Brief overview of the last 17 years. Phone call New Year’s Eve 1997, cancerous cells found so I had to have a few procedures on my cervix. Sorry guys, but it’s true. Told that if I had too many, might have problems carrying a baby. I was engaged to be married. A few months later, my urine was the color of a dark red wine. Blisters appeared on hands, read more here. Diagnosis that year was Porphyria Cutanea Tarda. Told to stay out of the sun, not drink alcohol, and oh yeah, get off birth control. I was about to go away on my honeymoon. Awesome. I happened to need/want all 3 of those things at the time.
Years later, blessed with a healthy baby girl. 18 months later, blessed with another baby girl, through a scary life-changing delivery. Knew that I was only meant to have those two, but because of the scary news from 1997, I made my peace with it. Because I was still loading iron, my doctor finally tested me for Hereditary Hemochromatosis.
I thought by now I needed a break in the department of “crazy shit no one can pronounce”. So I got one for a while. At this point, I had already been phlebotomized, or pints of my blood taken, for years. I was always tired, and trying to teach. After my little one went to pre-school, I was asked to teach again. I was sought out, which was flattering, by a local principal. She heard good things about me, but my gut said NOOOOOO, don’t go there. I didn’t listen to it. My mistake. Things happened that were political in nature, and I left the school to work in a private school. Another thing that erm, was not what I was expecting. After a few years of a whole different ball game, I went back to public school and found somewhere I LOVED. I taught pre-school.
As luck would have it, my body was continuing its cycle of let’s try to beat Aimee down because she’s too happy. So my stomach started hurting profusely all the time, for what I thought was no apparent reason. I went to the gastroenterologist and had things done…not so fun things. A procedure I actually put off until the last day of school one year because as you can imagine, I had no more time off.
It also coincided with pain emanating from my spine as well. Then my shoulder started hurting and freezing up. I had absolutely no idea what was going on (side note, I was developing autoimmune diseases at the time). Not a single doctor knew what was wrong. I taught the next year in complete pain and would come home and put heating pads all over my body and cry secretly. This was 3.5 years ago. I refused to be on drugs that would make me not function at school (side note, I was called Mrs. Happy before this point in my life). We had no planning periods and it was a full day pre-school with 18 little eyeballs watching my every move.
I could not eat without getting sick. I actually stopped eating any food before work. I ate very little at lunch and started developing a plan. I went gluten-free. NOT because it was a fad. I want to smash cupcakes on people who say that. BIG giant cupcakes. Anyway, it was not enough. I still was bloated. Still had pain. Still couldn’t eat without getting almost violently ill. I was tested for allergies. A ginormous portion flared up, BUT not gluten (no Celiac’s as I was tested). Sugar was a flare.
Now at this point, I am not sure how the doctor, a ENT guy, didn’t think to say “Hey, wow, these are autoimmune flares”, but he didn’t. I ended up getting worse off, and more sick after the allergens were introduced into my body and had vertigo for 3 weeks straight and was throwing up so bad I couldn’t keep anything down.
When all of that passed, I came to the decision last year that I could no longer carry on my regular duties as a classroom teacher. I was tired from the phelbotomies (they had made me somewhat anemic), in pain, and not myself. Life was, quite frankly, a struggle. A month after school let out, my hip started going out. I was now having pain radiating in my left hip and it seemed displaced. In the fall of last year, I started seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis. He helped get me moving again and my hip managed to get back in place. When I realized I could no longer afford him on a regular basis as my insurance only paid for so many visits, I was sad, but I had to stop seeing him.
I spent the next three months under heating pads again. Day in and day out. At this point, I was still having stomach issues so I decided to stop eating sugar completely in all it’s forms. I researched Hashimoto’s Thyroid, which I had finally been diagnosed with as my autoimmune problem. I read everything I could about it and went “paleo” as best I could. When I say “withdrawals” from sweet tea were the hardest, I am not kidding.
Was diagnosed with fibromyalgia earlier this year as the result of the Epstein-Barr virus coming to life in my spine…oh yeah, that was why I was in pain. I spent 3 months coming out of what you probably call depression/anxiety, but still was going to find a way to treat my symptoms without prescription drugs. I want to perfectly honest here for my new friends. I no longer like to eat. I actually dislike the thought of food because it made me sick for so long. So new girlfriend, I get where you are coming from. I truly, honestly get where you are now. The reason I wrote all of this is to let you know, you are not alone. Thank you for asking me the questions you did. I will always answer as honestly as I can so that you know it’s okay to feel this way. It will get better. So I hope I have caught you up to where I am now. I am on all-natural supplements. I did find a new functional medical doctor to look at me like a whole person and not one of my diseases. I am feeling better, but I still have bad days.