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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Witch Doctor, Part 3

This week I went for my third appointment with Dr. B.  Ben was able to take a day off work to come with me and meet the doctor and see the magic for himself.  Although I think he was skeptical to begin with, he was wowed by the entire experience.  Dr. B is just pretty amazing like that.

The visit was full of good news.  My health continues to improve like never before.  I'm actually starting to feel like I have some energy.  For the first time in 15 years, I feel like I can make it through the day without wanting to curl up and go back to bed an hour after waking up.  For 15 long years, I have literally spent all day every day thinking of and longing for the next time I could go to sleep.... because that is how exhausted I have been at all times.  I felt like I was just lugging my unwilling body through every day.  Now, sure, I may experience a post-lunch slump or may indulge in a weekend nap.... but I don't feel like I could just pass out any time, any place, at any given moment from sheer exhaustion.  This is HUGE to me.  As I start to feel less exhausted, the bits and pieces of life start to seem far more surmountable... everything I do starts to seem just that much easier as it takes less energy... or rather, as I have more energy to give.  I know that I still have a really long way to go.  Dr. B says that a process like this can take a whole year or more.  But for the first time ever, I can actually SEE results and feel some HOPE.  I was honestly at the point where I never thought I was going to feel better again.  I cannot describe how thankful I am.

And the turnaround is incredible.  From that first appointment, where my tests showed nearly all my systems in red and yellow, with only a few in the healthy green levels, it's all turned around.  At this appointment, I showed six systems red (stressed) and all the rest green.  I am so proud of myself!  In two months, I've almost completely reversed my body's systems through completely changing my diet.

Because my system has turned around so effectively, I've even earned back yeast, cheese, and peanuts in small amounts.  HOORAY!  This totally revolutionizes what I can eat.  With those back in small amounts, I'll have so many more options.  Mushrooms, wheat, and corn are still no-nos though.

On this strict diet, I've already started losing some weight.  Dr. B recommended in order to kick-start more serious weight loss, that I eat only protein and fats (meat, avocado, eggs, and nuts) for 3 days straight (basically like Atkins), then go back to the more healthy, well-rounded diet permanently.  So today is my second of those three days, and let me tell you, I can't wait for some fruit!!  I definitely could not sustain this long-term.  But three days, I can do.

Dr. B also did the accupressure on some of my personality points with Ben present, and all of the readings came back to demonstrate things about my intense perfectionism (true story) and how I feel paralyzed by a big decision weighing over me that I feel I don't have any power over (boy howdy, yes.... but that's a story for another time).

After seeing all of this, Ben actually called Dr. B a witch doctor to his face.... and Dr. B just laughed and said that yes, he could see how someone would think that.  Man, I love a good self deprecating sense of humor.

After the appointment, Ben and I went shopping at both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.  How have I made it this far in life without ever having set foot in a Whole Foods?  I now want to live there.  I can home with all kinds of delicious goodies and a renewed sense of peace.  It was the best day that I'd had in a long, long time.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Witch Doctor, Part 2

Three weeks after my first appointment with Doctor Benzinger, I went back for a recheck.  As instructed, I had completely given up yeast, cheese, mushrooms, and peanuts.  These things were NOT easy, as they comprised some of my very favorite foods, but as he predicted, cutting them out of my diet did lead to me starting to feel better.

Notice that I say "starting" to feel better.  Everyone kept asking me, "Do you feel better now?" and I kind of felt like I should be able to respond with this resounded "Yes! My 20 years of medical problems have been CURED!"  But of course, in reality, it's just not that easy.

Then, and now, I keep getting weird little bumps of itchiness--not quite a full-on rash, but definitely more than isolated spots.  According to Dr. B, these come from cutting out yeast.  They are basically the toxin or the allergen rising out of my body.  Yep, that's the yeast, rising out of me.  Put me in the oven and bake me.  ;)

During me 3-week check, Dr. B re-ran all the accupressure tests on me.  Remember when I said that my tests were pretty much all yellow and red?  Well, they looked like a world of difference this second time around.  All the yellows (which are the really dangerous ones, which I know sounds backwards, but it's a European system of measurement) were GONE, and I'm now about half green and half red.  Dr. B said he was honestly "amazed" and "astounded" by my progress.  He said he could tell that I wasn't "cheating" at all and that it's extremely rare that a patient is able to turn things around things quickly.  He said that he could tell that I'm very determined to get well.... heck yeah I am!!  So already I was able to dial back on the supplements after that appointment--yay!

However, when I mentioned that I was still having some stomach problems, he said that was probably an indicator that there was an allergen we hadn't caught the first time around that was still irritating me.  So he re-ran the tests and..... nooooooo!!!!  I also need to eliminate wheat and corn.  These have proved to be a LOT harder than the previous four items.

While "gluten-free" is becoming a popular diet, it has a very steep learning curve.  I've messed up quite a few times already.  For example, I ate meatballs, completely forgetting that they have breadcrumbs in them (and WOW, was my stomach angry at me afterwards!).  I also ate french fries, completely unaware that they have traces of wheat in the breading (stomach not nearly as angry that time... must be less in those).  Or soy sauce and teriayki sauce, which have gluten in them.  Things I didn't know before....

The other problem is that many gluten-free items are made with corn as a substitute (for example, the gluten-free pasta at my local grocery store), which means that I still can't eat it.  And then when you take into consideration the amount of gluten-free recipes that contain cheese.... or mushrooms.... or peanuts.... or yeast.... well, I'm kind of struggling.  I've had some friends suggest that I look into paleo recipes, so that's on my "to do" list for after I finish combing through the gluten-free cookbooks that I've checked out of the library.

Anyway, back to the news from Dr. B.  I was also hoping to feel a huge surge of energy, but instead was feeling really worn out.  He said this wasn't surprising at all.  He said that during the "cleanse" phase, people generally just want to sleep around the clock, because their bodies are working so hard at getting rid of all the toxins that it uses up all their energy and completely wears them out.  Not exactly ideal for the mom of 4 kids who is also working and also living at a summer camp in full swing..... so yeah, I'm just REALLY tired, but hanging in there, and in spite of the tired, I do feel moderately better during the hours that I'm awake, and it would just pretty much take an explosion to wake me at night.  :)

He also reiterated that I need to stay away from bugspray and start getting all the chemical cleaners and stuff out of my house, so I'm currently starting to research homemade cleaners and essential oils as alternatives.  Hello, homeopathy!  So between that and the new diet, I have plenty to think about.  Another appointment coming up in about three weeks.  Fingers crossed for another good report!