About Me

My photo
I love finding new worlds through writing and reading. I am excited by creating new flavours and tastes in the kitchen. I am fascinated by nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. I adore my my dog, family and friends.

My story

My name is Gemma. I am a cardiac paediatric nurse, however I am currently somewhat a lady of leisure due to several health conditions.

During my childhood and teens, I developed various symptoms which have become more severe over the years. After countless doctor visits and tests, and feeling like I was going crazy after repetitively being told nothing was wrong, I was finally diagnosed at age 26 with fructose malabsorption in 2011. This seemed restrictive and overwhelming, and then more tests showed that I had several other severe food intolerances (wheat, dairy, egg, and grains to name the main ones!). My diet became very strict (almost non-existent!), and there were months of gruelling elimination diets to test my tolerance levels.

After years of so much damage being inflicted on my body due to failed diagnosis, it was inevitable that other issues would ensue. In 2012, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition; Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. I also have been diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2013. These bring with them dilapidating elements, such as severe fatigue, lack of stamina, and poor concentration (brain fog). I also suffer from major light headedness, dizziness, palpitations and chest pain due to chronic orthostatic hypotension, which I have had since I was a child. In January 2014, I finally discovered that the fundamental cause of this, and possibly all of my health issues that began in childhood, have been caused by Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). All of this currently means driving and working is a distant memory. I do feel lucky though, to finally have been diagnosed, and am turning my life around and slowly beginning to feel a little better.

A couple of years ago, I began a blog; a chronicle of glimpses into my life; the intention to briefly explain a photograph that summed up my day. This blog developed into sharing my experiences and struggles on the journey that my health has taken me. I have learnt so much from reading others’ experiences that I now blog to share some insights and lessons too, and hopefully help other people on their path. I have always enjoyed writing and reading, and my blog also enables me to get my thoughts and experiences out on (electronic) paper, and improve my writing ability.

I want to show that when life gets rocky, there is always something that we can do, that we can all find something to keep fighting for, and that we can all help each other through hard times.

“Nothing is impossible; the word itself says, I’m possible.” - Audrey Hepburn

I love food, and cooking, so I am determined to not let my restricted diet keep me from delicious tastes and fun in the kitchen. I enjoy creating new food ideas, and so also plan to develop a database of recipes on my blog, so that other people with food intolerances, allergies and clean eating lifestyles can see that living life with a strict diet does not have to mean tasteless, boring food.

Having chronic health issues is definitely a challenge, something that has turned my life upside down. However, it has taught me to be strong, to keep positive, and to enjoy the small things. It has shown me the people in my life who are important to me. It has made me feel blessed and value what I do have, as sadly, a lot of people have it a lot worse than me. I am positive that I will improve my health, and be able to look back on this period of my life with thanks, and I feel privileged that I can share my journey and possibly help another person on theirs.

Dean Mayes, author of "The Hambledown Dream" and "Gifts of the Peramangk", featured my story on his site in April 2013. Take a look here: http://www.deanfromaustralia.com/2013/04/glimpsing-gemma-conversations-with.html

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