Monday, July 4, 2016

I may have become that weird hippie friend . . .

*PLEASE SEE DISCLAIMER AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST

I may have become that weird hippie person that lives next door, and when you talk to people they just smile and nod their heads while thinking how strange you are. Before long I'm going to be wearing a fringed vest, moccasins, and my hair in braids. When I told my husband this he just said, "peace and love, babe." I love that guy. Yes, I am eating almost all organic food and avoiding all sorts of chemicals and have become that person that no one wants to go out to dinner with because I have to tell the server what all I can't have in my food. I know. Most people think I've lost my mind. It certainly isn't the first time people have thought it. And I'm okay with that.

But there's a story behind all this weirdness. It started with being sick. Really sick. For a very, very long time. I've had fibromyalgia and arthritis for over 20 years. I've had repeated illnesses with bronchitis, sinus infections, and pneumonia. And when I got sick, I stayed sick a long time. If my family got a cold that lasted a few days, mine would last 2 or 3 weeks. But in February, 2015 I got sick and just could not get well. After the first round of antibiotics, steroids, and cough medicine, I went back to the doctor only to be told that my lungs were clear and they didn't know why I was still coughing. Another round of antibiotics and cough medicine. Still no better. At this point I just started taking over-the-counter medications to try to alleviate the constant coughing and stuffy nose.

Fast forward 6 months, August, 2015, and I'm still coughing. By this time it was so bad that I would choke sometimes and I hadn't been able to sing in months. So I finally went to an ear, nose, and throat doctor who specializes in treating singers. He scoped my vocal cords to make sure there was no permanent damage or nodes. Nope. They were inflamed and a little swollen but nothing that couldn't be remedied if we stopped the coughing. More antihistamines, more decongestants, more cough medicine. And 2 months later I was still coughing.

By October, 2015, the symptoms were even worse. We have a big event at our church in October and I have a huge roll in it. I made it through that but by this time I was always feeling sick. My energy was drained from all the coughing. My rib cage stayed sore. My back and neck were constantly hurting much worse from all the coughing. By November, I was choking regularly and throwing up. I have been eating pretty healthy for over 2 years but I kept gaining weight, kept coughing and having laryngitis. I couldn't sing at all and was having constant muscle spasms. My skin was like alligator hide even though I was coating myself in coconut oil twice a day. My hair was falling out, brittle and frizzy. I wasn't sleeping. I had chronic dry mouth. I was always in pain everywhere. I was having regular migraines once or twice a week. And I had absolutely no energy.

I quit going to church. I stopped doing anything that wasn't absolutely necessary. I cut my work hours down to about 12 hours a month. I didn't go to the grocery store any more because people would avoid me and turn and go the other way my cough was so bad. It was embarrassing. I was miserable and didn't know what to do to get better. I had a CT scan. I had more blood work done. They tested my immune system. Everything came back negative.

In February 2016, after several more doctor visits the ENT sent me to an allergist. The allergist tested me for every grass, mold, and all the typical allergens in our region. ALL were negative. His only answer for me was that I was a puzzle - but he thought I would get better in a couple of weeks. His opinion was that I had just caught a series of viruses and colds - FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR - and that eventually they would all go away! He told me to just stop taking any medicine and call him in 2 weeks if I wasn't better and tell him he was wrong. I didn't get better. I kept getting worse. I didn't bother to call him. And I kept gaining weight. I thought the weight gain was because I wasn't exercising. I thought it was because I was eating too many calories while being so sedentary. I thought it was my fault. I was depressed and sick and felt like there was no hope.

Every test the doctors had done was negative. Every time I went in they told me they couldn't find anything wrong with me. My blood pressure was creeping up. My weight was still going up. My cholesterol was high. My energy was dropping even more. The muscle spasms were so bad that it was hard to get dressed. I continued to pick my granddaugher up at school in the afternoons but felt so guilty that I didn't feel like spending any quality time with her. Just cooking dinner was a major ordeal. I couldn't focus on anything. My memory was even worse than it had been before, which was pretty bad. I felt like I was in a fog all the time, I carried liquid Benadryl in my purse and kept it handy constantly because I would randomly start to feel that my throat was closing up and I couldn't breathe. I thought I was dying.

