For lack of a better word... I was desperate. I had all these things in my life that I had dreamed about; this booming 7-figure business, the most beautiful two boys, and the best husband a girl could ever ask for, yet I was sick. I didn't look this way from the outside, but internally, I was at one of my lowest points I'd ever been in that season of my life. I felt like I had no answers as to what in the world was going on and I finally went another route... a holistic approach. Believe me, I had no idea what to expect and didn't have any big expectations and then that first appointment completely shifted my mindset entirely about health and wellness. Call it an epiphany.
Three hours. The first appointment was three hours. I cried, I laughed, I said things out loud that actually was shell-shocking to hear myself say, but for the first time in a long time, I felt heard and I knew deep in my heart this doctor was determined to help me. And when I say help, I mean not treat my symptoms, she wanted to get down to the gritty depth of my issues and get at them right at that core. I knew in those 180 minutes that I just embarked on something that would change my life. I know that sounds cheesy, but I look back from 2023 and that appointment was the first step to truly healing myself from within. Little did I know, it would be YEARS of healing.
Fast forward to 2021/2022. At this point, I had tools in my "tool-box" that I didn't know existed before 2018 after working with my holistic doctor, however, I reached another point in my health journey where I felt kind of stuck. I love my holistic doctor that I worked with in 2018, but I needed something more structured this time around because I was ready to do everything I needed to do to get my body in check and figure out at this season in my life what was going on.
I could mentally feel myself slipping. I started waking up with red welts/hives around my eyes nearly every morning. No changes in detergent, body wash, facial products, etc. So I took a visit to my dermatologist and they told me it was Dermatitis and prescribed a steroid hydrocortisone ointment. I used the ointment and it did help in the moment, but the hives just kept coming. I went back to my dermatologist a few weeks later and was told to keep using the steroids... and I just knew, something was not right. Me being me, I went to Google and scoured the internet for links to Dermatitis and causes, and "dermatitis" is essentially a blanket diagnosis and the causes could be oodles of things. I stumbled on an article linking it to gluten. Me: "Nope, I'm out." That is actually what I thought, but waking up every morning with welts over my eyelids and slathering steroids on them was getting super old, so I cut out gluten. IT WAS HARD. I was miserable, initially. All of my favorite things were off the table, literally.
And then the magic happened... the hives stopped within a week. But wait, there's more. Bloating? I thought that was just normal after eating... gone. Stomach pain after dinner? Another thing I thought was normal. GONE. Without changing anything, I lost 15 lbs in about 6 weeks. I visibly looked less inflamed and, although, many of my favorite foods were in the gluten category, the way I felt in such a short amount of time outweighed the need for gluten in my life.
Shortly after, I started working with a local functional medicine doctor that a friend recommended. #gamechanger Similar to my journey with my first holistic doctor, my first appointment with my functional medicine doctor was almost 4 hours and literally a journey through my life starting from birth and taking it to the present time. Another appointment filled with some tears, some memories, and digging into traumas I've never released. Every time I brought up my Grandma who had passed a year before at that point, I lost it. I literally couldn't speak and I knew I had a whole lot of grief I needed to work through that I really avoided because of being in so much denial that she was gone. Think of that initial appointment as a release, a therapy session, a way for the doctor to truly get to know what's going on deeper than just test results listed on paper or symptoms being experienced.
Testing. Lots of intensive testing. I figured it would be helpful if I listed out all the tests I completed at the beginning of my program!
Cyrex Labs: Food Sensitivities
This broke down TONS of foods into 3 arrays (green, yellow, red). I think as a society, we think of certain foods as being "good for us" when some foods that are considered "healthy" may not actually mesh well with our bodies and cause an inflammation response. For me, cooked broccoli, celery, strawberries, all tested as high inflammation foods when I took this test, so I eliminated them for 6 months.
Genovations/Genova Diagnostics: Tested for MTHFR + COMT gene mutations
This tested for gene mutations which affect methylation. I tested positive for the COMT, so this means I have an increased risk for anxiety /ADHD tendencies and huge list of other things.
DutchPlus Test: Hormone *full panel*
.This was my third time and it gives you the most incredible information about what is going on. A full-scope and absolutely eye-opening. It blows my mind that this is not a normal test that is given to women, especially postpartum. It truly shocks me that it's not done as a bare-minimum.
Oral DNA Labs: Saliva Test for Oral DNA
A scope at what bacteria is in your mouth which can cause increases for cancer, cardiovascular issues, dementia, and more. I didn't even know this was a thing and my results were not great at all for this. I had lots of work to do in my mouth to keep my bacteria balanced with more good than bad.
The Great Plains Laboratory, MycoTox Profile: Mold/Toxin Report
Mold... yes, IN our bodies. It's not talked about, but I learned a heck of a lot about it after discovering I have very high levels in my body.
Genova Diagnostics, Metabolomix+: Tested heavy metals, oxidative stress, inflammation, amino acids, organic acids, nutrient + toxic elements
LOTS of information packed in this one, such as nutrients I needed, GI system support, amino acid levels, oxidative stress/mitochondrial dysfunction, heavy metals, and more.
GI Map: Stool Test for Gut Biome
This one is fun to collect for... just kidding. You literally have to poop in a fried chicken basket you'd get from your local fair and then transport it to a plastic container. But the information you get after?! GOLD. You get the inside scoop (pun intended) on what exactly is living in your gut. The good, the bad... all of it. Parasite, bacteria. Another one that is eye-opening and gives you a big look into why you are experiencing some of the things you have going on.
Vibrant America: Overall Health Panel
Similar test to what is done at a normal doctor's office. It tests a lot of the baseline info, like cholesterol, iron, vitamin d levels, baseline thyroid. From this test, I looked like one extremely healthy human. I'd say this was the least valuable test out of them all.
So what next? My functional medicine doc had literally the most incredible information at her fingertips to dig into. Connecting all the dots, analyzing how things connected, and then the plan began... stay tuned for Part 2.