February 1, 2019
It seems so strange to be back in this space and writing almost two years since my last post. What a two years it as been! I hope to use this first post of 2019 to fill in a few gaps and to talk about a special focus that I'd like to take with this blog for a bit.
My how they grow! Our kiddos are now 10, 7, and 3 years old! Yes, the preschooler you see front and center is our sweet baby M from all those adoption posts in 2015. He is such a joy and brings lots of fun (and some three-year-old challenges) to our family! :) Our daughters are enjoying 2nd and 4th grades and love the Classical Christian curriculum that their school offers. We really love the 3-days of school and 2-days of homeschool that we get there! Currently, they are reading Peter Rabbit and Heidi, so this English nerd mama is in heaven!
At the end of 2018, I turned 35. I have never been one to complain about growing older, but the past two years did seem to place a little urgency on my heart, maybe a little more forward thinking, into the kind of life-style I'd like to pursue to make the coming years more healthful ones. I think this type of thinking, this type of change, for me, could only come after a complete loss of the health I had taken for granted.
I'll share a little of my story here today, but I hope to be able to expound on several of the issues I've faced in future blog posts. Perhaps, someone walking a similar road can find some guidance, comfort, and a little nudge toward the next step in healing here.
I could start in 2017, when the walls began to collapse around me, but I'll go back a little further--to the beginning. I started life with a deficit, born 2 months early, I came into this world prematurely, with lungs and a body that struggled to keep up for a bit. There are a few significant things that mark my early years that I have come back to think on in recent months:
-I was frequently sick as a child. I was hospitalized frequently around the ages of 4-6 with pneumonia.
-I grew up in a home where both my parents smoked. Though my mom stopped when I was around 7, my dad continued to smoke (mostly out of the house) until 2003.
-I had terrible seasonal allergies and did 2 rounds of immunotherapy as a child and young adult.
-Our family doctor over-prescribed antibiotics. I took low-dose antibiotics as a teen for acne.
-Our house had a damp basement. I remember my mom always running a dehumidifier.
-I ate what everyone else did--lots of junk food, soda, etc.
-I took birth control from the age of 22-24 and then later the mini pill after both our daughters were born.
My first encounter with "health issues" didn't really come until after our first daughter was born. Immediately after she was born, I felt "off"--while everyone else was constipated after birth, I had diarrhea for days. My biggest symptoms were huge adrenaline rushes, coupled with exhaustion and insomnia. Everyone around me assured me that I was just "a nervous new mom" or that my hormones would "level out." I tried to listen and convince myself that I was just the type of person who didn't cope well with these things, but in my heart of hearts, I knew that something had changed.
I won't go into the whole story here, but I was eventually talked into talking an anti-depressant drug and, while it did improve some symptoms, I never really healed. I would have periods of exhaustion--literally couldn't function after 7PM. I was 25-26 years old and I suffered from frequent periods of insomnia, fatigue, heart racing, feeling cold, catching every germ that came around easily (lots of strep throat), frequent canker sores in mouth (I remember having 10 at once)... And yet, I was told time and time again, my lab results were normal. I even vividly remember one male doctor telling me I was stressed out because I had kids. I felt ashamed and powerless.
We would go on to have our second daughter two years later and, while I was able to go off my anti-depressant for the duration of the pregnancy, I soon found myself crashing again and back on it. It was around this time that our world began to change--we found a chiropractor! I'd been having back and neck issues for a bit and we started seeing a chiro that my sister-in-law visited. When he later passed away, we went with her to a new office that focused on not only chiro care, but whole body health.
I was a wreck emotionally and physically. My husband had a vasectomy because we were terrified of how my health might respond to another pregnancy. I was growing spiritually with the Lord, but I felt like my body was failing. I'd seen multiple doctors who all told me I was "fine" but our chiro was the first to acknowledge that I was not. He recommended a local doctor--a naturopath who worked with a DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) and I made an appointment. There was a 6 month wait!
I'll never forget that warm May day when my husband and I went to her office for the first time. I had written out my "health story" and was relieved to finally have someone who might listen. We sat in Dr. C's office for over an hour that first day and I told her everything. And something incredible happened: she listened, she was patient, she validated what I was feeling. She wasn't rushed. It wasn't the standard 15 minute appointment I was familiar with. When I was finished sharing and answering her questions, I remember she leaned back and said, "I think you are dealing with these things." I sat there as she listed them out one by one. These were real medical issues, with real tests, and with real treatments. She told me firmly, I was not crazy. I was sick.
About two weeks later, I received those test results in the mail. I remember grabbing them out of the mailbox on my way to run errands. I drove about a mile and couldn't wait any longer to read them. I pulled over into a parking lot and ripped open the envelope. One of the first things my eyes lit upon were the words "abnormal results" and with that I just started sobbing. I wasn't crazy. I was sick.
And that's how the first part of my health journey began 7 years ago.
In the next blog post, I'll share about my "crash" two years ago--a little reflection on some things I should have done differently. And then, I'll try to get into some individual topics more deeply. Some things I hope to talk about in the future are:
-Diet changes in relation to inflammation/thyroid/gut health
-Mycotoxin Illness/Mold Toxicity
-Epstein Barr Virus
-Mineral Balancing (heart racing/ heart palpitations)
-symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia
I'm not an expert on these topics, but I have spent the better part of the last seven years researching, learning, and healing. Hey, my Master's in English came in handy for doing good, sound research! :) If I can share resources, books, research that might point one person in the right direction for healing, I'll count these posts as 100% worth it.
It's a new year! You're not crazy. You might be sick. You can heal. Never. stop. digging.