Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Story (part 3)

Anyway, for years I felt the same way. I dragged myself out of bed. I considered it a huge success if I could make a real breakfast and get the kids out of the house that day. I always cleaned the house though. I can’t stand a dirty house. Also, I think it was my way of coping “If I was dishes at 11, make lunch at 12, sweep the floors at one, then I can make it to nap time. Then movies at 3, outside at 4, dinner at five, and then they go to bed!”

What kind of existence is that?  Poor kids. Poor Tom. And sad for me. I so wanted to be super mom, and I felt like my body was my own worst enemy.
Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep well and therefore had very little patience. I tried to keep up with Tom and all his doings, but it didn’t always work. Some days the house was messy and that’s just he way it had to be. It took me a few years to get through all of Tom’s books… I spent years feeling like a complete failure.

Going from the day of my wedding to when Amy was a year old I was sixty pounds heavier. This made no sense to me given that I spent three years throwing up constantly.  I’ve been told that my body was in starvation mode because of the HG and because of that, it now stores anything I eat and will not let the body use it as fuel. So I did/do retain what I eat and boy does it stick! I worked out for a year at a gym, had a trainer that entire time, was down to 1500 calories a day, and I lost a grand total of FOUR pounds. My trainer was sure I was eating at McD’s every day and if I would just stop eating, then I’d lose the weight.

I really hated that. I told him I was working hard at it. I’m a dedicated person and if I wanted to lose weight then I should be able to do it, right?  Well after a year I decided I was not going to put in all that work just to have nothing to show for it, so I did go back to eating fast food and drinking soda and all that other stuff. Why not? was my thinking.

About this time I decided that I’d go to a doctor and see if he could help me out. Before I went in for my first appointment I thought I’d type up all of my symptoms, how long I’ve had them, and what I’ve tried.

It was two pages long.

I took it in with me, and the nurse looked at it and said “if you were 40, I’d say you’re going through menopause, but you’re half that age, so I have no idea what this could be. Let me give it to the doctor.”

What did the doctor say?  Do you want to guess? 

If you guessed that he said “wow, you poor thing, you’ve really had it rough these last few years, let’s see what we can do!”  I would laugh at you. Well, not really…

Instead he browsed the letter and then said “you know, doctors don’t really like it when people do this.” 

 ::::since I don’t curse, you may insert your own bad words here:::

I stuttered a “oh, I’m sorry. I just thought it might help…” and he said “look, I can’t treat you for every little thing.”  I said “Oh, I know, and I don’t want you to. I just thought that maybe seeing all the symptoms at once might trigger a “this sounds like…” kinda deal.” 

He didn’t respond.

He said I needed to be on anti-depressants. I said absolutely not.
He said “well, we at least need to get you sleeping (I would go to be at 11, but still not fall asleep until 2am)  so I’m going to put you on Ambien.” I have a great-aunt who died from sleeping pills, and I’ve always been afraid of them, but I decided that I would take the Ambien because I hadn’t slept in three years, and I was desperate.

He said I should lose weight---even though my second symptom was “inability to lose weight”—and I should be on blood pressure medication. I don’t remember the numbers, but I do know they were borderline, so I’m not sure why the rush for meds.

I asked “is there anything else I can do, so that I don’t have to be on meds?” He said “oh sure. You can eat right and exercise.”  What really astounded me was the lack of compassion… I could barely function and he’s telling me to just get up and exercise. It seemed more of a “if you weren’t so fat, you’d be fine” rather than a concerned “Wow, I know this is difficult, let’s start working on it.

I’m open to the idea that maybe he found me annoying, too confident, or maybe I just downright irked him, but at this point it is obvious that this doctor has *some* issue with me. I didn’t (and still don’t) get it because my other friends had rave reviews of this doctor. And when I would relay my story, they couldn’t even comprehend him behaving this way. I don’t know if we just clashed, or it’s because I didn’t go in with the mentality of “well, you’re the doctor, I’ll do whatever you say.”  I would assume it’s the latter, but I hate to make him sound that… immature.


I took the Ambien for about three months and really did start to feel better. I would look forward to going to bed at night because I knew I could sleep without being awake every 45 minutes, and sleep works wonders! After the three months the doctor said he didn’t want to renew the prescription, which was fine with me. He thought I should be being active enough at this point to be tired naturally. Well, I’m sure if I had energy that idea would have worked.... A few months later I found a natural sleep aid (melatonin and chamomile, mainly) and would take that. I still take it.

