So tomorrow afternoon, I leave for my trip to see my brother and his fiance.
I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I’m actually going.
Maybe because I’ve been so busy at work that I’ve forsaken my workouts, social events and cooking. Or maybe just because I’ve been anticipating this trip for so long that I can’t believe I actually just checked in for the first flight online.
This is actually the longest I’ve gone in my teenage/adult life between international trips. That sounds super pretentious…but I’ve been very fortunate to have been exposed to the world at a very young age. In high school I would go to Mexico every year on mission trips, then switched to a study abroad program in Asia when I was a sophomore in college, to South Africa junior year, to a graduation trip in Nicaragua.
Travel is my life.
This trip is going to be the first international trip I’ve taken as a gluten intolerant person. And I won’t lie…I’m kind of nervous. But my brother and his fiance are amazing and understand that there are certain things I can’t eat. I also have packed an amount of snacks that almost makes me turn my nose up at myself. Not for the time overseas, but for the travel there and back. Airports are the gfree person’s biggest nightmare. Easy to eat food (think burgers, pizza, sandwiches) don’t lend themselves to gluten free. And I refuse to do what I did on the way back from SXSW and eat frozen yogurt for dinner (not a bad dinner, but not filling for a 12 hour flight).
So I bought Larabars, Luna bars, trail mix, some gluten free chocolate covered pretzels (it is a vacation after all), and fruit based products. I feel like a mom of 3 children who constantly has food on her.
On a more serious note, I finally feel ready to talk about the health issues I’ve been battling. Mainly because there are no answers, so I don’t have a solution for you.
I’ve been having severe pain in the upper left area of my stomach that has been waking me up from sleep. In the world of digestive health, apparently anything in your stomach area that causes that much pain is a bad thing. Food became painful to eat in the sense that as soon as I ate it, it hurt. So I lost my appetite. And then I lost my energy.
I’ve had blood drawn, an ultrasound, a CT scan and a colonoscopy. The only answer they have is that there are levels in my blood that signify an infection in my intestines..but they aren’t sure where.
I share all of this with you, not for your sympathy. Far from it. After years of few answers, I’ve realized it’s easier not to talk to others about it because there aren’t answers. Answers are neat and tidy. My digestive system isn’t. Instead, I write this because I want you to feel comfortable reaching out for any “awkward” health problems you might have. My dad tried to make me feel uncomfortable the other way with the level of detail he was sharing about his health, and was shocked when I told him the details people talk to me about. And I love that.
When you’ve had every digestive test possible, you’re happy to tell people what to expect. Or at least I am.
1. Getting up there was some work, but enjoying the view on the Great Wall of China
2. Technically Hawaii isn’t international, but it sure felt like it.
3. The faces. Seriously. The faces (Katie don’t kill me!)
4. My best friend, Abby and I on Senior Spring break in Mexico. She is my life.
5. Potentially my all time favorite photo. Taken in South Africa, it portrays all of my girls for exactly who we are.
6. In South Africa, the monkeys attack.
7. Just falling off Table Mountain.
8. My ultimate dream come true. I live for African elephants. Gentle giants who are smarter than any human.
9. There is no editing to this photo. Nicaragua really is that gorgeous.
10. Karen became an honorary Norman for this trip
11. I will never.ever.seriously ever. go zip lining again in my life. Clearly this photo was taken before.