Monday, January 18, 2016

Waking Up to Life at 43

                I have been really sick for a long time. Don’t feel bad for me. I have had a recent miracle in my life that has healed me when mainstream medicine wouldn’t.  First off, I want to say that I am not selling anything in this story. It’s just my little story. 

            I’ve always been a little on the sickly side. Everything made sense suddenly in 1994 when I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney and polycystic liver disease. Before you get too happy for me, I have no idea how those illnesses are doing. My nephrologist reported to me last month that my blood work is awesome, but unless we go in with an ultrasound, CAT scan or MRI, we just don’t know how all my cysts are looking. And I don’t really do those things unless I have to (Not surprisingly, I hate those tests).

            A lesson that I have learned about a life-long disease (or 2) is that looking at it and learning about it 24/7 does not make for a happy camper.  Learn what you need to know, decide what kind of life you want to live, and do what you need to do to make that happen. I hope that doesn’t sound callous. It’s just what I learned on my journey from slumped over and despondent, to barely coping, to thriving regardless of how bumpy my internal organs are.

            Now about this miracle healing: It all started one day in 1999. I had two little girls, a lovely home, a wonderful husband, and the strawberries I had planted in the back yard were coming along nicely (Though had I known about the starling attack that would destroy them…. I digress). I became weak for no reason at all.  It was like when you have the flu and you can barely lift your head or get out of bed. It lasted for a few days. I didn’t have the flu though. It was tough. I had a history of anemia and thought perhaps it was just my anemia come to visit with a vengeance. 

            It was a long time and new house later that it happened again. This time I had two little girls and one little boy. It was so bad I actually had to call my mother-in-law to come over and take care of my children while I lay on the couch, staring at the ceiling, cursing my traitorous body. It worked the day before! What was up with it?!!  It took about three days to pass. Things were really heavy….like a single sheet of paper weighed as much as a brick to me.

            I started searching for causes. I visited the doctor. No anemia and no solutions. He thought I was nuts, gave me my hypochondriac card and patted me on the head before sending me out the door. They wanted to see me in the office while it was happening. The last thing I could do when it hit was stand, let alone go to the office.  The next time it happened my mother piled me into a car and drove floppy, weak me to the doctor’s office. They took my blood. My blood was awesome except a high ANA count. Lupus! Well, that’s what they said. We have some lupus in our family but the symptoms of my lupus family members and my symptoms were not the same. Besides, to properly diagnose lupus you need a gazillion blood tests and lots of high ANA numbers.

            When I was up and about again I really dug in to study this thing. Was it adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, mono (sans runny nose)? I just couldn’t tell. As it happened more and more doctors looked at lupus over and over again.  As years passed I learned a little about it. It became progressively worse, growing to a five or six day time span. It was adrenal triggered, meaning, if my son jumped out to scare me the illness would trigger and I would be down for a week. It came with a dilly-whopper of a migraine. There were warning signs that it was coming. At first my legs would ache in a certain way. After a while the migraine became the warning.  I learned that I could cut it to three days and stand up if I immediately adopted a Master Cleanse (That lemonade detox diet).  One of the best days of my life was when I discovered that Raw Apple Cider Vinegar allowed me to function at about 70% capacity with a migraine that I could cover with a Coke and 4 ibuprofen (Yeah, my neph would die if he knew about the ibuprofen but I figured, if I died a little sooner so I could live a little, it was worth it).

            The problem was that the trigger of what I dubbed “pseudo-flu” became more frequent. Once a year, became three times a year, became once a month, became once a week, became every week. Pretty soon I couldn’t leave the house without a bottle of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in my purse.

            Let me just take an aside here to tell you about Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. Yuck. I know there are supposed recipes online that say it tastes good. Not. You can mix it in orange juice…if you want the experience to last longer. I’d put it in a little medicine cup, knock it back, and follow it with orange juice. Now we stick ½ tsp cinnamon (not stirred in) in it and follow it with orange juice. It’s easy to lie to ourselves and pretend it’s just sour wassail. Swish with something afterwards if you value your tooth enamel.

            Anyway, it was getting more and more risky to drive. See, to drive a car you have to tug on the steering wheel to turn it…and when paper is heavy, your arm is heavier, and lifting it to the steering wheel, or hoping you were strong enough to lift your leg to the break…well, it was just bad news.

