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Here I Go Again

This song is stuck in my head, so now it must be stuck in yours. You might want to enjoy it while you read this blog post.

You’re welcome.hr_brown

Yesterday was my first appointment with Dr. Amy Myers at Austin UltraHealth to try to find the answers to my on-going health-related challenges. I’m mostly healthy, I think, but still not feeling like a superhero (physically or mentally) and my blood pressure is high. So Dave and I are investigating further. In my imagination, it’s sexy and mysterious, like this:

investigate

In reality, it’s far less romantic. Read on…

I’d like to tell you all about my time with Dr. Myers in detail, but when I try to type sentences that make sense, they’re kind of like this in my head: Words words more words what? words. After almost a week of proofreading and last-minute changes to Well Fed 2, my brain is good and truly fried.

I won’t have any real news about what’s going on with my body until October – when lab results start to come back – but between now and then, Dave and I will be embarking on new food- and supplement-related adventures. I’d rather fly back to Prague, but sometimes, you gotta take adventure where you can find it. Here, in no particular order, are some of the highlights from yesterday.

1. Vampire Attack!
The nurse drew 14 (!) vials of blood from me and 11 from Dave. I’m having lots of thyroid numbers run, as well as a bunch of other stuff, including a food sensitivity panel that tests for 100 foods!

2. Number One AND Number Two.
I’m the lucky owner right now of two “kits” for collecting specimens. Ahem. The instructions for collection – and the gloves, vials, tubes, and jars, all labeled with my name, date of birth, and a big ‘F’ for female – made me feel a little queasy and vaguely faint. Picking up dog poop grosses me out, so… yeah.

3. Remember last October when I did the AIP for paleo along with a Whole30?
I remember it very vividly. Unfortunately, I totally blew my reintroduction protocol, so even though I followed all the rules for 30 days, I didn’t really learn anything from my elimination diet. The universe is giving me a second chance. Both Dave and I have been prescribed a customized elimination diet that means we’ll be eating our usual no grains (including corn), no dairy, no added sugar, no legumes (including soy), no booze – and also taking out vinegar (except apple cider vinegar), paprika, cayenne, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and eggs. We have to do that for 14 days, then we begin reintroduction. For that, we pick one food at a time (we’re starting with eggs), then eat it 3 times a day for 3 days – then we go back to the strict elimination diet again for 3 days to give our bodies time to react to the food. If it’s all OK, the food is in… and we rejoice. If it’s not all good, we do the elimination diet again until we feel better, then try adding another food. The whole shebang is going to take until, like, December.

I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING. DECEMBER!

4. Something new!
Full disclosure: I try not to be too mopey about my situation because, generally speaking, I’m a very fortunate girl. But I’m struggling a lot with the emotional impact of my weight gain and my high blood pressure. This is a stupid sentence to type, but I’ll do it anyway: It feels unfair that I eat clean, train wisely, sleep soundly, and still… STILL… my body rebels. That’s a stupid sentence because life is unfair – and it’s unfair IN MY FAVOR plenty of times. I’m mostly lucky, and I get to win at life a lot. I have much to be grateful for.

I might have started crying a little bit in the doctor’s office yesterday, and Dr. Myer’s said this: “We’re testing things that no one else has looked at yet. We’re going to have new information, and I think I can help you.” So I’m trying, you guys. I’m trying to look at these next few months as another opportunity to learn more about how my body works. It is clearly demonstrating right now that it is a special, special snowflake. I’m trying my damnedest to love it, just the way it is, while I work to find the answers to make it healthier. In the interim, I’m also trying to engage my mind in thinking about other things, like…

5. History and Creativity
I’ve signed up for two classes that will take me through the next few months. The first is A History of the World Since 1300 (taught at Princeton University, offered through Coursera); I have to write essays and everything! The second is almost the polar opposite: Yoga For Creativity, a 12-week course – taught by my favorite teacher Robin “Dharampal” – that’s half kundalini yoga, half book club with the book The Artist’s Way. I did The Artist’s Way about 5 years ago, when I was going through another transition time, so I think it will be both a challenging and rewarding experience again.

hr_brownThat’s all the news… my fridge is loaded with chicken, beef, lamb, and a farm’s worth of vegetables. The cabinets have been stripped of canned tomatoes and all the dark chocolate has been removed from the house (where “removed” means we’ve been eating the last bar all day). Just like when that first ponytail got snipped two weeks ago, there’s no turning back now!

hr_brown

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45 Responses to “Here I Go Again”

  1. Bella says:

    I’ve been exactly where you are and I’m following your journey.
    What meds are you on?

