My Journey

 
 
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People see me now with this great life, but it wasn’t always like this.

It took hitting rock bottom and facing life-threatening surgery for me to turn my health and life around.

If the story of my journey can inspire even one other person to change, or prevent the kind of suffering I went through, then it’s worth it. I don’t want to sound like a victim, because I’m not. I’m sharing my story to let others in similar situations know there’s hope, and that things can change for the better.

I had chronic gastrointestinal issues my entire life, since I was a baby. I came from a broken home with a lot of dysfunction. It was scary when I was little. I used food to deal with emotional pain, insecurity and fear. I was the fat kid who was always teased about my weight, which triggered an eating disorder when I got to high school.

When I was only 31 years old, my dream of having more children ended. I had to have a hysterectomy due to cancer, caused by fetal exposure to toxins along with a life-long gluten intolerance.

At 32, I had half my thyroid removed – which I now know is also linked to gluten intolerance.

By age 34, doctors had to remove my entire colon (large intestine).

Afterwards, I still battled GI issues (instead of constipation now I had constant diarrhea) and continued to feel like crap. By this point I was on blood pressure meds, antidepressants, migraine meds, anxiety meds. The list goes on and on. I was tired of battling my weight. I was tired of popping pills and I was TIRED of the pain.

My yoga instructor, now bestie, kept saying “Tiff, get off gluten! See if it helps.” OK, I love her but I thought “Listen here, hippy girl, you got me doing yoga – I am not giving up my cinnamon rolls.”

There were numerous visits to the GI specialists, doubled over in agony from abdominal pain. My body was starting to fail. My weight was like a roller coaster. I was feeling horrific — migraines, no energy, insomnia, depression and crippling stomach pain. I. HIT. BOTTOM.

The doctors didn’t know what to do. The only treatment option they had was more surgery. When they proposed removing a big chunk of my small intestine, which meant I’d have to have a colostomy bag the rest of my life, I FLIPPED OUT. I admit it, vanity kicked in. I was recently single and there was NO WAY I could imagine dating or finding a man with a bag of liquid poop hanging off my body. Plus, I wasn’t even sure I would survive it, my body was so fragile then. When I thought about leaving my children motherless, I felt completely hopeless and depressed.

That was when I finally got tested for gluten intolerance, and it came back positive for Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease caused by an atypical reaction to eating gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye and barley). Celiac Disease triggers an immune response that damages or destroys the villi in the small intestine, which is how we absorb nutrients. The autoimmune activity of Celiac Disease is systemic and can affect other organs and tissues outside the gastrointestinal tract, like the thyroid gland or the reproductive system.

I came home, gutted my pantry and fridge, bought every book I could find on Celiac Disease and gluten-free diets and MADE THE CHANGE.

Within a month I was completely OFF ALL MEDS.

Yup, and I felt dramatically better! Seriously. Like I was 20 and ready to take on the world. Best part, my tummy issues were gone. No bag. No pain. No pills. Now, when I have moments of weakness and cheat, I immediately pay the price. It’s a quick reminder of how my life used to be.

 


I’m on a new path.

After everything I went through, I began to wonder: Maybe my journey was so traumatic and painful because I needed to do something MORE than managing the family investment and real estate businesses?”

Friends and family who were suffering with health challenges began to seek me out for guidance and advice. I found a new passion to show them how to turn things around with diet and lifestyle changes. The more I saw the transformation in their lives, the more fulfilled I felt. I found a new direction for my life. I went and got training. And I’m constantly learning, finding new and better ways to guide and support people.

If anyone had told me five years ago that I could recover my health, and gain so much balance and peace, I never would have believed them. I’ve learned so much about myself and how to live a happy and healthy life- physically, mentally and emotionally. I learned to trust myself and how I feel, before anything else. I was a hot mess but I figured out a way to come back and THRIVE.

I’m happier and healthier than ever.

And now I’m on a mission to help you feel the same.

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