When we arrived in Arizona, I stayed connected with my doctor from DC, but unfortunately I needed more than he could do by phone. I tried doctors in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mayo Clinic, Hollywood and everywhere in between. Some were naturopaths, some were general practitioners, some were endocrinologists and many were hospital doctors. Some really cared, some needed some training in compassion, some really tried, some were outright CRAZY, some knew a little bit to get me to the next step and some came right out and said “I can’t help you, its too complicated, I am going to give you your money back.” Talk about hopelessness. I was so desperate. I felt like I was dying, like my body was shutting down, but no one seemed to be able to help. I remember calling my mom one day while Anthony was at work and I said if you and Anthony can’t help me find a good doctor, I can’t do it anymore. I just didn’t know where to turn.
A few of those doctors who tried to help gave me some medication that my body reacted to so badly I ended up in the hospital AGAIN and AGAIN. I started to fear taking any medication because the reactions were worse than the reason I was taking it. I did crazy diets (no sugar, no carbs, no fermented foods, no eggs, no gluten, no dairy). I did cleanses, I took prescription meds and a basket full of supplements. I did acupuncture, I did foot detox baths. I have used inferred saunas. I asked people to pray. (Side note: I even had the pleasure of one man praying for me and telling me that he thought I need to stop having sugar and soda. I almost hit him. I was thinking “um, do you have any idea why I eat, and I don’t think that is why I am sick.” ) I have had doctors say it was just stress or I should just take birth control (to balance my hormones). I have had a doctor say that when he “hears horses, he doesn’t expect zebras.” I remember thinking, “but what if I am zebra?”
Another not so fun part of this story is that the more treatments I did, the more issues I had. For example, since I had been on steroids, I developed infections all the time because it suppressed my immune system. Then, I lived on antibiotics, then I developed GI issues because of too much antibiotics. Then, I took meds to help that and ended up in the hospital. That was just one of the fun side effects from one of the medications.
I don’t want to go on and on about my hard times, but I want to express how hopeless I felt. I would drive to doctors with hope, come out and feel like I was at square one. I would be in the car and see someone walking and wish I could just walk or have energy to be outside. Friends would ask what I wanted to do for my birthday, but I would have to say “can I tell you that day because I may not feel up to leaving the house.” I would cry and cry and pray and pray. I remember my husband trying to be so strong for both of us, although I knew he was at his end too. I remember praying and feeling like God didn’t care. (I know He did and does and I can see now that He was there even when I didn’t feel like it.) I remember thinking I don’t want to live like this, but I am only 28. I remember telling a friend I couldn’t go on and they said, well maybe you should give up. (Um, thanks :)) I remember being so tired, but being afraid to go to bed. I remember calling my precious mom in the middle of the night because I was so scared and I just didn’t want to dump on Anthony again. I remember watching life pass by and wondering I would ever be able to enjoy it again.
The reason I want to express the hopelessness is because I am hoping with all my heart that someone will read this and see that there is ALWAYS HOPE. ALWAYS.
Thankfully, in 2008, I met a great doctor who helped get me stabilized and get on my way to heal. He worked on helping my hormonal imbalances (they were a result of my thyroid and adrenals being so out of whack). He worked on helping my adrenals as they were the main issue. He was the first one to do acupuncture with me and it helped me so much. I remember feeling my body actually calm down to the point of being able to rest for the first time in months. He was the first doctor to have me start on anti-depressants. It really did help me during this hard time. I started to feel better emotionally so I could focus on healing my body. He also started me on different thyroid medication as my thyroid numbers were all over the place, but my body wouldn’t tolerate most of the meds. I remember taking the new thyroid medicine and being able to get out of bed the same day. I thought “this stuff is magic.”
One of the not so fun side effects of steroids and anti-depressants was weight gain. I gained about 10 lbs a month for at least 6 months. I asked my doctor to change my medication and well, that wasn’t a good idea. After being on the medication a while I started to develop horrible anxiety. It was awful! It lasted for a really long time. One step forward, five steps back…at least that’s how I felt. I then switched to a different medication and after a few days, and a hospital visit, I felt more like myself.
Throughout those years (2007-2014), I changed doctors a few times to ones that seem to get the “next step” until I finally found my amazing doctor who I see now. She gets the whole picture and has been able to help me with everything including nutrition, supplements, balancing hormones, working on getting off of medications if needed and most important supporting me like no other doctor has ever done. She really works on the root cause of illness to make sure we get the whole picture and don’t just treat the symptoms.
I would say that I am about 85% myself. I can work, exercise, plan time with friends, sleep well, eat without issues, have no re-occuring infections. I am currently working on losing all the weight I gained from medications. Gosh, it sure comes off a lot slower than it went on. I am also still supporting my adrenals, taking compounded thyroid (T4 only as my body won’t process T3) and working on some other goals. I will spare you all of the million little things that are better or are a work in progress. I am currently also in counseling to work through some of the trauma that I have gone through. I realized that the powerlessness and fear that I experienced while being very ill took a very big emotional toll on me.
The main reason I want to share my story is to help anyone that is feeling hopeless for any reason. I know what hopelessness feels like. I also want to take the stigma out of someone seeking counseling or taking antidepressants. I so desire to live an authentic life that honors God and brings hope to others. I know people are struggling and I know they feel alone. I was one of them. I have had people tell me about their struggles after I have shared mine. I never knew they struggled. Life can look really great on social media. If more people shared their struggles and their victories, maybe just maybe, we would cultivate a world of hope and defeat hopelessness.
I am so thankful to have amazing friends and family that prayed with me, sat with me, took me to the doctors, brought meals, cleaned my house, believed with me that it would get better. I am so thankful for a husband that wouldn’t give up even when it didn’t look so good. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for God and the people he gave me.
Thank you so much for allowing me to share part of my story with you.