I share a similar story – thanks for sharing yours.
That was the subject line of the email she sent.
You will heal. I will help.
Last Friday, I was tagged on Instagram in this egg photo. The caption read as such:
I had never “met” Abby before that moment, but in that moment, I remembered all the reasons I spent countless hours researching and putting together The Gutsy Girl’s Bible: an approach to healing the gut, 2.0.
Not for me, for you…..and if it has helped just one person, then my mission has been accomplished.
I reached out to Abby because I wanted to know more about her, and then I asked if she wanted to tell her own Gutsy story here.
It’s freshman year of college and out of nowhere you get a really bad stomach bug. Mom and Dad aren’t there to take care of you anymore so what do you do now? Like any college student you go to the store buy some medicine and Gatorade and let it pass because it was probably just the gross cafeteria food you eat three times a day. Or so that’s what I thought when this happened to me during my first semester in college. The only problem was that this stomach “bug” wouldn’t just pass, it would get worse.
(SKH Side Note: The EXACT same thing happened to me, my freshman year of college.)
I eventually went to numerous doctors and had every test done known to man, yet the doctors still couldn’t figure out what this “bug” was. It was a stomach flu turned to e-coli and finally with the results of a colonoscopy I was diagnosed with indeterminate Crohn’s/Colitis. I had never heard of this disease in my life and had no family history of it whatsoever. At 18 years old hearing this news was a complete shock, and there were times I would break down and wonder why me?
I became very health conscious about what I ate, and read every book I could about naturally healing. Unfortunately, I was not conscious enough and college life got the best of me again because soon I was having feelings of this “bug” again. Fall break came, and I was now in a full blown flare up in so much pain that I spent Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) curled up on the couch all day long. My parents took care of me throughout the holidays but it finally came to a point they no longer knew what to do and drove me to the hospital where I spent two weeks recovering. After my trip to the hospital I was reluctantly put on Humira. Since then I have been adamant about finding what works with my body to heal naturally, and that’s when I ran into A Gutsy Girl’s blog online. Finding this was like an answer to prayer because it was exactly what I had been searching for! Sarah’s blog and the Gutsy Girl’s Bible opened my eyes to so much information about living a healthy lifestyle with Crohn’s/Colitis. At first I intended to follow the 21 day gut healing just so I could have a good colonoscopy result (which I did!), but now I plan to follow this lifestyle of naturally healing my gut so I can find what works best for me and my body. I am currently adding back in foods and can now eat one of my favorite foods, an egg, with no problems!
This disease is not a weakness but a strength that can be used as an inspiration just as Sarah has been to me and to so many others going through similar gut issues. She is truly a “Gutsy Girl” and I hope to inspire others one day just as much as she has by healing myself with good food and strong faith.
LOVE YOUR GUTS, Abby 🙂
Love your guts,
We can argue about individual photos on that page all we want
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Heather Filipowicz is a Gutsy Girl Living Out Her Dreams.
It’s been a long time since I’ve featured one of your stories. I love featuring you and allowing you to tell your gutsy story. Having a Gutsy story isn’t just about living with IBS and/or IBD. It’s about being Gutsy, being fearless, in all areas of your life. We all embrace this in some way or another. The following Gutsy story is from a former client and current friend. I remember coaching her on these thoughts long ago, and I’ve loved watching her step out of her square box. I think you will enjoy it, too!
p.s. Ready to tell your story? Contact me!
Everyone has that dream. You know, that nagging, niggling thing in your mind that you place excuse after excuse in front of. “I’ll do that when I retire.” “I don’t have enough money.” “I can’t do THAT.” “There isn’t enough time. I’m too busy.”
I was that person, and then I wasn’t.
My husband Joe and I always dreamed of oceans – turquoise waters and the sway of palm trees, warm sun on our faces and sand in our toes. Yet, we lived in Buffalo, NY. Buffalo is spectacular in the summer, but come mid-January it is not our ideal living location. We always said “We will move when Logan (our 6 year old son) graduates from High School. Graduation cap goes up in the sky, for sale sign goes in the lawn.”
Then we woke up. We realized that we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, all we have is today and if we don’t set an example for Logan that dreams are for the taking then we would have failed him, failed us. No more waiting.
