Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Story of How I Got Like This, aka You should read this first

This will not be short. But it just may help someone who is having some health issues that remain elusive to traditional doctors and medicine. I will try not to curse out the doctors who didn't listen/ blamed me/were total ass hats too much.

I remember my tummy hurting in kindergarten. A lot. I'm pretty sure the teachers and nurses thought I was lying just to go home. But it seemed that I would worry a lot, and worry led to tummy ache. Cut to about 8th grade. We go to my pediatrician with my symptoms (I wake up really nauseous every morning). She first asks if I'm pregnant. I have yet to get my period or go on a date, so no. Then, we think ulcers. Makes sense- I hate school as I'm teased all day long about everything relentlessly. The cure? Some medication that didn't seem to make any difference whatsoever.

First day of high school- mom makes me breakfast, I'm looking all cute cause it's my birthday and I'm a freshman now and it's do-over time from the hell that was junior high. Get to homeroom. Proceed to vomit all over desk. Since I'm old, this was prior to our household owning an answering machine (we quickly got one after this little episode). Am forced to sit in nurses office all day long, while she happily chirps to EVERYONE that it's my birthday, I'm a freshman, and I puked in homeroom. Cue the pity looks from all the upper classmen. Awesometastic.

Soon after, the beauty of mother nature makes an appearance and I get my period. I also get days of pain that doubles me over and 3 days straight of puking. Every. Single. Month. Back to the pediatrician (yeah yeah yeah i did NOT want to see the "icky" doctor yet). She prescribes 4 ibuprofen, every 4 hours, starting a week before and going through a week after my period. Monthly. To those that know the crap they put in otc meds, your mouth is probably hanging open right now. If not, let's just know that ibuprofen is known to cause intense stomach issues- like chewing through the lining of it. So if I didn't have an ulcer before, I sure have one now. Did I keep up this regimen?  You bet! Did the cramps or nausea get better? Hell no!

Full Disclosure- I developed an eating disorder all through high school.  I was a cheerleader, I was carrying around some MAJOR insecurities from junior high (being called fattie, lassie, rin tin tin, and being mooed at on a daily basis will do that to you) and honestly, I just felt better when I didn't eat. And if I was forced to eat? I would puke. I was such a champ at it already, it wasn't hard to force it. I barely had to. I have no idea how it's possible, but I never got under 112 pounds. I will say that I thought this was absurdly unfair, but I suppose God decided I needed to not be rail thin, and so it goes. I guess that did not help my digestive system. I just got used to not feeling well.  I would especially make sure never to eat before any event- football game, play, concert, hanging out with friends, taking a walk. I'd find that my stomach could not handle it, and I would get super nauseous, AND the other end would start acting up. Yup. I'm doing it. I'm talking about poop. And not dainty little female poop either. I'm talkin' loud, embarrassing, I WILL NEVER DO THIS IN A PUBLIC RESTROOM poop. Do you know what the definition of hell is?   It's giving a girl a SERIOUS intestinal problem AND intense bathroom stage fright. Just. So. Wrong.

Anyway, all that to say that I did zero to help my stomach issues, and probably just exacerbated the problem. Things didn't get better in college. I was still holding onto my eating disorder, and my stomach began to betray me. Like, sitting in a quiet, crowded room and holding in gas only to have my stomach FART FROM THE INSIDE. So loud. So embarrassing. So the opposite of what I was trying to do. At least it didn't smell...

I eventually went to the icky doc to discover that I had endometreosis via surgery. The cramps got a bit better after that (as did the meds...thank you percocet), and I was put on a strong birth control to help the endometreosis not come back. My stomach liked none of that. We went to a gastroenterologist. I wish I was making this up. But this actually happened. They said there was a strong chance that I had a dairy intolerance, but they couldn't do the test because SOMEONE STOLE THE MOUTHPIECE OF THE MACHINE YOU BREATHE INTO.  I'm fairly certain crap like that only happens to me (the story of how I couldn't take my driver's test because the driving teacher I had broke the steering column of her car in half, or the tow truck driver taking me and my car home who fell asleep behind the wheel doing 70 on a highway and I couldn't wake him up fo a while so i made him just drop me off at some gas station in the middle of nowhere....yup. those happened too.)  So I stayed away from dairy. Didn't help.

