I don’t usually write about health issues or personal challenges. Mostly those are shared with close friends and family. Sometimes I keep quiet about aches or pains or situations for weeks or months or years.
However, have recently felt a nudging to reveal what’s happening here. Just because, like with most things, there are silver linings in sharing, both for the sharer and listener. Because it suddenly feels more honest to reveal some personal struggles.
It started in March with digestive issues. Have experienced some ongoing digestive problems during recent years, but this felt like something more urgent. It felt like low-level discomfort that kept on keepin’ on.
First order of business: colonoscopy. I have a family history of colon cancer, so hop to it. The prep procedure proved more challenging than a previous scope. I won’t beleaguer the details, but it felt harrowing.
Fortunately, the colonoscopy came out clean. Unfortunately, the digestive issues intensified.
A couple of months passed with various doctor visits. No one could ascertain anything specific, darn it. Lab tests uncovered extremely high cholesterol and pre-diabetes blood sugar numbers. I fumed in anger for about a week. Many of you know that we’ve eaten a healthy mostly vegetarian diet low in sugar for years. It seemed totally unfair! It felt like the blood work lied. I was crushed and angry.
The nurse practitioner prescribed statin drugs to lower the cholesterol without blinking her eyes.
As a holistically oriented person opposed to statins except as a last resort I tried to figure out another option. It felt like taking statins without discovering the root cause would be pointless. What interested me more was the question: what the heck was causing the dis-ease in the body? What could be holistically done to address the whole situation?
A friend recommended a functional medicine doctor in the local area. What is functional medicine, you ask? Here is a random link which describes it fairly accurately. Functional medicine physicians attempt to address the larger picture, looking for cause and seeking to heal the whole body.
It took until early June to secure an appointment with this MD. The most amazing thing happened during the visit–she actually sat down and listened intensely for about 20 minutes before saying anything. The patient is allowed to share the fullness of his or her story. Unlike many traditional office visits where the patient talks really fast for ten minutes, followed by a physician diagnosis in the next ten minutes before being ushered out the door.
She immediately zeroed in on my gall bladder removal in 2010. She had seen others with similar digestive issues and suggested that the body was not producing enough bile to digest even the natural healthy fats in foods. She prescribed probiotics, gall bladder digestive enzymes and other medicines. Because my gut has been compromised for many years, other secondary issues have developed. She also suggested help for these.
Because she prescribed medicine that day, I was able to travel out to the West Coast to visit my daughter. It was nip and tuck whether it would happen. Fortunately, the meds alleviated the discomfort enough to make for an enjoyable trip. (For those of you still reading–this is what I meant about how social media and blogging doesn’t tell the whole story. A person looking at our lovely photos of the trip would never see the entire truth which included daily health challenges.)
The doctor also recommended following a Paleo-based Whole 30 diet for the first month. “But grains…” I said weakly, “But beans…but what about being a near-vegan?” She said she’s seen the most progress and healing take place on this diet, and totally recommends it to someone in my situation. She said the digestive enzymes will work to process the fats, and the diet will assist in lowering the cholesterol and blood sugar. It will also begin to heal the secondary issues which have developed.
Lab tests later confirmed her initial diagnosis. Fats have poured through the system without proper digestion. The gut bacteria is all cattywampus. In short, the system ain’t working quite properly.
Today is Day 21 of the Whole 30 diet. It took some getting used to eating so much meat. In the first week or two my mind rebelled before most meals. However, when the lovely chicken, fish, eggs, lamb or pork reached the lips, the body said, “Hey, yum, good!”
Even though the symptoms still remain and can be very challenging and sometimes painful on a day-to-day basis, some positive changes have occurred. I feel more energy than in the past 15 years. I had not even realized the low-level exhaustion which permeated and insisted upon naps and early bedtime. The blood sugar feels even and lower. The food is being digested easier. The knees have quit aching, rashes disappeared, heartburn gone.
This is actually only a short synopsis of what’s been happening personally in the past four months. Hoping that healing is happening. Thanks for reading, Kathy