As a kid, I had chronic ear infections as was always on antibiotics. The banana flavored medication that was kept above the fridge was something that I actually liked taking. As early as 3, I remember taking the banana penicillin (it’s weird I remember this because I have the worst long-term memory from my health issues you will read below. Ask me what I did on my 18th birthday and I would have to ask a friend because I literally don’t remember. LEGIT). Although constant use of anti-biotics helped short term as an infant/kid, it’s set my digestion system up for a life of challenges.
Up until I was about 14, I was like the energizer bunny. You would find me spending hours on the neighbors trampoline or practicing gymnastics non-stop in our yard. My energy was unstoppable. Sports was everything to me at this time. I was a gymnast, volleyball player, martial artist, skier amongst other things and loved to be active.
As a teenager, something changed. I was exhausted all of the time. Getting up for school was super painful every day. On a weekend, I would easily sleep into 1 or 2 pm and still be tired. I remember, one time my best friend came over to see me and I was sleeping on the couch. I literally could not open my eyes. My dad got so mad at me that I wouldn’t get up but I physically couldn’t due to exhaustion
As the years passed, I still played sports, volleyball and karate (yup I have my black belt, that always seems to surprise people). Again I remember always being so much more fatigued than the rest of my teammates, but I’ve always been a super competitive person and my motto was “If they can do it, so can I”. Evenings is where I came alive so a 3-hour martial arts work out made me feel unbeatable. Until the next morning…at which point I thought I was going to die for the first 2-3 hours I was awake and taking my Bachelor of Science in University required brain power that I barely had. Again my competitive spirit drove me but my body was starting to scream at me at this point.
Additionally I was an asthmatic. I wasn’t bothered by exercise, but if I was around smoke, pets or mold. I needed that inhaler asap. During my teen years I again was on tons of anti-biotics because every winter I would end up with bronchitis or a lung infection. Also when I was 14 I ended up with mono. Did I slow down? No because it was volleyball season and I couldn’t be the teammate who was missing out.
It was during this time that I noticed that my fatigue was still out of control when it came to sleep. I drove my first two roommates crazy because my alarm would go off on snooze for an hour…and it was loud. Sorry Trac and Ang.
After graduating university I went into pharmaceutical sales. I was working with GP’s continuously, but ironically was going to my GP to try and figure out what was wrong. After I few visits, I left frustrated and irritated. My GP, who meant well, decided I had IBS and chronic fatigue. My doc wanted to start me on med’s but working in pharma, I knew a lot about meds and I did not want a band-aid solution.
Since I found no help with my GP, my cousin referred me to a lady who practiced muscle testing. She said I was full of candida, highly toxic and my liver was messed up. She started me on a candida, heavy metal and liver cleanse. Ok I felt like I was making progress. She asked me to go 90 days with no sugar, alcohol or caffeine and stick to meats, vege’s and dairy (the dairy should have not been in there knowing what I know now). I was most concerned about the alcohol. Wine/cocktails has always been a big part of my social life, but being the competitive person I am, I was faithful to the diet and did not cheat once as I was scared about the candida. I went the 90 days and started feeling really good.
After this experience I was convinced that cleansing was the ultimate solution as it made me feel so much better. At a goal setting retreat, I was sharing my story and one of the guys there said I should check out an energy healer that he sees. My initial thought was umm that’s weird, but the guy wrote a book and had it endorsed by Donald Trump (pre-president) so thought well he must know something I don’t.
So I booked a session with Olga the healer. After my first session I thought what the F did I get myself into because I didn’t understand it. After the session though, I noticed that I felt much better and couldn’t explain why. So I went back to Olga and started seeing her monthly and I felt pretty good. Olga advised me that I needed to cut out dairy and gluten and that seemed to help a ton. I was feeling pretty good, was still workng out hard and lived by the motto work hard/play hard.
In my early 30s, things started to go downhill fast. I hit a massive wall and became the person who was coming home from work and basically going into my room and watching Netflix all night because I was so exhausted. Cooking and cleaning was difficult. Going to the gym was rarely happening. I would try and go because being fit and exercising has always been at the core of who I am. Literally I would make about 15 minutes and that was all I could do.
Weird things like my hair wouldn’t grow and my nails were always breaking. As a girl I found this super frustrating and bought expensive supplements to help this, but they never did.
Caffeine was my best friend. At my meetings, my colleagues would make fun of me because I always had a Starbucks cup in my hand but I literally could not function without it. Starbucks haters, I get it, but to me Starbucks was a saving grace. All the years while my health was up and down, I was constantly researching reasons why I felt bad. Everything from thyroid problems to heavy metal toxicity to issues with gluten and was feeling pretty confident that if I could just beat the candida, remove heavy metals and have my thyroid tested I would be fine.
