September 14, 2009. My beautiful second son was born, Oli. I had a wonderful pregnancy and an amazing home birth and everything went beautifully. Except the baby weight. Little did I know, that would be the first of MANY problems I would be facing.
I gained 60, yes 6…0..pounds during my pregnancy. Im not one of those girls who worried about it, eh, I would have that off in a month…or so I thought. I would love to say those glorious 60 pounds were all nourishment for my growing baby, but the truth is..I had cravings, and not for “Real Food”. I didn’t have any tools in my belt to assist me in figuring out healthy foods and snacks. Sounds odd, but really…How many americans these days can list 5 complete healthy snacks? Well, not me. So, I ate and feasted on…Wait for it…Big Macs, burgers, tacos..Fast!! Ugh, I know. I am still trying to recover from that myself.
After his birth, I did what every new mom wants to do the next day, I hoped on the scale. 57 pds. What..the.. Hmm Okay. Mission lose the baby weight is on. 1st step, BreastFeeding and running.
So I started running with my new Bob Stroller. It took me about 3 months and a vacation in Cabo for me to shed the weight. I didn’t really plug in the clues until later on when I had a diagnosis.
Diagnosis, For What you ask?
Shortly after the birth of my son, I began having EXTREME fatigue, debilitating. I mean this fatigue would have me sleeping 15-17 hours a day. I couldn’t even care for my baby, at least not the way I envisioned…Pureeing healthy baby foods, playing peek a boo . Sure, every mother feels sleep deprived and fatigued, but mine was different. Then came floods of anxiety and anxiousness.
I saw my Primary Care Dr, a handsome, charming doctor who I appreciated because he didn’t have a heavy prescription hand (WRONG), he decided I was depressed. Off to SSRI land I went.
Things got better. For a few, but the anxiety was still there and mood swings. This was not cutting it.
The mood swings and anxiety prevented me from getting on with working because I also noticed along with these symptoms I also had developed social anxiety, lack of concentration, tons of brain fog, even blackouts…uh..why am I driving and where am I going?
Went back to the Dr. On and Off, for two whole years. No answers. I was tired of being tired. I was probably the healthiest sick person I knew. I was angry, and not just at the Dr, but angry in general. ”Don’t sweat the small things” used to be my motto, now I seemed paranoid and irrational. AND on top of that, my Dr. couldn’t find anything.
Sinus infections followed, bladder infections, more antibiotics, antibiotic this and that…I was just “wearing away” Flat out “falling apart”
I would have “an episode” which was the times (more often then not) when I literally hated my life. I was not happy, and had no reason to NOT be happy. I married the man of my dreams and he was a SAINT during my sickness, understanding when I would lash out and take care of the kids when I needed to sleep. For once in my life, I was truly blessed with EVERY reason to be ECSTATIC, however…I was far from it. WHY? I would ask myself? I noticed, I would get two rashes at the same time as “my episodes”. One bubbly, warty but soft blistery rash on the palm of my right hand, and one fingerprint size rash on my left side of my neck that was tiny tiny bumps. Hmm. I thought. Actually, it took me about 4 times of getting the same rash before I thought Hmmm.
What did I do? Googled it, of course. What came up matched my symptoms exactly and I was ecstatic that it was a simple blood test, A Celiac Panel. I promptly made an appointment with my Dr.
I will never forget that day in the Dr’s office. I have never felt so angry, belittled, and small. He basically told some story about how if some guy is selling a magic tonic in the back of his car to cure something, everyone is buying it. Everyone he says thinks they are allergic to gluten right now. ”I don’t see you enough for you to have that”, “You aren’t that sick” were some of his answers. I thought, WOW, did I really offend him for being proactive in my health.
I mean I trusted him to help me for two years and all I got was medication and now all I am getting is belittlement. This guy doesn’t care about my health. I went to my car and cried. In fact, I cried all day. I felt so helpless. I wasn’t even sure if I believed I was sick anymore, but how could I not be? My personality changed completely, Is that normal? A midlife crisis, at 28?