So even with the sleep I still felt like I had no energy, I was depressed, and found that I could barely interact with the kids above caring for the basic necessities. This is never how I pictured the lives of my children. It just made me feel that much worse.  If I got up and swept the floors for 30 minutes, I’d then have to sit on the couch for two hours just to recover. When I woke up in the morning, it would take me an hour of getting around, before I could stand up straight without pain. Everything just hurt all the time.

In 2008 we found out we were expecting another baby. I think we were both terrified, but we knew we’d just get through it. We did have to find a 5 day a week sitter who could come in the mornings, so I could sleep, which made things a little easier (on me, at least). However, we lost Grace at 17 weeks along (cord wrapped around the neck), and thought that might emotionally break me.  Well, the good news is: I’m not an alcoholic! I figure if I can go through all the stuff I’ve been through and not turn to the bottle, I never will.

About seven months later we were happy to announce we were expecting again. This pregnancy was a little easier because Tom was wonderful and paid sitters to help with kids, let me sleep, and he brought food home every day. Not only could I not cook, but no body in the house could use the oven or the microwave, because the smell would stay in the air for hours, and I just couldn’t handle it. Tom’s mother was also invaluable: she would take kids on the weekends, do my laundry, and generally be on call. It was a much easier pregnancy, but still full of issues.

Finally, after Elizabeth had been born and after my family had been seeing Dr. Rob for about two years, it was finally my turn to get treated.

Dr. Rob figured out that I had several pinched nerves in my back, hence the pain in walking, the inability to sleep, and why I couldn’t hold babies for more than five minutes at a time. I had some issues with several vertebrae in my back, one (or two?) was so bad that Dr. Rob couldn’t even touch it. He used some magic red laser treatment thing, and after a few weeks or so, Dr. Rob really worked some magic. Even though I dreaded going to my appointments, because it hurt like h.e.c.k. and it typically made me cry, I could tell it was doing more good than harm. I don’t think it was anything Dr. Rob was doing wrong, but it does go to show how inflamed I had been. I was finally able to sleep for hours at a time, rather than waking up every 30-45 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. My constant headaches were lessening considerably. Instead, of 3-4 migraines a week and a daily “annoying” headache, I then had 1 migraine a week and the annoying headache had disappeared. My arm stopped being so numb, and I could hold kids for longer stretches of time.

It was like a miracle.

After a few more months of treatment the weekly migraine went down to maybe once a month, if that. Sleep was rapidly improving. And I felt hopeful for the first time in a long time. Again, Dr. Rob took his time with me, answered any question I had in great detail, he generously offered new treatments at a reduced or free cost and really cared about me and the family, and most importantly, he never once spoke down to me, implied that I was lazy, or doubted my commitment to helping my family.

Unfortunately, about two months after I started working with him as a patient, my family had to move to another state. Dr. Rob and his staff were one of the reasons we were so bummed about leaving AL… how many doctors can (honestly) say “my patients appreciate me so much that they hesitate to move.”?  Dr. Rob even offered to research new chiropractors for me. And he did… not long after we moved to Kansas, Dr. Rob sent me a list of chiro’s who could help me.  It did take about 8 months for me to get into the office, because I was too stressed with getting kids into a new school, moving into a (then) massive house, and still taking care of a new baby, but I did eventually get in with Dr. Stacy who is awesome.  She’s been working with me for about a year. My migraines are now a rare occurrence, thankfully. However, my back is still out of whack a lot. My pinched nerves tend to flare up often, and while getting adjusted does help somewhat, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever be pain free. 
Tom introduced me to “this great guy” a little over a year ago. His name is Robert Scott Bell, and he really is amazing. He had never had any interaction with me, but sometime last year I was fairly sure I was pregnant, so I panicked (Tom doesn’t even know this) and I emailed RSB and said “I’m the wife of Tom Woods and I’ve had horrible pregnancies, do you have any tricks for perhaps helping me before I get sick?”  He responded five minutes later and said “call me, here’s my number!”  So I did. He was really kind and compassionate and didn’t say anything like “why the heck would you be pregnant again?!” He was very chill and said “wow, let’s see what we can do for this little child.” -- So why is it that the M.D’s are such jerks (not all of them) and yet the “weirdo health people” are the ones with real answers and are the most truly compassionate? –he said “Uh yeah, it’s your liver… it’s over-taxed.” And then he proceeded to give me a list of five supplements, the dosages, and the reasons behind why I was taking them… and then he says “Okay, it’s time for me to get back to my radio!” 

Whaaa? He talked to me during a radio break?  Now that’s what I call awesome. He also gave me some great advice for my kids on their food and gut issues, so between Dr. Rob, Dr. Stacy, and RSB, we feel like we have an all-star team.

That pregnancy didn’t end up “sticking”, but I’ve been trying to clean my liver ever since. And Robert Scott Bell is always available when we need some quick advice. Thanks, Robert!

