Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 10 of QW Cleanse: Epiphany

The "Quantum Wellness Cleanse" book is structured so that there is a chapter for each of the 21-days. On day one I flipped through the book pretty quickly, reviewing lots of points but not necessarily studying each and every word. Since then, I've been read each chapter on its assigned day, sometimes more than once.

Today I had a major "light bulb" moment reading the Day 10 Chapter, "Cooling Digestive Fires: Gluten and Your Gut."

Kathy Freston writes (p. 72), "Some studies suggest that gluten damages the small intestine and allows food proteins to be released into the body, and the immune system then interprets these proteins as invasive and goes into high gear to protect itself. In other words, you get an overblown immune response. This kind of immune response can possibly contribute to or mimic diseases like lupus, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis."

Holy inflammation Batman -- this may actually solve a health mystery I've been dealing with for years!

At the risk of going into a whole Lifetime Original Story... several years ago I lost a baby early in my second trimester. They tested the baby (boy) and confirmed that there were no chromosomal abnormalities or such. The problem was clearly with me. From the many tests ordered, they confirmed an elevated ANA titer, often associated with things like lupus. However, none of the other labs or symptoms suggested any rheumatological diseases. My mother has lupus so they chalked it up to a genetic fluke. Just another little turd in my already less than sparkling clean gene pool.

A few more miscarriages later I was diagnosed with a semi-rare uterine disorder called Asherman's Syndrome as well as endometriosis. Surgery to correct the latter two findings is what eventually made it possible for me to conceive Spiderman and deliver him to term.

When Spidey was just over a year old, I went to a new doctor for my annual checkup complaining of extreme fatigue and joint pain. This was in June. I had been having severe symptoms since the previous November. Like so many people, I just suffered through. I blamed it on the stress of the holidays, "normal" exhaustion from balancing two young kids and a stressful full-time career, too much travel, then spring allergies, etc.

The doc listened carefully and had me tested me for a whole bunch of stuff. They found: elevated ANA (still), positive rheumatoid factor (RF), positive Epstein Barr (EBV) and mononucleosis. When the results came back I had this bizarre sense of relief that there actually was something wrong with me. Not that I wanted to be sick of course. But I'd rather be told I was sick than crazy.

The EBV really struck a nerve with me. I remembered also being told I had EBV when I was a teenager. Back then Epstein Barr was a "fake disease." Having EBV written on your chart was just code for "hypochondriac."

Anyway, this time I was given supplements and other instructions which I followed...mostly. I also met with the rheumatologist again a couple more times (and more tests) which confirmed that despite the indicators, I still didn't actually have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis or any other serious immune disorder.

A year later, I was feeling better (meh) and they ran the same tests. Same results. What the heck man? Still, since I was feeling "okay" (denial?) I just decided to leave well enough alone. I'd had enough of being poked at and doctors who didn't really know anything.

Another year later (July 2008) same thing, although my RF was suddenly improved. This was encouraging since I had been working hard to be in "super fit and healthy mode" prior to that appointment. So although I don't know exactly what I was doing differently, I had been making a conscious effort to eat healthy and exercise more regularly. This is also when I ramped up the daily meditation and I swear by the fact that this made/makes a huge difference.

Initially mono seemed to be the simplest explanation, until they realised that my body thinks it has mono all the time (for the past four years that we know of anyway.)

Yet, being sick and tired of being sick and tired is what really motivated to think more strategically about my own life balance needs and ultimately to want to help as many other people as possible. Even if the stupid lab tests tell me I should feel sick, I'm determined (maybe more determined) to live my life in a state of wellness.

Reading today's chapter, my eyes just about bugged out of my head as I wondered aloud, "Could any of these recurring abnormal results be connected to a gluten issue??"

As it happens I have my annual physical exam just after this cleanse. Now I'm dying to get all my usual tests done and see if I get any different results.

The plot thickens!
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Charlene said...

As an update: I finally discovered (after a lot of further testing) the two likely culprits! One is that I have EXTREMELY low vitamin D and also I have a severe immune sensitivity to most dairy products. It's great to have some answers and have a plan!

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