Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Me, Myself, and My Insides

This is bound to be a very lengthy post about why I am struggling so bad right now. I'll be fine when it's all sorted out. But for now typing it out will have to do. 

This might start out all jumbled but in the end it might make a little sense. 

If you don't want to read all about my gas and bloating and constipation and lack of normal womanhood and hormone imbalances and mood swings, irritability, food intolerance, depression or anxiety then you can just stop right here. 

You probably thought you were reading a TOUCH of Tyrell... not a WAY TOO MUCH of Tyrell. It's okay though, I feel like the more people are honest about what they are experiencing and going through then the more people can be helped (or at least aware). 

#1) I am NOT a hypochondriac. You might think I am by the end of this post but I'm really not. Maybe I just have a really sensitive body though (inside and out).

As a child I suffered from an upset stomach and bloating often. After years of feeling sick and bloated after dinner (all school year- in Colorado) and never feeling sick after dinner (during the summer- in Arizona) my parents figured out that it was the well water at our house in CO that was making me sick. My siblings would always make fun of me and joke that I conveniently got sick and had to lay down with my pants unbuttoned after dinner while they cleaned up. (I didn't get sick during the day because I was drinking the water from the fountains at school). So my parents installed a  reverse osmosis system in our house and the problem was gone. 

My dad used to tell me that all I ever wanted to eat was carbs. 

(Blueberry muffin wrappers...)

My ENTIRE life I have struggled with constipation. The only thing that would ever come out looked like it came from a rabbit... or maybe a deer. And it was always very laborious. (hey, I warned you...) Several people in my family struggle with it as well so I just figured it was hereditary. In College I talked with the health nurse about it and she said I probably had IBS and she gave me a list of foods to avoid. 

I was sick and just felt generally un-well my entire pregnancy with Brecklyn. I was absolutely miserable by the end. 

I felt so much relief once she was born. 

Then I went through some pretty extreme hormone/mood swings (like I'm sure all women do). 

Then we had TONS of family visit and stay at our house for 10 days + little sleep and that resulted in a lot of stress. I remember my mom making delicious smoothies with coconut milk (+ banana, peanut butter, and spinach) for breakfast and I was wondering why I was feeling awful afterwards. I wondered if it was after-baby stomach ache or just hormones or stress.

When Brecks was 3 weeks old we started house hunting and that added lots of stress... plus Everett was in the final stages of his speech therapy qualification evaluation stuff and life got really busy. 

Some days I didn't have any energy so when Everett was napping I would sit on the couch with Brecklyn and watch documentaries about food. Vegucated, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Forks Over Knives, The Gerson Miracle, The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue, etc. 

I was devouring these documentaries about plant-based eating. I read up on it too. I thought it would help all of my internal issues I've been dealing with since childhood. So we started eating a lot less meat, stopped eating all dairy, and ate a whole lot more fruits, vegetables and grains. 

Jake lost ten pounds. And my poop finally looked like it came out of a human. (I'm all out of warnings...) Everett had a ridiculous about of junk come out of his body after I added chia seeds to a few things he would eat. (Chia seeds turn into a gel once you eat them and help get toxins out of your body).

(Chia seeds look like poppy seeds... you can hide them in lots of stuff)

Then we lost the house (due to some oversight from the lender) and I got really stressed. I got really sick because house prices and interest rates had shot up and the likelihood of us buying a house in the next 5 years when down to like a 10% chance. (seriously, it changed that fast) I literally was so sick I couldn't move and I stayed in bed all day. 

Miracles happen... we ended up still getting this house (insert miracle!) and we moved in 6 days later. 

It was crazy times. Emotional roller coaster. Then we went on a work vacation trip a week later. 

I lost the 'baby weight' plus more but somehow still look 16 weeks pregnant. I am thin everywhere except for this rounding in my midsection. It could be from the intestinal irritation, lack of muscle tone, extra skin or a combo of all 3. (Not that I obsess about my body but it's not going away). 

Then all of my worries and stress quadrupled as I was trying to unpack while taking care our family needs, still learning how to cook and eat without meat and dairy...

...registering for preschool (and all of the other things I've been stressed/talking about) realizing that my bloating and gas were out of control (all the added fiber from a better diet?) Brecklyn slept a lot less, my worries about Everett's development...

I started going to the chiropractor to help my ridiculous hip pain. This is where most of my story shifts. 

This isn't just a chiropractic office. There is a nurse practitioner, massage therapist, and a nutritionist there too. They all work together to get you well in a holistic way. They had me fill out a questionnaire of symptoms and I was checking a 3 or 4 out of 5 on gas, bloating, constipation, irritability, mood swings, headaches, depression, anxiety...

So we started working on my hip and getting injections in my back and hip (to break up the muscles that have pulled my body into this mess). They also drew blood and sent it off to get tested for food sensitivities that could be causing so many of my other issues.

My blood was tested for 350 food related sensitivities. (severe, moderate, mild, and no reaction)

It came back on Friday. According to this test I have a severe intolerance to 12 foods including coconut, pumpkin, rosemary, and vanilla... (I am heartbroken about these 4 foods!!) But is helps explain why I felt to terrible after the coconut/banana/spinach smoothies. 

