My health journey
My passion for natural healing started when I was a little girl. I always admired my
Aunt Janice who was into natural health. She was different from everyone else. She shopped from a co-op, took vitamins, and made healthy desserts. Now, as an adult, I realize what I admired was her dedication to self care. She cared about what she put
into her body, on her body and how the food she ate affected her.
Family History: Autoimmune disorders: MS, Pernicious Anemia, IBS, Crohn’s Disease, Lung Cancer, Kidney Cancer, Anxiety
Childhood through teenage years
Childhood health issues: Asthma, Tonsillitis, Croup
Teenage health issues: PMS, Migraines, PCOS, Amenorrhea, undiagnosed Inguinal hernia
Emotional Health: Dealing with parents divorce, sickness and death of family members, fear & neglect issues
As a baby I had issues with upper respiratory colds, asthma and tonsillitis. I remember frequently taking the pink medicine (amoxicillin). I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when convenience food was the trend. McDonald’s, White Castle and Burger King were eaten regularly, and very rarely was there a home cooked meal. We ate TV dinners, canned foods, packaged and processed food, and a lot of junk food. I don’t remember drinking water or eating vegetables at all or being taught anything about nutrition.
At the age of 8, my parents divorced, and my grandfather passed from lung cancer. Life became very stressful for me. I had a lump in my lower abdomen and, as a kid, I thought it meant I was dying of cancer like my grandfather. This is how my mother explained cancer to me—”Grandpa has a lump.” So I kept my lump a secret because I saw the distress cancer caused for my family. I truly thought I had cancer and was going to die soon. Eight-year-olds should be playing with their friends and being kids. I spent a lot of time in fear and loneliness, and crying myself to sleep. Besides being a mental mess, my health suffered from puberty on. I had monthly PMS issues, migraine headaches, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and at times would go months without periods. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I told a friend about my “lump” and he assured me that it was a hernia. Sure enough it was an Inguinal hernia that I was born with and after that surgery, I became “alive” again. My childhood was very fearful and serious.
Twenties and thirties
Health issues: PMS, Migraines, PCOS, Amenorrhea, Etopic pregnancy, Miscarriages, Thyroid, Digestive, Gallbladder, Weight Gain, Teeth and Jaw pain, Neck pain
Emotional Health: Dysfunctional relationship, College, Career, Marriage & Divorce, Pregnancy
As I write this, I realize that I literally ate empty calories and processed foods for most of my life. My twenties and college years of partying didn’t add anything of value to my nutrition either. During my mid-thirties, I had troubles getting pregnant, and when I did, it resulted in an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage. I began to research and pay attention to my body each month. In the meantime, my sister was battling her own health issues. She suffered with intestinal problems during her teenage years and found relief from doing a colon and liver detox. I remember her eating a restricted diet of rice and broccoli during the detox. After a couple of months she was brand new! I decided to do my first detox/colon cleanse and I too noticed a huge improvement in my ovulation and menstrual cycles. I was intrigued with the connection between my diet and how it effected my health.
My nutrition improved as my awareness of what I was eating became important. Also, I was lucky at the time to have a husband who did most of the cooking, and loved to eat fruits and vegetables. When I first met him, I can remember watching him eat apples and think how strange that was. He also ate huge bowls of salads and made us vegetables with every meal. It was so odd to me, to eat this stuff.
In 2003, I was 34, overweight and very toxic when I finally got pregnant. My pregnancy was a horrible experience from beginning to end. I was completely miserable the whole time, both physically and emotionally. I felt so trapped in my body; my feet hurt, my back hurt; I was sick with heartburn, and I never slept. I also ate very poorly while I was pregnant. I used my pregnancy as an excuse to eat anything I wanted (mostly junk food). I made no connection to food and its effect on my hormones or health at all during my pregnancy. I gained 50 pounds. and had severely low iron.
Two days after giving birth, my feet swelled up so badly it was unbelievable. My health was never the same after my pregnancy. I have always wondered if having the flu shot while I was pregnant had something to do with my why immune system was struggling to keep me healthy.
