A chronicle of my health journey

Everyone’s journey is different, but l have learnt that we can positively influence our health and longevity by making the right nutritional and life choices that support our genetics and personal predispositions.

2014-04-20 14.57.09

At my worst: January  2013

I was a mess and could hardly function. I was chronically ill and desperately seeking a Dr who could help me. I was offered pharmaceuticals, surgery and not much hope of a recovery. (Severe anxiety, digestive dysfunction, Nutrient malabsorption, GERD, Gallbladder removal, unexplained tingling and numbness in my limbs, heart palpitations, hormone irregularities, headaches, migraines, inflammation, tendonitis, adrenal fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, carpel tunnel, bursitis and tears in my shoulders, asthma, chest tightness, chronic tonsillitis, candida, nausea, food intolerance and allergies, many back problems including inflamed, bulging and degenerative discs, Pleurisy, chest infections, dental infections, oestrogen dominance, unexplained rashes, muscle spasm, a heal spur and a whole list of other random and unusual things going on in my body). My health was a daily concern and my life felt like a long Dr’s appointment.

Six months prior to this l thought l was healthy or at least that’s what the Drs said. I ate the Recommended diet with no alcohol or takeaway and exercised regularly every day.
Things just weren’t right though as l had terrible anxiety that would come on as a panic and sometimes l would feel so unwell l would vomit. I had heart palpitations and unexplained tingling in my limbs.
I had oestrogen dominance which meant years of endometriosis, ovarian cysts etc and very heavy periods.
I felt this need to be perfect and tried to achieve the ideal body weight while eating a whole grains based diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, a low fat intake and small portion sizes. I would exercise for 1.5 hours every day either on my treadmill or cross trainer.
I tried to please everyone by committing to everything, helping at school, working when l didn’t feel well and generally pushing myself too hard. I had an internal mental tension where l would worry about everything.
I had chronic tonsillitis infections which would come on from a bad sleep, too much exercise, my period, working etc. I had over thirty courses of antibiotics in ten years and was living on painkillers, throat lozenges, sprays, gargles etc to try and manage the symptoms.
I suffered from yeast infections, seasonal asthma and was always injuring myself when exercising such as tearing my shoulder muscle and developing tendonitis, carple tunnel and a worn out right knee(chondromalacia). I also had inflamed, bulging and degenerating disks in my back and severe muscle tension which would see my neck and back become so tight that l was regularly at the Physiotherapists. I was often put on courses of anti-inflammatory medications for weeks at a time and when l developed Pleurisy took them daily for three months.
I had a long list of food intolerances which were increasing and irritable bowel syndrome. I had cramping and spasms in my bowel and this was very uncomfortable. I was slowly becoming more and more reactive to anything processed and especially those foods with added colours, flavours and preservatives.
I started to suffer from regular hormonal headaches and had a few terrifying migraines.
I had a bad reaction to a vaccine and saw a Neurologist for several years as Multiple Sclerosis was suspected. This was a particularly frightening time and l was given the all clear from the MS but the symptoms remained.
Throughout the day l experienced many sugar cravings on what was a high Carbohydrate, moderate Protein, Low Fat diet. I tried to satisfy these with milk chocolate, fruit and home made conventional treats.
I developed heartburn and an ache in my right side in March 2012 and was put on reflux medicines (Somac and Nexium). I progressively got worse until l could hardly eat and was nauseous all of the time. I had an emergency gallbladder removal after being told it wasn’t the gallbladder and the Dr’s found it was inflamed and infected.
I then developed bile and acid reflux which was so bad that l was having spasms in my chest that felt like a heart attack (cricopharyngeal spasms and trouble swallowing). Surgery was recommended on my lower and upper oesophagus with Drs wanting to do a fundoplication procedure and an oesophageal stretching. I was told l would be on Nexium for life.
At this point the tonsillitis was on going and l was on antibiotics and painkillers constantly. I was feeling very anxious about my health and saw a new female Dr who wanted to put me on anxiety medications. I moved on from her and kept searching.
Everything changed when l consulted with an Integrative Dr who supported me to eat Primally, gave me appropriate vitamin supplementation and hope for my future.
The next two years were a journey of self discovery, significant dietary change, many tests and the daily consumption of lots of vitamins and minerals that my body needed to get well. The greatest gift my Integrative Dr gave me was hope that l could get better and that l needed to believe in her and my body. I had to turn my back on most things conventional to regain my health and the journey goes on….
Eating a Paleo diet and adopting the Primal lifestyle changes has re-energized my life. Living without a gallbladder has been a challenge for my body and has taken two years for my liver to adapt. I was also diagnosed with a genetic disorder where l have low Zinc and Vitamin B6 in my body and this was causing many of my health problems. I also have an MTHFR gene mutation which can impact Folic acid synthesis in the body and this could explain why l had a child with a significant birth defect. I thought cutting out the fat was the answer after my gallbladder removal and quickly developed a severe Vitamin B12 deficiency by doing this. I also stopped eating red meat and this recently led to an iron deficiency where l experienced heart palpitations and nausea. I now eat red meat and it is an important part of my diet, but it took a lot of soul searching to do this as l had accepted l woudn’t eat red meat again. Not having the ability to make bile on demand has meant l need to take Bile Acid supplements with a meal containing fat so it has been a challenging journey to progress to the high healthy fat diet l am on today.
I am generally very well now and never have tonsillitis, aches and pains, rarely much digestive discomfort, have loads of energy, have completely changed my exercise pattern and my diet is now fully low Carbohydrate, moderate protein and high healthy fat. The major health issues l still struggle with are hormone related as l deal with issues related to pre-menopause and l am managing these with the support of my Integrative Dr. I used to feel like l was in a mental prison of anxiety and that l had to eat sugar constantly to feel energized and alive. I am now free of these burdens and it is very empowering.
I feel positive and excited about the future and often get comments about how dedicated l am to my eating protocol, but for me it is a lifestyle and not one to be compromised. I have educated myself and know that living in the modern world and eating grains, unhealthy fats and a high Carbohydrate diet was a significant contributor to my poor health. Stress from many sources wore me down and l am slowly regaining my strength, life perspective and am still working on reducing and managing the daily stresses of modern life, especially of living in a big city environment. Eating Primally and following the Primal Blueprint and other ancestral based eating and lifestyle protocols has given me a foundation from which to rebuild my health and life. It is about being well at a cellular level and doing everything you can each day to promote wellness and reducing the toxins entering your body. If you want to change your life there is so much support and guidance available, but the main motivation has to come from within yourself as that is the base from which long term change will be achieved.

2 comments

  1. Wow your story seems very similar to mine. Isn’t it amazing how one person, with the right knowledge, can change our lives. I’m still amazed. I’m still figuring out my best practise but well and truly on the way. Wonder if we had the same Integrative Dr (Dr R. J.? )

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment. It is amazing. I was at the integrative Dr Today in Rosebud. Vic and the level of knowledge and attentiveness is remarkable. I hope you are also doing well. It is a journey and l work at it each day. Bye Carolyn

      Liked by 1 person

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