Riding that long healing road...

 This morning I met with my naturopath.  It was great to see her.  But as usual, I ended up crying in her office.  I really keep it together most of the time, and have a naturally positive disposition and unfaltering spirit.  But whenever I go to see her, I just let it all out.  All the frustration, fear, uncertainty, anger, aggravation, feelings of isolation, exhaustion of spending so much money, and concern over having days where I feel fatigued and experience a resurgence in symptoms.  My naturopath's nurturing demeanor get me every time, and before I know it, I'm crying my eyes out and baring my soul.  

Thankfully, crying allowed my suddenly congested sinuses to clear out a little bit.  In the last couple days, my throat has become scratchy, my sinuses are congested, and my lungs feel heavy.  Either it is a cold or it is the weird detox thing that happens whenever I start drinking green smoothies again for breakfast.  Regardless, crying was helpful for both my sinuses and my soul, and I felt better after.
Catharsis.

 

I don't usually get too in depth on the blog about my symptoms and my health. I think it is probably easy to assume that I feel great all the time, following a whole foods diet free of all those pesky allergens.  But truth be told, some days I feel like crap.  I have recurring joint pain, suffer random fatigue, and I deal with a strange variety of other symptoms that seem to come and go without warning.  I recently starting having these random heart palpitations again.  And one or two nights without enough rest throws me into a full-out body freak out.  My hormones are still out of balance, and while  I'm working with my healthcare providers on dealing with it, I still suffer amenorrhea.   

Sure, most days, I'm bouncing off the walls with creativity, and have a relatively superb amount of energy.  I feel WORLDS better than I did a year ago, or even 6 months ago.  I recently starting going back the gym, and I noticed that I'm building an impressive amount of muscle, considering the short amount of time I've been lifting weights again.  A year ago I had a hard time walking up the stairs without feeling exhausted.  BAck then, I was losing weight non-stop, wasn't digesting my food properly, was constantly freezing like an ice cube, had a full blown Candida overgrowth, and was incredibly depressed. I never imagined I'd ever be able to do anything other than lie around and be sad; I hardly left my house.  Life as I knew it was completely AWOL.  

These days, it is such a different story.  My social calendar is back, I can go out of town for the weekend and still feel good, and I have the energy and focus to take part in activities I enjoy. I can't describe what a difference I feel in my overall health; it almost feel like a miracle. My digestion, what originally drove me on this path, rarely causes me trouble anymore.  Now it is everything else that is really rearing its ugly head.  It is those things that cause those occasional bad days, when I feel lethargic, have headaches, deal with searing joint pain, itchy eyes, and am easily distracted.  Sometimes I feel like a chemistry set - one little change, and a series of strange chain reactions occur that just totally throw me off.  

My cousin has Lyme Disease, and her body is ravaged.  After about 13 years of being diagnosed with this and that, being put on long lists of prescription medication, and suffering an increasingly long list of symptoms, she has finally found the answer.  Unfortunately, at this point, it has completely invaded her body, and her road to recovery will be long and hard.  My whole family is on Lyme alert; given my list of symptoms, it is a concern.  I have picked countless ticks off my body over my lifetime, and had a very strange, tickbite-like rash on my leg a couple years ago that doctors couldn't figure out.  But the biggest concern is my list of recurring symptoms that still haven't cleared up, despite my über-healing diet and overall lifestyle.  I had filled out a symptom checklist with my naturopath a month ago; after assessing it herself and with a naturopath with a Lyme specialty, she thought it wise to get me tested.  

 

Conveniently, my mom recently requested a number of Western Blot Lyme panel test kits through IGeneX, one of the laboratories in the U.S. that specializes in Lyme tests. I had brought one along to my appointment today, and was going to ask my naturopath to authorize the test.  Our timing was hysterical - I walked in, sat down, and she said, "I think we should test you for Lyme."  I chuckled, reached into my purse, and pulled out my own test kit.  It is always nice to be on the same page with your care providers.

So, right now, my blood sample is sitting on a FedEx truck, heading to the IGeneX labs for assessment.  I'm terrified.  Regardless of how the results come back, I know I have the support system to deal with it and it will all work out.  If it comes back positive, then at least I will know and be able to take on the proper protocol. If it comes back negative,  I still have this whole slew of mysterious, phantom symptoms with no explanation.  Either way, it is a  little bittersweet, to be honest.

The big piece of exciting news is that she said I can try reintroducing some of the foods that I had tested as mildly sensitive to on my IgG tests a year ago.  Most of my IgG allergens were only +1 on a scale of +1-+4, and I've been diligent at avoiding them for the last 10 months (my first post about this test is here ).  She suggested introducing one at a time, and monitoring any symptoms.  So, once I ditch this bout of congestion and am feeling in (relatively) tip top shape, I'm bringing some things back, cautiously.   

Here's the list of foods I get to choose from:
Asparagus, Avocado, Banana, Green Bean, Kidney Bean, Pinto Bean, Yellow Wax Bean, Cantaloupe, Chilli Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Cranberry, Eggplant, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Nutmeg, Oat, Oregano, Sweet Potato, White Potato, Pumpkin, Radish, Sage, Sesame, Snapper, Tangerine, Yam

When it comes with where to start, there is no question: SWEET POTATOES.  Of all the foods on this list, sweet potatoes have been the most heart-wrenching to live without, by far and away.  They are my favorite food on earth.  Who knows, maybe they won't be anymore, now that I've taken time away from them and have fallen in love with other things, like cashew butter, kabocha squash, carob powder, and raw kale chips.  I'm hesitant about reintroducing some things, like all the citrus fruits, since I have a substantial IgE reaction to oranges.  And some things, like cantaloupe and eggplant, have never really agreed with me.  But most of the things on this list I'm ready and rarin' to bring back.  Sesame tahini.  Pumpkin.  GF oats.  GINGER.  I have about 3 lbs of Northern Wisconsin cranberries vacuum sealed in my freezer, just waiting to be used. I'm hoping that my gut has sufficiently healed and will tolerate these items once again, like back in the old days... fingers crossed!

But in the meantime, I will continue on as I am now, taking all my vitamins and herbal supplements and estrogen and progesterone and cod liver oil and getting acupuncture and doing mindful healing meditation.  I'll continue making food I know makes me feel good.  I'll continue feeling thankful for the great strides I've made and be grateful for every moment of everyday.  I have a goal to get more sleep, which I know will help everything.  It isn't that I have trouble sleeping, I have trouble getting into bed; there is always something else to do that sounds much more interesting.  And when I have those bad days, I will listen to my body, honor what it needs, and take comfort in the fact that history has shown me the next day is always better.

Regardless of what I get back from this Lyme panel, I will wake up the next day and need to continue on with my life.  And let me tell 'ya, this girl has got some serious living to do. I've got dreams to fulfill and goals to achieve, and I don't give up easily.  So bring it on life, I'm ready to roll with the punches.  Because really, what other choice do we have?  Either we learn to roll, or we become stagnant, and I've never been all that good at sitting still.