My Health Journey (Pt 3): Improvements, test results & what next….
I thought it was time for a bit of an update on my own health journey as it has been about 5-6 months since I shared my latest ‘installment’. So if you didn’t catch the last update you can click here to read it.
I wanted to cover what I have been doing, how I am feeling, the additional tests I have had done and what I am currently working towards.
So the question is……
What the heck is going on with my body?
Last time I shared how it looked like there were sub clinical (meaning not picked up by doctors and lower grade) hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s (the autoimmune thyroid condition), adrenal dysfunction and poor energy.
Since then I have accepted and embraced the fact that really I have a form of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This is not something diagnosed by doctors because I can’t be arsed to go see them consistently for 6 months and don’t want any of the drugs or treatments they offer. The medical world in general really doesn’t understand that much about CFS and the diagnosis itself is one of exclusion. Meaning they exclude the really serious life-threatening diseases and are not really sure what is wrong with you, but they know it’s not going to kill you. (Well that is my paraphrase!) IBS is another diagnosis like this.
And while I have steered away from labeling things in my body, especially in regards to CFS, because I KNOW I have it pretty good and my symptoms are SO SO mild in comparison to others. It has never gotten that bad where I am bed bound or have pain all over my body every day but I have faced some facts in the past few months:
- There have been times where I am so grateful to work for myself because I know I couldn’t sustain a full-time job where I could rest when needed, sleep in when needed and could work in an ideal environment (due to light sensitivity, achy body etc).
- I have been in the pattern of regular ‘crashes’ where my glands swell up, joints get sorer and my energy flatlines. Not in a ‘haven’t slept‘ kinda way, but in a ‘my cells aren’t making energy‘ way. (FYI chronic fatigue is NOT like having a late night or being sleep deprived it is a very different feeling that extra sleep will not shift.)
- I have a history of repeat Epstein Barr/mono/glandular fever virus which is heavily implicated with CFS.
- I have been unable to recover from exercise with weak muscles.
- I have old ladies joints that are stopping me from doing yoga and weight bearing exercising on my hands.
- I used to be able to climb mountains no bother whereas at the start of the year it was a rarity that I could manage one every 2-3 months ad would spend weeks recovering.
And to be honest I came to this conclusion after working with many ones to one clients with diagnosed CFS and realising I fit the criteria in a mild way. And also through reading and researching more about it for my clients (Dr. Sarah Myhill is fabulous on this topic – highly recommend reading this book if you have fatigue).
2017 has been all about running lab tests!! But boy I am SO glad I have as I now have SUCH clear idea of why I feel the way I feel and what to do about it. I know I am not a crazy person!
At the start of the year, I ran a stool test, organic acids test, adrenal panel and had a blood thyroid panel. Since then I have run a hair mineral analysis to discover any heavy metal toxicity, a vitamin D test, and a food intolerance test. So here are the results and what I have been learning:
Hair Mineral Test
Despite finding cutting off large chunks of my hair mildly traumatic, this has been very helpful in understanding the root cause. I suspected a mercury toxicity but in fact, I have arsenic toxicity. And guess what arsenic is an antagonist of? Iodine! And what is vital for thyroid function – iodine! It gets in the way of selenium and gets what need lots of selenium – the thyroid!!
So this has really helped me see why my body has been attacking my thyroid and why my t4-t3 conversion has been poor.
This is a super cheap and easy test to run, ideally, your GP should run it but mine refused (don’t even ask!) so I did it myself and after being low last year I am now above normal range! So much so I will stop supplementation for the next few months. Yay.
I used Pinnertest to run this panel because it seems to be more accurate than standard IgG test as it looks at antibodies too so you don’t end up with a 50 item long list of things to avoid. I have always been suspect of these tests, to be honest, but I wanted to run one to see if it’s something I would recommend to clients and if I was eating a ‘healthy’ food daily that I actually reacted too.
My results showed soya, bell peppers and corn as my biggest allergens but I intuitively don’t consume or buy those things anyway so this test was not massively impactful. But I may still recommend it to clients if we are really stuck around food intolerances.
I have found though that healing your gut and running your own elimination diets is also incredibly effective and will save you the £200 that these tests can cost!
I know not directly related, but I did this at Uni after failing an assignment and boy it has been eye opening to how I function in the world and how my brain works. Knowing I am dyslexic after all these years has been so eye opening and it will become my new super power!
But how am I feeling?
So after gathering all my results I created my own protocol (very similar to those I create for my one to one clients) that I have been following that has gone something like this:
Stage 1 – Detox and cleanse
– x1 30 day program and then another 21-day program using antifungal, probiotics and really focusing on liver support to help sort out remaining gut health issues.
