Insite Guides Spring 2018 Bridal Guide - Page 20

Zach & Taylor Johnson May 27 , 2017

Story By SAWYER WILSON Photos by LAUREN MARIA PHOTOGRAPHY

When Denise glanced in the rearview mirror and saw tears in her daughter ’ s eyes , she knew something was wrong . They were on their way to the wedding of a family friend . Taylor was clearly upset , but Denise was not sure why . After encouraging Taylor to speak what was on her mind , she confessed what was bothering her . Taylor was worried that she may not be able to have a cake at her own wedding someday . This is an uncommon worry for a fourteen-year-old girl , but it was not without valid cause .

Taylor had been dealing with a “ mystery ” illness since she was an infant . Her entire childhood was filled with memories of being much more tired than her friends , never knowing what foods would send her home sick , and sitting in front of the television , too weak to live her life as a normal child .
“ I realized that I had way more anxiety than the other kids , because everyone always seemed happy-go-lucky , and I was always worried about myself and worried that I would be okay ,” remembers Taylor .
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Not only that , but she remembers trips to doctors ’ appointments , a lack of diagnoses , and plenty of sick days that resulted in missing a lot of school . Doctors responded with everything from “ I don ’ t know ” to “ It ’ s all in your head ,” but no helpful solutions were found . This exhausting and disheartening cycle seemed endless .
They reached a point where they felt like there was no choice other than to settle into a life of sickness . They decided to take life a day at a time and deal with the symptoms they saw . The unhelpful responses from doctors were weighing on Taylor emotionally , and at times , it just seemed too much to handle .
“ As a kid , I felt guilty all the time , because when you are always told that something is in your head , you start to believe that ,” Taylor confesses . “ You start to feel guilty and embarrassed .”
Even if treating the symptoms was all that could be done at the time , they had not given up on finding answers .
There was one night in particular Denise remembers in vivid detail . Taylor had been sick and was laying on the couch , weak . Her head was resting on her lap , and Denise sat there stroking her daughter ’ s hair , thinking that Taylor looked like the light had gone from her eyes . In a moment of disappointment and frustration , she cried out to God and she prayed , “ Please Lord , tell me what is wrong with my child . If you reveal what it is that is wrong with her , I will not only do whatever it takes to make her better , I will do whatever it takes to make everyone else who has this mystery disease better too .”
Just days after Denise prayed this prayer , she somehow found herself flipping through the pages of a Vegetarian Times Magazine , which was not normal reading for her . She found an article about Celiac disease that seemed to be written about Taylor . What the author wrote perfectly matched Taylor ’ s symptoms , and what had been murky for so long finally started to become a bit clearer .
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten damages the small intestine . When the small intestine is damaged , the villi , small finger-like projections that help with