We hustled. We researched. We had vision boards. We read books about facing fears and dreaming big. Our mindset changed. We worked on our goal early in the morning and late at night. We decided that now was the time to take the leap because Logan is 6 years old, adventurous and still thinks we are the center of his universe. We were clear on what we wanted and we didn’t waiver.
Our dream became our reality. After two months of split living, on December 7th our family of 3 moved into our home in Wesley Chapel, Florida, complete with sunshine and palm trees. We left behind everyone we knew and loved – family, friends, and colleagues. Joe had a new job, and I was jobless for the first time in my life since I was 12.
The funny thing is once you start dreaming, you can’t stop. With a big dream accomplished, new ones come along. I wanted more for me and my family. I wanted more time with my son, more balance in my life and more control over my future. I didn’t want to go back to working long hours and have my son in daycare day after day. I wanted to be there more for him and to change the future for our family.
So here I find myself, working on building my own business. The CEO of Redefining Awesome is what I like to call it. I want to change my life and the lives of others by getting more out of life. I allowed myself to think bigger and take the leap. Scared? You bet. Guaranteed to work? Nope. Does it seem crazy to many people I know? For sure. But yet again, I think about Logan. I want him to know that dreams are worth pursuing. I want him to know that hard work, determination, sacrifice, and grit have never failed me in my pursuit of anything worth having.
Dreams aren’t these crazy things that only exist in our brains and heart that just sit there. They are real and by not even attempting to go after them we are letting ourselves down. Listen to that voice that keeps nagging your brain and your heart. Taking the leap isn’t easy, but anything worth it in life shouldn’t be easy. Take the leap. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Heather Filipowicz is Redefining Awesome and lives in Wesley Chapel, FL. She blogs about life, dreams, health and parenthood at Sassy Inspiration. She is living life on her terms as an AdvoCare Distributor and Non-Profit consultant. She believes in eating “the gutsy way” and knows that Sarah Kay Hoffman changed her life through her coaching and kindness. Mom to Logan and wife to Joe, she has mastered the art of stepping on Lego’s in the dark, making bone broth and finally embracing her curly hair.
SKH note: Lest what you might think, I did not pay Heather to say those things about me. She added that last paragraph, in italics just as is. I left it in because I adore it. By far my favorite line, “Mom to Logan and wife to Joe, she has mastered the art of stepping on Lego’s in the dark, making bone broth and finally embracing her curly hair.”
It’s Friday! And even though weekends don’t mean much anymore now that I’m 100% consumed with a loving spoon, the idea of Friday will always be a positive one.
Before I tell you about an awesome Gutsy teenager today, I want to remind you that the next Gutsy Mastermind Group Program begins on Monday, September 30! The participants from the first group got so many awesome results that many of them are joining again this time for the daily “Gutsy Office Hours.” I cannot tell you how my cup runneth over when women – women just like you – begin to actually heal, actually feel better and are able to smile bigger once again. Don’t wait – just a few spots left. Click HERE to join!
Meet Erica Brahan. I met Erica a few weeks back when she reached out to me with her story:
“I have had a restrictive diet for over two years. The beginning was overwhelming, difficult, and I felt lost and hated almost everything about it. I started the GAPS diet in 2012, which made improvements and revealed that I had a salicylate intolerance. I am 17 now and a senior in high school and can only eat about 20 foods because of the salicylate intolerance (I am trying to reintroduce some of the foods). Although I still do not really enjoy my restrictions, I have learned a lot about what it takes to maintain a semi-“normal” teenage life with food restrictions.
My mom encouraged me to write a book about my experiences to share with other teenagers or parents with teens. When I first started my journey I would have loved, really loved, to have someone give me advice on things like how to go to school, do social activities, and explain my food restrictions. The problem is that there is nothing like that, at least that is easy to find. With that in mind I wrote “A Teenager’s Perspective on Food Restrictions: A Practical Guide to Keep from Going Crazy“. In it I offer all of the advice I wish I had been given.”
I downloaded her book and skimmed through it.
Bravery – at such a young age!
