Friday, December 12, 2014

9 Signs You Have an Autoimmune Disease & How to Reverse It...

I have been struggling with whether or not to post about this, but I feel like if I could just help one person to feel better, I would be doing my job...


STORY TIME:

Things have to get really bad before they get better sometimes. Sometimes it takes a person hitting ROCK BOTTOM to make a change. From September 2009 to March of 2013, I was constantly sick. First, it started with Mononucleosis. I worked in a daycare. I remember I had to call in to my VERY FIRST day of work. I remember feeling like a total loser for having to do that, but there was no way I was getting out of bed. After I got better from that, I kind of would just catch everything that came around the daycare ALL the time. Strep throat, laryngitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, rhinitis, upper respiratory infection, ear infection... I just really can't even remember a time where I actually felt 100%. I was constantly downing coffee and Dr. Pepper to keep myself awake, eating everything in sight no matter if it was healthy or not. I ate like an extremely obsese person, but I wasn't gaining any weight... I was just... swollen... I requested blood work finally when I was at the doctor for one of my many viruses... It came back that I was anemic. I had all the symptoms! Eat more greens and take an iron pill, they said. So I did.

Months went by and I was still getting sick even with my iron supplement. I didn't understand. I went to the doctor again and requested more bloodwork because I felt like I had mono again. This is when I found out that it can actually reactivate itself. It just lies dormant in your body and never goes away. My results came in and I was told that my blood showed an old infection of mono, but that I had Epstein-Barr. I had skin rashes, whole body inflammation, severe neck and back pain, abdominal pain, mouth sores, the list just went on and on and on!!! I was told that there was nothing that could be done about my situation. They kept giving me antibiotics after antibiotics and I kept taking them still having NO ANSWERS.

I finally decided to switch doctors. I went to a new doctor who I cried to begging for answers. She was willing to help me and do whatever she could to make me feel better. Knowing my current situation, she tested SO MUCH STUFF. I remember they couldn't carry the vials of blood in one trip. I was excited to know WHAT the hell was wrong with me!

My results came back and quite a few things showed up.
- Low Iron (anemia)
- Strep (My throat wasn't even hurting at this point)
- Lyme Disease (never once found a tick on myself)
- Some of the markers for Lupus (this was new to me - never heard of it)

She gave me some more antibiotics to get rid of the strep. She also put me on another one for the Lyme. These things went away. Wishing I knew then what I know now... I would NEVER have taken all of these antibiotics!!! I actually felt better! For about a month... Then I just felt terrible again. We had a plethora of hydrocodone at my house that I would take just to make it through the day. Advil did NOT work for me! It didn't touch the pain. So here I am having to be on painkillers while I was working. (I know what you're thinking - this high chick was taking care of kids. It wasn't like that. They actually allowed me to have the energy to take care of all my sweet babies! It didn't hurt me to play with them when I was taking these pills. I wanted to love on them and carry them and push them on the swings! This was the only thing I had access to and the knowledge of at the time to help me lead a somewhat NORMAL life!)

I eventually stopped working at the daycare and became more full-time at school and less of a full-time worker. This allowed me to have the rest time that my body so badly needed! I was only working about 2 or 3 half days a week. Surprisingly, I was still only wanting to lay in bed and eat! I couldn't get enough time in bed! I was miserable! I wanted to quit school! I started skipping class a lot and I never wanted to get out of bed. My grades suffered and I ended up dropping out of school after midterm. I felt like the largest weight had been lifted off of my shoulders when I signed that withdrawal form!!! I could just relax, take some time for ME, to heal. Yes, that is exactly what I would do!

Guess what? Nothing even got better! I STILL felt terrible almost daily. I told myself that if I was going to feel the same way, I had to at least start back going to school. I wasn't going to let some stupid sickness ruin my life! I am just not that kind of person. I was on the verge of depression I suppose when I re-enrolled in school. Something's gotta give!!!

I remember I was sitting in class one day wishing I could just pay attention! It was near impossible for me to focus on anything except for the way I was feeling, how I wished I could be in bed, how I wanted a magic pill to come and take the pain away, I don't know... It was just really terrible, because on the outside, I didn't look sick or handicapped, but I felt as if my own life had self destructed, and there was nothing I could do about it. I finally said to myself ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I started researching. And by researching, I mean I typed into Google: how to feel better. Ha! I'm serious.

When I looked, it basically just said that I needed to be eating healthy, exercising, and drinking lots of water. I knew there was no way I, a junk food addict, could be able to eat healthy (ALL DAY LONG). So I thought about meal replacement shakes. I loved Slim-Fast and all of those things (ew.... I wouldn't touch the stuff today). So I Googled: best meal replacement shakes...

