Do you remember those moments when your parents got your attention as a child? They asked for your eyes and took your chin in their hands to direct your gaze, and you knew they meant business. There was a sense of heightened awareness of their authority but also awareness of their deep love and care. That has been a picture of me and the Lord in these last few months. He has taken my chin in His hands and literally turned my neck in a different direction awakening parts of my heart that have been dormant.
I had NO clue the lostness you can feel as a mom of young littles–especially if they have any heightened needs. Every moment (even in sleep) is dedicated to tending to the physical and emotional needs of another, and it is a learn-as-you-go gig.
Most of these last 4 years, I feel like I have been in survival mode–especially the last 3 (pregnancy and 2 years with 2). This past year has included one event after another of physical sickness or emotional needs for our family. Several people we know have made jokes about our lives–“can one more thing happen to the Pinkners?” I am tired, and I have not taken good care of myself. It was the “do anything to survive and not fall apart” plan. You take one thing at a time, and you keep on going because you have to be there for your children (the mantra of parents throughout the ages!).
Since last Winter, I had been experiencing hot flashes where I sweat profusely about 4 times a day. These were “get out of my face, I’m going to die, I don’t care who you are…” hot flashes. I was also extremely fatigued and dealing with depression. (This was most likely due to the fact I did not sleep between 1 and 5 am most days–good ole insomnia). I also began having aches and pains in my body, hands and feet that I blamed on 40–the age I USED to think was ancient! Did I mention that I developed a high temper and a continual bad mood? I was carrying more weight than ever before and could not budge the scales when I tried to improve. Blood work did not show anything, but my gut knew there was something really funky going on within my body. I dealt with it limping through until God took my chin and directed me to research on “Dr. Google.”
I landed on Candida yeast overgrowth. What I found was that people who have had a lot of antibiotics (hello ear infections, tonsillitis, urinary infections galore in the last 35 years!) and who have been under extreme stress with cortisol released can tend to have systems that are way out of whack. The good bacteria has been killed in the gut and then yeast (that is there in everyone) begins to grow more AND it feeds on sugar. Sugar is in so many things (and in that cortisol released from stress). Even the “well-meaning” things I was eating turned into sugar in digestion. This Candida overgrowth then begins multiplying and will affect different systems of the body.
What’s the cure? Diet. No sugar, no dairy, no gluten (not even fruit). This is meant to starve the feeding Candida. What have I found? Sugar is not our friend–especially not my friend. I thought that the way I was feeling was just “how it was going to be the older I get.” Cloudy mind, depression, anxiety, fatigue, aches and pains began to wane after I had the “break-up with sugar” headache for a couple of weeks. I actually looked forward to the day. I can literally look back over the last year of my life and see a darkness over me–it was affecting my outlook and my thinking. I was not sleeping, so I was not waking to spend time with God. I literally just crawled through the day almost in a stupor. I remember telling my dear friend that I kind of hated life–that is not me at all.
I am still fighting this demon of Candida, and I thank God for literally rescuing me from myself. I was walking toward self-destruction, and He loves me and is faithful to me even when I do not pursue Him. See, this is not about food–it’s about so much more than that. I did not change my diet because I am disciplined. I did not change my diet to lose weight. I did not change my diet as a resolution. The Lord showed me that I have no other choice if I wanted to live as He had made me to. He is the One who has given me the strength each step–through Thanksgiving and Christmas. I literally cannot go back to the way things were. He has shown me the lesser things that I trusted in to get me through the moment. Now, I am able to see with greater hope and plan with greater hope. I can think on truth again; I want to think on truth again.
I share this to encourage those who have weird health things going on–or even fatigue or headaches, etc. Food can be a healer–look beyond the box. We are our only advocate and our children’s only advocates…a lot of times you have to research on your own and listen to your gut if you think something is not right. I could go on and on, but I will leave it here for now.