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 Update…Good News!!!

So it was all clear at my dr. appointment yesterday!  Well…almost.  They do think I have a hormonal imbalance, but of course we all knew that already, right?  My OB thinks that the testosterone that my general doc has me on is converting to estrogen and causing my symptoms of tender breasts, headaches, insane crying episodes and abnormal bleeding.  I know that is crazy TMI, but that’s just the way I roll. I am SO thankful to the Lord above that there was no evidence of cancer, polyps or anything else.  It is a huge weight off my shoulders.  However, it leaves me wondering what to do about these hormones!!  My system is so delicate that it responds on a hair trigger.  I always take the most natural and smallest dose of whatever I am on and I often still get results that are more dramatic than necessary.  I am searching for that sweet spot that puts me in a blissful state of homeostasis…aaaahhhh, I can just feel it.  When I get there, it will be wonderful.  In the meantime, I am eating paleo, talking with my doc about how to adjust my meds and supplements, and dialing down my exercise.  I am trying not to do anything that raises my cortisol.  I am still going to CrossFit because they are my family, but I am just doing the warm-up and lifting and a little very easy rowing.  No WOD for the time being.  I am doing a little yoga and pilates at home, along with some walking when the weather cooperates.

Yesterday's Breakfast

Yesterday’s Breakfast

I am experimenting with pastured eggs at the moment.  I had been off of eggs until my trip to Disney.  I am still not sure if they bothered me or not.  I am planning on doing the autoimmune protocol strictly during the month of April and posting more about my food.   The above breakfast was sausage, 2 pastured eggs with lots of sauteed veggies sprinkled with Lewis Labs Brewer’s Yeast, and some avocado.  It was yummy!

Mint Chip Shake

Mint Chip Shake

I made this twice last week for the kids at breakfast last week and they loved it!  Mint Chocolate Chip Shake I used coconut milk instead of almond milk and Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips.

Cooper with his standard after drink mustache!

Cooper with his standard after drink mustache!



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January 22, 2013

Today was a low key day.  I love it when one of those days comes along on a weekday where I don’t have anywhere I have to be at any specific time.  Sure, I’m still a homeschooling mom of 3 with a part time business so I wasn’t lacking for things to keep me busy- but I just like it when I don’t have to “get dressed and get somewhere” if I don’t want to!  It was a day off from CrossFit so I took an easy 30 minute walk while watching The Biggest Loser.  In light of all my adrenal issues it makes me wonder how those people can work out like they do and not risk adrenal fatigue?  I know they need to lose the weight, but it seems like the way they do it might not be the best way?  Anyway, I also did 30 minutes of yoga (15 this morning and 15 this afternoon).  I have Bethenny Frankel’s Skinny Girl Workout on my Kindle and I love that I can take it anywhere in the house (or outside for that matter) and do it.  So convenient.  Can you guys tell I’m in love with my Kindle Fire HD???  I will admit that Bethenny is a little annoying, but the workouts are good.  They are challenging strength wise but they don’t get my heart rate up which is good since I am trying not to do much cardio right now.

Couple other pieces of good news- I got my latest round of blood tests back and things looked better.  My testosterone was up from 16 to 28.   Granted, my doctor would like to see it closer to 60, but that is still nearly double and I do think it is making me feel better.  My thyroid numbers look pretty normal at this point but due to my history he thinks they still need to be tweaked so he has me starting a low dose Armour thyroid this week.  We’ll see how that goes.  The last piece of business- No Belly Bloat tonight!!! Woo Hoot!!  I’ve been listening to the Everyday Paleo podcast and they addressed a similar issue and seemed to think it was either from too many veggies (which seems weird, I know- think it has to do with too much fiber, especially if you have suffered from any digestive issues) and/or an issues with fructose digestion.  I think I could fit into both of those categories so I am trying to keep and eye on my evening meal since it seems that is when I am most susceptible.

I started reading Liz Wolfe’s Paleo skincare guide last night so I will let you guys know what I think about that soon.  I already started doing the oil cleansing (which I love) and using Grandma’s Lye soap (which I also love).  My hubby has bad problem skin (cyctic acne) so I can’t wait to see what I can do with him.  Using oil on his face pretty much creeps him out, but he trusts me so he is going to let me boss him around in this arena for a while and see what happens:)

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Virgin Diet Day 12

Started the day out with a chocolate shake.  I can’t believe that I am actually liking these things!  I thought this part would be really hard, but it hasn’t been.  It’s Monday, so I went to CrossFit.  It has been an adjustment not pushing myself at the gym.  I worked on snatch today and backsquat with weights that were crazy light!  I did do more reps than usual, but it still seemed weird.  I listened to a Balanced Bites podcast over the weekend (Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe) that spoke to the thyroid issue and working out and it reiterated the need to go light and not overexercise with a thyroid that is wonky. So I think I am on the right track.  FYI- Diane and Liz are great!  I would love to be doing something like that at some point.  Maybe they’ll read this and ask me to be a guest.  Oooh, maybe they would like to know more about light therapy.  I think I’ll just send that out into the universe and maybe it will get to them somehow;)  Anyway,things are moving in the right direction.  I’m loving my bitters and my DGL.  Testosterone seems to be helping some, but could probably be doing more.  Not sure at this point if that is due to the thyroid or the fact that I need a higher dose of testosterone.  Guess that is one for the Doc.