As the years went on, and I started teaching high school music, more of my body started to fail.  I got really really really bad acne. Like I took acutane TWICE and it still didn't go away bad. And I was sweating like a man. A big, hairy, heavy man who just ran a marathon. Sweatstains from pits to pelvis, which looks fabulous when I'm conducting a choir. I just thought I was doomed to be abnormal and won't these be funny stories to tell me kids someday if I'm not too grotesque to land a husband ha ha ha.  So I used prescription strength deoderant (bring on the aluminum!), stayed on the pill to help my skin, continued to not eat in public, or before any events, or really anywhere except my house, and I got married and moved to Washington.

And s*** got real. I started putting on weight like crazy. I felt awful ALL. THE. TIME. I was always so tired and so sick to my stomach. My poor hubbs. We literally couldn't do dinner and a movie, because after dinner I would immediately have to go home to use the bathroom, where I would spend a good portion of my evening cause it was a continous thing, not just a one and done deal.  We never went out, we cancelled plans all the time because I was just ill. Then came MY YEAR OF VOMIT. I threw up, every day, about the same time (6 pm) for a little over a year. And I was still gaining weight. GAINING WEIGHT!! So back to the gastroenterologist I went. She was a gem. She didn't really register what I was saying to her, she completely dismissed the fact that my aunt had been having abdominal issues that they diagnosed as IBS for 2 years until they discovered that she had ovarian cancer, she told me it was just IBS and gave me a book to read on it (gotta love an Irritable Bowel Syndrome book), gave me FIBER which just made the problem a million times worse, AND the cherry on top?  She said to me "IF YOU WERE THROWING UP EVERY DAY, YOU WOULD BE SKINNIER". R.A.G.E.

Colonoscopy, upper GI tests, all uncomfortable, all finding zero wrong with me. I was sent to an allergist, who poked my arm with 6 different needles and told me I was allergic to nothing.

And then, my chiropractor, Dr Dana McCracken (yes that IS his real last name) asked how I was feeling.  And I was honest with him. and he said "we have an awesome naturopath that we share an office with. Make an appointment with her". And I thought, doctors are stupid, so no. This was 2 years after I took myself off of birth control, and there were no pregnancy scares. 2 years, and I thought "well I really wanted to be a mom, it's all I've ever wanted but maybe it's just not in the cards for me. maybe I'll just be a really good auntie some day".  But I finally made the appointment. I sat down and told her everything. She said it sounds like you have food allergies. Here let's take some blood. Blood went onto index card  with 8 little circles on it. Mailed to lab. 2 weeks later, back in her office we went over my results.

There are 96 different foods on this IgG/ IgE antibodies test. I was highly sensitive/allergic to about 92 of them. She had never actually seen someone who was allergic to carrots. She said that my poor body had been out of whack for so long that it just couldn't process any foods any more. So I had to eliminate EVERYTHING I was allergic to. For at least a few months. Then we would do the test again and see if my body was able to reset itself.

So I basically ate lettuce from the end of November til March. I immediately dropped 15 pounds, felt a million times better....and got pregnant with babygirl on February 6th. Turns out, eating foods that you are sensitive to can cause infertility.