Funny enough, a new clinic had opened down the street from where I lived and they practiced Functional Medicine. This was my first exposure and I thought, yeah this would be a great option. I made an apt and sat with the doctor who said I need to run a battery of lab tests in order to help you and realistically you need to budget $2,500. What? I left feeling bummed but was like that is not in my budget right now and stuck to seeing the energy lady.
Eventually I found an ND who specialized in working with patients like me and was much more affordable. By this point I was ready to do anything and the first thing she wanted me to do was run an organic acids test from Great Plains Lab in the U.S. All that was involved was peeing in a cup. Easy, peasy. I was pumped for the results to come back but that felt like a long 21 days to wait. When the doctor went through my results so many things become clear. I was scary deficient in every single amino acid, all of my neurotransmitter precursors were low, my CoQ10 was virtually at zero (CoQ10 is what powers your cells. If you remember back to high school and mitochondrial function, you will remember this is what provides cells with energy. No cellular energy=your body not functioning properly). More to come on this.
So the course of treatment was to start I.V.’s with all of the building blocks my body needed to power itself ie) B vitamins, amino acids, minerals etc. The next question was why isn’t my body absorbing anything. One key piece the organic acid test showed was that I was a poor methylator. My MTHR gene is mutated (1/3 people have this and don’t know). This means that even though I was taking a shit ton of supplements, my liver wasn’t able to convert. AH ha, this is why the hair supplements didn’t help. Well that and the fact that I wasn’t absorbing nutrients.
After 6 months of IV’s I definitely noticed improvements, but was still frustrated by things like not being able to do an intense workout, my hair was still not growing and my nails were still breaking. All external things I know, but they were reflecting what I could not see. At this point we tested my thyroid which came back with some anti-bodies but was ok. At this point we decided it was my liver causing a lot of the problems.
So my doctor said let’s do a round of ALA (alpha-lipoic acid) IV’s. This is going to help your liver. Within a couple of weeks it was amazing. My hair started to grow and my nails were so strong. I felt great overall and I had taken a break from the booze. Interesting I’ve noticed the last couple of years that if I had one or two glasses of wine with dinner, the next day it felt like I drank an entire bottle….this should have tipped me off. I went about a month without drinking and when I started to drink again, I noticed that my hair stopped growing and my nails started to break again.
A few months later my doc suggested I try an NAD IV. This was after a traumatic breakup and so on top of the daily struggle, I was emotionally spent. NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotid) is a co-enzyme that is part of the majority of your cells in your body and helps with chronic fatigue, anti-aging and can even help over come addiction by resetting the brain on a cellular level.
The NAD IV was intense for me. During the IV I ended up vomiting several times which is highly unusual. This led to the realization that my liver was working improperly as a side effect of the NAD. I was wiped out for the next two days but my energy levels after that were through the roof. Literally I was back to feeling like a human being who felt great in the morning, afternoon, worked out and still had tons of energy through out the evening. Four weeks later I decided to have some wine with dinner and BAM, the next day I was back to feeling sluggish.
After this realization I decided to check with a medical intuitive (insert eye roll here for a lot of you). You may not dig the idea of a medical intuitive but the one I know is trusted, awesome and knows her stuff. What she told me that as a kid, the antibiotics had lowered my immunity and during a vaccination, the surge of white blood cells was too much for my body and this is when my asthma started. All through being a kid, I had colds constantly due to this lowered immunity. When I was 14 and had mono (Epstein Barr), my body started to fight the virus and has never stopped. Hence why things started to go downhill as a teenager.
The final step has been detoxing my clogged system with homeopathics which I had zero faith in, but man have they made a difference. This is a weird measuring stick, but I noticed that I could have two drinks and feel fine the next day after being on the drops for a month. Should I be drinking? Probably not. But it’s part of life that I enjoy sharing conversation with friends over a cocktail.
Now I am feeling a million times better. I don’t see myself running an Iron Man or hiking Mount Kilimanjaro in the near future, but if I can work out 4-5 times a week, be focused and driven at work and have energy to see my friends and family, I consider that a success.
Has this journey taken a lot of soul searching and frustration? Absolutely! Part of my identity was being the athlete but also the person who took pride being up for anything, going anywhere and having the energy to work hard play hard. Spending months coming home from work and basically going straight to bed has given me much compassion for others, but also the drive to want to share the knowledge that I have gained through my journey and help others.
I am especially lucky because I get to learn every single day from amazing practitioners and share my knowledge with others struggling. So here’s to finding answers through the mind/body/spirit connection to help you heal.