            So it was that my husband drove me to our girl’s lunch date. He was the token male.  One of my girlfriends suggested I visit her chiropractor because he had a healing gift. I believed in chiropractors less than I believed in the Easter Bunny. They made you straight, but the minute you walked out your muscles pulled your spine right back to where it was before you walked in.  I left with a full, happy belly, knowing I wouldn’t be visiting a chiropractor. But it occurred to me on the way home, hadn’t I just the day before fasted and prayed, groveled, begged, and pleaded with God that he could help me just a little. I was afraid for my life and the doctors were not helping.

            What I didn’t want to do was waste more time or money. I decided it was just too much of a coincidence that she would recommend a doctor to me the day after my deep prayer, but I still wasn’t sold. So that night I asked Heavenly Father if this doctor was what He wanted me to do. While I was praying I saw a bright light in my mind. That was it. It was weird enough that I decided to call it a “Yes.” Off I went to Dr. Knucklebones.

            Dr. Knucklebones is actually Dr. Troy Frazier and he has changed/saved my life. I took in my front and back page, tiny type paper of symptoms. He looked over it, circled several areas, and told me………………………WAIT FOR IT GUYS………………………You will just never believe this…………………………That I had a mineral deficiency. Okay, I will admit that I did not believe him at all. But I took the mineral supplements and some other supplements along with homeopathic drops (Thinking back here to the day I said I’d never believe in hokey homeopathy) and I became human. It’s been months and months since I had a triggered episode of pseudo-flu/lupus/chronic fatigue/or-whatever-it-was.  I haven’t missed a day of taking my cheap mineral supplement.

            Since then Dr. Frazier has fixed anything I bring to him. My right arm used to go rubbery cold when I typed. My left leg was affectionately dubbed the decorative leg. It’s doing great. I’m exercising for the first time in years. My son jumps out to scare me all the time and I laugh and laugh. I didn’t think I had a mood disorder, but wow, am I so much happier now and clear minded, I bet I did.

            I woke up to my life, which was a bit in shambles. I could move around, jump around, play around…but I had no muscle mass left. I was like a little old lady. Holy cow, do I need to clean house. My kids still treat me like I’m fragile. My mother cheers when I run up the stairs. Gees, Mom, there aren’t that many stairs. I guess I was really, really bad off.

            In short, I’m learning to live again at 43, with a new lease on life. I thought I would share my journey with you. Surely someone out there is waking up into their life and finding it in a crazy rut.  My first rut is my weight. I can’t weigh too much. People with polycystic kidney and liver disease don’t usually die of the disease. They die of heart disease because their heart can’t pump blood through clogged, cystic organs.  For the first time in my life my blood pressure is sky high and I am 37 lbs overweight when I’m not pregnant. That’s a lot of extra weight for my heart to pump blood through.

            With some lifestyle changes my nephrologist said he will look at my blood pressure in six months to see if I need medication.  He is putting me on a higher protein, low carb diet (suspiciously the same one that was recommended by Dr. Frazier). This has to be done carefully because my kidneys shouldn’t be taxed too much and some proteins are very taxing on your kidneys.  I just finished my bowl of tuna fish. Just call me bad breath Johnson. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.


Dawn McFadden said...

You have such a wonderful outlook on life I thank you for sharing your journey and commend you for not giving up

Administrator said...

Thanks Dawn.

Doreen said...

Thank you for sharing and so glad you are doing better. I love your outlook. I just started taking a couple of tablespoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar and I've already notice a better overall feeling in my gut and less bloating. I think mixing both modern medicine and tried and true natural remedies is a healthy and balanced way to go.

Administrator said...

I think the Raw Apple Cider Vinegar worked for me because it is, though acidic outside your body, alkalizing inside your body. We still use it. Our family hasn't had a proper cold in years. We just take it at onset of the cold and it's gone by the end of the day. I love it when I'm alkaline. It solves so many problems. I wish it would have been the answer for this problem. It was certainly very helpful though.

Administrator said...

Here's a helpful hint at our house. If you're having acid reflux issues, especially after eating dairy, try NOW brand apple cider vinegar pills -about 4 or 5 after you eat. It knocks it right out and you don't need to taste vinegar. We always keep some on hand. The health food store in town carries it for us.

Administrator said...

Update: I'm back to eating mostly alkaline. My blood pressure is a nice 124/85. I'm still low on muscles but life is good.