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For years I bought into the idea that I would never really be healthy. I also came to the, "oh so common conclusion," that I should accept how I look, simply because, ... thin women have better genetics and a predisposition to fit into a size two, but I definitely wasn't one of them! The girls in the magazines were all just photoshopped anyway, right?
My health was poor to say the least. I was in a terrible car accident as a child, of which I was trapped underneath the drivers seat and suffered a serious spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors said I'd never walk again. I'm pretty stubborn and after a year of daily physical therapy, a ton of prayers, and a mother that's even more determined than I am, I was able to begin walking with the assistance of parallel bars and a walker. It took years to find my new normal. My doctors kept saying that my progress could stop at anytime, and they had no scientific explanation of how I was progressing. Although I became a walking miracle, I had a neurogenic bladder that never regained full function. I also had several issues with muscle deterioration and developmental deformity with my feet. Both of these issues required multiple surgeries over the years, and just in high schooI alone I missed 17 months for recovery.
As I got older, surgeries continued as well as chronic urinary tract infections, (UTI's) and I was diagnosed with Crohns disease. Talk about a mess! I was prescribed so many antibiotics to fight infections that they stopped working for me. The infectious bacteria in my body started to mutate into different types of bacteria that had never even been seen in the lab before. Eventually I built a tolerance to everything except for last resort intravenous antibiotics. It became so bad that the head M.D. for Disease Control and Prevention took over as my primary care doctor.
Pain stemming from my spinal injury became more intolerable as I got older too, so between intestinal, urinary, and spastic muscle issues, I sometimes had trouble even getting out of bed for days at a time. I was referred out of state to see different specialists when my doctors in Montana started throwing their hands in the air. It was frustrating and depressing to say the least!
On top of all of this I struggled with my weight tremendously! I would start to feel better and go on spurts of what I thought was healthy eating. I'd go nuts on the treadmill or stationary bike, yoga... blah, blah, blah. I tried it all- P90X, The 20-20 diet, Adkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, even a diet where special exercise machines jiggle your ass for you! lol! .. Okay, I'll stop, you get the point. Despite my heartfelt efforts, it never took long for me to be back on the sick wagon and drop the diet that I was attempting, to take up a new one at a later date. Even if I dropped several pounds, I just couldn't seem to maintain the loss. At my heaviest I was 169 pounds, and for a girl that dreams of surpassing five feet tall, that's well.. humiliating and hard to even share. I filled a notebook with over 10 years of diet attempts including food logs, body measurements, and daily weights.. but I was at a loss on how to make any of my progress last long term. I sure am glad I kept that book though, because it opened my eyes to Matts plan when I started comparing my old notes with the new ones.
When Matt told me that he could help me, I kind of chuckled. I thought to myself, "Boy, you're cute, and you have good intensions, but this girl is physically B-R-O-K-E-N! "The more he talked, the more I repeated in my mind, "well, you ain't met anybody like me yet! If you're as good as they say you are, and we get through this, I'm gonna actually teach you a few things, cause even my specialists can't figure me out!" Did I doubt? Dang right! But, I was so desperate that I agreed to do whatever Matt said, despite my hesitation. I was preparing for yet another surgery to reconstruct my left foot, (my right foot was reconstructed 4 months prior), so Matt put me on a pre-surgery diet to prepare me for optimal healing. I always stuggled with having an IV put in too, so I was kind of in a state of panic leading up to surgery day. I told Matt that my common IV procedure usually started out with about 5 different nurses who'd poke me 2-3 times each, then the head nurse would be called to try a few more times, then the vampires, (phlebotomist from the lab), then an anesthesiologist and sometimes even a second anesthesiologist! AND, yes, even using vein finder machines, warm blankets, hospital gloves filled with hot water, and 30 minutes of lifting weights on my way to the hospital! Oh yeah..., I was desperate and in a panic to say the least! Usually, after a couple hours, they eventually get it in, but as hard as it is to believe, I've actually been put under general anesthesia without an IV and woke up with a central line!