When Tom came to be last October and suggested the Primal blueprint, I thought “thank you, God!” because I knew the whole family needed an food overhaul, but that Tom would never do it if I just threw it out there. So we planned for a few months, and began GP in January of 2012.
Six months later and here are the changes I’ve seen in myself:
My sleep is better (except when my nerves act up)
I feel happier
My headaches happen rarely
My aches and pains in all my joints have gone away
My hair has gone from falling out in handfuls, to maybe half a handful
I have more energy
My depression has significantly gotten better
My complexion is much clearer
My memory is ten times better (still not optimal though)
I dropped 20 lbs
I wake up easier in the mornings
I don’t have to walk around for an hour before I can stand up straight anymore
My blood pressure dropped by 20 points
My eyesight changed! It is now 20/20 and 20/40 with glasses. Pretty awesome.

While things are getting better things are still not quite right:

Despite diet (Primal) and working out I stalled at 20lbs weight lost. It just won’t budge beyond that.
My nerves and back still give me trouble
I still have trouble falling asleep
Mood swings still occur, but perhaps that’s just going to happen for forever
I still don’t have that “boundless energy” that so many Primalist talk about.
My hair still falls out
I can either be starving or not hungry at all
I am still sensitive to heat. 

The main thing to me is my weight loss. I am still about 50lbs overweight. I’ve never been the pretty girl, so I’ve never wanted to be skinny out of pride. I would like to get back to my size eights because they fit better, their easier to find in stores, and my family has blood pressure and heart issues, and I’d like to minimize my chances of dealing with these issues. And if losing weight means that I’d have more energy and be happier, than that’s another reason I’d want to lose it.

What I really want to know is why my body so messed up? I know the soda and pregnancies did not help it, but I know there’s something more to it. And I’d like somebody to figure it out and just tell me how to fix it for once and for all. 

Oh, and I'd also like to write "The Doctor" and say something like "You dismissed not only me but my entire family saying "it's all normal." when in fact: one had severe reactions to gluten, dairy, and eggs. The other one had severe food intolerances and metals poisoning. One had nerve damage in her spine. And the other had yeast infections that you should have spotted right away. Thanks for all the love and concern you showed us, and all the amazing support you offered our way. Not."

And I would if I weren't so nice. And a coward.


  1. I always wonder if telling a doctor they were wrong would help at all, or if it would just make the more defensive.

    But you deserve big hugs. I can't even imagine feeling so awful all the time, and having such trying pregnancies, especially with little ones as well. Seriously cannot imagine. But you are right in that you would think there is still some underlying thing wrong that causes all these problems, but what?

    Do you eat grass fed meat? I've heard some people who react to the grain ingested via the animals they eat. Horribly inconvenient. It is so sad that our food supply is so tainted.

  2. Sounds very thyroid to me. You've got weight gain, emotional lability, hair loss, depression, cognitive problems, skin problems, some sort of hormone issues... I mean, cushings, hypothyroidism... Thyroid problems can certainly occur with pregnancy. I'm nearly reluctant to mention it because SURELY it has been checked every which way!
    I'm certainly not a medical student or anything (an osteopathic student though... Not the American kind... Australian..we have a different system over here... Anyway..)...
    So... Good luck. All sounds fairly horrific..


  3. You have my total sympathy. And prayers. Take a look at Teresa Tapp's exercise programs. Google T-Tapp. It is more than just exercise in that it is designed to strengthen, knees, spine, work your lymphatic system and generally improve your body alignment and neuro-kinetic pathways. No gym, no equipment needed. The system primarily makes you lose inches even moreso than weight, but the weight loss should follow. Read the reviews and testimonials. Very impressive. I am just starting her program and have great hopes of rehabbing bad shoulders and hips.

    1. Could you please write down what you eat?
      I think your cortisol levels are always high and this contributes a lot to your problems, but I am sure there is a way to change all this.

  4. You are most definitely not a coward. Thank you for being brave and sharing your struggles.

  5. It could be more than one thing; your pinched nerves are definately seperate from whatever else is causing the other symptoms. Is that surgery too risky, given the proximity to the spine?

    With the other issues, how much do you work out? If you've been counting calories, purposefully going on a restricted calorie diet, and burning too many calories, you body could be trying to retain energy and nutrients. Assuming you're pushing too hard, take a few days or a week to eat more (primal)energy-dense food and be lazy, and see if it helps; the hair certainly sounds like a defiency.

    If you don't think that's it, or it doesn't work, then the problem with your metabolism might be internal- I'd look into hormone defects, and see if any of them cause those issues.