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Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Journey

I just read a blog post from Jenny at Nourished Kitchen in which she describes what she went through over the years getting sick, and then recovering from her various diseases. Her story is different than mine, but in a way, it is exactly the same. So, I decided to write my story. I have said most of this before, but I don't think I have ever written it down.

My journey begins at about age 8. When I find them I will post a picture of what I looked like at age 7 and at age 8. At 7 I looked exactly like I should, thin... perhaps even scrawny. I am not entirely sure what changed in that one year, but by age 8, I was pudgy. I had budding breasts... at 8! The kind that already needed a bra, and a B cup at that, if I remember correctly. I don't remember this part clearly, because to me, I woke up one day at age 12, and magically had a DD cup, but I look at pics of myself at 8, and I see them growing. This really isn't normal. A girl should not be overweight with B cups at 8.

I wish to interrupt and say that if I saw a girl in the same condition I was in, I would assume she was consuming too much soy, because soy is loaded with toxins and plant estrogen. It has so much estrogen in fact, that it has been proven to cause precocious puberty. ( Precocious Puberty: Helping Kids Stay Kids (Home Use))

I look back and wonder where I would have been exposed to so much soy, since it wasn't something that my mom actually bought, but judging by the labels on food today, it's in EVERYTHING... especially bread. Guess what, I ate a LOT of bread. I loved it. One summer, when I was 15, I ate almost nothing but bread. But I'll get to that later.

As I said, at age 12, not only did I have DD cups, but I was overweight, 220 lbs to be exact. Other than that, I was a normal and healthy menstruating preteen, except I suddenly needed glasses. Oh, and I had migraines! My mom took me into the doctor several times for this. I had tests upon tests. The most memorable one involved having goo covered sensors placed all over my head (getting my hair just covered in goo), and then I had to sit completely still for a half an hour or so. Every little movement I made affected the test, so I had to suffer the most excruciating itch! The doctors couldn't find anything wrong, chalked it up to excess adrenaline (because obviously I must not be active or I wouldn't be overweight, right?), and gave me drugs to cope with the pain.

I swear to you, and you can ask my mom, from day one, I only ever used the drugs when I was in so much pain I could not stand it anymore. I did not EVER want to become dependent on drugs! (Go D.A.R.E. program!) (Wish I'd had these books back then! Herbal Drugstore Prescription for Natural Cures)

At age 15, my monthly got all wonky. I had no idea why back then, but remember when I mentioned that I ate almost nothing but bread that summer? I had 4 slices of buttered toast for breakfast, and 4 slices for lunch. I might have had a few more slices as a snack throughout the day, but then I had whatever mom had me make for dinner. Mostly pasta hotdishes. I love how my mom taught me to cook! She was at work, and wanted to come home to dinner, so about an hour or so before she got off of work, she called me up, and talked me through whatever I was supposed to make. I'd put it in the oven, and it would be ready to eat by the time she got home.

That same summer, I got the scare of my life, and the conversation went like this: "Mom, I swear I am still a virgin, but I haven't had my period in 4 or 5 months." Previously, I often skipped a month, so just one or 2 months without a period was normal and ok, but by the 4th or 5th month, I was freaked out! She near rushed me to a baby doctor, which was my clue that she thought I was probably pregnant. At first, the doctor had an attitude like, "Well you wouldn't be seeing me unless you were pregnant," and even though I swore up and down I was still a virgin, she was like, "uh-huh." After she examined me, she actually asked me, "What are you doing here? You're not pregnant. You're irregular, so just keep track of your periods, and if there's something wrong, we can use that info to figure out what." Dismissed. (Why did I never have the books I needed when I first needed them? Green Fertility: Nature's Secrets For Making Babies )

My periods remained irregular, so much so that during my first year of marriage I had a total of 3 periods, one of which lasted 3 months... yeah... that was fun, not! I started seeing a doctor to see what was up, and why couldn't I conceive. At first, I was told, "Well, you're overweight. Eat less fat, and exercise more." I rolled my eyes, and asked to go on birth control because most of my friends got pregnant right after they got off birth control. I figured it was worth a shot. Didn't work. The only thing it did do was give me one crampy painful period a month. Never having had cramps more than once or twice, this SUCKED!

At 21, (in2001) the doctor finally smiled at me, and said, "Your last two glucose tests have been high, and your insulin levels are very high. You have diabetes." I guess this was good news to her, one more patient paying for drugs and frequent doctor visits, plus she could finally tell something to blame my infertility on. She gave me Metformin, and off I went. I went to the diabetic educator with my mom, took my meds and checked my blood sugar dutifully every day for three months. I was assured that after 3 months, my blood sugar would be normal, and that I might even conceive. They weren't and I still wasn't pregnant, so I stopped taking them. Honestly, my blood sugar levels did not change, so I knew that the meds really didn't do anything for me.

I stagnated for a while, then in 2003, I lived with my grandpa for a little while. I don't talk about my grandpa enough, but he's a genius. When I say that, I don't mean that I think he's really smart and cool, I mean that he is a genius. He denies it modestly, and talks about how his mother was the real genius, and how he always thought she could have done so much more than get married and have kids. He saw the slight spark of genius in me, and asked me not to get married and have kids. Sorry grandpa, but it's all I ever wanted to do. (And for the record, when I tested my genius level, I was a hair or two shy of being able to join Mensa, so no, I'm not actually a genius, damn!)

