This is the first in an eight-part series that will be released every other Thursday chronicling Ashley’s health journey and how she has seen the Lord’s hand in her life even in the most difficult moments.
One day I was standing and talking to a coworker when I suddenly began to vomit almost uncontrollably. I was mid-sentence and had no idea this was coming. It made for quite the awkward encounter, but I just assumed I had eaten something bad and moved on with my day. Sadly, my symptoms didn’t improve — they only progressed from there. It was 16 trips to the bathroom a day. When I realized this wasn’t getting any easier to live with, I decided to go to the doctor and get some help.
What I wasn’t expecting was the answer the doctor gave me. He said, “I believe all of these experiences are related to anxiety and depression.” It stunned me. So many physical problems were caused by stress? He offered me antidepressants. I was extremely leery to begin taking them, but I figured I really couldn’t afford to be so sick at work anymore.
After a couple of weeks, I was still having physical symptoms, but now I had also developed, for the first time in my life, an extreme desire to take my own life. The medication was not helping in any way with my physical symptoms, and it was decreasing my strength mentally. This was not the best combination — and after I nearly drove my car into a barrier, I decided I better get immediate help from my doctor.
He told me that the medication needed more time to see if it would work and suggested that I participate in an intermittent fasting, plant-based diet that would solve all my physical problems. Once again, I did exactly as my doctor told me. I was extremely strict with this diet and even lost some weight. However, I didn’t lose my symptoms. I began experiencing a dull pain in my side.
Very early one Friday morning, I found myself passed out inside the temple during my temple shift. The EMTS were evaluating me when a sister from the office came down to see who was in trouble. She recognized me instantly because we had served together for a long time. She asked me about my symptoms and then she said, “Sister Dewey, it is your gallbladder. Go get a HIDA Scan and you will see.” The EMTS were also very skeptical of this diet and told me to go home and eat some real food.
This interaction was a true blessing to me. I went back to the doctor and told him I believed I was having gallbladder issues and would like to have the scan. He countered that an ultrasound should be done first, but he didn’t believe we would find anything. He was certain that nothing was wrong. He reminded me to go therapy and continue to take my medication.
The day of the ultrasound came, and I had a feeling in my gut that something was wrong. They did the procedure, but the results came back clean. Somehow, I’d had a feeling that the results would come back that way. My doctor wanted to continue the diet and not worry about anything else, but something inside of me was not content. I prayed with all earnestness that he would somehow agree to the other test.
After begging him, he finally agreed that because I had good insurance, I could have the procedure. I woke up early and was blessed to have the chance to fast before going in for the test. While the fasting was just so the procedure could function, I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to fast for answers. I don’t think I have ever prayed more consistently during a fast than I did that day. I pleaded with the Lord to please help me figure out how to stop all of my symptoms so I could function again.
Two days later, my doctor called with the results: “Ashley, your gallbladder is only functioning at 13%. Would you like to schedule a surgery to take it out?” That probably doesn’t sound like music to your ears, but it was an answer. It was clear and specific, and I knew what I needed to do. The surgery was scheduled for two weeks later.
Recovering from surgery gave me a lot of time to ponder about the fact that while spontaneous hard things can come, so can spontaneous good things. Through this experience, I learned some incredible lessons. First and foremost, answers come in the Lord’s way and in His timing. If you continue to go about your service, He can bless you with immediate and personalized answers. Second, you need to be your own advocate because no one else knows you or your body like you do. Third, trust God to place people in your path to help you, because He will.
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.