  2. Amanda says:

    oh noes! I hope the very best for you, and will be sending all my positivity stores your way.

    not knowing is not fun, but the journey to knowing can be even MORE unfun.

    seriously. cheers.

  3. Jeanye says:

    Wow. That’s quite a commitment!I applaud your courage and tenacity. I have my fingers and toes crossed that you will find some answers and get your superpowers back! :)

  4. Cynthia says:

    You’re a brave little toaster Mel! I hope like heck you figure it all out. And how awesome that you’ve found a great doctor. I’m seeing a couple new docs this fall after getting the old side eye from my primary and endo for far too long. I want my pre-thyroidectomy asskickingness back!

  5. Jonanne says:

    Wow, I can empathize with you completely. I have been paleo for over a year and have worked really hard to become more healthy. I have autoimmune thyroid (Hashimoto’s) and it is wreaking havoc on my body despite my healthy lifestyle! I did the whole pity party thing last night after a trip to the doctor and yet another health issue. Hang in there! Following, keep us posted!

  6. M says:

    I’m in the reintro phase of the AI protocol right now. It’s harder than the actual 30 days! I so want to eat chocolate and eggs and almond butter, but I’m trying to be patient. Your words above are helping me persevere!
    Good luck!

  7. Jessica says:

    ” It feels unfair that I eat clean, train wisely, sleep soundly, and still… STILL… my body rebels. ”
    This. I say this often. I did the Whole 30, lost about 2 pounds, didn’t feel any different. I read those success stories and, while happy for people, just don’t get it. I struggle constantly with fatigue, digestion issues, acne…I am also going to be doing some more testing soon with my naturopathic doctor, but it’s so expensive! I’ve already given up allopathic docs because they have zero answers.
    Hang in there and, if you are so inclined, I’d love to read about your progress. Take care.

  8. Akemi says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I completely relate to your journey, especially the ‘unfair’ parts. I’m going through that myself as a cancer survivor and now dealing with post-cancer thyroid/adrenal issues. And I’m only 31! I am also an integrative medical doc.

    I briefly looked at Dr. Amy’s website and it looks great! I would ask her if she is familiar with Dr.Kharrazian’s work on thyroid, autoimmunity, and the gastric-hepatic-immune axis. He has been doing revolutionary work in the functional medicine field, especially for thyroid patients who have had ‘normal’ thyroid numbers or are on the ‘correct’ thyroid drugs but STILL HAVE SYMPTOMS. I really hope she can help you, but if she can’t, I strongly recommend finding someone trained by Dr. Kharrazian.

    His book is called ‘Why do I still have thyroid symptoms when my lab tests are normal’ Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS. His website is http://www.thyroidbook.com. It’s written for doctors, but you can read it. Or look at the videos/blog on his site. I hope it may be helpful to you.

    I wish you all the best in your journey, you are a wonderful person and deserve good health.

    Warmly,

    Akemi

    • Christine says:

      I read dr. K’s book. Thought he was writing about me. Found a practitioner. Did aip diet for 7 months, loads of supplements and blood tests, all out of pocket. Thousands of $$$$. I don’t know why it is not working for me. Unrelenting weight gain, joint pain and chronic insomnia for 2 yrs now. Thyroid fine according to functional med. standards. Distraught.

  9. Akemi says:

    PS: I just saw that you live in Austin, and one of the best doctors I know happens to practice there: Dr. Clint Demaris, DC. His number is (512)-663-6151. He practices out-of-the box with neurological rehabilitation, and practices cutting edge techniques such as Quantum Neurology (which is showing to create shifts at a genetic level), and NeuroEmotional Technique, which is also currently being researched to show shifts in brain chemistry and genetic expression as well. It has been proven to help thyroid function already.

    If you have any questions let me know!

  10. Mandy says:

    Just wanted to chime in and say I think you are brave and I appreciate you sharing your experience with us. Best of luck to you, I’ll be cheering for your continued efforts to improve. Keep on adventuring! :)

  11. Michelle says:

    I have been reading your journey for the last hour, and am afraid as ever to go back to my doctor. I had 1/2 my thyroid removed due to nodules..I had 4. One measuring 4cm, the other 3 just slightly smaller. I insisted they only remove half of my thyroid, and they did so, very grudgingly however. I never followed up, had my levels tested..nada. And now, a year later, reading your posts, I find myself saying ‘yes, that’s exactly how I feel’….I have a doctors appt tomorrow, just gen practitioner, but will talk and I’m’ sure get the ball rolling again. Afraid, because last time I thought something wasn’t right, I ended up having part of my body removed. :(

  12. Melissa says:

    It IS totally unfair that you’re doing all the right things and not getting the results you want. When I’m grouchy about not looking the way I want I have to remind myself that I’m not giving it 100%, so I can’t really complain. But you ARE and I hate it for you that you’re not getting the results you want. You are totally justified in throwing a temper tantrum about this from time to time, in my humble opinion, especially since you’re working so hard to figure out what obstacles remain in your path.

