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HOPE

OR, another title: *Food Is NOT My Enemy.

As I write this post, tears of gratitude fall from my eyes.

The downward spiral has come to a halt.
The anger and rage are beginning to dissipate.
The vicious cycle is coming to an end.
Life has flavor once more.
For the first time in a year, my HOPE has been restored.

“I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.”

As most of you know, over the last year I have been pretty sick. I have been loaded down with medications / chemicals. I have dealt with numerous side effects. I have been starving and VERY angry. It has been awful living with the constant fear of food. It has been absolutely torturous to watch other people eat their meals, lick their fingers and smack their lips with delight, while I sat across the table leering at them with jealousy. It has been exhausting to have no solutions, no choices and no control, while dealing with TWO illnesses that can potentially kill me if not taken seriously or treated properly.

I have also been trapped on this vicious cycle. First, I get sick, then I miss work, then I am afraid I will get fired (and I loose pay) then I stress about money, then I have to run to my parents to ask for help, then I get sick again, (from all the stress and because I have NO immune system) then my face breaks out (from all the chemicals and stress) then my self confidence and esteem plummet, then I miss work, then I am afraid I will get fired, then I miss pay, then I have to run to my family to pay my bills….. round and round I go.

I have to tell you that age 32 has been THE WORST YEAR for me: mentally, emotionally, physically and financially. I really took a beating. I also turned into someone I didn’t recognize. As a result of all of my own negative thinking, coupled with my diminishing self confidence and super low self esteem, (in addition to being sick) I became this weak, spineless, ass-kissing, doormat. I didn’t feel worthy of anything or anyone. I had given up all HOPE that I would ever feel better, be better, look better, work better, eat better….or live better.

Just when I was ready to give up completely, throw in the towel, roll over and die…OUT OF THE BLUE, things started to change.

Since I began working with this new allergy /immunologist miracle man as my doctor, a chain reaction of good things has been coming my way.

I spoke with the new GI Doctor and after reviewing my records, I have been taken OFF half of the medications / chemicals I had been taking. HALF OFF! I am down to having to take ONLY 10 pills a day. Not 22!! This is HUGE for me. I don’t have to take massive amounts of chemicals that rip through my liver anymore.

It also means I can GO BACK INTO THE SUN. (Some of the medications I was taking did not allow for me to be in the sun). I was FINALLY able to sit outside over the long weekend to breathe in AIR, soak up the rays, WITHOUT having to worry about possible adverse effects.

Now…for the best news of all!

I spent this past Labor Day Weekend with the most amazing woman ever. Her name is Brooke. She just happens to be crazy super educated, hilarious, brilliant, witty, charming, OH …AND SHE IS A CHEF…with tons / YEARS of experience dealing with people like me who have ‘special needs.’ She created and cooked several items THAT I CAN EAT. The menu is filled with foods that have TEXTURE, COLOR and FLAVOR. HELLO! I have been eating things like spaghetti squash in a shallot and roasted red pepper sauce (looks just like REAL spaghetti, tastes EVEN BETTER). Yes I still had grilled chicken breast…BUT… stuffed with ricotta cheese, artichoke hearts, swiss shard, and red onions, topped with fresh shredded parmesan. BEAT THAT! All organic. All natural. No additives. No preservatives. No bullshit I have to be worried about. No labels to read. Fresh whole foods.

She is TEACHING me HOW TO COOK these phenomenal dishes so I can continue to EAT like a REAL person. I do NOT know how to cook AT ALL. So, thankfully she will be showing me WHAT to do! In the meantime, she made enough food for me to last a week! Things like coconut-curry pork stir-fry over braised napa cabbage; egg white& veggie frittata over sautéed kale w/ bacon & onions; beef teriyaki over grilled baby bok choy; turkey tetrazini (w/ mushroom cream sauce) just to name a FEW of the CHOICES I am going to have!

I don’t have to be scared to eat anymore. I have CHOICES, and CONTROL.

I don’t have to be scared to eat at work anymore either. For the last year I haven’t even eaten lunch at work. I just watched everyone else around me stuff their faces with chips and sandwiches. It is very hard to stay focused and work a full day with NO FOOD. But, I was too scared to eat during work hours because I never knew what sort of reaction I would have. Rather than take a chance, with either an allergic reaction, OR, having a Crohn’s attack, I didn’t EAT AT ALL during the day.

But, NOT ANYMORE.

The last two days I have brought MY OWN FOOD in to the office. I have been watching the same people eat the same boring ass ham and cheese sandwiches, while I have been indulging in pure food goodness. Now people are jealous of what’s ON MY PLATE!