So I asked her to tell a little bit more about herself and her story so I could share with you:
“I am a senior in high school and have dealt with health problems since I was young. My most prominent struggle is with chronic joint inflammation, which has been on going since fourth grade and intensified with age. I am a softball catcher and at the age of 15 I could barely play anymore because the pain had become so bad. With the guidance of my functional medicine doctor during my sophomore year of high school, I tried several elimination diets. The first improvement in joint pain was as a junior on the GAPS Intro diet. I later discovered I have a salicylate sensitivity that left me with about 20 foods to eat. After I removed salicylates from my diet, the join pain went away completely! Although this journey has been incredibly difficult at times, I have learned a lot and made huge improvements in my health. Last year, as a junior, I played my first softball season without pain since seventh grade.”
And then, of course, I asked her to tell you all a little bit more about her book:
“I recently wrote a book, A Teenager’s Perspective on Food Restrictions: A Practical Guide to Keep from Going Crazy. It is a reflection of my personal experiences and offers the advice I wish I had received before and during my diet restrictions. It is a short book written by a teenager for other teenagers or parents. I talk about the reality of food restrictions and why they are particularly difficult for teenagers, but also the motivation it takes to continue. I offer advice about how to explain your diet, maintain a social life, and go to school along with other topics.”
You can learn more from a Gutsy teenager’s perspective by downloading Erica’s ebook. The ebook can be purchased from her blog, Edible Attitudes, and is available on Amazon as a paperback for $5.99 or as an eBook for $1.99.
Love your guts,
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I’ve been noodling over the perfect day to feature Jessica as my Gutsy girl. I woke up this morning, had a burning feeling in my heart and I knew that today was the day. When Jess reached out to me, I couldn’t help but fall in love with her and everything she stands for immediately. It is my hope to meet her in person some day. Our missions are different, our values the same. Jessica Ekstrom has been featured everywhere from TODAY to The Ricki Lake Show to Fitness Magazine. Meet Jessica Ekstrom and Headbands of Hope.
Almost everyone can think of a moment where they knew their life was about to change. For me, my moment was right before my 20th birthday in the summer of 2011. I began my internship at the Make-a-Wish Foundation that I can confidently say, changed my life forever.
Every day, I got to wake up and grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. I took day trips to visit the wish kids at their houses and bring them their favorite toys. We received hundreds of letters from wish children that said we changed their lives; little did they know, they were changing mine.
I thought about the thousands of girls around the world losing their hair to chemotherapy. Being a young girl presents many struggles with self-esteem already and losing their hair as a result of a life-threatening illness is traumatic.
For girls and women everywhere, their hair is a part of their feminine identity. Wigs can be uncomfortable and unappealing, especially to younger girls.
I realized that headbands are the perfect way for these girls to keep their feminine identity and have a constant reminder that they’re not alone.
Therefore, I started HeadbandsofHope.org.
For every headband purchased, one headband will go to a girl with cancer and $1 will be donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research.
Since I launched in May of this year, I’ve sold thousands of headbands online and in stores around the nation. I created a company where I didn’t have to choose between making a living and making a difference. I can wake up and do both at the same time.
I’ve had the opportunity to distribute headbands to girls in the hospitals across the nation. The best part of my job is opening the door to their room and seeing their faces light up when I bring dozens of colorful headbands to their beds to choose from.
Even though it’s fun and fulfilling to bring the girls headbands in the hospitals, I’m constantly reminded that there still isn’t a cure.
Childhood cancer takes the lives of more children in the U.S. than any other disease – in fact, more than many other childhood diseases combined.
Children with cancer cannot be treated simply as “smaller adults.” The cancers strike kids differently and they are in a crucial stage of development, which complicates the effects of treatments and can result in life-long complications.
Progress is also especially slow in curing adolescents and young adults because federal funding for childhood cancers is a fraction compared to adult cancers.
Therefore, attention needs to be brought to childhood cancer. Progress can’t be made without research. Research can’t be done without funding. And funding can’t be done without awareness.
Headbands of Hope aims to start with awareness and end with a cure.
A Gutsy Girl perfectly aligns with what I do. I saw that there was a need in my community, and you have to have the guts to try to fix it.
Together, we can spread hope in all girls…one headband at a time.
Meet Lareasha, a Gutsy girl with a journey worth fighting for Gutsy story.
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