Sunday, May 25

Why It's Likely Not All in Your Head....



So a few people have sent me this article that is making the rounds (mostly on Facebook). I've read it. And while I do agree with some of what is written in there (I think a lot of people will jump on a food aversion bandwagon without doing any research and claim they have amazing results without any actual tangible results to show to prove it) the verbiage of this article makes me really upset and I want to share with you why in case you are in a place like I used to be and your friends and family members are sharing this article and it's making you want to cry.

Here is the article from PBS.com: Unless You Have Celiac Disease Gluten Sensitivity is Probably Just in Your Head. 

First, let me say that this article and study only tested gastronomical symptoms of gluten sensitivity. So really, this article should have been titled, "Unless You Have Celiac Disease, if You Tell People That Gluten Makes Your Stomach Upset it's Probably Just In Your Head." Which even still would make me angry because I don't think you should ever tell someone who is struggling with their health that their symptoms are in their head. Because a lot of times that's not true, the doctors just haven't looked in the right places or connected the right dots. And maybe it might not be gluten sensitivity... but that doesn't mean what they are feeling is just in their heads, PBS!

I was told it was all in my head. I had a laundry list of symptoms that seemed to not make sense when you put them together. I was dead tired, my joints hurt, I was fatigued, I was depressed, I was gaining weight not matter what I did, I was constipated, I was bloated, I was foggy headed, my memory was horrible, my skin was dull and dry, my hair was super dry, my face was always puffy, muscle weakness... I got tired super quick with physical activity. My thyroid levels didn't test in the hyper or hypo thyroid range so I wasn't considered for any thyroid issues. I had just had a baby so they told me to just suck it up, that I was going through the normal feelings as a new mom but just wasn't coping as well as others. It was baby brain. It was me lying about how much I ate. It was me being lazy....

I pressed. I found an integrative doctor who tested me on a broader spectrum.

The doctor opened the door to the tiny room I was waiting in. Tears welled up in my eyes as I waited to hear from her. I was sure she was going to tell me that my blood work was normal. That I was crazy. Lazy. Just an overweight slob of a new mom who needed to get her shit together and stop whining. Seconds stretched into a million years as I waited for her to speak, the possibility of it all being IN MY HEAD terrifying me as she looked me deep in the eyes.

Her lips parted and she looked at me with kindness, "Oh honey, with results like these I have no idea how you've been able to keep up with even HALF of what you've been doing. Let's sit down and get to the bottom of this."

They found my antibodies were at crazy levels. Finally a clue! My body was reacting to something... but what? I wasn't celiac. I didn't have any known medicine or food allergies other than dairy which I tried to limit. What else could it be? My liver levels looked like someone who drank excessively. My cholesterol was way high for my diet (a fairly healthy vegetarian at the time), my vitamin D and iron were waaayyy too low, the list continued. My blood work was shining a light on my symptoms.

It all lined up with something called Hashimotos. It's an auto immune disease. My body was attacking itself! And one of the main culprits? GLUTEN. Did I have celiac? No. Was it all in my fucking head? HELL NO. So STFU PBS because there are people like me who have been told that it's all in our heads for so long that the world has nearly convinced us that we are crazy. And we are not. For those that can find practitioners that care enough to dig deeper answers are waiting.

I went off gluten. I started to feel better. And better. And better. A year and a half later my new blood work tells the truth that this was not all in my head. All my levels have gone from dangerous to healthy. And while I'm not cured, I'm learning how to live and manage the symptoms. For people like me, it's not in our heads. It's in our blood.

If you are where I was, keep pressing. Become your own advocate. Find doctors who care. Find the ones who will look beyond the first results. Who will look broader than the standard. Look for the ones who will cross examine the results, find the missing links. You aren't crazy. You're just overlooked. Fight for your health! You are worth it! xo
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