W2 - Summary and a Story
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Well, even after not tracking for 5+ years, turns out it still helps me pay more attention to my choices. I'm 2 weeks in, and am noticing things about my intake again. For instance, if I do a egg/cheese/turkey sausage on a bagel with a latte in the morning, my calorie count for the day always ends up above where I want it to be, because that little treat right there - which I used to do 5 days a week to get me through - adds an extra 400 calories/day. Just right there.
So this reawakening really has helped me. Pay attention is definitely the theme.
As I am working on tracking my food, I am also going through a naturopathic treatment for lyme disease. For months and months, I wasn't sleeping well, if at all. There were nights I'd wake up every hour, on the hour, and other nights where I'd wake up and not be able to fall back asleep. It was 6+ months of torture. At first, I chalked it up to stress... after all, that could be blamed for a variety of symptoms. But then, my brain stopped working the way it used to... I'd have a hard time with my memory and tell my mom "my brain just doesn't work like it used to". And it didn't. I didn't feel nearly as sharp as I normally am.
I went to my primary doctor, who diagnosed me with anxiety. Even though I'm not a fan of taking medication, she gave me Xanax for an as-needed basis and gave me a referral to a sleep specialist. I saw the sleep specialist 2x, both times needing to track my sleep - when I was awake, when I was asleep, when I had caffeine or sugar... after all of that, he said that all my symptoms were atypical to diagnose me with anything and I should simply keep tracking my sleep to uncover patterns. He noted there were certain days that I did sleep through the night, marked with an "X" and he asked me about that. Xanax, so my body would actually not operate in fight-or-flight mode 24/7. And since both he and my primary were not encouraging to use that as a remedy, I stopped. Completely frustrating.
Finally, in August, I decided to go back to a nautropath that I had seen years ago about a different issue. Within 10 minutes, he had diagnosed me with lyme disease, most likely from a mosquito bite (yep, a mosquito). All of western medicine couldn't figure it out, but he did. He said late-stage lyme disease affects the brain and the neurological system. Not sleeping, brain fog, and muscle aches can mimic so many things that often lyme is not even considered, and all of the traditional testing doesn't cover each type out there, so it's a very difficult diagnosis. He, however, suffered with it for nearly a decade so he understands and knows what to look for.
He started me on a relatively intense treatment series, which included initially: 2 months of lyme exposure series, drops on the interim days, and smart silver to clean out my immune system. The theory behind naturopathy is that "like treats like" so think of it like when you are allergic to cats and you get allergy shots to make you less allergic... it's like gradually increasing your exposure so you become more immune. He let me know for the first couple weeks I might not feel good, so I should keep him posted.
I went home and started the treatment that evening. In the middle of the night, I woke up with a massive, splitting headache. I've never had a migraine, but I suspect this would have been described as one. I took my aleve and tried to get back to sleep, but wasn't able. Spent the remainder of the day as a zombie feeling like crap. Went to bed that evening, and woke up in the middle of the night unable to move my neck. After 30 minutes of gently touching and helping loosen it, I was able to get back to sleep but it was fitful. The next night I woke up at 4am completely unable to move my neck, and in so much pain I had to sit up in a chair the rest of the night. This was a crazy amount of side effects, right?
He wasn't working over the weekend so I had to figure out something. My massage therapist had an opening (magically) so I went to get a massage specifically for my neck and shoulders, then went to a chiropractor to try to get realigned - and let me tell you, my neck had never moved like it moved that day. I went to someone who does myofascial release to unblock my neck. And even with all of that, I was still in pain having issues.
I stopped in to talk to him the following week, and he instantly told me that what I was experiencing was called "herxheimer reaction" and that it is really common with this treatment. Basically, my body was killing off the parasite faster than it could eliminate it from my body. He gave me another set of drops to take, and it was instantly night and day. Without that, I'm not sure I would have continued treatment.
Fast forward to today. I'm 6 weeks or so in to the treatment, and had my follow up. I let him know that I still have occasional headaches, and not matter how many times I am at the chiro, my neck and shoulders are still sore and tight. With some testing, it turns out that my kidneys, thymus, liver, and lymph system hate me right now because of all this detox, and no matter how much water I drink, they need some help... so now in addition to my lyme treatment, I'm on a comprehensive detox for my brain, spine, tissue, kidneys, lymph and liver. It's a lot, but I have no reason to believe that it won't help. I also have nothing to lose because feeling sub-par is no way to live.
So, all this fatigue this year hasn't been in my head. A couple weeks after I started treatment, I started sleeping through the night. And woke up feeling rested. It was really some kind of small miracle because I was pretty sure it wasn't possible any more. I am really grateful.
I share because all year I beat myself up about not having any energy to get to the gym. (I mean, there were days I was going to bed at 5pm and waking up at 6am and it still felt like I hadn't slept!) Turns out it wasn't my fault I didn't have energy. I wasn't lazy, my body was literally hijacked. And when I didn't have energy, what did I do? Eat... because it was temporary way to boost my energy. And with no energy, what do you do? Cook? Not me... I did a lot of takeout. It was a recipe for disaster. And largely, that is what this year was for my health. A disaster.
However, I'm on the right side of hope now. Tracking my food has kept me accountable without restricting. Still no movement, but it will come when I feel ready to add something else into the mix. And I look forward to continuing to make progress, slow and steady.
I can still do this.
W1: -1.8# (total -1.8#)
W2: -3.6# (total -5.4#)