My son weighed 10 lbs. with a 10 inch head, so it was recommend I have a C-section. My immune system was so worn out that it took my Cesarean scar over a year to heal. I was a swollen, toxic mess and emotionally the new mom thing was terribly overwhelming to me. This was the starting point of my extreme downward spiral with my health and the most stressful time of my life.
The beginning of my healthy transformation
In 2005 I was having teeth issues and had my mercury fillings removed from my mouth. I ended up loosing both the upper and lower back left side of my teeth from infection and bad root canals. I suffered from chronic and intense jaw/tooth pain for about 2.5 years, and saw many dentists who could not help me. I had to travel out of town to a specialty dentist that did a CT test on me and found the infection in my jaw. I also had other issues like extreme fatigue and just didn’t feel right. I must have seen about five different doctors (what I didn’t know then, but figured out recently is, I had an un-diagnosed thyroid issue. Too bad I didn’t know that back then.) I started to take better care of myself and manage my symptoms.
In 2007 I was pregnant again with my second child. This pregnancy wasn’t as bad…not great, but not bad. I did eat better during my pregnancy with my second child. However
3 months after giving birth, my gallbladder stopped functioning. The medical world diagnosed me with acid reflex and loaded me up with the purple pill. So anything I ate, literally rotted in my stomach because I had very little stomach acid (from my thyroid issues) along with a non-functioning gallbladder. I lost about 50 pounds and was the smallest I had ever been. I could not eat anything! I ate only soup and oatmeal. Doctors kept telling me there was nothing wrong, which meant I had to become a detective and figure out what was going on myself. Once they found out my gallbladder was not functioning, I begged them to take it out. It didn’t fully resolve my issues; I felt better but my digestion was still not functioning properly. Something was not quite right. My throat was always swollen and sore, I had weakness in my arms and hands, and major fatigue.
From 2008 – 2009 I felt good enough to start exercising and I actually trained for my first 5K. Then things took a turn for the worse. I could not even hold my head up. My neck felt inflamed and swollen. I was always in pain especially in my neck, jaw, shoulder and arms. My adrenals were shot. I could not hold my baby because my arms hurt all the time. I saw an otolaryngologist and endocrinologist, a neurologist, plus chiropractors and massage therapists. I traveled to Arizona to have myofacial release work done. I had major connective tissue issues. My neck and jaw pain was unbearable. The otolaryngologist was convinced I had an infection and put me on antibiotics for two months. I did feel better for a short time. I had many MRIs, the one of my head showed small white matter throughout my brain. I was seeing a chiropractor who was convinced I had MS and suggested I rule it out, which we did with an MRI. Then finally, I was diagnosed with Hashimotos which is an autoimmune thyroid disease.
Health issues: Hashimotos (Autoimmune Thyroid), Digestive, Skin issues, Jaw pain, Neck pain, Lyme disease, shingles, slow healing
Emotional Health: Dysfunctional marriage, Dysfunctional workplace, Survival
Healing my thyroid
I started researching everything I could about the thyroid. I found a nutritionist who suggested a food allergy test so I could keep inflammation down. I found out I was sensitive to practically everything. I read tons of books about autoimmune disorders. I started to watch my eating, limiting dairy and gluten. I still have major digestive issues.
I moved away from the medical doctors and started to see holistic doctors, who tested my deficiencies. I found a biofeedback practitioner who found I had Candida overgrowth. Probiotics helped to fix my upper digestion issues. My chest pain was lessened with homeopathic and trigger point shots and massage therapy.