– Infrared Sauna – this is meant to specifically help with heavy metal detoxification (those buggers are notoriously difficult to remove from the body), it also supports CFS, energy production and even weight loss (not that I have noticed!)
Stage 2 – Replenish
Currently I am on a relatively heavy supplement regime but they are all things my test results pointed out as low so currently, I take:
– Thyroid support – with iodine, zinc, ashwagandha, selenium, and L’tyrosine
– Pregnancy multi vitamin – for even more iodine, high amount of methylated B vitamins (due to my MTFHR gene). I am doubling up with this but found it helpful so far and no I am not pregnant but wanted a high dose supplement containing iodine and decent amounts of iron!
– Selenium – again doubling up on this mineral but selenium is a great way to detoxify arsenic so I take additional 200mg a day as both the above supplement have very minimal amounts.
– L-carnitine – essential for making energy and metabolising fats
– D-ribose – this came from a Dr. Myhill recommendation and is meant to help CFS folk with energy production
– Vitamin C – about 2-5 grams a day to help with detoxification and my test results showed oxidative damage and the need for antioxidants. I take both a food based supplement and ascorbic acid powder.
– Turmeric – to try the liver and support my joints which are sore and prevent me from doing yoga
– L’arginine – an amino acid that again is energy and detoxification supporting
– CoQ10 – again this is to support my energy and mitochondria and is a great antioxidant to help reverse some oxidative damage that my results pointed out.
Please note – I know this is a lot and it will change over time AND it is based my unique body and on the test results and data I have had back. Please don’t just copy this regime thinking it will work for you as chances are it won’t!
This supplement regime is focused on supporting my mitochondria to make energy, focused on helping the body gently detox arsenic and on nourishing my thyroid after potential years of arsenic toxicity and stress.
So am I feeling any better?
Honestly, guys, I am!!!! Not pants droppingly better but slowly but surely feeling good, feeling NORMAL!
Previously I would spend half my week in what I called a ‘crash’, roughly 4/7 days sore, inflamed and exhausted. Recently I have been having FULL WEEKS of feeling normal, with normal energy, normal tiredness. Sure I have had some crashes but they are less often and shorter in duration.
It’s SO good.
I am actually starting to feel a bit normal and even able to do more exercise but still need to be careful so not to overdo it.
My blood sugar feels more stable and my mood has been better and generally feeling good more frequently
I really feel like the mitochondrial support has been really helpful – the D-ribose, L’carnitine, COQ10, and l’arginine seem to be making a difference. And my weekly infrared sauna sessions too.
Also, my basal temperature is stabilising and getting higher on average. My waking temperature was about 36.4 ish and is now a steady 36.7 or higher when ovulating. All of which is a great sign that my thyroid is getting happier. And I am sweating WAY more than I used to which is also a good sign as iodine deficiency can be linked to low sweating.
What am I working on now?
As this is a process I am still working on a few things. Currently, my periods are a bit weird I have had a few 20 or 19-day cycles which is NOT good so am changing the way I eat, increasing my carbs slightly and may get a full hormone panel done if it doesn’t improve. For making babies it’s important that your cycle is long enough to avoid miscarriage and allow the embryo to embed in the uterus properly. Plus fertility and your period are an important sign of health in the body. But trying not to stress about it – I figure as my energy improves and thyroid heals it should sort itself out. And overall it was getting better and my cycle were getting longer it just seems recently its had a blip 😉
Energy is still a big issue so I am just keeping on going with the things I know are helping, mainly:
- x1-2 infrared sauna sessions
- my supplement regime
- working less
- and I have started seeing a psychotherapist to work on some ‘inner’ stuff which is terrifying…..but helpful.
And finally, I would really like to get a bit more honed and toned. Lower energy has meant being less active and I feel a bit ‘heavier’ than I would like so I am focusing on gently increasing my exercise and focusing on having 3 proper meals a day with minimal to zero snacks. And while I am not bothered if the scale doesn’t change I would like to feel slimmer so that is a secondary focus (primary focus being on healing my body and if that means I need to put ON weight I don’t care – I WILL be well!) for the 3 months before I turn the big 30 in December. I will need to be gentle with exercise as I love to do intense stuff but will focus on 3 works out a week plus daily walking and keep it at that. Plus some people say you can burn up to 600 calories in an infrared sauna whilst lying motionless – so WIN!
But phew that is a big long update – well done for making it this far;)
But seriously don’t ever give up on your body or on your health. We are created for radiant, world-changing health and it’s our privilege to learn how to steward that in our own lives and bodies.
If you want help with your body then click here to find out more about my one to one programs where together we can get you feeling more AWESOME!