If you’ve been reading my stuff for awhile, you know I have MS, RA and a longgg time ago I posted about GI issues (got another brick wall there, see a pattern?). Those GI issues have never gone away, despite my brilliant doctors orders. Shocker. I experience intermittent pain with food that lasts constantly for several weeks, then subsides, only to come back again. I also have significant bloating, like I feel 6 months preggo type bloat. Back a few years ago I thought it was normal and happened to everyone. It wasn’t until I saw someone else’s post on their own struggles with bloating that I realized there was an issue. No, it’s not normal to inflate like a balloon after eating, weird. On top of pain and bloating, I have most every other GI symptom you can think of. These all promoted the visit about a year ago, to which I got nothing from.
Fast forward to a month ago. I experienced that horrid MS/RA/stress induced pain flare, my GI symptoms flared, I almost lost my mind. I wanted more answers, I wanted to be validated, I wanted to be heard. Enter Functional Medicine.
The Institute for Functional Medicine describes the field as —— , which is something I completely agree with. If I could do my career path over, it would be in this field. Anyway. Based on a recommendation, I made an appointment to a local doctor and I went. I’ve known about FM for a while now, so I knew what to expect. A full life history, a rundown of everything that has happened that I may or may not think would impact my health. Bring it on! I was actually excited. Dare I say I was hopeful. Well, My FM doc delivered. An hour and a half first appointment of talking?! She listened for more than 7 minutes?! Inconceivable. But it happened. We talked, she asked questions, she was concerned, she validated, she heard me. She asked about my whole life story, and I told her. I was honest with her, more so than any other doctor in the past. I wanted her to fix me. I needed her to. By the end she had some ideas, set up some tests and sent me home with some supplements to start on based on my MS diagnosis and inflammatory history. Based on everything I told her I was going to be tested for MTHFR and COMT, nutrient deficiencies, gluten cross-reactivity, leaky gut and as well as other gut issues. The bill came to a small fortune, which I had a minor panic attack at, but Le Fiancé put everything into perspective when he said ‘it’s just money. This is your health we’re talking about here’. Overall he is right. I would have spent the money sooner or later, on something less important I’m sure. So off I went, supplements and take home tests in hand. Off to start on my journey of self discovery and healing.
I will be honest. I didn’t start the supplements right away. Or basically at all until I went back to see her for the results of my testing. I was scared. I didn’t know what they would do, or how I would feel. They sat in a corner of my kitchen untouched for several weeks. Technically, I couldn’t start them anyway until all of the take home testing was completed. So that bought me a few weeks. But even after that, when my excuses were gone, there they sat. It wasn’t until the few days before my next appointment that I tried them out. I had a ‘medical food’ drink to take in the morning along with a probiotic and digestive enzymes. I didn’t notice anything in those few days really, I just wanted to be able to say I had tried them out.
Back I went for my follow up. I was nervous. What would I learn? Le Fiancé was worried I would hit another brick wall. I’d get another answer of ‘some people just look crazy preggo after they eat’ (I have actually heard from a doctor that ‘some people just faint’, its a joke in my household now). I was convinced I would get some sort of answer, but there was a part of me that was scared about the non-diagnosis. The ‘your test results look fine, you shouldn’t be hurting’ type of diagnosis. I walked into her office and there were test results scattered around her desk. Pretty quickly I figured out that a non-diagnosis was not in my future. She started decoding the results for me and began with MTHFR and COMT, both of which I was positive for. She went on to describe the condition of my gut and gut health. Dismal would be a good word. My body does a pretty crappy job absorbing the nutrients I try so hard to give it and leaky gut is definitely an issue. Several things were cross-reactive to gluten, including yeast, which may prove to be tricky in the future. There were plenty of other small(er) issues regarding specific deficiencies and toxicity. But the overall picture is that my gut is functioning at the lowest state it can. I need healing! STAT! Off I went with A TON of results (things to research, yay!) and A TON of supplements.
I’ve been taking everything pretty consistently for about a week now. I do feel better. I don’t feel as bloated/swollen as I did nor do I look it. I’ve been reading The Wahl’s Protocol recently and I am about half way through it. To say that book is life changing is an understatement, but that is a whole post in itself. I will be implementing things from Wahls, AIP and completely going into the diet(s) or some combo thereof. Basically I’ll be adding in crazy amounts of nutrient rich veggies and fruits to mimic the supplements given to me. Because if I can get them in food form, why take them in pill form? Pill form sounds easier, yes, but it’s not complete. That too is another whole blog post.
Functional Medicine costs money. But it’s my health after all. I am worth it.