Monday, May 13, 2019

This is My Story: Part II

Photo Credit: A Bowl Full of Lemons

Part II

After the dust settled, I really began digging deep into health and functional medicine. My knowledge base on natural health was outdated and needed to be “brought up to date”. I began reading health related books, listening to podcasts such as Dr. Cabral, and taking advantage of health summits such as the most recent one by Dr. Hyman, The Broken Brain Series. As I listened and read more and more about the different dis-eases of the body and the underlying root causes, all I could do was nod my head as I related to so many of the factors that lead to dis-ease:

  1. Poor Sleep
  2. Nutrient Deficiencies
  3. Chronic Stress (which includes overtraining)
  4. Toxin Overload

Just to name a few… I had been blinded by the idea that my body was healthy and strong enough to take on everything I was doing to it, and for a while, it was. But eventually, it could take on no more, and it began catabolizing or shutting down.

The Why

The factors involved in my health decline go way back past the move I mentioned in Part I. However, I’m going to stick to that starting point and give you a brief look at my life at that time.

I was a full-time work from home mom. I worked 8 hours a day minimum for a corporate company on my computer which I worked on in the kitchen so I could have all eyes on deck. My kids were being home schooled full time, ages 10 and 2 (they turned 11 and 3 a few months later). My 2 year-old was nursing as well as co-sleeping. I had just been through an emotionally traumatic event a little less than a year prior and was still trying to heal from that. I was mending my relationship with my husband; attempting to maintain a meditation practice and workout regimen, all while managing the household: cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. Life was not ideal; not for me, nor for my family. Even though it was what I wanted, and thought I could do, I realized, I just couldn’t do it all. So I set out to make some changes. I just knew that if I didn't attempt to bring balance into our lives, my health and relationship would eventually fall apart.

First change was to get our children out of the house on the weekdays. 

First days of school, September 2018

My work productivity was declining and I needed to focus. The constant back and forth between work and my kids’ needs was driving me mad. So in September of 2018, they were off to school and daycare! It was what they both wanted anyways, so it wasn’t too hard of a transition. As a result, the household felt less chaotic and more balanced. There were less messes to clean, and I was able to have a full day of peace and quiet to focus on my job. My stress levels reduced greatly just by this one change!

Second change, wean my daughter from night nursing and help her transition to sleeping in her own bed. 

This was how I always woke up! It's cute, but it'll do a number to your body overtime.

This was a tough one and took quite a while to accomplish. I knew that the changes had to be gradual, so we took it slow, starting with night weaning and ending with her sleeping in her own bed, full-time. While I enjoyed co-sleeping, the lack of sleep was really starting to take its toll on me both physically and mentally. I just knew I couldn’t be a great mother if I didn’t get a full night’s rest. So we made the changes, and today, I can proudly say, our youngest sleeps through the night, most nights, in her own bed! We both wake up way happier than before!

Third change, take control of my physical health. This one, I’m clearly still working on! I was learning a lot via the podcasts, books and health summits. I was beginning to understand why I was in the state I was in, and what was required of me to get back to optimal health. Even though I “knew” what I needed to do, I was still allowing everything else in life to take priority. It was only until I discovered (a little over a month ago from today) that I was rapidly losing hair  that I realized I needed to take action…and I needed to take it now!


So, What is Wrong?

Now, before I dig into what I learned and the protocol I am following to heal my body from the inside out, I want to just recap on the symptoms I was still experiencing:

  • Insomnia (I’d wake up and be unable to fall back to sleep)
  • Post-nasal drip which led to constant clearing of the throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Ear pressure, pain and feeling of fluid in ears
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Poor recovery from my workouts
  • Digestion issues (lots of bloating and poor metabolism)
  • Acne
  • Longer menstruation
  • Metrorrhagia (bleeding between periods)
  • Pelvic pain
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

These symptoms are all over the place, and that’s because when one thing is out of  balance, the rest of the body follows. Why? Because the body is interconnected; from the head (and brain!) all the way to the tip of your toes!

Now, I will say that I no longer have the ear pressure and pain which I contribute to the practice of swallowing raw garlic every night before bed. I started the practice out of curiosity, knowing that garlic oil helps to clear ear infections, and it worked like a charm after about a week! I also stopped singing for 8 hours a day and moved to listening to podcasts. That may have helped some the TMJ symptoms as well, ha!

As for the remaining symptoms, I’m not 100% sure what is wrong since I decided to skip the labs and go straight for the protocols. However, I have a few guesses:

Candida or Bacteria Overgrowth in the Gut

There is no doubt in my mind I have some sort of yeast or bacteria overgrowth in my small intestines/gut. My clues? One, my initial infection was an overgrowth of yeast or bad bacteria. Two, the multiple uses of antibiotics/steroids destroys the bacteria in the gut and leaves you completely susceptible to yeast overgrowth and eventually, gut permeability. Third, thyroid and hormone based issues tend to stem from CBO due to lack of nutrient absorption and inflammation from leaky gut. Finally, I have some food sensitivities to eggs, gluten, and coffee/caffeine and immediate reactions to fiber/carbohydrates. My gut definitely needs cleaned and sealed!

Low Progesterone (which equals to Estrogen Dominance) OR Low Thyroid

One impacts the other, but which I am dealing with I am unsure. The two have very similar symptoms such as hair loss, low mood, issues with menstruation, acne, etc, so it’s difficult to pinpoint which one is the underlying issue. I'm leaning strongly towards low progesterone/estrogen dominance based on the symptoms I am experiencing, but I am genetically predisposed to low thyroid/hypothyroidism. Therefore, I intend to address both. 

Heavy Metal Toxicity and Toxin Overload

Tuna is high in mercury, but man is it delicious!

If you move as often as we do, you probably know that each environment requires a period of adjustment for the body. The water, the plants you are surrounded by, the air, and the toxins that are filling your new home all require your body a period of adjustment and detoxification. And if you have the MTHFR gene mutation, detoxification does not come easy for the body. It needs assistance! I don’t know what gene mutations I may have, however, between the new home toxins, the high levels of chlorine in our water (which can affect the thyroid and lead to hair loss!), and our addiction to raw seafood, particular tuna and oysters, there’s a high possibility I have an overload of toxins, specifically mercury and chlorine, that I need to get rid of ASAP. 

Now, these are just the main underlying issues that I need to address. Other factors that need to be addressed include sleep, physical activity, nutrient deficiencies, managing environmental toxins, and having a daily destress protocol. 

With all these factors involved, I decided to develop a plan to take back my health; a protocol consisting of physical cleanses as well as life changes in order to bring my body back to it's natural, healthy state. 

Stay tuned! Next post I will dive more into the plan and protocols I am following!

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