Before I tell you about my health journey, I must first tell you this: I never used to buy into wholistic health. I grouped it right in with bracelets that improve your balance and magical weight lost pills. However, desperation will lead you to try almost anything, so I resorted to wholistic medicine, and I sure am glad I did!
I have fibromyalgia, and this chronic illness affects my entire body. You know that car you see on the road with one headlight out, a trash bag taped over the window, smoke coming from under the hood, and a flat tire? That was my body. I was struggling to make it through each day with the plethora of symptoms that I faced. I’m talking chronic headaches, overall body aches, sinusitis, skin issues, gastrointestinal issues, dry eyes and severe inflammation in my eyes, blood sugar instability, a chronic bladder illness, joint and muscle pain…..you get the picture. Then there were the mental issues—depression, anxiety, mood instability—because, as you can imagine, when you’re always in pain, have to miss out on a social life because of your physical symptoms, and have gotten hopeless that you’ll ever have relief from any of the physical symptoms, it can make you a little gloomy. Stay with me—I promise this story does get better!
When I tell you that I tried everything to help my chronic health issues, I am not exaggerating (just ask my health insurance company and our bank account!) I tried aqua therapy, physical therapy, prolotherapy, massage therapy, steroid injections, yoga, walking, biking….and then tried treating each individual issue with many, many specialists. I had my allergy doctor, my eye doctor, my bone doctor, my physical therapist, my skin doctor, my rheumatologist, my urologist….the list goes on. Despite the effort, money, and time I put in, nothing was helping! I was actually getting MORE symptoms from the medications that I was being put on by my specialists! I was 3.5 years into this illness and it was kicking my butt.
I was so desperate for something to work, that I decided to try the hippie-dippie-tree-hugging-almond-milk-drinking world of wholistic medicine. Enter: my nutritionist, or as my husband refers to her, “The one who saved our marriage.” We had MRT food sensitivity testing done and found out that several of my go-to foods were causing inflammatory responses in my body every time I consumed them. I eliminated these foods and traded in processed foods for whole foods like fruits and veggies. My nutritionist found other deficiencies I had and addressed them with natural supplements and vitamins. She helped me work on my mental health, as it directly affected my physical health. She also worked with me to get off several medications that were causing me adverse side effects (and had long-term health risks as well), while still keeping the symptoms they were treating at bay. We also addressed my gut health to reverse the damage done to my gut microbiome from 14 years of excessive antibiotic use.
A few months into my wholistic health journey, I started noticing some positive changes. My headaches were less severe and less frequent. My energy had increased and my mood had improved significantly. I was able to go to the park all morning with my son and husband without having to rest the entire next day. My eye inflammation, chronic sinusitis, skin issues, and gastrointestinal issues had improved. My symptoms were fewer and less severe, despite the fact that I was actually on less medications to address those symptoms! For the first time in 3.5 years, I felt like my body was no longer attacking me and working against me. I could play with my son more, do more things for myself, and be less dependent on my husband. I was down over 20lbs (just an added bonus of being healthy!), had significant reduction in symptoms and health issues, and a positive outlook on my future. My husband has noticed a huge change in my mood, energy, and what I was able to do.
I knew I felt better, but, being a type A, analytical person, I couldn’t wait to see my progress in black-and-white, quantitative data. The C-Reactive Protein blood test measures the amount of inflammation in your body. The more inflammation there is in your body, the more CRP your liver produces, thus elevating this number. Pre-Casey (this is how I refer to the period of time that came before my nutritionist!) this number was 6.5. Considering 0-4.8 is the standard range for this blood test, that is a LOT of inflammation in my body! No wonder I felt like that car barely making it down the road with all its issues! Post-Casey, my inflammation markers came back at 2.8. Holy moly!
Now, am I completely back to how my health was pre-fibromyalgia? No. However, I’m well on my way there and cannot wait to see the other positive changes that come about as I continue my wholistic healing journey. My quality of life has improved drastically, which has allowed me to be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. Also, I have more energy to write amazingly impressive articles like this one, so there’s that, too!
About Madison Stilson
I have a toddler, Matthew, and an extremely patient and selfless husband, Joe. I was a teacher for several years and am now home with my favorite student – my son (I’ve been told that it is okay to have a favorite student in situations like this!). I have a passion for writing, which has been very therapeutic for me in the past when dealing with tough situations from being chronically ill. I love to tell narratives and to make people laugh, and I get to do both through my writing.
Congratulations on your improving health! I would like to know more details of the changes you made.
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