My dad and I arrived in Iowa on October 6th. God then provided a cancellation at a doctor in Marion, IA so I was able to see her on October 10th. After some rounds of blood tests, I found out I have celiac disease.
What is celiac disease?- Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by consuming gluten. When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, the body attacks itself and destroys the villi lining the small intestine. Over time, the villi are destroyed and the person's body is not able to absorb vitamins and minerals, which leads to malnutrition. If left untreated, people with celiac disease are at risk for more autoimmune diseases.
What have I found out in the states so far?- The doctors that I have seen are not 100% sure about the damage that was done inside my body by the gluten I consumed, but they told me that it may be months before I heal up completely. As you read above, celiac destroys the villi in your intestine which means you can't absorb nutrients and are essentially starving your body of what it needs to keep going. And for me, I was training for a marathon this summer so not only was I not able to absorb nutrients from the gluten, but I also was straining myself by the training I was doing. So we think that my body was preserving itself as much as it could but shutting down in other ways. I couldn't believe how limited I was in my physical abilities towards the end of August and all of September.
What has my healing process looked like so far? I have been on a gluten free and dairy free diet since the beginning of October. On October 10th, I went to the doctor in Marion and by mid October I knew I had celiac. I also found out that I had leaky gut syndrome and candida overgrowth which means even more damage to my gut. At the end of October I started an autoimmune diet to help heal the damage that was done to my gut by taking away all the foods that are hard to digest. The diet that I was on meant no sugar, no egg, no dairy, no gluten, no beans, no nuts, no corn, and no rice. Basically I have been only eating organic meats, low sugar organic fruits, and some organic vegetables. At the beginning of December, I started slowly reintroducing some foods and now I have beans, rice, and nuts back in my diet. Woot! I hope to add corn back into my diet within the next week.
At the end of October I began meeting with a chiropractor who specializes in auto immune disorders and other issues. He has helped me with the supplements I take and also administers electromagnetic pulse therapy on my whole body while also focusing on my stomach for 1 hour, 2 times a week. Since working with him, I am amazed at the progress I have made in the past month and a half.
How am I doing now? Overall, I am doing better each day. I am excited that my diet includes more things now, I can drive myself 30 minutes to the chiropractor each time, I can do normal household chores, and I can participate in most family activities. However, in the past 10 days, I have had two episodes where I felt really weak, got really hot, and my legs felt like jello for hours. Both times I spent time on the couch until I regained my strength. These times remind me that I am not 100% healthy yet.
Am I going back to Romania? Yes, I am going back to Romania! However, I do not have a return date yet. ReachGlobal graciously told me to enjoy the holidays with family and to take the necessary time to heal and head back after the new year sometime.
What is God teaching me during this time? God has been teaching me that He is in absolute control and that His ways are far greater, and far above my ways. I was initially very confused as to why I was so sick and needed to be medically evacuated from Romania, but now that I am in Iowa and healing, I see everyday why I am here right now.
What do I miss most about Romania? I miss the language. I love the Romanian language and I miss learning it. I miss the children I worked with and I miss my teammates and the Romanians I was getting to know.
Where did I live and will that be there when I get back? I lived in an apartment on my own and my teammates have graciously been paying my bills and taking care of it for me. I will move back in once I return to Bucharest.
These past few months have been difficult on me physically, but then again, I know that things could be so much worse. I am thankful that the Lord guided my time in Romania with Rhonda. The Lord provided just what we needed, when we needed it. We even saw an incredibly kind ER doctor two times who ended up helping me get medically evacuated out of Romania. My dad was able to come over and get me. I was in no condition to fly by myself and having my dad there to bring me home was incredible. The Lord provided a doctor's appointment immediately after we got back to Iowa and immediate answers as to what was going on in my body. The Lord then provided a doctor 30 minutes down the road who has dealt with patients like me before! I am able to buy food locally and we even make some rather tasty dishes with the limited foods I can eat :)
Thank you for your support, encouragement, and prayers for me and my family over these past few months. We are so grateful for you lifting us up. I ask for your continued prayers for wisdom as we determine where to go from here with my healing process. I need guidance on how to push and challenge myself, while not overdoing it. Please also praise God with me for His provision!
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9