I recall telling my husband repeatably.
“I don’t like who I am anymore. What do you do when who you are is not who you are?”
Frustrated, I began googling again. Alongside Celiacs disease, I found Candida Albicans. This fit my symptoms as well, and the test for it..spit in a cup.
The next morning, I spit in the cup of water, called the spit test. Watched it and wanted to puke. What was that? Looked like a jellyfish. Apparently, I had Candida. Ok, treatment plan.
I eliminated sugar completely, and began a Crossfit Workout program. I am an all or nothing kinda girl, so being strict with myself is not a problem, so I went for it. I LOVED the workout and it helped me have something to dedicate my new energy towards besides being sick. I felt a bit better, probably just proud that I was doing something. This lasted for a short while. I was eating the healthiest ever. Hardboiled eggs, ezekial bread, veggies, fruits. I still would use Honey and Agave, but felt so accomplished considering that where I came from was a sugaraholic. No matter my efforts, I started to get worse. I had to quit the program because it was taking up my whole day. Workout at 9:30-11, eat, take a 3 hour nap, clean, pick up the kids. Being too tired to cook dinner, we would “pick up something” I would eat and then start the countdown to when I could go back to bed, which was usually right after I put my toddler to sleep, at 7:30 or 8pm.
January 1st, Decided to eliminate Fast Food Completely. For the rest of our life! Felt good about it, but overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge of what to prepare. I found a bunch of clean eating books and began following the meal plans.
I was taking supplements for Parasites, candida, probiotics, kefir..anything and everything…and It was expensive, and I wasn’t feeling better. I had days of “Yay, its working” (I felt that good) then the next “Back to where I was”
I needed more help. I needed a plan. I needed understanding. I decided to see a naturopath.
My Naturopath, Dr. Suzanne Tang, was amazing. She listened to my story and asked me questions that fell in line with how I was feeling. I finally felt…compassion and understanding. I told her of the spit test. The supplements. Everything.
She sent me home to do a cleanse, blood work that needed completed and a stool sample (yikes) test.
When I went to get my results, I was Shocked and Relieved. Yes, I was very sick. My body had extreme inflammation, I had 30 allergies and Candida. My Pancreatic levels were very low, indicating it was not functioning properly. Talk about a wake up call, My mother died of pancreatic cancer.
How on earth did I have 30 allergies and not know?
My body was trying to tell me. Remember, just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. My reactions were all internal. I have now been on the elimination diet for 6 weeks now. If I have something, even a low allergy, that is on my list, I WILL have a OUTSIDE reaction now. My latest, dumbo ears with a rash, rashes up and down both arms, and around my ankles. This happened when I was desperate, stuck in a closing airport and I thought…eh..what could happen. I mean I ate this stuff all my life, and so I ate it. Cheese and I think there was butter on my Fish served on the flight. Talk about ENLIGHTENING. I now know I am healing. When you are sick and inflamed, you can’t listen to your body…or your intuition. Now, I know what is “Normal” for me and what is not. Even minor Gas has me questioning what I ate for the last 3 days because I know, that is not normal! *Usually beans are the culprit, so I make sure to soak them* See, its amazing what you learn!
By day 4 of the elimination diet, I felt more normal than I had in years. Today, I am active and energetic and finally have my ZEST for life back. My husband is so supportive, he eats what I eat and noticed a BIG difference in himself, including having a rash reaction to Dairy, which he couldn’t believe.
I have become obsessed with nutrition, allergies and Real Food! I LOVE having control over how I feel each day. Although the planning and especially eating out can be annoying, I have found that when I thought I would be giving up Eating for Pleasure completely then surprisingly, I discovered Pleasurable Eating!
This is a life journey, not a quick fix. My life of processed food and sugar (THE WORST) didn’t cause my condition over night, so I don’t expect to repair it over night. I am in this to win this. I want a life. I want a quality of life that I KNOW I can achieve with proper nutrition and guidance. I want to find support. So, I started this blog. This is my journey, and hopefully..It will help you in yours. Please enjoy