    All that said, you rock, and you’ll get through this! Don’t feel bad for being human and having an occasional pity-party.

  13. Matilda says:

    Melissa you are totally going to rock this. December isn’t that far away, you know why I say that. Cause they start putting Christmas stuff in the stores in September, so it will fly buy I’m sure.
    Just think, soon you will have answers. And what’s a few days/months of waiting when it comes to your health and the grand scheme of things.
    Good luck either way.

  14. Scot Herrick says:

    I have a business associate who had something equivalent to the test for 100 foods. He has a list of “good” “okay” and “not good” foods he carries around on a laminated card.

    I was expectant — I figured there would be no “paleo” foods on the “not good” list. Wrong. They were intermixed all over the place.

    While many of us are alike as the blinding snow, there are others out there who really are special, special snowflakes.

    Have the discipline about the food and see where it takes you. And feel fortunate that you can go to a doctor who gets this journey. There are many, many who can’t get the care they deserve and, if they do, have doctors who don’t understand the care that needs giving.

    You go, Melicious!

  15. Sara says:

    Mel–

    Please, please, please blog about your experiences doing this. I say this because two years ago, I went through a similar experience and could find no one out there who had written about what it might be like.

    You are an awesome writer, and I think that if I had had someone like you to inspire me, my outcome might have been more successful. As it is, I am starting a Whole30 September 1st, so I am with you in spirit, and really look forward to hearing about your experience. When I am sitting and drinking herbal tea while everyone else is having martinis, I will be thinking of you…

  16. Angela Arno says:

    You’re amazing!

    Can’t wait for the book! Your attitude is as awesome as your food. XO

  17. Lynn says:

    I understand completely. I gained 7lbs during my W30, and over the next year I gained fat despite eating clean and working out 5-6 days a week.

    My fatigue, lack of concentration, and gym performance worsened. After seeing 4 doctors, I started seeing a naturopath. Turns out that I am autoimmune, have severe adrenal insufficiency, and malabsorption.

    It hurt me emotionally for my doctor to tell me that I am not healthy. My health is what I concentrated on for two years. I was told I had to stop lifting. I was completely devastated and actually cried in her office.

    There is a silver lining- with treatment, I am seeing improvements. I still haven’t been cleared to lift.

    It will get better for you. You just need the right doctor.

    Stay awesome. :) We appreciate your willingness to share your feelings.

  18. Rachel says:

    Hang in there Melissa! You are courageous and inspiring. I am sending positive thoughts your way, and look forward to hearing more about what’s happening. I hope this new doctor can help you find the answers you are looking for!

  19. Kathy says:

    I’ve seen Dr. Amy twice, so I’ve gotten back all my lab results. The answers weren’t all that clear, if there were any. And those lab tests! There should be a spa somewhere that they feed you perfectly for your first week of the elimination phase of the diet and handle all the unpleasant details. It was so hard to hand over those packages to the Fed Ex guy!

  20. Heather says:

    I am on an elimination diet right now (after a failed attempt last August), I just gave three vials at my docs office tonight and I want to chop off my hair! You are my hero. I feel like a fat old creepy fan girl. :)

    After being medicated for hypothyroidism for 10+ years, I recently realized that I was hazily slogging through life and still had every single symptom. So I went to a naturopath, switched to Armour, and now I am dealing with weight loss resistance and food sensitivities. Still have the thyroid symptoms, but I guess I have to choose my battles.

    My elimination diet is a lot like yours, except I am eating rice but no pork or beef. I started on August 5th and I am reintroducing citrus on Friday. Yay! Then eggs. :). It is tough, and oddly isolating. No way to eat out at all. You are lucky to have a partner.

    Keep on fighting the good fight.

  21. leah says:

    I hear you on all that you said! I’ve been challenged by many of the same symptoms you have and yes, still have issues even while following a strict and clean diet. I’ve actually begun to realize that many of my intolerances are emotionally-based, so I’ve been doing Neuro-emotional technique with a wonderful chiropractor. Getting better. As you know, the body is so intertwined and complicated in its systems. I’m wishing you the best on the road to greater awareness of your body.

  22. Lydia says:

    ” It feels unfair that I eat clean, train wisely, sleep soundly, and still… STILL… my body rebels. That’s a stupid sentence because life is unfair – and it’s unfair IN MY FAVOR plenty of times.”

