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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Meet Denise

In 2012, a minor illness quickly turned into a MAJOR problem.  After years of illness that should have resolved own it's own and didn't, I began extensively researching food, diets and eating habits that would help to restore my health.  And that's how The Healthetarian Woman was born.

TOP DEFINITION
health·a·tar·i·an helth-i-tair-ee-uhn

noun. 
A person who does not eat or does not believe in eating McDonald's, Burger King, Popcorn for dinner, Pizza Pockets, or, in some cases, any food served in a Paper Bagor a Box. Will not drink pop (soda) as their main source of water intake. Typical routine involves reading ingredients in foods before consumption, dieting or abstaining from delicious snacks, paying more for less food and on occasion looking at my food diary in utter disgust.

For me, a healthetarian lifestyle means eating a clean, whole foods diet as much as possible.  I am NOT vegan or vegetarian by any means.  Although I do eat both types of meals from time to time.  I tend to stay away from foods that cause me digestive discomfort and love my body with foods that don't.    Sometimes it is gluten-free, sometimes it is meat-free, some-times it is dairy- or soy-free.  And sometimes it is none of those, because hey, I LOVE TO EAT, even if it's bad for me.  You will find that almost none of my recipes on this blog contain ground beef, regular beef or fish. Those are foods that causes me digestive discomfort.  I am mostly non-dairy consuming except for the occasionally very small amount on my pizza twice a month.


"There are days when I feel the best of me is ready to begin.  Then there are days when I feel I'm letting go and soaring on the wind.  But I've learned in laughter or in pain how to survive, I get on my knees...." Do you ever feel that way?  These are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs that basically sums up my life on a daily basis living with chronic illness.    Here is my story and how it all began........

In the fall of 2012 I started not feeling well.  I began to lose my appetite, having bouts of moderate to severe nausea, lethargy.  I went to the doctor and he ran some tests, put me on some medicines and told me to come back in a month.  A month later, I returned to my doctor and not only was I not any better I had lost about 20 pounds.  At this point, he was concerned and began running more tests.  It took about two and a half months to determine that my gall bladder needed to come out.  Since I wasn't experiencing typical symptoms of gall bladder disease such as stones and excruciating pain, it took some time to determine this needed to be looked into.

By Thanksgiving that year, it was determined that my gall bladder had died and basically quit working.  At this point I had lost another 10 pounds and my health was deteriorating rapidly as I was constantly nauseated and unable to eat much.  I was scheduled to meet with a surgeon to have my gall bladder removed on Dec. 3rd and I was assured by my surgeon that after my gall bladder was removed I would be "good as new".  However, that was NOT the case.  On December 10, 2012 I had the surgery and things only got worse.  I expected a 30 day recovery period and knew that it would take my body some time to adjust to living without my gall bladder.  But instead of getting better, my health continued to decline.  The nausea was worse than ever only now it was accompanied by endless trips to the bathroom.  I could barely eat any thing, I couldn't sleep good at night and at this point was experiencing severe anxiety over my declining health that was beginning to take it's toll on my not just my body but my mental health as well.

60 days after my surgery I had lost another ten pounds and found myself becoming a blubbering sobbing hot mess in my doctors office that afternoon.  It's amazing how fast your doctor will get you into a room without an appointment when you walk in having a nervous break down.  I couldn't take it anymore.  After nearly six months of living in misery I was DONE.  I couldn't live like this and I knew something had to change NOW.    After he got me to calm down, he examined me and talked with me about my symptoms.  I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, anxiety disorder (go figure, I wonder why!) and a fancy word that I can't pronounce that basically means Post Gall Bladder Removal Syndrome (Google it.  YES it's a real thing).

About two years into my illness I found myself unable to hold down a job due chronic digestive issues that now included ulcers, gastritis and other unpleasant symptoms.  In addition to all of that I also deal with chronic pain from arthritis.  My inability to work outside of the home led me to re-start my journey working from home. Fast forward almost three years. After several years of chronic illness I began researching way to improve my health, get off of the rapidly growing list of multiple prescription medications that I was on for stomach issues, anxiety, depression, chronic pain and more, so I could have a normal life again AND I FOUND IT!  I also found a work from home business in the process that is a perfect fit for me.  That is KING if you are looking to work from home! Am I completely healed?  No, not yet, but for the first time in five years I have HOPE, REAL HOPE that it is going to happen.  And I am SO incredibly grateful I am not as chronically ill as I once was.  I have learned how to make improvements to my health by practicing healthy life-style choices and a healthy living program that has allowed me to manage my illness better, exercising regularly and living my life purpose to the best of my ability everyday.  
I have had to do a lot of soul-searching and talking with God.  He has allowed me to have these issues for a reason.  He has given me a story to tell and hopefully I can help other who are struggling in their lives.  There are some things that I have learned and had to accept in order to live my life as normal as possible.
It would be easy to curl up in a ball and not feel sorry for myself, which I have done on many occasions, wallowing in the fact that the deck of cards I have been dealt just plain STINK sometimes.  But, wallowing in my own self-pity doesn't do me any good.  I had to make a decision a long time ago that I was going to live as normal a life as possible NO MATTER WHAT.
I love the song my the Rory and the late Joey Feek "That's Important To Me".  What's important to me is being a good wife, taking care of my husband, being a good mother, being able to take care of my home, going to church, working from home and so many other things.  Joey not only had courage, she had wisdom to know the difference and she accepted her challenge that God had given her and fought her battle with cancer with such grace and dignity right up until her last breath, she LIVED.
My hope is to live my life with that kind of faith, that kind of courage, that kind of determination and not let my circumstances define me or confine me.  I want to be the vessel that God chosen for me to live this life in and use my story to change the lives of others, to be the light in your darkness and to make a difference.  If you are struggling, no matter what your circumstances are, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  I am living out my purpose one day at a time and so can you.
Phillipians 4:13 "I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength."
 

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