That's when I found Shakeology. I read ALL about it and researched every single ingredient before I even knew how much it cost. I knew it was for me. So I went to buy it... ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS?!!?!?!??! You've got to be kidding me!!! This stuff better fold my laundry for me too, right?! ...I bought it. Anyway. I knew that I was willing to try ANYTHING to feel better, but I just had to do it slowly... I decided to go with the vegan formula. I do not know what caused me to make that decision, but I am so glad I started with that flavor.

I'll be honest... The very first time I made Shakeology, I wasn't impressed. It tasted kind of weird and I think the blender I was using at the time sucked. I was headed out the door, so I didn't have time to make anything else. I poured some French Vanilla Coffeemate in it. Hahaah!! Not that that's good for you... I didn't know it then though. It tasted a lot better and I headed out the door. After I finished my very first cup of Shakeology, I was SOLD on the stuff! I had energy I hadn't had in YEARS. I went to the bathroom like a normal person (Is that TMI?)! AND I was full for quite awhile. I had my mind made up... This stuff was THE BUSINESS.

Over that month I became addicted to the feeling this stuff was giving me! Is this how normal people feel? I had become so accustomed to feeling like CRAP every day that I didn't know it was possible to feel pain-free, energized, and motivated to take on the day! After 30 days straight of using Shakeology, I posted a really long Facebook status about how it had made me feel incredible and how I recommended it to everybody. I was seriously on top of the world! Not much later, my friends Andy and Ashley Landers introduced me to the COACHING OPPORTUNITY. There were 2 words that yanked me in: income and discount. I could get my Shakeology for 25% less, AND I could potentially earn money from this. Count. Me. In. This wouldn't be in typical Beachbody Coach fashion for me to not leave my link for you. Getchu Some Shakeology, Sweet Thang!

Fast Forward.

So I have been drinking Shakeology since April 2013, and I haven't had a single strep throat, laryngitis, sinus infection, or mono symptom since! I found my miracle! But let me talk about one particular instance that lead me to believe that I still had a little somethin' somethin' going on with me...

I was working, I had begun a fitness program, I was Beachbody Coaching, it was cold outside, and I had started a bachelor degree program. I was busy to say the least. My routine caught up to me and I started feeling EXHAUSTED. I felt that inflammation feeling again, I felt feverish. I was so upset! Shakeology was my lifesaver for MONTHS and now I was feeling rough again :(

I started researching A LOT. I looked up my symptoms. I looked up pills. I looked up natural remedies. I looked up new doctors. I looked up chiropractic. I looked up food sensitivities. I looked up THE WORKS.

That's when I found Carrie Madej, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Life has pretty much changed for the best. She ran quite a few tests and diagnosed me with "Leaky Gut Syndrome & Candida Yeast Overgrowth." I learned a lot about "THE GUT." Your gut makes up your whole body. Everything you eat goes there first. Everything that fuels your body first goes through the gut. Bacteria lives in your gut. I mean, I don't even know how to explain it all! Lol. I left the doctor's office overwhelmed. She told me that if I cleaned up my gut, my whole life would improve. She said to avoid wheat and dairy. She said to take detox baths. She said to do coconut oil pulling. She said to take probiotics. She said not to eat raw fruit for a few weeks. She told me I was low on magnesium. She told me I needed to be taking amino acids. She told me I was deficient in vitamin b-complex. She told me I had a blood infection.

I stopped eating gluten. I stopped drinking milk. I stopped eating yogurt so much. I felt like a new woman! The Shakeology was still doing its job, but I wasn't doing MY job. So now that I have a more in-depth understanding of "leaky gut," I know how to fix it and what sets back healing.

I am still working on healing myself, but at least now I know how :)

9 Signs You Have an Autoimmune Disease: (DO NOT IGNORE THESE)

1) General weakness, joint and muscle pains.
2) Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet.
3) Feeling fatigued and tired frequently, rapid heart rate, out of breath feeling.
4) Insomnia.
5) Dry skin and dry skin patches, excema, dry mouth, mouth sores/canker sores.
6) Abdominal pain, diarrhea.
7) Hair loss.
8) Trouble focusing and concentrating.
9) Frequently occuring rashes, hives, burning easily in the sun.

I had absolutely every one of these symptoms AND THEN SOME. I have now become obsessed with the healing process. It's probably annoying to everyone around me. Haha. I don't care though. I just want to feel better. All the time. Feel my best. There is no greater feeling.

What should you do if you are feeling this way? {Source: eatlocalgrown.com}
- Find a good doctor like I did. Conventional doctors only treat your symptoms and try to give you immunosuppressant drugs which only make things worse for you in the long run. Your doctor should work with you to find a treatment plan for you. I am currently looking into an elimination diet, like GAPS. I am avoiding gluten and dairy which is working fairly well for me :) Best of luck in your healing process. Please, feel free to add me on Facebook should you wish: facebook.com/taylor.j.nichols

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