From Here to Health

My journey back from autoimmune disease

Hormone Upheaval and Consequent Plan

Alright, so while I was super thankful that I wasn’t dealing with anything more serious, my wack-a-doodle hormones are definitely causing some upheaval in my life.  Today I am going to lay out for you guys (but really for myself) what my plan is to address the issues.  After reading (twice) The Hormone Cure by Dr. Sara Gottfried and reviewing the hormone testing I have had over the past 4 months, I have come up with what I think is a good starting place. It is going to sound overwhelming when I lay it out, but I really believe it is doable.  I currently have issues with cortisol, estrogen, progesterone and thyroid.  Honestly, there are probably some other issues at play too, but I think these are the major players and that if they get balanced the other things will fall in line.  As I have mentioned before, my body has a hair-trigger.  There are times when this is good.  I think I caught my autoimmune diseases really early because of it.  I knew so quickly that something was wrong and it took me only a matter of months, rather than years with many people, to get them diagnosed. Another positive is that I often respond to herbal therapies really well and really quickly.  I am praying that will serve me well in this quest with my hormones.  The flip side is that I respond (often negatively) to even small amounts of stress.  And I can tolerate very few drugs, even at the lowest possible dose, because I have huge reactions and side effects.  I was truly hoping that the testosterone and Armour Thyroid would be workable for me.  They were easy and inexpensive to fit into my life.  However, the “easy” road has rarely been my chosen path it seems and while I did throw myself a short pity party, I have decided to pick myself up and see the glass as half full.  My current prayer is that over the next 3 months I will be able to balance my hormones naturally and be able to share my story with others that it is possible.  The longer and more arduous path is often the memorable in the long run anyway, right?  It has been my experience that my struggles are often what leads to my greatest lessons and rewards.  It has been through them that I have seen what I am really capable of and come to know some of the qualities of my own character that I most cherish.  So here go….let’s break this down.

High Cortisol- I think this bad boy hormone is the root of all my troubles.  It is the one that is throwing my adrenals and everything else of balance.  There are times when I think I have it managed, but then as I said before, something comes along and throw me under the bus.  Here are the recommendations that I am putting into place.

1. Yoga- different types, on my own, as my schedule permits, generally in 10-20 minute increments

2. Dark Chocolate- Need I say more?

3. Massage- trying for once a week between my husband and trading off with a friend who is a massage therapist

4. Chanting- for me this will probably mean singing.  Singing has always brought me lots of joy.

5. Forgiveness- I learned several years ago to put this practice into my life when I was healing from my autoimmune stuff, but it is always a good reminder, especially the notion of forgiving myself.

6. Orgasm- Ok, I won’t go into too much detail here, but we all know it is good for our stress levels.  Dr. Gottfried recommends a certain kind of practice called Orgasmic Meditation or OM for short.  It requires a partner, but lucky for me I have a very willing husband;) I think he may have watched a video and even ordered a workbook on the topic because this is very serious business;)

7. Targeted Supplements- B5, Vitamin C, Phosphatidylserine (PS), Fish oil, L-theanine, L-lysine, L-arginine, L-tyrosine, and the  family of ginsengs.  There are other supplement recommendations, but these are the ones I am starting with, some of which are already part of my routine.

She recommends the elimination of gluten, sugar, caffeine and alcohol but these are not really part of my daily routine so I didn’t include them in my list.  The chocolate will actually be adding a little sugar to my diet, but I am getting at least 70% organic dark chocolate so I am going to overlook the sugar content, at least for the recommended 2 weeks.

I hadn’t planned on splitting up these posts, but due to length, I think I will.   So look for the installment on low progesterone tomorrow.  Titillating, right?

And even though it seems random, I am going to leave you with a picture of my sweet nephew.  Dr. Gottfried recommends focusing on the things that are right in your life and he is definitely a source of joy for me.  So there, I have tied it in:) (Totally not tied in- I just want you guys to know that EVERY time I type the word definitely, I misspell it).

Yes, I am super cute!

Yes, I am super cute and you do smell a little funny!

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Health History – The Saga Continues

I am going to skim over a few details at this point.  I will just let you know that over the next 6 months I continued meeting with my naturopath in Oregon.  At one point he had me on over 100 pills a day!  All vitamins or herbal supplements.  While I cannot deny that some of them (who knows which ones since I was taking so many) were helping, I couldn’t keep up with the regimen physically or financially.  The supplements alone were $1,000 a month.  Also, I wanted someone who I could talk to face to face.  So, I found a physician through a friend who was a “traditional” M.D., but he practiced from a more “natural” point of view and was a big believer in diet, exercise, chakras, supplements and other alternative treatments.  I really liked him and continued to see him for about a year, but he too was crazy expensive.  He did not take insurance and his office visits ranged from $275-450 depending on how long I was with him.  If I had had the disposable income, I would have continued to see him.  However, I had racked up about $11,000 on my credit card at this point with medical expenses.  He  did some additional testing that mostly just confirmed everything I already knew.  The only new piece of information was that I had high levels of Epstein Barr, Cytomegalovirus and Herpes 6 virus.  Turns out this is very common in sick people.  Not so much in healthy people.  In those of us with compromised immune systems, viruses can really take hold and flourish.  I think the presence of these viruses absolutely played a part in how rotten I felt.  I also believe they were part of the “perfect storm” that put me into my state of disease.

