My Journey to Healing

It all started in February of 2010. I was working as a Dietitian and was healthy as can be (so I thought). But during that time, my hands started aching pretty badly, and the pain continued to get worse until one night I woke up with extremely stiff hands and couldn’t even make a fist with them. I was in so much pain. This went on for weeks, which turned into months.  Waking up in tears almost every night as I was in excruciating pain and fearful for what was happening to me. I couldn’t bend the fingers in my left hand. I remember countless nights that consisted of pain, crying, and waking up my husband, Eric, and asking him to pray for healing.

At first, my doctor just gave me a prescription NSAID (anti-inflammatory) to see if that would take the pain and inflammation away. (It didn’t.)  At my next visit, he took an x-ray of my hand to see if anything could possibly be broken. (It wasn’t.) I asked him to do a complete blood work-up on me, and he agreed as he was then concerned that what I had could be several things: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, parvovirus, & other diseases that scared me.  While waiting on my blood results, I did exactly what I shouldn’t have done; I went home and researched every disease that he mentioned I “could” have. Now this was also a time when my husband worked almost every night, so I was home alone a lot and didn’t have anyone to take my mind off of all my fears.  Panic, depression, and worry all filled my mind, especially after reading articles that talked about fertility problems being linked to some of these diseases. More than anything, I wanted to be a mom someday, and my mind kept going back to “what if I can’t have children?” “Will I have to live in pain the rest of my life?”  The information you read online is downright scary. My results came in and the doctor couldn’t tell me much except that my ANA levels were high and that he wanted me to see a rheumatologist. Unfortunately for me, the first appointment available was weeks away, so the waiting and worrying continued….along with the pain.

By the time my husband and I went to see the rheumatologist, I had talked to several people about what was going on with my health and from my own research, I decided to ask the doctor if he thought I should go on a gluten free diet to help my pain.  He said absolutely not, and that the only people who need to go on a gluten free diet are those who have celiac disease and since I was not having intestinal pain/diarrhea, that I didn’t have celiac disease. (He was misinformed as many people have other symptoms with celiac or no symptoms at all).  Check out the symptoms of celiac disease here. I also talked to the doctor about whether I should try eating an anti-inflammatory diet to see if that would help.  He told me that changing someone’s diet could not change inflammation in the body. (As a dietitian, I was shocked that he said and believed this).  So I asked him what he thought was wrong with me, and while he wouldn’t admit that he “didn’t know,” he said, “Well, you have arthritic pain. Here are steroids for you to take, and come back in a month.”  This is the problem I had with all my doctors, and I cannot begin to tell you how frustrated I was with the fact that these doctors were giving me a drug to treat the symptoms, but didn’t try at all to find the CAUSE of the symptoms. Honestly, what hurt me worse was not the pain; it was not knowing what was wrong with me and not knowing if I was going to be okay.  The unknown hurts a lot worse than physical pain.

So I reluctantly took the steroids everyday and hated that my appetite increased quite a bit (side effect of steroids).  Some people take steroids the rest of their lives, and I just couldn’t do it. I’m not sure if this was a good or bad thing, but they didn’t work.  The pain, stiffness, and swelling continued. New symptoms appeared. When I would wash my hands, my fingers would get this burning, tingling sensation. Scared even more at this point.  When hurting that badly and not knowing what was causing my body to fall apart, I couldn’t help but let my mind go places I didn’t want it to go. I wanted to feel better. I wanted to be healthy again. I wanted the pain to go away.  And most of all, I wanted answers. Someone please just give me some answers!

After months of visiting doctor after doctor in Nashville who had no idea what was wrong with me and whose only solution was to give more prescription drugs to treat the symptoms, I took matters into my own hands (with God’s wisdom & guidance of course.) I decided to go gluten free and pasteurized dairy free as well. That same week, my chiropractor referred me to a naturopathic doctor who was able to identify imbalances in my body and heal those through food based Standard Process supplements.  My naturopath also confirmed that I was sensitive to gluten and pasteurized dairy (except butter). Many studies show that these two foods should be eliminated in people dealing with autoimmune issues.  During that same time I saw a medical doctor who is more naturally minded who did a lot of blood work and even stool sampling to identify potential problems. To make a long story short, God healed me of autoimmune issues through diet changes, removing foods that were causing inflammation and adding important chelating foods/supplements to rid my body of toxins/heavy metals (mercury in particular). 

The Cause – My Silent Downward Spiral:

Now, after several years of my own research and helping my own clients get healthy, I’ve learned the toxic path that led to my illness. (which I’m not healed of…praise God!)  Even though going gluten free helped me to find relief in some of my symptoms, I’ve learned that gluten wasn’t the main cause of it all.

Food:  Growing up, I ate my mother’s home cooked meals, but that changed a little when I got to the age where I was eating on the run because of sporting events, practices, and my busy schedule as a high school student and later college student.  I started eating the SAD diet (Standard American diet), which included processed foods, sodas, and eating out frequently. In college I loved diet Mt. Dew’s to keep me awake while cramming for the next organic chemistry test. I wasn’t eating enough of the good stuff that God created for us to enjoy.

Mercury/Dental Fillings:  Mercury was the #1 cause of my autoimmune issues. I was exposed to mercury all growing up as a child. All the injections I had with mercury in them, and it just piled up in my body over time. Also, the mercury in my dental fillings contributed. You may remember reading my post, “Could Those Silver Fillings In Your Mouth Be Dangerous?”  Two weeks before the severe joint pain/autoimmune symptoms started in my body, I had my silver fillings removed at my dentist’s office.  She had recommended that they be removed and replaced with a safer substance since mercury was toxic. Unfortunately for me, she did not follow the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology protocol on the safe removal of fillings, so my body was exposed to toxic amounts of mercury during the process.  Months later after suffering through debilitating joint pain, muscle tremors, twitching, infections, and the list goes on, I asked my doctor if all my symptoms could be related to mercury toxicity.  My doctor confirmed through a stool sample that my body had elevated amounts of several heavy metals, especially mercury. Did you know that mercury induces autoimmune diseases in rats? It’s extremely toxic.  I then started myself on oral chelation therapy and other regimens to detoxify my body of the mercury. If you are wanting to do this, find a good functional medicine doctor or nurse practitioner in your area who is knowledgeable on this subject. 

Toxicity–>Disease:  When we fill our bodies with chemicals, it’s inevitable that eventually disease will appear.  It’s only a matter of when it will appear.  The main culprit to my autoimmune issues was mercury.  I believe my gut health was compromised over the years with processed foods, sugar, heavy metals & other dangerous chemicals I was exposed to.  And what finally caused my body to say, “I’ve had enough” was the mercury exposure at the dentist. I’ve been working on healing my gut ever since, and I’m so passionate to help others do the same. While you may not be able to do everything “perfectly” in regards to your health/nutrition because we are constantly surrounded by toxins, I still believe it’s important to do our best to keep our bodies healthy. And not from a place of fear, but from a place of “when I know better, I do better.”

Maybe you want to make positive changes for your health. I hear of people everyday complaining about headaches, joint pain, sleep problems, chronic fatigue, stomach problems, infertility, bloating, and the list goes on.  I just want to tell everyone that, “YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE THAT WAY.” I believe that most health issues can be changed, even reversed by getting healthy in body, soul, & spirit. I love feeling amazing, better than I knew I could even feel. And I want you to be right alongside with me living a life of freedom that you deserve.  As you make the decision to invest in your family’s health, just remember that there is ALWAYS hope. Hope for physical healing, hope for spiritual healing, hope for your heart to be healed as well. 

“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:2

Thank You!

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