Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why Am I Doing This To Myself?

Another slow day. Really Slow.

I woke early again, with no possibility of resettling into sleep, so I set out to "use" the day well. As Baden mentioned in her post this morning, I have been starting the day by checking out what the rest of the group doing Intro has posted, either on her blog or on their own. [By the way, Baden had lovely things to say about my post from yesterday--I am honored!] After breakfast I had to run The Professional to Culinary School and make a quick stop at our town's sweet health food store.

After all of that, I was hungry again! I have read that people become ravenous in Intro, but never experienced it before. Well, you'd have thought I hadn't eaten in days, the way I attacked my soup. And then I had to eat more! And then...

And then I was so exhausted I could barely move. So much for making use of the day.

Blondina wanted me to watch Alton Brown with her, a favorite pastime, so I suggested she bring her (tiny) laptop, with headphones, to my cabin and snuggle with me while I rested. She happily watched Serious Eats while I drifted in an out of sleep for about and hour and a half. I caught enough of the show to satisfy the girlie, and enough sleep to mollify my tired body.

When I had rested sufficiently, the hunger returned. I wolfed down some of the oxtail/nettle soup from yesterday, with a huge oxtail and two helpings of the broth and vegetables. I had some ginger tea and pondered the situation. Fatigue and hunger are both possibly caused by die-off. But could the egg yolks be causing such insistent feelings? I had two today, but opted not to start whole eggs yet, which I think was a good decision. I believe it is just transitional, because eggs have been fine for me in the past. So what else to do?

Oddly enough, we have a hot tub on our boat. We didn't put it in. In fact, we thought it was kind of ridiculous--who puts a hot tub on a 43 foot boat? Around here, that's reserved for mega-yachts. Our opinion changed after we moved aboard full time and experienced the rainy, cool winters of the Pacific Northwest (NorthWET, to some). But I was very unhappy with the chemicals it took to maintain the water, until a friend dug up some obscure information about using 35% hydrogen peroxide instead. We switched over a year ago and have been thrilled with our one big luxury, the opportunity to soak in lovely warm water that has no noxious smell or negative effect on us.

So that's what I did. I got the Captain to join me for a late afternoon soak. I think we spent 45 pleasant minutes talking, watching the boats come and go, and letting the drizzle hit our faces. Renewed, I fixed dinner for the family and only suffered momentary feelings of desire when I saw the golden crisp skin on the roast chicken. I actually really enjoyed my chicken soup with garlic and extra fat-- finally feeling full and, while not energetic, I felt more normal than I had all day. Yay for that!

Some of you may be wondering why I would do this to myself. Some (who shall remain nameless) have even dared to ask. Why, after doing GAPS and other therapies--and experiencing healing--would I subject myself to such upheaval? 

The quick answer is similar to Baden's: I had slipped into more and more exceptions to the diet and was starting to experience the return of some symptoms from the past.

The more involved explanation includes the above, but also that I suspect that I never dealt fully with all of my issues, at least not in the way I wanted to--naturally, through diet. I had never done Intro strictly, so perhaps there was more to learn. I wanted to find out.

After doing the SCD and then GAPS for some time, prompted originally by our 19 year old, The Writer's, digestive issues, I experienced amazing changes. The sinus infections, allergies, hypoglycemia, vertigo, foot pain, "arthritic" hands and more, completely disappeared. I had many fewer migraines and tension headaches. My adrenals got stronger, reducing the anxiety that weak adrenals can produce. I did a few targeted things for the remaining symptoms, such as supplemental magnesium and "salt loading" which helped my adrenals and my headaches some.

But after moving to Port Angeles, the hypothyroid symptoms I had had for years got worse (I had maybe 35 off this list ). Or maybe they just got to take center stage when the other stuff cleared out...

After our first gray winter, full of exhaustion, anxiety, weepiness, crazy (for me) weight gain, and constantly being cold--with ice-cubes for hands and feet, I went to see a naturopath. I went armed with temperature and weight charts, with symptom inventories and photographs of the "old me". And I went with a request: please, please, please give me natural thyroid hormone, because no one should have to live this way. He agreed. He saw all the work I had done, so he knew that this was for real.

The thyroid hormone changed everything. I got warmer. I could walk from the boat to the parking lot (1/8 mile) without my heart pounding and getting winded. The puffiness started to abate, and I finally, slowly, started to lose weight. And because I finally knew I wasn't crazy, I felt lighter, happier.

I also went back to really caring for my adrenals--taking supplements and sleeping more, and clearly identifying any anxiety as physically-induced (which helps by taking away the self-blame). 

As it turns out, many of the symptoms I had had for years are, or may be, related to thyroid and adrenal issues--things as diverse as constipation, tinnitus, hypoglycemia and gluten intolerance. Heart palpitations.  Depression. Hair loss. And foot pain! I could hardly believe it as I read book after book and found websites and discussion groups where other people had experienced the exact same things!

What I am left with now are a few stubborn issues: occasional migraines (usually triggered by inadvertent chemical exposure), tinnitus (maddening!), some acne (at almost 50, this is irritating too), improved but unstable temperatures. Before I started Intro this week, I had seen the recurrence of nasal congestion, mild swelling in my legs and hands, constipation and some anxiety.

So that's why I try to sleep in in the mornings. And why I take thyroid hormone. And why I am doing Intro again. Because maybe, just maybe, I can experience more healing. Maybe the remaining symptoms can join the others in my distant memory.  And that is worth all of the temporary upheaval Intro can throw at me.


After reading this to the Captain, who is New England born and bred--which means he is a bit stoic and possessing a bit of the Puritan in his demeanor, and therefore cannot understand why on Earth anyone would talk about such private matters publicly--I decided to explain why I would bare this laundry list to the world. It's simple really: I found help through others having the courage to share their painful stories. I want to return the favor.


Linda said...

Hi Justine,
I received this today in my in-box:

I have never heard of tinnitus until today and you are the 2nd person I have come across today that has I guess I was meant to share this newsletter! Dr. John Douillard is an Ayurvedic Dr and I had the pleasure of meeting him and listening to one of his lectures live here last Feb. You may already know about this remedy for tinnitus but if not, I hope it helps. Let me know if you have tried it or if you do decide to try it :)

Hugs to you~

Baden said...

"I found help through others having the courage to share their painful stories. I want to return the favor."

((Bless you, Justine!!))


eli said...

hey mom, it's super cool that you're sharing details of my digestive health on the web!!!! not.

loljk love you.

Justine Raphael said...

Love you too! (and you outed yourself as The Writer, not me!) And notice there were NO details. I made sure of that.

Just trying to use what we have learned to help others....

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