Finally, my daughter requested prayer for me one night in the small group that she leads in youth. One of the kids in her group insisted that she have me call her mom who is the office manager for Naturally You. After a little investigation I called and went for the free workshop they do. It was weird. I thought it couldn't be real. What they do is Nutrition Response Testing. I can't explain it. All I know is that the first thing they told me was that my immune system wasn't working. That was one of the things the doctors had tested and told me was fine. Naturally You does the first 2 visits for free so I decided I had nothing to lose. We were leaving the next week to visit our son in Colorado and I was terrified of getting on the plane with all the coughing. I literally begged Naturally You to see me immediately so I could get started on their plan before I got on the plane. To say I was desperate would be an understatement.

Without going into all the details of what they found, here is a list some of the changes and how quickly they happened.

My first visit was Wednesday, April 6th.

1 week: My hair quit falling out. We went to Colorado and I was tired and had no energy the entire time. But the coughing was a little better and, since I had discovered what not to eat, I only had to take Benadryl twice on the trip.

2 weeks: I stopped taking muscle relaxers completely. Before I had taken them every night to sleep and ibuprofen every day to manage the pain. Muscle spasms had decreased about 90%, seriously. I slept through the night almost every night, something that hadn't happened in years, and never without medication. There was a slight decrease in the coughing.

3 weeks: My energy increased dramatically. My skin started to look like normal skin again. Not only did it look normal, it actually felt normal. It was so strange to touch my arm and think, wow! Skin! I began to recognize glimpses of the old ME in the mirror. I don't even know how to explain that. But it was strange to look in the mirror and have thoughts like, 'I remember you!'. Migraines had stopped almost totally. As a matter of fact, in 3 months, I've had 2. If that were the only change, that would be worth it all! Just ask anyone who has had regular migraines if you don't believe me! I dropped about 15 pounds of swelling and fluid weight! Note: I am NOT dieting! I'm eating probably twice as much food as I was before!

4 weeks: My energy has continued to increase. I started thinking that I might actually get well!  The coughing is getting better. The chronic dry mouth is gone.

Fast forward 3 months:
As of now, Monday, July 4th, 2016, I've lost 30 pounds and I'm eating twice as much food as I did before I started with Naturally You. I know what foods I shouldn't eat. I know almost immediately when I've eaten something that I'm going to react to. I have energy. I sleep through the night. Saying I don't feel well is actually rare rather than a constant thing. My pain level has decreased dramatically. I can get dressed without being afraid that when I bend over to put my shoes on I'm going to experience gut wrenching muscle spasms all through my rib cage. I can roll over in bed without muscle spasms! My depression is gone! I have hope!

Don't get me wrong. This isn't a magic pill that cures everything immediately. I still have some pain. I still see my chiropractor. I still occasionally, maybe once every 2 -3 weeks, take a dose of ibuprofen, (as opposed to a couple times a day before). I still occasionally have days when I don't feel great. About once every couple of weeks I'll have a sleepless night. But now, when I have a sleepless night or a lot of coughing, I know WHY it happened and know how to fix it. I actually notice with a little surprise if my knee hurts when I go up the steps. Those were just constants before! If I eat something that makes me feel icky and start coughing I notice immediately. Because I KNOW what to watch for.

For over 20 years I have tried to get well in every imaginable way possible. I've listened to doctors. I have taken tons of medicine. I've tried to force myself to exercise even when it was so painful and exhausting that I would almost pass out. I've tried numerous diets and vitamins and supplements. I've used every home remedy imaginable to try to deal with pain, muscle spasms, exhaustion, and sleepless nights. Some helped for a little while. Some were pointless. But I never found anything that made any lasting improvement. Finally, FINALLY, I've found something that helps and I want to shout it from the rooftops for everyone to hear!

I don't want to be that weirdo that every one avoids because they don't want to hear the latest 'gimmick' that you are trying. I really don't. But when you find something that works after being sick for so long, it's hard not to tell everyone you meet, especially those you know are suffering, too. So this is my new hippie life, taking food grade nutritional supplements, all based on the nutrition response testing done by Naturally You. If you want more info on where you can find this in your area, please email me. They have a network of practitioners all over the country. And I promise, you aren't going to get emails from me promoting some scheme to get you to buy stuff!

Here is their website: http://naturallyyou.fit/
Or email me if you want more info: smith.beverly.renea@gmail.com

*I,AM IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH NATURALLY YOU OTHER THAN USING THEIR SERVICES AND NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS. THIS IS NOT A MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING PLOY. THE ONLY ADVANTAGE I HAVE IN REFERRING PEOPLE IS SEEING THEM GET HEALTHIER.