Functional medicine to the rescue
In search to find out why I still didn’t feel right, I came across a local “functional medicine” doctor online. In fact, I give this doctor the credit for turning my life around. He confirmed my thyroid disorder and put me on NatureThroid®. He did so by doing extensive thyroid testing of my t3, t4, and antibodies. He also found out I had low cortisol, low ferritin (iron storage) and low levels of vitamin D. He suggested that I be tested for Lyme disease and to consider Low Dose Naltraxone for pain and to regulate my immune system. I didn’t do the Lyme test as suggested because I wasn’t aware of being bitten by a tick. And I refused to go on a pharmaceutical LDN because I wanted to treat my health issues as naturally as possible. A year went by and I continued to see my functional medicine doctor every 12 weeks because he was monitoring my thyroid and iron levels. I still didn’t feel right after a year of treatment. In fact, I started having extreme cold body temperatures, panic attacks, shaking seizures and an accelerated heart rate. Something was very wrong. Once again my doctor asked me to get tested and rule out Lyme disease. Exhausted from dealing with all my health issues, I gave in and did the test, and started on the LDN. I felt I had nothing to lose.
LDN and my thyroid
I started LDN during November 2011. It was a crazy month adjusting to it. Thank goodness for the “Starting LDN” facebook group. Deb Anderson was and still is great support for me. She supported me through the adjustment period. LDN works rapidly to modulate your immune system; it is amazing. I had to decrease my thyroid medicine as I went within weeks from hypo to hyper thyroid, which made my heart feel like it was pounding out of my chest. You have to start very slowly with LDN, upping the dose one month at a time. Once I got through that first month, I already felt like I was cured. My energy came back and my pain was gone. Life was great. Then I got the phone call …. Hello Dee? Dr. Schultz got your Lyme results back and you will need to make an appointment to start treatment because you have tested positive for chronic lyme disease.
We were having our house renovated and living at my in-laws’ house for 3 months when I started my Lyme antibiotic treatment. I didn’t know what real pain was until I started treatment. I did about 4 months of hard core antibiotics and was on many different types of supplements to help with the detox overload. Toxins were released (also known as die-off) from the treatment which made me feel very ill. There were times when I could not walk or get out of bed. I felt like I had the flu times ten. The body pain from all the toxins was indescribable. Beside the physical pain, I was in an emotional hell. It was one of the loneliest and scariest times of my life. I didn’t have much emotional support; no one understood what I was going through physically or emotionally, and I felt like people thought I was a hypochondriac. I attended a Lyme support group meeting and met Brenda, who suggested herbs to aid with my detox. (I love the idea of using a holistic approach to heal.)
Herbs, nutrition and clean eating—the key to my healing
Jane, founder of Jane’s Herbs (www.janesherbs.com), put me on a 4-month parasite colon cleanse, Swedish bitters to clean my blood, and teasel root for my joint pain. I totally focused on self care. I learned to meditate and about breathing techniques that enabled me to minimize my pain and emotional distress. I went and continue to go for acupuncture and massage therapy regularly. My life got better and better (and continues) as I turned my life around with proper nutrition, exercise and healing all aspects of my life.
Essential oils came into my life when a yoga instructor told me she healed her thyroid using them. She had a book that referenced different aliments, and Lyme disease was among them. I ordered the oils recommended for Lyme disease. I discovered in order for the body to heal, it needed to be at a certain energetic frequency level. The oils had high frequencies, so if you apply them topically or internally, you automatically raise your vibration. This concept was very intriguing to me. I use the oils to raise my energetic vibration so I can heal quicker. Everyone around me noticed a difference in me once I started using the oils. I love essential oils. Learn more about oils here. Learn more about energetic frequencies here.
Phyto-Cannabinoids (Cannabis Oil)
Throughout the year of 2017 I was introduced to Cannabis oil from the hemp plant. The
most intriguing thing to me was learning that we all have an endocannabinoid system. And guess what mine was very deactivated! Using the oil turned things around fast. Read more here.
Today I have never felt better... I have my life back! I deal with some minor aches and pain here and there but functioning both physically and mentally like never before. Self care is still my top priority, and like my health nut aunt, I am very conscious of everything I put in and on my body. I know and believe that our bodies are capable of healing on their own. We just need to keep the cells communicating the best we can with proper nutrition and self-care. Let me help you get your life back.