I searched the Functional Medicine site for a doctor in my area. I found 3. Only one of them accepted my insurance and that made the decision easy. They were able to fit me in the next week and I finally had hope.
The doctor had 3 specialties: family practice, OBGYN, and functional medicine. Our first appointment took over an hour and she took a detailed history of my health. After dealing with doctor after doctor who brushed my symptoms aside, the most comforting thing she said is, “Yes this is real. You’re not crazy. I’ve seen it before and I can help.” She ordered a saliva test to more accurately test my hormone levels and put me on an elimination diet to rule out food allergies and allow my digestive system to rest.
Initially the diet added more stress. No nuts, eggs, dairy, pork, corn, cocoa, coffee, tea, shellfish, gluten, sugar, or citrus. It was easier to to list off what I could eat: chicken, salmon, vegetables and fruit, rice, oats, quinoa, honey and maple syrup. The first few days were fine and then I just wanted anything that I couldn’t have. I followed it religiously and didn’t lose an ounce (so discouraging). BUT I got out of bed for the first time in months. I started having more time during the day that I could be up. I spent only 20 hours in bed instead of 24, then 18, then 12…..then 8. I walked to the end of the road and back. It was a miracle.
In addition she had me take 900mg of Phosphatidylserine before bed with 10mg of melatonin. This slowed the cortisol production at night so I could sleep. Then she had me take 5mg of DHEA in the morning to help get things started again. She warned me that too much DHEA could stress the adrenals creating too much cortisol again, so to keep the dose small and watch it carefully. In the afternoon I took methylated B vitamins to help with energy. This protocol created the proper fluctuation of cortisol in my blood stream–an essential part of healing.
By the time the saliva test kit came in the mail I had been following her new protocol for several weeks. The test came back with a normal swing of production, but LOW hormones across the board. It showed the protocol was working but I still had work to do to get back to a healthy state.
It has been 18 months since I found help and I’m still not all the way healthy. I’m 30 pounds overweight and tire really easy. A stressful event, like conducting a concert or being cornered by a bat in my bedroom (true story), will have me back in bed for a couple of days to recover. I’ve tried to restart a fitness program several times and each one ended up in adrenal strain and then illness. A few months ago another pile up of stressful events created a new freak allergy in my body leaving me covered with itchy scabs for months. Each failure has taught me a new way to care for my body and I’m dusting off and trying again. In part 3, I’m going to give the detailed steps of what has worked for me to help heal.