    Oh, honey, I understand. Boy do I understand. I’m so sorry you’re still looking for solutions to the basic problems. I’m hoping for the best with you and Dr. Myers.

  23. Good luck Melissa. We are all pulling for you to get to the bottom of this because YES you deserve to feel amazing!

    I’m sure you have no end of comments asking “have you heard of this ailment” so apologies in advance — I stumbled on a really interesting piece on GMO corn allergies when looking up cultured dextrose. You’ve probably already seen it, if not:

    http://www.elle.com/beauty/health-fitness/allergy-to-genetically-modified-corn

    Wishing you all the best, highly anticipating the arrival of my pre-ordered Well Fed 2!

  24. DJDeeJay says:

    Ugh, that sucks that you have to go through this. I SO hear you on the unfair thing. But just know that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of us rooting for you!

  25. Peach says:

    First, thank you for the honesty and bravery and most, your humor. You and your “special, special snowflake” will figure this out. In the meantime, know we are out here and reading and we have your back. ~Peach

  26. Kerry G. says:

    Thank you for your honesty and your willingness to post your journey. It sounds a lot like mine. I am on my 28th day of AI protocol with the Whole30 which will probably end up being a Whole60 or longer. So far I really don’t feel much different except maybe a little less sluggish. I am hypothyroid and I plan on asking my doctor more more lab work and to be tested for Hashimoto’s. I hope I can get some answers. Keep the updates coming. I look foward to seeing more!

  27. Mia says:

    Good thing: I’m digging the song and glad that some 80′s glam/hair metal landed in my day and will be making me a bit late to my next appointment this afternoon.

    Bad thing: That you are not the super freaking human I just assumed you must be since I have been pouring through Well Fed and am not-so-patiently awaiting your sequel.

    But here’s THE THING: You are just perfectly you and that is quite particularly awesome and I and am sorry, so very sorry, that you and Dave are light headed and need to lye down after that impressive blood letting. I hope that this snap shot in time that yu have to eliminate and reintroduce only to continue to eliminate will bring to the fore front the issues and resulting solution. I am sending you my best wishes and yes you have oh so much to find blessings in and this is but a moment in time that done properly will provide you with an even greater quality in life. (((cyber hugs))))

  28. Libby says:

    My best wishes as far as bloodpressure mine was high & hypertension runs in family, they wanted to medicate me so I started taking magnesium and has lowered my bloodpressure from 140ish over 90ish and higher to about 120ish over 80ish also take a Epsom salt soak every once in while is helpful will be starting W30 Sept as others have stated not alone…meditate on gratitude some people do not get a choice of what they are getting to eat

  29. Libby says:

    Also exuberant animal post called “what’s the point” was very good gave me food for thought :)

  30. I'm Melissa, too says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. SO much to relate to (especially that “stupid sentence”, which isn’t stupid, and which I think in my head a lot. And then think, “What’s wrong with me?! I’m beyond blessed. But a little less back meat sure wouldn’t hurt, self. Can’t you get on that?”).

    Just went through a round of #1 & #2 testing myself, and feel I must share this with you. My PA handed me the collection kit (we’re talkin’ #2 here) and, I kid you not, said this: “What you’re gonna do is go home and crap in this nacho tray.” OH my gosh, I laughed so hard I thought I was going to have to bust out the collection kit for #1! (If your collection kit for numero dos doesn’t look like mine did, this will be unlikely to make you laugh as hard as I did. It really did look like a nacho tray from a high school bball game.)

    The end.

  31. Janine says:

    Another great suggestion! Free courses at coursera. Just signed up thanks to you. Beauty, brains, great recipes and everyday tips! You got it all.

    Good luck with your tests. I’m sure within six months we will read a blog titled “eureka!” as you finally find your answer.

  32. Summer says:

    To my brunette doppelganger….You are talented, beautiful and courageous. It really really sucks that you are going through this with your health and I can’t imagine the frustration. Keep sharing your story because you are changing people’s lives by getting the word out that it’s not OK to settle and that you deserve to know what is going on in your body.

    I am wishing you a rainbow and unicorn moment in the near future and hope that you can get the answers you need.

    I cannot wait for WF2…I am anticipating it being the best sequel since Rocky IV.

    xoxo

    PS: Love the new do.

  33. Sara says:

    I feel your pain!! I was finally diagnosed with Hashi’s today, I have an ultrasound next week because they think I have a goiter, and then seeing an endocrinologist to (hopefully) get some answers. All you can do is be positive and know that you’re doing the best that you can for your own health. Besides, it could always be so much worse but it doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself that I still want to say “BUT WAAAAAH I do everything right I shouldn’t have to deal with this” so I totally get it.

