What’s Wrong with My Stomach? My Story.

You might have noticed that I have been experimenting with quite a few diet philosophies in the past year or so. Vegan, Nourishing Traditions, Paleo, Refined-Sugar Free, Gluten-Free.. I’ve developed recipes that fit into all of these categories. I think it’s time to explain why I seem a little scatterbrained.

I have stomach pain. I’m not talking about an occasional sour stomach or a little indigestion here and there, I’m talking about chronic, every day pain. Not sharp pains or writhing pains, but a dull pain and tenderness that doesn’t ever seem to go away. And I still don’t know why.

But let’s back up a minute.

In 2007-ish, back when I was in college and before this blog began, I was having a similar problem with my stomach. Long story short, I ended up seeing a GI where I had an endoscopy that found the bacteria H. Pylori in my system. Relieved to find the answer to my problems, I took the prescribed antibiotics, went on my merry way and promptly forgot the whole thing ever happened.

Fast forward a few years, and my stomach pain is creeping back into daily life. When I first noticed it, I started making changes to my diet- eating more whole foods and less processed stuff, thinking that would help. (I was still eating organic/”natural” processed stuff, but I was making progress.) When I continued to feel sick, I started changing things up again; wondering if it was just a food sensitivity that I needed to uncover. So I began my quest to try an even simpler whole foods style diet to see if I could find the answer to my problem again.

No dice.

Around this time (early 2012), my sister-in-law was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. This opened up our family to a whole new way of eating- one that we did not understand at first. (We failed miserably at supporting her efforts to heal her body in the beginning- but I think now she knows that we are behind her 100%!) I started to wonder if maybe I could get some results with similar changes.

I started doing some research about things like bone broth, leaky gut syndrome, probiotics and fermented cod liver oil, and suddenly remembered the H. Pylori. A giant light bulb went off in my head. Could my stomach have been deteriorating for the past five years? Is the H. Pylori still in there? Is there any hope to heal it? I decided to work with my sister-in-law’s nutritionist myself to find out.

Now Tricare comes into the picture.

I am so thankful to have healthcare, but I am growing weary jumping through their hoops and waiting too long for my test results. I am hoping to get a referral to see a GI who will check for permanent damage or ulcerations, but in the mean time, I am starting a new diet protocol which is somewhat overwhelming.

No gluten. Use grains sparingly. Use cheese sparingly (!!!!). No corn. A GAPS/SCD-type diet for now.

I wish I could tell you the end of this story, but it hasn’t happened yet. I am hoping dietary changes will heal my body and I’ll be able to enjoy a meal without pain or let my babies jump on my tummy without me cringing. Until then, I will be wrapping my head around this plan and figuring out what it means to use cheese sparingly (how??). This is part of the reason the new website is so important to me- I want it to be easy for those of you with dietary restrictions to find what you are looking for. I know what it feels like to struggle- to look at a full refrigerator without any idea what to eat. If I can help make that process easier for even one person, I’ll be so glad.

Thanks for sticking with Oven Love through all the ups and downs. I plan on making delicious food no matter what lies ahead.

(If you are having similar issues and would like more details about my journey and my dietary recommendations, I’d love to talk! ovenloveblog@gmail.com)

19 Responses to “What’s Wrong with My Stomach? My Story.”
  1. As your Mom and someone who loves you more than I can tell you, I wish I could take this pain away and it makes it all the more difficult being so, so far away. Know that I am praying for your stomach to heal and for you to find the answers you are looking for.

  2. Chelsea says:

    I’m so sorry for all of your stomach pain! I suffer with Crohn’s disease and I know how it feels to have such awful pain. I admire you for changing your diet and sharing your story with your readers!

  3. LJ says:

    omg, i feel your pain. we’ve been doing the paleo thing for about a year now and whenever i break the rules i feel horrible (and my husband is borderline celiac). i know i don’t actually know what you’re going through as you have an actual history issue, but have you heard about Practical Paleo? It’s the book by the author/blogger behind balancedbites.com. she lays all the food issue stuff out with meal plans and everything. might be helpful esp with insurance being annoying (and i think that’s something everyone can relate to.

  4. Natalie says:

    LJ- Yes! I basically read Practical Paleo cover to cover on my vacation last month. It really gave me a better idea about how the digestive system works and motivated me to get all of this sorted out!

  5. Lori says:

    I’m also so glad you are sharing your struggle with us. I’ve been going through so many necessary diet changes with my husband. We’ve cut processed foods, dairy, and now gluten from our diets. I literally cried in the butter aisle at the grocery store last Sunday. I know your struggle, and I am so glad to read it and know I’m not alone. I hope you find a way to feel better soon.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I’m so sorry. Pain in any form is so hard to deal with and takes a lot out of you. I’ve also been having problems and experimenting with food to see what helps. I had my gallbladder out two years ago and since then have had a lot of stomach pain, too much stomach acid that damaged my esophagus, so much pain from my esophagus spasming. It’s been so hard getting things sorted out. No dairy, very low fat. It’s frustrating, and hard for people to understand that yes, even just one bite of ice cream or cheese will have me in pain like a heart attack (from the spasms). Bodies are amazing, aren’t they, when they work right! I’m interested in seeing what you come up with, I need more ideas. 🙂

  7. Leah says:

    I can sympathize with your plight, I suffered through a year of stomach problems, and it took multiple visits to my dr, GI specialist and going to naturopathic/alternative practitioners before I finally was diagnosed with gluten intolerance.
    It can be frustrating! I wish you lots of luck in finding out what’s going on.

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  9. tammy says:

    have you looked into gall bladder disease? My 20 yo daughter suffered similar symptoms to yours for several years and it only got worse. Dr was treating her for reflux with acid blocker meds. Finally we saw a specialist who was willing to test her for gallbladder. Come to find out it was not functioning at all! Once she had it removed (simple laprioscopic same day surgery) she is one hundred percent better, no lasting side effects. Hope this helps, God bless.

    • Natalie says:

      I did have my gall bladder checked via ultrasound and it was clear- funny how just a few of the same symptoms have such different outcomes.

      • tammy says:

        Hi Natalie, well if the symptoms persist, you might consider pursing it further if you have insurance. My daughter’s ultrasound came out fine. Only until they did the nuclear scan (not as scary as it sounds!) did they detect that it was not emptying at all. Her pain sounds so much like yours and she suffered for so long. The ultrasound will only check for stones. That was not the problem here at all. I will pray for you and that you find out what is wrong soon. God bless.

        • tammy says:

          One more comment. I just read your whole story with your stomach. Please look into gall bladder disease. very common for some reason now among young women. My daughter, too, had all the same tests you did, with no conclusion other than stomach acid …. she went wheat free, etc. as well, only to have no long term relief. The specialist was running out of tests …. until she did the scan (its called a HIDA scan, the nuclear one I mentioned in the comment above). I never comment on blogs ….NEVER …. but I felt the need to share this information with you. I hope it helps.

      • Beth F. says:

        I’d look into doing a gall bladder cleanse. I did one five years ago and was astounded at the stones I passed. I’ve not had any pain since then and it was, relatively, simple and fast. I think most people would benefit from doing one.

  10. Nicole says:

    Thank you Natalie!!! This is such an encouragement! I’m a missionary/pastors wife living in India and I have all the same sormach pain you talk about!!! I’m on day 5 of intro GAPS and just introduced egg yolks! I was so encouraged by your blog. Thank you for taking the time to write it all down. How long did it take you to move through the 6 stages?

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