my life, but at that point, I would do anything to feel better and get healthy.
I was also placed on a low residue diet that allowed me to only eat low-refined white carbs and non-fibrous foods until I could repair my colon. So basically, I went from thriving only off vegetables and fruits to eating eggo waffles and white rice.
Eventually, my colon got better and I started to rework nutritious foods back into my diet. I also slowly started to feel more like myself with every passing day. My health was coming back to me and more importantly, I started to see something I had not seen in years….an increase in weight. Apparently, my body was not absorbing fats, therefore, I was unable to keep weight or build muscle.
It has been a long and very intimidating road, but I can honestly tell you I live today the healthiest I have ever been. I now eat a balanced diet that includes the foods that are right for me and my body. I know what works best and I know what my body needs in order to maintain my level of health. It’s not right for everyone so I never try to force my choices on anyone else’s lifestyle but I do hope that through my experience, I am able to shed a sense of hope on anyone who might be struggling with a dietary illness or problem.
I know what it’s like to feel controlled by food. I know how difficult it can be to step on that scale and feel like you’re never good enough than what the number tells you. I know how hard it can be on your soul when society is working against you.
But I also know that being healthy and happy go hand-in-hand and that the only way to achieve ultimate health for yourself is to keep going and do only what is right for you. I had to take many hits until I reached a level of happiness with myself, my body and my health but I never gave up. I hope that people today see me for who I am, who I always was, and who I will always be…and that is strong.
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Comment by Suzanne


Joined: 1/2/2012
Posts: 118
Lauren,
This is an incredible story and you are an inspiration to young women everywhere. Thankfully you got the treatment you needed and recovered from this debilitating disease. Your strength and self-knowledge is remarkable for one so young. That kind of awareness says much about who you are and who you will continue to become. Congratulations and best wishes for a healthy future.

I look forward to reading more from you.
Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 1:58:03 PM
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Comment by bugcandy


Joined: 11/5/2008
Posts: 286
Hey Lauren,

Like Suzanne said, your story is very inspiring. We featured it as our Facebook post of the day at http://www.facebook.com/StageofLife

I look forward to seeing more of your essays on Stage of Life!

Eric
CEO, StageofLife.com
Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012 3:08:08 PM
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