  34. Tina says:

    Good luck finding causes and cures, Melissa! And, good for you for keeping on with it and not just letting it go which is so easy to do. I don’t blame you for being pissed about the situation and I’m pretty sure I would be similarly frustrated.

    Looking forward to reading about your dietary travails and what they illuminate. And, thanks for mentioning those courses you are taking. I think I want to look into those!

  35. Kelly says:

    Good luck, Mel. You have lots of company in the “unfair” department, including me. Sending lots of good wishes that you find the key to complete health.

  36. Deidre says:

    I just sent this link to my mom. She has Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, among other autoimmune disorders. I hope she can follow your story, and in turn, maybe she can gain some insight and inspiration! Rock on!

    P.S. The second I saw the title to this post, I was already singing the song! It will be in my head indefinitely!

  37. Deidre says:

    Sorry to post again, but I did notice the foods they asked you to eliminate are from the nightshade family. Foods from this particular family have been linked with many autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Many have experienced relief from their symptoms by removing these from their diets. Just FYI!! :)

  38. AKM says:

    I feel your pain (like, literally…I’m always in pain). I’m not nearly as good as you are, though; I get mad and eat junk, or I don’t work on my insomnia, or I get lazy and don’t exercise. I take far better care of myself than I did last year when I got really sick, but I need to work harder. So I appreciate your posts about your health struggles, because 1) I know I’m not alone, and 2) when I finally find the dedication to try to fix myself the right way, I can do what you’ve done, à la Whole30 and such. Hang in there and keep us posted!

    P.S. It IS unfair, and feel free to say so!

  39. Renee says:

    Hi! Thanks for blazing the trail. As of today I’ll be following in your foot steps. I don’t know what’s wrong with me -just take me out back and shoot me, already!
    I’m overwhelmed with what’s possibly ailing me. Is it AI, FODMPAPS, etc..,etc.. I’ve been doing a not so strict Paleo that I can build on, so at least I have that covered. I feel like I want to lock myself in my apartment -alone! for the next 3 months so that I can figure things out once and for all without outside influences/pressure. I want everyone to go away and leave me alone. I know it sounds awful but I feel resentful toward people in general. I don’t want to have to explain myself and having been a complainer all of my life, perhaps with reason i’m now realizing, I’m not sure that people believe me. Hell, I don’t even know if I believe myself and am constantly asking my husband if he thinks I’m crazy.. I kinda feel like I am sometimes.
    I agree with AKM and you – it IS unfair!

  40. Melissa says:

    I hope you find answers with her! I am desperate for my own!

  41. Juni says:

    I decided to look up your chicken thigh recipe and while waiting to flip them, figured I’d catch up on your kick ass adventures. I’m so bummed that you’re still struggling and I totally get it. I’ve had a very frustrating last few years with my health and my efforts to really kick things up a notch by switching to a Paleo diet. My issues are similar-Hashi’s and low thyroid symptoms despite “normal” or even “good” thyroid levels. There are times I want to give up but I still trust in the logic of this way of eating. I have slacked though and feel crappy for it. You have been much more unwavering however. Your loyalty and commitment really blows me away.
    I read The Hormone Cure and she mentioned that she although she reccommends the Paleo diet to just about everyone that she believes some women who are simply meant to eat a low fat diet don’t always do well on it. I’m curious to know what you think about that. I keep trying to test that out but I haven’t done a good job with it. Been thinking it’s time for me to really commit to a Whole 30 AIP style and seeing your Elimination Diet guidelines is inspiring.
    I wish you the best of luck with all of this and look forward to reading about it.
    Stay strong and know you are amazing (with new, awesome hair!).
    p.s. omg the thighs are amazing!

  42. Mel says:

    You guys… I’ve been overwhelmed with all of your amazing support, honesty in sharing your struggles, and just your general awesomeness… which is why I haven’t responded before this.

    Thank you.

    Thank you so much for making it all seem manageable, even in the midst of utter confusion and endless frustration.

    I’m 18 days into my elimination diet, and I’m feeling good in some ways, less so in others. The new supplements seem to be helping my digestion a lot, and I’m not bloated and puffy anymore. But I got my thyroid blood work back, and it we need to adjust my medication… AGAIN.

    Thank you for the love. I’ll give you a full update soon. And I send all of you the best vibes for good health and optimism.

  43. […] then that cleared.   I’m really thinking of stopping at the end of the 30 days, and doing a serious introduction protocol to see how I react to things like dairy and grain.  Of course this could just be my extinction […]

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