I had 10 years worth of most of these symptoms, so I had (mostly) learned how to live with it. But the thing about marriage is, it’s different from a roommate [shocker]. Intimacy and vulnerability are involved. I couldn’t hide my symptoms, from myself or Sam, as well as I was used to because like it or not, he was always there.
So in July, Sam found me laying on our bed, wondering why I was crying. I was forced to confront my symptoms. I began asking or rather begging Sam if we could please stay home tonight. I was on my n-i-n-t-h day without going, ahem, to the bathroom. I was in so much pain I couldn't think of any excuse not to go out, all I could do was twist around and try to find a position to lessen the pain. Rather than answering my question with a "yes" or "no", he gently replied, "Em, I think something is wrong and I think we can try to figure out what it is."
It was then that I finally let him convince me whatever was going on wasn't normal after all. 3 weeks later I was meeting with a functional medicine doctor. At my first appointment, it took 2 hours to go through all my symptoms. Things that were normal in my life, but I wished weren't so normal.
- Constant bloating - 8
- Constant hunger - 7
- Being scared to eat & feeling pain - 8.5
- Gas - 7
- Debilitating menses - 9
- Eczema - 5
- Itchy Scalp - bleeds sometimes - 6-7
- Bad Breath - 5
- Brittle Teeth - 6
- Itchy hips - 6
- Dry/cracked fingers & toes - 4
- Itchy ears (so bad it would wake me up in the middle of the night) - 7.5
- Sleeping 12 hours and still feeling tired the next day - 9
- Chronic yeast infections (yep! That was bad) - 6
- Emotional instability (crying at least 4-5 times a week, if not every day) - 10
- Thyroid Cancer - ?? Not sure how to score that.
- Developing 18 cavities seemingly out of nowhere over a 12-month period despite excellent oral hygiene!
As gently as possible, my doctor prescribed me the following: an anti-inflammatory diet, specific supplements, to "reduce stress" (WHAT THE H DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Maybe I'll do a blog post on that), daily meditation and 30 minutes of exercise each day.
While it's a lot of work the real question to answer is, is all the work in fact working? In the past 5 months, my symptoms have reduced dramatically. Which I will probably chronicle in detail going forward. :)
The pain is uncomfortable for me to talk about. So much in fact, that I normally didn't talk about it. I would say something vague like, "gluten just doesn't agree with me" to prevent having to tell someone the truth of how I'd be sick for the next week if I ate the delicious looking pasta. Or I would eat it anyway, too embarrassed to turn it down knowing I would pay the price later. But not knowing WHY I would be sick. "Maybe it's just in my head" "I probably just ate too much last time." Once this diet started though, it became much more "in your face." I had to either cut back on social events, or else explain why I had brought my own snack, meal, mocktail, or all three to a party. It has been both isolating and way too in your face at the same time.
Looking for an outlet where I could find other people going through this, I turned to the place you look anytime you want a niche group of people. The internets. And lo and behold, I've found a welcoming, supportive, inclusive, and hilarious community. I'm happy to be here. Let's be friends.
Do you have a before post? The moment you decided to do something different? Let me know. I have a small addiction to the Whole30 stories and would love to add you to my Feedly list!