There are 18 foods on my moderate intolerance list. Basil is on that list which is important for me to note because about 10 days ago I made some CRAZY delicious veggie burgers out of kale, chickpeas, basil, sunflower seeds... they were so good. Jake and I loved them. But I felt sick for a solid 24 hours after. I couldn't figure out why because there was absolutely nothing bad in them. (Whey is also on the moderate list but luckily I had already cut that out). 

My mild list includes 54 things and I eat 90% of them on a weekly basis- at least. Maybe this is where all of the constipation and bloating are coming from. Gluten is on this list which is included in a solid 1/2 of my daily diet. 

Last week I was really struggling with my insides so I decided to juice all of the green veggies in our fridge to help flush me out. It included: 2 heads romaine lettuce, 1/2 zucchini, a cucumber, 4 giant kale leaves, broccoli stems, and almost an entire thing of celery. That should help anyone out, right? 

I felt terrible after drinking the juice. AWFUL. I kept wondering "is this how it feels to be healthy?" Well, it makes more sense now to know that the first 4 things I juiced are on my mild and moderate list of food sensitivities. 

(I think the theory is that if you completely omit the foods on your severe and moderate lists for 6 months and then to re-introduce one food at a time to see if you can tolerate it. The food is believed to cause inflammation in your body and it reacts to it via gas, bloating, constipation, irritability...)

So to have a diet without meat, dairy, and now these 74 other foods is a little overwhelming. As a child I only wanted carbs. That's still all I want and to remove gluten too... 

(oatmeal blueberry almond muffins... technically gluten free if you get gluten free oats)

But I'm in so much pain on the inside that it's almost worth it. 

Almost. The sacrifice is huge. So huge that I would have to add other things back into my diet to make up for the lost nutrition from wheat (which seem to be in everything). 

I've been doing a lot of reading and researching over that last few days about this blood test. 

I've also been doing a lot of reading and researching about Everett and his issues as well. I have read much about childhood developmental delays and GI issues in toddlers like Everett and one of the things that has been mentioned several times is a gluten free diet. The thought is that although the real issue is in the brain, there is discomfort in the gut that is causing more problems so if the gut was working properly more of the real issue could be addressed (because they would be behaving better without the pain). 

I completely agree with the theory because I have been under enormous emotional stress which has caused a lot of physical stress and now my mental state is extremely fragile. 

In my gluten reading I found this:

If you imagine a continuum of gluten intolerance symptoms, celiac disease is usually at the most extreme end with immediate autoimmune reactions. Some people with celiac disease may not have symptoms, but internally malabsorption and malnutrition can erode health over many years. Both celiac disease and gluten intolerance can be exacerbated by emotional stress, infection, surgery, pregnancy and childbirth. Every individual with some level of gluten intolerance or allergy may experience different shades of symptoms, hence the challenge for medical practitioners to diagnose.

Anecdotal evidence suggests emotional trauma and stress play a large role in worsening of symptoms.

Emotional stress... pregnancy.... childbirth... play a large role in worsening of symptoms. Perhaps this explains why I feel like garbage even though I've been eating SOOO good. It's strange to think that good food can make you sick. But apparently stress can do that to you. 

I'm not jumping to any conclusions or completely agreeing or disagreeing with any/all of this but I am trying to sort it out. One piece at a time. My blood was taken a second time and sent off to be testing for a thyroid issue that might explain my hormonal and mood imbalances. I'm waiting for those results to see if maybe that's the first thing to deal with. 

I'm not imagining that there is something wrong with me or looking for a cure-all. There is something real and legit going on and I want to fix it. 

One of the points I am trying to make is this: I'm dealing with a lot of physical, emotional, and mental issues which can help explain why I feel like my life is so crazy right now. Plus trying to help Everett and raise a baby aren't easy either. 

You never know what a person is going through and the challenges they are facing. 

So be nice to everyone.
Take care of yourself
And stop stressing. It could cause your body to hate itself!

I talked to my doctor this morning and told him my symptoms. He said that it sounds like the symptoms you get when you eat too many carbs and not enough iron. Am I eating too many carbs. Yes. Have I forgotten to take my vitamins in the last several months. Yes. Have I been eating red meat. No. Is my cycle messed up. Yes (not enough iron in my diet). So I think this is my starting point.

The amazing part is that I told him nothing about my diet. 


  1. I've never commented on your blog even though I've read it pretty consistently since other blogs linked to your kitchen reno 2 houses ago. Your posts have offered a ton of encouragement and insight to me as my husband and I start my family (baby due in December). Your kids are adorable and your honesty about issues we all deal with is so refreshing. I'm sorry you're struggling with these terrible things right now, but it sounds like you're on the road to feeling better eventually.

    And for the record, I don't think you look 16 weeks pregnant in that photo! You look great and many people would kill to trade places with you! :)

  2. I sure love you! And I think you're fabulous, and I really hate that you have to go through such crummy stuff.