For some of you this update does not matter. If you have no need of knowing what's going on with me physically, please feel free to skip it.
But for some family and friends, you've been praying and want to know. It's easiest to explain here.
The short background is that four years ago something shifted in my body. Maybe it was the start of menopause? Maybe it was something else? Whatever the cause, I started losing energy and not feeling as well as I knew I should. It's been a long four years of trying to figure it out.
Fast forward to earlier this fall when I went to see a new doctor in Vienna. She is a sort of "Dr. House", the television doctor who specializes in finding out things that other doctors haven't been able to. I'm so thankful to the Lord that there is a real doctor who has this ability.
After hearing my story two months ago, she ordered tests and told me she thought she could help get to the root of what was going on. That help started on Tuesday at my appointment in Vienna where I met with her to get results from the tests.
The first results had to do with my hormone levels. In a perfect world, a woman's estrogen to progesterone ration would be 1:100. Mine is 1:5. In fact, it's even less than that and that's not good. My levels are so low she wondered how I'm even functioning.
The next results had to do with all my mineral and trace minerals levels. Those are abysmal. I am low on almost everything...except iron, which she found curious. But you name it, I'm low in it.
The third results are an effect from the lack of hormones and minerals. The mitochondria in my body have almost no power. Don't know what mitochondria is? Neither did I!
She explained that they have everything to do with bacteria, energy and my body's life sustaining processes. So they're very important, and they're not working very well. This is a great explanation:
Everything that the body does, from staying warm, to moving and thinking needs energy. The energy that we use comes from the proteins, carbohydrates and fats in our food. We are unable to use these directly, but instead need to convert them to a form of energy that cells can use called ATP. You can think of this like a battery. This converts chemical energy into a different form (in this case electrical) that is easier to use. For our bodies the conversion from food energy to ATP happens in mitochondria. If your mitochondria are not working properly then you are less able to convert food into ATP. For cells that require a lot of ATP, for example your muscles, this is a problem and they may become weaker and get tired faster.
The last result of the tests had to do with allergies. She had ordered an extensive blood panel to identify allergies my body has. There are six major ones: gluten, casein, egg whites, sunflower seeds, almonds and pepper. There are some lesser ones as well, but we're only focusing on these for now.
These are kind of a big deal, especially casein (though of course gluten is a big deal too, not to mention egg whites!). I had no idea how much can be impacted in your body if you are allergic to casein, the protein found in cow's milk. For people, like me now, who are allergic, casein clumps in my stomach and slows down the digestive process and release of nutrients. Not a good thing.
So in a nutshell, that's what I've got going on, and what she and I are going to tackle over the next year!
She wrote out an extensive regimen for me, which includes lots of supplements, restrictions, and diet changes. But I am SO ready for this! She laughed every time I told her how happy this news made me, saying, "I wish all my patients were like you!"
I'm honestly just SO very thankful to the Lord for leading me to her (the referral came from some of my JV teammates who have also found significant help through her), and will do anything she tells me to in hopes of regaining some ground that's been lost for the past 4 years.
Some people say I don't look sick, and that's a compliment and a praise to God: I've worked hard at not letting this rule my life, while at the same time praying for a breakthrough. I think this may be it, though I know it will take time to implement and time to see change.
I posted this photo the other day, from my time in Vienna with my sister-in-law. But it bears posting again since it captures the joy in my heart of being cared for by the Lord and by this amazing doctor.
On another note, I've ironically had the flu now for 48 hours, but thankfully am starting to see the light of day. Knowing the weakness of my body right now, I'm not going to do what I usually do and try to push it. Rather I'll give it the time and care it needs to get well. There are too many wonderful things ahead in the coming weeks and months that I want to enjoy!
Thanks for reading and processing this with me. It's a lot, but I'm up for the challenge of wading in to make changes that should result in a healthier me. I keep saying, "The Lord must have more ahead of me if he's brought this kind of amazing help in order for me to get better."
That makes me excited about the days, months and years ahead!