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Supplements

I’m posting this supplement list now because I just started some new ones and I want to be able to go back and evaluate how I think they are working.  I have been on a giant list of supplements over the last 5 years, but I am going to start with the current ones and I some point I may go back and give info on ones I have used in the past that have been successful with certain issues.

Before breakfast

1 Herb-lax-  Not really a laxative, a bowel conditioner. Herbs that are supportive of a “movement” but don’t send you rushing or give you cramps.  From Shaklee.

1 Probiotic- from Living Stream- Premier ProBiotic Restore- I have taken others and for whatever reason this one works the best for me.  I think it has really helped with my Candida issue.

W/Breakfast-

2 Digestive Enzymes- these are from Allegany Nutrition.  I have used several different kinds but right now these seem to work best for me.  I take 2 with every meal and if they are handy I will take 1 with a snack.

1 Vitamin D Synergy- This is from Designs for Health (another great company).  I just started this particular supplement yesterday.  For some reason, despite getting sun and taking vitamin D, my vitamin D levels are not increasing.  At my first test my level was 40, now it is 64.  Yes that is an improvement, but it has taken 2 years to come up only 20 points and I really need to be at 80-100 for therapeutic benefit.  My health coach suggested this supplement because it contains vitamin K1 as well.  We are hoping it will help me metabolize the D better.  I will retest in a couple of months and let you know.

1 Adrenotone- Also Designs for Health.  This is to help me with my adrenal fatigue issue.  Despite my best efforts, my body is still telling me that I am not dealing with stress very well.  This is supposed to help.   Just started yesterday so the jury is still out.

1 Thyroid Synergy- Also Designs for Health. I have been battling low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) for the past 3 years.  It will improve a little but then for whatever reason it will be back in the dumper:((  Just started this yesterday too, and I have high hopes that it will give my thyroid the support it so desperately needs:))

1 tsp. Vivix- from Shaklee- a resveratrol product.  I use it for the anti-inflammatory properties.  Many of my issues are inflammatory in nature.  This has been a good one for me to stick with because it is a liquid so it is easier to absorb.  I have been diagnosed with “leaky gut” in the past (it is some better now) so anything that was already somewhat broken down was easier for me to digest.  It also comes with some fantastic research to back it up.  I will try to put a Shaklee link in here in case anyone wants to check them out.

W/Lunch

2 Digestive Enzymes

1 Adrenotone

1 Thyroid Synergy

1 tsp Liqui-lea-  A Shaklee liquid multivitamin-  I use the liquid for easier absorption.

W/Dinner

2 Digestive Enzymes

1 Adrenotone

2 Omega Guard- another Shaklee supplement.  Fish oil for inflammation.

1 tsp Tumeric- just the spice-I mix it in 2 oz Mega Green juice with chlorella and spirulina.

Hour Before Bed

1 Herb-lax

1 Probiotic

1 Magnesium-Shaklee- helps with sleep

Other- I put maca powder in my protein shakes on days that I have a protein shake.

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Daily Log

Weight- 123.6  A small loss, but I’ll take it:))

Sleep- I am having some issues with this so I feel the need to see if I can decipher what is going on here.  I’ve had off and on issues since my daughter was born, but then they became severe last December.  I started some supplements for it and they helped.  Even after I came off the supplements I was still doing pretty well.  However, since our trip to Florida I have been struggling a little more to get to sleep.  Last night I could hear my heart beating pretty hard in my ears and that kept me awake for a while.  I try not to look at the clock because I tend to get a little obsessed, but if I had to guess, I would say I fell asleep sometime around 1am (even though I turned the light out at 10:45) and got up when my 4 year old came in at 6:47am.  Not enough for this mama!

Exercise- 30 mins on rebounder, 10 mins yoga, and 75 weighted squats, 75 push-ups (girl kind-I wasn’t feelin’ it this morning), 75 Bent-over Rows w/sandbag, 30 Bicycle Abs

Food-

Breakfast-1 slice fresh pineapple, 1 egg scrambled with 2tsps coconut oil and 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup soup-  My husband made this incredible soup for the kids last night, but he put rice in it.  He left me out a serving before adding the rice and I didn’t feel like eating it last night (bad tummy) so I had soup for breakfast.  Very paleo;))

Lunch- Had lunch with a dear girlfriend. We ate at Rafferty’s because she is obsessed with all things carbs and wanted my croissant.  I had a small Frisco salad- lettuce, tomato, cheese, artichoke, egg, potato sticks, vinaigrette

Note- About 2 hours after lunch- felt pretty nauseated

Snack- 1/2 cup organic raspberries, handful of marcona almonds, 2 oz Dubliner cheese

Note- Nausea went away after I ate, but came back again about 2 hours later???  Also pain in mid-back? Oh wait, seriously as I was writing this I just “let one fly” and my back is completely better (ok, it was more than 1).  Man, gas can hurt like a mutha!

Dinner- slice of pineapple, protein shake (same one I always make)

It is 6:56 pm and I am calling it a night.  Putting my daughter to bed early and I am snuggling up with my Netflix and some Downton Abbey!  I just started that show last weekend.  I am only on episode 3, but I am loving it!  My husband and I love us some British period pieces!  Plus, my health coach said I needed more rest and relaxation so I think this qualifies.  Talk to you guys tomorrow.

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