Brittany Lee Allen

The Diagnosis I Never Believed Would Come

If you’ve known me very long, you probably know I have battled chronic stomach pain and illness for nearly my entire life. At times, the pain is so intense it’s hard to breathe. I’m often in the bathroom for hours. Some nights, I’m awake all night from the pain. I deal with intense bloating every day. I thought I would never find an answer. I thought I’d be sick until glory. I was slowly learning to be okay with that. I never dreamed I would find out what I did last week. 

When I was 14, I was taken to my doctor where, instead of looking into my symptoms, I was prescribed what I later found out was a placebo. They thought it was all in my head. But I was still sick. 

My whole life, I’ve been what others liked to call “too skinny” or my personal favorite “anorexic.” Though I love to eat, I struggle to keep weight on. At times, I’ve even looked malnourished. It’s because I’m sick.

When I was 22, I sought help from my first GI doctor. After doing a colonoscopy which showed nothing abnormal, he declared a title over me: IBS. He believed once I figured out what I could eat, I’d be okay. He was wrong. I was still sick.

A few years later I saw a functional medicine doctor who sought to help me figure out what was wrong with me. I started supplements and a new limited diet. I was still sick.

I’ve had blood work, stool tests, ultrasounds, a colonoscopy. I’ve taken the supplements, tried the diets, done all the things. I am still sick.

I have searched for a diagnosis for going on 20 years. Until just a few days ago, when a CT scan revealed something life-changing: the reason I’ve been so sick. 

After my last pregnancy, things felt…not right. Even more than normal. The bloating and distention became extreme. It wasn’t normal baby weight or from having a “mom pooch.” In my gut (literally) I felt I needed to pursue answers again. I saw a new GI doctor who gave the all too familiar diagnosis “IBS” at first, but later finally ordered a CT scan “for peace of mind.” I believe he was as surprised by what was found as I was.

I discovered last week that I have what’s called intestinal malrotation, a congenital anomaly that is extremely rare to discover in adults. Basically, my intestines are not where they should be. They’ve been hanging out in limbo since around 9 weeks gestation. And it’s truly a miracle from God that I have not had a bowel obstruction to this point. He is the Sustainer of life. He has been so so good to me, even when I felt abandoned in my illness.

I’m being referred to a surgeon as typically a surgery is done to untwist the intestines and put them in a better place. It may seem odd, but I am incredibly relieved. I finally know what’s wrong with me. And praise God, it can be fixed! 

I have felt so many emotions over the last few days regarding this diagnosis. But the one that stands out most is gratitude. I am so thankful to God for this answer to the prayer for a diagnosis I was scared to pray. For his faithfulness in my unbelief that healing would ever be possible. And even for the suffering I’ve walked through that has drawn me nearer to him. 

I’d appreciate prayer as we meet with a surgeon and that we’d be able to meet with one in a timely manner. I’d also appreciate prayer for peace as I walk around with a ticking time bomb of sorts in my abdomen.

Life is crazy sometimes. God is so faithful.

5 Responses

  1. Hi Brittany,
    I am so encouraged to hear that you received a diagnosis and pray that the Lord would make your way straight to resolve the problem. Praying also for wisdom, peace and comfort though this.
    Encouraged to hear of how God has answered prayer. ❤️

  2. Hey Brittany,

    I can’t imagine going 20 years without answers 🤯 After I weaned my third baby, I began having fatigue and chill spells prior to needing the bathroom. It went on for 4 years and I began to think I wouldn’t be capable of homeschooling our children because I was getting hit with fatigue so suddenly and frequently. After some trial and error, I found that I had developed a sensitivity to eggs. I had to cut a lot of foods while nursing my kids, so it made sense that after going without certain foods, I became sensitive to at least one of them 😅

    I get emotional when I stop and think about that time period when I was canceling plans so frequently because fatigue struck me, or I was just afraid of the possibility… would it hit while I was out somewhere and have to pull over to the side of the road with 3 toddlers so I could nap? I felt like I was losing my mind during that season, questioning if I was just a bad mom and was only getting tired because I found stay-at-homing to be so boring it would put me to sleep. I questioned if I had developed a sinful lifestyle of laziness. It was undeniable that the fatigue would strike suddenly though, so I would remind myself of that, not to mention the chills really didn’t make sense. I would tell my husband about it and became fearful that he might not believe me and think I was unfit to be home with our kids. The whole thing was so emotionally and physically exhausting.

    On the other side of things, I can definitely say I am thankful for that very emotionally draining season of life. But I do struggle to have the mindset you speak of. I had a lot of questions for God, and I am praising Him on the healed side of things. But I am ashamed to say praising Him was not on my radar during that time period. It felt like survival mode, and all I could manage were pleas to Him. If He willed for that to still be my present state, I hate to think of how shaken my faith would be. I am ashamed of that.

    Of course with one season of waiting on God has ended, I have moved into another one 😆 God is funny…

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