Not gonna lie- my pregnancy SUUUUUUUUPER sucked. I threw up all the time. I couldn't keep anything down. Crackers and toast were the only things that sounded good. and it lasted the entire pregnancy. And babygirl came 10 weeks early, due to a placental abruption. We spent the first 2 months of her life in the NICU. I knew God had blessed me with this teeny little miracle who was SUCH a strong fighter, SUCH a jersey girl. and I knew I had to do everything humanly possible to ensure she was healthy and happy. I lived in the NICU, I pumped, I snuggled skin to skin with her, and I read. A LOT. The thing about reading is, you can't UNREAD it. you can't UNKNOW things. I felt responsible for her early birth, but I sure as hell wasn't gonna continue to make the same mistakes. no more chemicals in our food. no more processed garbage. no more pesticides. no more hormones and antibiotics. no unnecessary vaccines, no unnecessary medications, no formula, no added empty calories. this girl had gone granola for sure. and babygirl and I, we healed together. the docs and nurses and nutritionists listened, and we worked out plans for her not to be supplemented. and they said it couldn't be done, but babygirl left that NICU BREASTFEEDING- not taking it from a bottle. We went home and we bought only organic food. We started with meats especially, and dairy, then moved onto produce. We moved to condiments, then started cutting out almost all condiments because even the organic ones had crap in there we didn't want. We stopped taking over the counter meds- mainly because all the body aches and head aches disappeared. Nothing we eat comes out of a box or a can. We use only glass to store our food. We threw out the microwave and replaced it with an oven hood (the smoke alarm no longer goes off when we're cooking!!!) We didn't feed babygirl ANYTHING besides breastmilk for the first year of her life. and after that, it was all organic, and all made from scratch by me. I know I know, it seems a little extreme but a) i'm a virgo, type a, perfectionist freak job and b) i never want her to have the kinds of stomach issues i did so we're militant about what she eats.  We started buying the organic, hormone free soaps for her, and recently i've been making my own facewash and shampoo. We buy natural deoderant, natural soap, natural laundry detergent, no fabric softener or dryer sheets. no fluoride in our toothpaste. no tap water, ever. Replacing all of our hygiene/cleaning products was the final piece to the puzzle, and my weight has not been this low since the first year of our marriage. plus i have energy and we rarely get sick.

I wanted to make sure that babygirl and I were on the right track, so back to the naturopath we went for a blood test. My results were astonishing. There are only 4 or 5 foods that i am still highly sensitive to. Babygirl has a sensitivity to gluten and citrus, but she's young enough where we think her body might reset once we've removed them from her diet for a time. And she's SO healthy. SO happy. SO perfect.

So i'm just a little bit passionate about this whole organic way of life. i'm not sure if you got that....

Loves!

2 comments:

  1. Hey Kristen,
    Thank you so much for starting this blog. It takes a lot of courage to share all of this with the ones you love. I too have had stomach problems my entire life. I don't know if you remember me in college and when we lived in Alpha, but I had basically what I would call chronic diarrhea. The doctors told me also that I had IBS and my parents were always like, "Why are you so skinny?" After a traumatic experience in 2009, I was dealing with panic attacks and really bad anxiety which made my stomach issues worse if you can imagine. I never ate food because I was afraid it would make me sick. Restaurants were a nightmare. Sometimes the diarrhea would come even before we had left the restaurant.
    Long story short...I accepted the job as color guard coach at NHHS last year in the spring, and thought, there's no way I can do this job because I simply can not get on a school bus to an away game because I can never be far from a bathroom. In August I talked with my brother-in-law about his weight loss experience and he let me borrow a book about the Paleo diet. I tried it for 30 days and was amazed at the results. Turns out I had autoimmune issues that were related to gluten intolerance and the anxiety only made it worse. It never occurred to me that I was the reason that I was sick. I was eating all the foods that my body could not process. I am now a "clean" eater. I eat meat, veg, fruit, eggs, nuts, and good fats like avocado, and coconut. I do not eat dairy or wheat products. and now I've changed to all organic. Bryan and I have even joined a CSA from an organic farm 5 miles from our house. I no longer eat the standard American diet and I've never felt better. I haven't had diarrhea since last August, my skin is clear, and I love food! Eating in restaurants is actually enjoyable for me now!

    Basically, I wanted to share my story with you because I want you to know that we have A LOT in common! I miss you dearly and I wish you all the best with your health journey. Everyone must do what is right for them and their body. I know that Paleo is not for everyone, but for me, it's changed my life for the better and was worth it!

    Hugs!
    Love,
    Melissa

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    1. Hey there! I miss you too! and had ZERO idea that you had the same thing going on. I can't believe we managed to live in a place with just one bathroom for the 2 of us ;) I'm so glad you found what works for you and you're feeling so much better! and glad you like my blog :) hugs and loves!

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