While living with him, I got to pick his brain everyday for months! It was weird though, I knew he was disappointed that I was married, and Hubby lived with him too... I got the feeling he didn't really like Hubby, so I actually shied away from him (my grandpa, not my Hubby). Even so, he told me something that made my face go white with shock. He said, "You're diabetic? Oh, well in that case, you're supposed to avoid eating carbohydrates."

He said it like this was common knowledge. I had heard of this concept before, that carbohydrates could be bad, but all the doctors firmly tell their patients that this is ludicrous. Doctors tell you to eat mainly carbs, a little protein, and very little fat. THIS was how I HAD been eating, and to hear my genius Grandpa tell me that I needed to avoid carbs... well, it was an eye opener. We moved to a little rental house in Brainerd, and guess what I did? I went on the Atkins diet. Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, Revised Edition

I know I know, everyone and their brother criticizes that Atkins diet, but from a diabetics point of view, it was worth a try. Mind you, I had weighed exactly 220 until I was 21, and by 22 I weighed 240. This seemed to happen overnight, and stayed put no matter what I did until, at 23, I went on the Atkins diet. I went back to 220 within two weeks and stayed there for about 5 months. At the end of that 5th month, we moved back to my mom's house, and I started gaining weight again. I chalked that up to having to stop the Atkins diet. Hubby had lost his job, and we couldn't afford such a meat heavy diet. I still tried to make it as meat heavy as possible, but I had to return to eating tons of cheap pasta. Only, this time, I often picked the pasta out and ate everything else.

I started massage school, and was frustrated that my period was MIA again. It had been regular since going on Atkins. I hopefully took a pregnancy test after 3 months without a period, but it was negative. 5 months without a period had been the most so far, so it was nothing to me when the 6th month went by. By the 7th month, I was getting concerned, but ultimately, I was having too much fun in massage school to really care what was going on.

My symptoms of diabetes returned in full force. I had even developed a new symptom of diabetes. The diabetic educator had warned me about Neuropathy, in which I would experience nerve pain and tingling, but this was the first time I had ever had it this bad. I could barely stand or walk for more than 10 minutes without my leg falling asleep, and my left Gluteus Maximus hurting like a B****! I had my massage teachers working on my butt and legs, and nothing helped. (Though it felt wonderful to have them massaged!)

Meanwhile, my mom was sick of all my emotional rollercoaster. I have said this before, I have emotions, but normally they are about 1/4 the intensity of someone else's emotions. Therefore even having an emotional rollercoaster was worrying my mom sick! She urged me to take another pregnancy test, as she thought I might be pregnant. I got so mad! I had been trying to conceive for year, and it never happened no matter what I tried, and for her to tell me she thought I was pregnant hurt a lot. TEASE ME why don't you! I went to the store, bought a stick, disappeared into our bathroom, and peed on it. I was just waiting to shove it in her face with a smug, "See!"

Guess what, it came back positive, and I was in total shock. I thought back to when the hell this might have happened, and realized that it must have been right after my last period, 8 months before! I called up the doctor's office to make an appointment, and tried to tell the scheduler that I thought I was very far along, but she was like, "Sure sure, the soonest we can get you in is next week." That was way too long to wait! "Well, do you have any appointments to check out this infuriating bladder infection?" She paused. "You're pregnant and have a bladder infection. That can hurt the baby if not treated. How about I squeeze you in today?" I thought so!

At the doctor's office, the doctor came in thinking that he was going to confirm a brand new pregnancy, and prescribe an antibiotic for UTI. He started by telling us to schedule an ultrasound in a couple of days since everyone was supposed to be leaving for the day. He placed his hands on my stomach, and went white. "You're to term!" My hubby already had a daughter, so he asked, "Wait, doesn't that mean ready to pop?" The doctor then rushed us over to the ultrasound department, and managed to catch a lady who hadn't left yet. The ultrasound showed that I was 32 weeks along, and I had Gryffin exactly 1 month later. 

During that last month of pregnancy, I thought, "Hey, I'm pregnant, so I can eat whatever I crave!" I totally did, eating taco bell like every day on the way home from class. The reason I delivered 4 weeks earlier than optimal is because they induced me once it was obvious that I had preeclampsia. 

You know, even at that point, I didn't connect the dots. I never once considered that what I ate actually caused my conditions. I didn't stop and think that I could have avoided preeclampsia by avoiding taco bell.

Anyway, all of that right there was what led to me discovering that nutrition was vitally important to good health, and since I have already described what I have learned about nutrition in this post, I'll skip that lengthy part of the journey. Suffice it to say that healing my body from my first 22-23 years has taken almost 10 years now, and I am just now seeing progress. When a person needs to heal their body, they want to do it right now which is what pills often promise, but in truth, real healing takes a long time. The benefits start the day you finally find out what your body needs you to feed it, and you do, but with each step forward, something else might pop up. (For a touching look at a family's journey to heal from several severe food allergies, and this phenomenon, read this blog Everything Free Eating ) My massage teachers called this phenomenon "healing in reverse order," or in other words, the last symptoms to present are the first to heal, and then your body works it's way back to the first symptoms. It can feel like you just manage to heal one thing, and something else comes back, grr! If it took me 22 years to get sick, it may take me 22 years to gain true health.

In the meantime, my blood sugar is normal, I've had two kids, and I rarely get sick. Progress looks good!

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