Because I missed food SOOO much and because I appreciate BEING ABLE TO EAT AGAIN sooo much, I truly enjoy EVERY SINGLE FLAVOR. I let each bite roll in my mouth as long as I can savoring each taste. And… I CANT STOP EATING! Yep. Pretty soon my new theme song will be a variation of PussyCat Dolls lyrics: “Don’t Cha wish your girl SICK friend was hot FAT like me”.

I have been OFF those medications, EATING REALLY GOOD FOOD, for a mere 6 days, and I ALREADY feel such an improvement. My stomach/body/and skin looks and feels better. I have COLOR back in my face. The black circles are GOING AWAY. I have ENERGY. I am NOT STARVING! I am no longer resentful of people that are chewing while I sucked down broth through a straw. I no longer feel deprived. I am not depressed. I am not angry. I am not freezing or sweating. I am not exhausted. I have not had insomnia. I have not experienced ONE SIDE EFFECT I used to feel on a daily basis.

I have HOPE every new day that I will only feel better and stronger.

AND

I have NOT been sick ONCE.

All of the food I have been eating is STAYING INSIDE OF MY BODY. Vitamins and Nutrients are STICKING to my intestines, being digested and getting ABSORBED by my bloodstream! Squeeeeeeee!

*(I wish I COULD call out of work to have an I feel GOOD day!)

Lastly and rather UNEXPEDTADLY, to top everything off, (for the first time since January) I made my BONUS at work.

With just 5 weeks until my birthday, the start of a whole new year, I know a new wind is blowing in my direction. The TIDE is TURNING. IN MY FAVOR. FINALLY.

I have HOPE that age 33 will be a healthy, happy, and a prosperous year for me.

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  • I am so incredibly happy for you! You deserve the hope, confidence and happiness you feel right now. I am so glad you found some answers. Enjoy and be joyful!

  • brookestone

    i am soooooooo psyched that you are soooooooooo psyched!!!!! you wrote such wonderfully nice things about me-thanks, girl!! you know, 32 was my worst year, too. nervous breakdown, lost relationship, 40 pound weight-gain, moved back in w/ folks for a couple months (ouch! that hurt the most!) you’ll get through this and be a wise old woman before you turn 40…like me (haha).

  • Dan

    Meleah, isn’t it wonderful how we never know what’s around the corner and when we think there is no hope, our life gets back on track again! Hugs to you for this terrific news. Having your worst year at age 32 sucks. But the tide is turning!

  • YAY!!! Woohooo!!!

    Oh I can see it now…Meleah and Brooke have their own Food Network TV Show! And if’n you need an official side-kick/food taster….I’m available!

    Good things will come your way if your patient enough to wait for them. I am so happy for you Meleah…you truly deserve good thing coming your way.

  • YAY!!!!!!!!
    That is so awesome!!!! We can forget all the crap that medications do to us, and we rarely feel better because of it. Get out there and kick life’s ass Meleah…you deserve it!!!!!!! I’ve got a few months left for age 33 and I am already declaring this as the worst yet for many reasons. You’ve given us all hope!!!!!!

  • Meleah

    MICKI: Its like a MIRACLE.
    —-
    BROOKESTONE: You have CHANGED MY LIFE. CHANGED MY LIFE. (and that guy we talked about IS JUST A DOOD!) I love you mang! Love!
    —–
    DAN: I never thought there was a chance in HELL things would turn around. Im looking forward to LIFE again.
    —-
    MICHAEL C: If ANYONE knows how crappy it is to take all these pills. meds, chemicals it is YOU. If I found a way to begin to feel and get better YOU WILL TOO. It just takes time, and that part SUCKS.
    —-
    DAZD: Thank You. Brooke and I were thinking of working some of these into a book maybe one day in the future.

  • Meleah you must be elated… you actually made me hungry and jealous at the same time! I HATE COOKING! 🙁
    The food you described sounds so delicious and nutritious!
    I am sooooo happy for you and your new beginning! 🙂
    Happy Eating!

  • I am so so happy for you Melz! 🙂 Bet you never thought YOU’D learn to cook. wink. I bet ou’ll love cooking as much as I do one day. 🙂 Sending you love and hugs and hopes that this means we can VISIT soon. 😀

  • I did NOT forget about your thingies for your blawwwgs by te way. I just got buried over the weekend trying to make the fam happy and write an ebook for deadline – will do today. promise.

  • That is the coolest news! I’m really happy for you!

  • NICE! Glad to hear things are getting better!

  • Meleah

    DAWN: Thank you! Its been a HARD YEAR for me, it about time things shaped up around here!
    —–
    LESLIE: I love you too. The links you and Cyndy have sent me are really helping out too. You have been so great to me through this whole miserable ordeal. I dont know where I would be without your support.

