22 September 2014

Preventative medicine

I suddenly realised it's been a while since I've done a post.  The main reason is that I've been busy on a personal level (busy at work too of course, but it's the personal stuff that is so time-consuming).

About twelve weeks ago I went to see an integrative doctor to have a battery of tests done to check where my body was heading in terms of hormones (in particular) and to see if there was anything that I could work on now to prevent illness later on.  In my line of work I see people dealing with crippling illness and I want to do anything possible to avoid having to go down that path myself.  I have no symptoms worth noting but I do have a very strong family history of cancer and anxiety/depression.

After filling in a massive document on my medical history and that of my family I had my first appointment with the doctor.  I knew she'd be thorough and she was.  The consult was 45 minutes long - not your usual quick in and out at the GP!  Looking at my history she had a few theories about how my body was functioning and gave me referrals for numerous tests - in all they took 12 vials of blood, four vials of saliva, a urine sample (not just any sample, I had to pee in the dark and wrap the containers in foil, then place in a brown paper bag which was then transported in special containers so no light got to them) and a stool sample ... nice!  Not.

She told me no gluten immediately and preferably no caffeine, diary or sugar either.  So I went off gluten, cut down from two coffees to one and held off on the others till I got my results.  Seven weeks later (and 2 kg lighter) I went for my follow-up.  Mostly I'm in great shape but there are a few things that need some help.

For me the most alarming was my Estrone (women produce three different oestrogens and these should be balanced) - I produce way too much and that needs to be brought under control.  That can be one of the factors in breast cancer so definitely something to work on.

Then there's the Pyrrole. Here's some information on the disorder.  This is a really common disorder that doesn't seem to be picked up very often, but if treated can really change people's lives.  I can't explain the condition to you myself, in my limited understanding it's an inability to use/produce enough Zinc and B6, among other things.

And then I'm an undermethylator.  Here's some info on that one.  This condition ties in with the Pyrrole disorder.

Then, there's the adrenal fatigue.  I think most of us suffer from this in varying degrees and if left untreated it can develop into things like chronic fatigue or autoimmune diseases.  Not something to play around with. Other than that I'm in pretty good shape.

What's the treatment for all this I hear you ask?  Well.  You remember back when the doctor suggested gluten, dairy, caffeine and sugar-free to me?  Yup, that's part of it.  Oh, and included in the sugar was fruit!!  And alcohol, which doesn't bother me as I'm not a drinker anyway.  Six weeks of none of the above leads to a very dull palate.  But there was a goal and so I was able to do it.

Oh.  And I forgot to mention the supplements.  There are bio-identical hormones, magnesium, B6, zinc, Vit C and a handful of other things to help me detox from copper and reduce excess Folic Acid.  I rattle around every morning.  But I am willing to do this right now to bring my body back into optimal functioning.  It's worth the hard yards to ensure my health.

I had my six-week follow-up last week (now four kilos lighter than when I started) and I've had a bit of a reprieve.  I still have lots of supplements to take but I'm now only gluten and dairy free (I have a sneaky suspicion that may be a lifetime change) with the caution that if I have coffee or sugar then I run the risk of depleting my adrenals further.  Next check up in eight weeks and another round of tests six months after the initial ones to check all my levels and see how well my body has healed.

My doctor suggested that I needed to up my animal fats - roasting vegetables in duck fat (don't think I can do that); red meat and fish.  I haven't eaten red meat in 22 years and I'm fish phobic so those two were also a little stressful.  I decided to go for the red meat as I have no fear of it.  I bought an organic, grass-fed steak and went home to cook it.  I made a huge salad and drowned it in balsamic vinegar and managed to eat the whole thing.  But.  Within an hour I broke out in a rash!  Good golly, I don't think I'll be doing that again.  Hmm, psychological or allergy?

Am I feeling any different?  Sure am.  Before I made all these changes I would get home, cook dinner and lay on the sofa with a  "do not disturb" sign telepathically lighted above my head.  That's not an issue any more.  My head is definitely clearer and I'm certainly not bloating like I used to.  And everyone says I'm looking great too (compliments ALWAYS welcome).

And I probably should mention that I moved house three weeks ago, into a much smaller space.  A fair amount of my time was invested in sorting into piles of rubbish, donate, sell and take with me.  You know the way.  It can be overwhelming and quite often emotional.  My son summed it up perfectly, "mum, you realise I'm packing up my childhood here?" (he turned 18 last week).

I breezed through the move energy wise (not sure I can say that emotionally but at least my energy was up!).  Still have the bruises from all the heaving of boxes but those will be gone soon and now I have this magnificent view out of my front window that makes them all worthwhile.


0 comments on “Preventative medicine”

  1. I have been going through this same process the last six months too!! It is quite some process to get through!!! But i feel much stronger for it. Also had the pyrol disorder!!

    1. I think probably most of us have Pyrrole, wonder why doctors don't test for it more. Well done you for working on yourself at this level, yes, it takes some commitment! Worth it though

  2. I think my favourite post yet. Very proud of you. Can't wait to see you. I think I need to shed some poundage before you come by the sounds of it! I need to find someone like your doc over here. Go Lisa.

    1. I wish everyone could have access to a doctor who thinks that way, I think we'd see a lot less illness and lots more empowered people. Can't wait to see you too!

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