Leading up to the big day, Matt loaded me with a bunch of food that he guaranteed would make my invisible veins pop. When I went into this surgery, it was the first time in my life that a nurse was able to get an IV in me first try. I thought to myself... "that ole Arkansas boy might be onto something here!" From that day on, my life has taken a complete turn for the better. My diet was adjusted as I healed and Matt helped me with physical therapy. I healed over twice as fast on that foot compared to the other and I have a considerable amount more strength and flexibility in it today.
After that success, I thought it might be time to try to tackle the most difficult of all my health issues. For about 5 years I was having these crazy episodes that I would have almost monthly. They would start with a horrible stomach cramp that would cause me to double over with pain, and then I would start vomiting every few minutes until I was so weak and so dehydrated, I couldn't even stay awake or walk if needed. I think I already mentioned that I'm stubborn, so I would try to stop these attacks myself, but usually after 24 hours of this torture, I would succumb to hospitalization and be given IV pain meds. Doctors always threatened surgery but before their tests could even come back, the pain meds would kick in and I would recover before the scalpel came out.
Matt was also able to figure out what those MULTIPLE doctors couldn't! It turns out that I have a very rare condition, called Sphincter of the Oddi, (SO). Only 1 in 100,000 people have this dysfunction. It's WAY to complicated to write about here, but the moral of the story is that with proper nutrition, these attacks won't ever occur again! I know now that my body doesn't appreciate bisulfides or glutamic acid. I have a limit on what my body will tolerate. When I reach it, it causes all of those intestinal problems that kept me in the hospital with the doctors wanting to cut me open and classifying everything as a bowel obstruction, or Crohns disease, IBD or pre-existing issues. This is a life threatening disorder. Matt discovered so many things that I'm not even touching on, such as how all of this correlates to brain function, what things in the body shut off and back up into the system, why certain medications stop the episode. It's absolutely mind blowing to me! Once he adjusted my diet, my gut become restored, and these episodes stopped! As a HUGE bonus, proper nutrition also ended ALL my UTI infections and most of my Inflammation went away, taking pressure off of my spine. My pain was almost obsolete!
Eventually, Matt added a fitness program into my routine and here I am... 55 pounds lighter from my heaviest, 60+ inches smaller AND A SIZE 0!!!!!! Not even a 2 guys! A size 0! Remember that diet journal that I kept from old diets? When I reached 135lbs on the Rebel Genetic plan, I was a whopping 14 inches smaller than the last time that I reached 135lbs on a different diet! Now that's an educational topic for a future YouTube video!
Believe it or not, I have just briefly touched on my life story of medical issues and health. I'd need to write a novel for you to start to understand that this is just a small portion of all the ways that Matt has helped me, physically and emotionally. I have my life back! I can ride my horses again! Heck, before my diet change, I sometimes couldn't even ride in a truck without wanting to cry from pain. I am a new woman and I can't thank God enough for blessing me with Matt. He truly understands how the body works and how to use food as a tool for health. If he can figure my genetics out, that we definitely had to rebel against, combined with my medical issues from my accident, he can help anyone. Oh yeah, the part in the beginning, where I thought, "if I make it through this, this guy's gonna learn a lot from me)" I think I was right! Haha.
I know that with my injuries, I will never be considered 100% "normal", but I look at everything that I have overcome as a gift. I still sometimes have to manage pain, but I also know that when I do experience added pain, it's induced because I've slacked on my nutrition plan and created unnecessary inflammation. I've learned so much about myself and pain management that I am able to stay out of the doctors office. My primary doctor even called me because he was concerned. I haven't seen him in over 2 years now!
As I continue on my own journey, setting and meeting new goals, I have a deep desire to bring hope to others struggling from pain. There are many people who would like to lose a few pounds and get fit, but there are also a lot of people that have given up on the idea that it's even possible with so many compounded health issues. I'm here to tell you that it's very possible, even WITHOUT exercise. I consider my accident and struggles a blessing now, because I can empathize with others like myself, and I genuinely just want to use my story to help and bring hope to others. Struggles are not easy but you can choose to let them build you up, instead of break you down. It would be an honor for Matt and I to help you find hope again and reach your potential. I know the struggle intimately my friend, and I assure you, there's a better way! The Rebel Way! Reach Out!
The Devil Whispered in my ear,
"You're not strong enough to withstand the storm"
Today I whispered back,
"I AM THE STORM!"
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