    Dont worry about the widget thingy, you will do it when you have time. I would rather YOU finish your EBOOK.
    —–

    MIKE: 🙂
    ——-

    WOLFGANG: Me too.

  • This is the most wonderful, uplifting post that I have read in a long time, Meleah. You have so very much to be thankful for, and it’s clear you truly are! Blessings to you in the coming year, maybe it prove to be your best ever!

  • Your complete elation in that post was contagious. I found myself smiling over your good fortune and am genuinely glad things are getting better.

    My youngest brother suffers from – and I know I’m going to mispell this – seliac sprue? It’s a gluten intolerance, and apparently causes him horrendous abdominal pain. Any way you can share some of those recipes?

  • the happiest blog I have read today!!!!!:)

    ~Becky

  • Congratulations! Here’s to a healthy future.

    SA

  • Meleah

    Josie2shoes: I really THINK (have HOPE) that it will be a GRAND NEW YEAR for me! Thank you for dropping by my little blog.
    —–
    BECKY: Glad I made you smile.
    —–
    SA: Thank you! 🙂
    —–
    Seiche: Thank you very much. Your brother? Dood! He has CELIAC’s … SO DO I… the PAIN is the WORST part. Oh hell yes…. I will email you the links and foods with kick ass wheat / gluten free recipes! He too can (and WILL) eat like a champion again!

  • That’s wonderful, Meleah. I am so incredibly happy for you.

  • I am so pleased for you I really am being able to actually eat & not just watch the others is soo great.
    I hope to get there too but as you know the fear of diarrhoea in public is difficult to beat but I’m trying & you’ve inspired me.
    Well done I’m so happy for you.

  • What awesome news {a huge hug}. I am so happy I really prayed that you would find food you could fall in love with and like it even better than what you couldn’t have. Sincerely sweetie sooooooo happy for you.

  • I have had one of those years as well, so I am elated for you! Life without food is almost unthinkable for me!

  • Meleah

    HOLLYGL: I really appreciate the email and the links and the BOOK you recommended. See….You are THE NICEST blogger in all of BLOGGVILLE! xxoo
    —–

    AMANDA: I know all about the fear of “diarrhoea in public” I would be MORE THAN HAPPY to send you the information / help I have had….maybe your doctor or nutritionist can help you coordinate things?
    ——

    AMBER: I think all of YOUR praying WORKED! Thank You. The new and good food IS better than the old crap I used to eat anyway! xxoo
    —–

    BETH: I cannot WAIT to start a new year. GAH! This has been AWFUL. Life without food has been miserable. Thanks for your kind words.

  • I am sooo thrilled for you. The fact that you coped with such a dire situation for such a long time provides me with so much inspiration. Your story of hope has given me hope. To halve your medication must be such a relief both physically and mentally, and to be able to eat……what wonderful news!

  • oh meleah… this is the best news i have had in forever… i cannot even imagine what you have been going thru… i have hep c and should’t take or drink certain things… but i don’t get sick or anything if i cheat… i don’t know how you do it… you are a mountain of strength in areas i have none… i love you !!!!!!

  • WOOOOO HOOOOOOOO! What fantastic news. You said the magical word that is making everything else feel golden and new: CONTROL. You feel control over your life instead of feeling like everything is in a downward spiral.

    This indeed is a brand new day. ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY

    ps: i think we should go to your old GI doctor and force-feed all the meds he was prescribing you….what where you to him anyway? A case study on how many meds a human liver can withstand?!?!?

  • W00t!
    I’m glad to hear you are able to eat somewhat normally; it sounds like you are learning to cook the way I do at home. I prefer making things from scratch wherever possible, especially as my wife has some food allergies (walnuts or walnut oil in any amount is deadly to her, which means she has to keep an epi-pen on her at all times). I do a lot of Greek and Italian cooking, so I will be interested to hear some of the things you are able to have.

  • How wonderful, Meleah! I am so happy for you!!! You brought a smile to my lips tonight. I hope things continue to look up and you continue to get better and better every day.

  • Beth

    What a great thing to read today! I am so glad for you, it is your turn for good things to happen. As for me, I have been having a pretty down day, even my son asked me why I was so sad. It was really nice to read your post and know that things can and do turn around for people. I will keep this in mind when I am feeling sorry for myself. Thanks for giving us all some hope through your eyes.

  • olly

    I am VERRRRRRY happy to hear that SweetCheeks!
    You are truly loved!!!
    OLLY!

  • This is fantastic news! I’m so happy for you and glad you have also slashed your medication in half. I hope you need less and less of it as time goes on so you can eat to your hearts content and take in all the sun you want.

