Healing from Pain, Mental Fog and Fatigue

I’m not a scientist, a nurse practitioner or a doctor, but I am a patient on a journey to discover why I went from being a once healthy, full of life and energy-driven, ambitious woman, to feeling so chronically tired, painfully inflamed, fog-headedly confused, and unable to lose any weight, no matter what diet plan I tried or exercise plan I followed. As I will further elaborate in future posts, at forty-six, I can say that I’ve tried every diet fad from every decade that’s come my way since I hit puberty, and I also exercised my way into exhaustion (visit Krav Maga blog here).  To put it succinctly, my body simply broke, leaving me feeling frustrated and confused, especially when my doctors would look at me like it was all in my mind, simply because their medical protocol read that my results were well within their normal limits. Like most people who suffer from this strange enigma or as I like to call it: “It’s all in your head” syndrome, this only left me feeling more frustrated and angry, because I KNEW that this was NOT all in my head. I felt real pain. I grew overwhelmed with exhaustion. I often got tongue-tied and scatter-brained, and no one could explain why. As a writer, not being to articulate what I wanted to say, shook me to my very core the most. That is why, for me, “It’s all in my head,” just simply wouldn’t do. Getting shuffled from one specialist to another didn’t make things any better. I got tired of feeling like a number. I got tired of not having any answers. So, I did all the leg work and the research to fix myself, and after firing my physician, I made it my personal mission to find one who would listen, and I’m so glad I did.     

As written on the description of this blog, I dedicate my life to my family, my less than glamorous career as an indie author, and now I’m on a life-long journey to healing. Basically, I’m a mess—one big package of glorious chaos, who is loved by my crime-fighting husband and a rambunctious tween with enough energy to power a whole city and plenty of attorney-powered, debating endurance skills to run circles around my fog-headed brain. Running a household with a husband, whose career requires me to play both mom and dad most times, can be challenging, so I knew that I had to obsess with my search to find the answer. I NEEDED solutions, not quack-filled gimmicks, supplements I didn’t know were helping or hurting, or prescription meds that would flare up my adrenals and leave me worse off than before. Due to my stubborn and inquisitive nature, I didn’t give up, and I’m so glad to have found some solutions that seem to be restoring me back to health of which I will also discuss in future posts. This issue with my health started in 2000, made me hit rock bottom in 2012, and I didn’t start clawing my way back up that hill until 2015. I’m better than I was when this first started, but I’m not yet where I want to be as I’m now working on the weight loss, combating occasional fatigue, memory loss, and some lingering inflammation. Still, I’m thankful I can still write.

I wish I could say, “I found the cause…I have XYZ… or I know what brought all this exhaustion, but according to the CDC it is still unclear as to why about 1 million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.  Sometimes it masked itself as adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, insulin resistance, arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, and/or Hashimoto’s. I’m sure some of my doctors, were equally frustrated, as they were trained to look at a lab result and say, “Yup, you’ve got so-and-so; here’s a pill, and I’ll see you in about six months,” when my blood work always showed slightly below the readings that would trigger the warning signs of something like diabetes, a heart attack, or a thyroid issue, for example. What I do know for certain is that many people suffer in silence, because on the outside they look fine. After all, the lab results tell them so, yet on the inside they’re screaming with emotional and physical pain, yet no one seems to be listening. They’ve grown tired of explaining to others that it’s not in their head, that they’re not lazy, and there is a problem.

I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I have discovered that certain lifestyle habits, along with what we carry in our genes, contribute to this condition. I’ve also learned that although our bodies are uniquely designed, I have experienced first-hand, that we have the wonderful ability to heal ourselves given the proper conditions and nutrition. I’ve also learned that I had to do my own research and legwork to get better and throw away what certain diets, form of exercise, and/or medications didn’t work for me, when the experts and many well-intentioned people offered their own advice. I hate to use the cliche expression that if I had a nickel for every time someone wanted to give me their advice about what I should do with my body, it would pay for all my medical costs, but it happened more often than I can remember, yet with little to no results. Learning to silence those voices, or even question the medical experts, who came from a position authority when they wanted to place me in the bell curve box was challenging, but I chose to be relentless in my pursuit to get better, because I knew myself the most. So, if you’re also struggling with a similar situation, allow me to advise you with this: Listen to your body’s signals. No one knows you better than yourself. Unless people are licensed medical professionals, take their advice with a grain of salt. That includes my own. And if you turn to those who are licensed, consider choosing a doctor who allows you to ask questions. Everyone is different and what may work for one person, may not work for others. This one-size-fits-all mindset that our medical institution adheres to is what kept some of my physicians from thinking outside the box, and it cost me both financially and physically. Gratefully, I found a doctor, an actual licensed medical physician, who understood this and had me tested for a genetic mutation. It turns out, I have one that tends to affect about 40% of the world’s population. It’s called the MTHFR gene, and I will post more about that in future posts, but in a nutshell, having this mutation will keep the body from detoxifying itself. When the body reaches a high level of toxicity, symptoms like the ones I experienced will take center stage. Does this mean that all people who have this gene will have these symptoms? Based on the research I’ve done, certain conditions, nutritional habits, and lifestyles, especially those of the chronic stressful kind, can create the perfect storm for a toxic environment.

Having this knowledge, I am now on a journey to M.E.N.D. my health by making sure that I monitor the following when it comes to my health:
  1. Mindset
  2. Exercise
  3. Nutrition
  4. Detoxification

Throughout my life, I engaged in exercise that exacerbated my condition, participated in lifestyle habits that abused my body, and entertained emotions and thoughts that made things worse. I don’t know what brought you to my page. Perhaps you find yourself in the same situation, or perhaps you’ve gone through similar experiences and would like to network with others for support. Maybe you’re a friend or family member who knows my challenges and is merely here for moral support, but whatever brought you here, welcome. I hope that my ramblings will either entertain you or help you on your journey to find answers to living a happier and healthier lifestyle. For me, I am hopeful that 2017 will mark the beginning towards an end to a life filled with pain (both physical and emotional), fog and fatigue. Pending there are no serious genetic predispositions, the body is uniquely made to heal itself, and I’m determined to invite a healthy balance back into mine. If you know someone who could benefit from reading this blog, please feel free to share.

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Krav Maga Self-DefenseBlog: A mom's perspective about her new life with Krav Maga, the Israeli Self-Defense Fighting system, and other musings balancing home life.

My Work Life: Glimpse into my professional life where I also share helpful tips for new writers!

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