  • FV

    I’m happy for you Mel, you have found the path to a better and healthier life and you must also not forget we are all here for you. In case you fall, we (your friends) will pick you up, in case you cry, we are here to wipe those tears away, in case you get sick, we are here to take care of you.

    With lots of love and so much admiration, your friend Francisco V.

    😀

  • I’ve been on the ham and cheese sarnies at lunch for years – can’t seem to shake them.

    Enjoy your new found lunchtime freedom – can you make me something inspiring when you’ve got a minute? 🙂

  • Meleah, glad to read things are getting better for you 🙂 Here’s to a new beginning for ya!

  • Oh what incredibly wonderful news!!!
    Your story of hope has made me so happy!
    I feel so sad that you have been so deprived, yet the future is undoubtably sparkling, shimmering with hope!!!

    Brooke is an angel!! What a delicious, literally, twist of fate.
    Oh, I am SO happy!!!

    xox

  • Meleah

    SELMA: I am relived!
    —–

    PAISLEY: It is THE BEST NEWS I have had in FOREVER too!
    —–

    SG: Its all about CONTROL and CHOICES. I am THRILLED beyond belief. Brooke sent me an email this morning about how she is testing a way to make me some gluten/wheat/corn/nut/soy-free pancakes and waffles! I havent had BREAKFAST since…?????
    —–

    BOBG: Oh! So you know what its like to be terrified of food because of the the REACTION it causes…(I too sport and Epi-Pen).. But I have never cooked anything, and certainly not from scratch! There may be some “I just had a fire in my house” posts BEFORE I am able to post about successful meals I was able to cook!
    ——

    FV: That is SO sweet of you. Thank you. It s nice to know I can count on you.
    ——

    GEEDOS: I sure would, but I doubt it work make the trip to Australia to get it to you!
    —–

    NICK: Amen!
    —–

    MINX! My darling love! Brooke was sent from G-D above I know it! No longer will I be DEPRIVED and ANGRY, or CRANKY and STARVING!
    —–

    INGRID: I HOPE so to. For the first time I HOPE.
    —–

    BETH: Why so sad? Hmm.. Im glad that I was able to lift your spirits!
    —–

    OLLY: I know how HAPPY this news MAKES you. You have been in my life for a long time now, you have seen me go through so much SHIT, wont it be nice to see me HAPPY again! XXOO XXOO
    ——

    RICARDO: I am THRILLED to be off those FUCKING medications. Holy Hell.

  • THE BEST FRIEND

    i gave you a mac.
    i gave you brooke.
    i give you my love.
    what else do you need/want?

    so i can prepare myself.

    I love you.

  • Yay! Yay! I am very happy for you and you have me hope too. And many capital letters. 🙂 When I was avoiding preprocessed foods, I bought everything at Trader Joes. Most of there stuff is just food, no weird additives. And you can do something gourmet in mere minutes. Enjoy eating again. It’s a sensual pleasure.

  • Meleah

    BFF:

    I need a new digital camera!

    I need INK for my printer/scanner.

    I need a new charger for the Mac. I need some space on my iDisk.

    I want the new iPod, and the iPhone, and the new iMac desktop for home.

    I need some more NEW clothes

    ……and you know my bday is right around the corner. wheeeeee

    ——–

    Omyword: I am pleased, glad, joyful, cheerful, blissful, exultant, ecstatic, delighted, cheery, jovial, in high spirits, on cloud nine, delighted, thrilled, elated, blissful, rapturous, in raptures, euphoric, in seventh heaven, jubilant, joyful, joyous, gleeful, happy, over the moon……..

    well, you get it.

  • HomerSimpson
  • Meleah

    HOMER SIMPSON;

    I still have NO IDEA who you are, or how and why you always pop in with such GREAT links. Thank you!

  • Homer Simpson

    More a cross between Homer Simpson and Al Bundy. But only 46% evil.

  • Lis

    OMG, that is truly so awesome for you. I’m really, really happy for you! Things can only get better from here! *Happy dance* Man, all that food is making me salivate!

  • WOOT! You GO, girl! I can’t imagine going through what you have (being the food lush that I am…) and was drooling over the descriptions of the food you are learning to cook. How cool that you’re feeling better and are Kickin Ass and Taking Names! YES!!!!!!

    I’m pretty certain that my oldest son is suffering from at least one of your illnesses (on top of serious allergies and asthma that I’ve always known about) and may have to give him some help on the food he’s been eating as well. The only problem it, he doesn’t take care of himself and eats what he wants — then deals with it. No meds, either. Ugh.

    But Congrats to you, Meleah! Can’t wait to see all that unfolds as a result!

  • Meleah

    THANK YOU KELLY AND LIS!!

  • Homer Simpson
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