following your gut

by MrsFatass on July 10, 2017

So, the other day, a reader asked me if I was mad that it took so long to get a diagnosis. It was an interesting question to think about, because I’ve been feeling like something was wrong for quite a long time. A couple of years, really, maybe longer. For sure while I still owned the studio, because that is really when my sleep habits changed, which I now understand is a big part of all this. And stress of course. But while it is indeed true that it took a long time to string my list of symptoms together to form a diagnosis, I’ve never been mad at a doctor for not getting to the root of it a long time ago, but I have definitely been frustrated with myself for being talked out of things that my intuition was telling me were true.

I mean, it doesn’t really matter now, for my journey, because here I am finally feeling justified, and learning to understand my illness, but I still think it’s important to look back and discuss some of the bumps in the road for other people who are going through this, and who are being told they are wrong.

There are a few symptoms I was experiencing that my gut told me were happening for a particular reason, and when I discussed them with a doctor or a PA, I was told I was wrong. Had those symptoms not been written off in the beginning, yes, I may have gotten to the bottom of my illness sooner, but who knows? But I’ll share this process with you in hopes that if your intuition is really trying to tell you something, follow your gut.

  • There was a period where I was using a lot of supplements that I think were directly related to last year’s 7 months of pain and inflammation. They were products I began using because they were sold at the gym where I worked, and I was expected to be able to talk about them and encourage clients to shop in our store. Today, I understand that my body has become super sensitive and reactive because of Adrenal Fatigue. Because at my stage of the game, my adrenals are not producing cortisol, which is anti-inflammatory. As a result I am having more sensitivities to food, chemicals, and stress than I was before. So when I thought my body was maybe reacting to whey, or to the stimulant pre-workout drink I was using, I was right. Sadly, it began happening again while taking Thrive, a product I really believed in, that in a lot of ways was helping me a lot. Unfortunately, the inflammation was returning, and I’m going to assume it was the whey protein in the drink. So I’ve had to stop using it.
  • This led me to start thinking about gluten as well, and I had mentioned before to a PA that I felt like eating gluten made me bloated, made my joints achy, and made me want to fall asleep sitting up. I was told that if I tested negative to celiac, then the gluten itself wasn’t a problem, and that being gluten-free is simply the fad diet du jour. She told me that my Google searches were secondary to her degree, and that I was better off just to focus on measuring appropriate portion sizes, not overindulging, and that “what is a life without warm fresh bread or a bowl of pasta anyway?” However, I understand now after the battery of tests with my endo, that even though I’m not positive for celiac, when I thought I was having a reaction to gluten, I was right. And while there are times where I still indulge, I can feel it within hours in my achy hands and feet, in my bloated, gassy belly, and in my inability to stay awake.
  • After two years of triathlon training, I could swim or run no further than when I had started. In fact, I would argue that it was harder now than it was when I started. No matter how much I practiced endurance activities, the clients and friends around me who were following my plan were experiencing gain after gain, and I was feeling left in the dust. I talked to my primary care doctor about this earlier in the year, and while he is of the firm belief that weight loss is 100% calories in versus calories out, he did say that as a “fellow athlete” he did believe I wasn’t seeing results. He is the one who referred me to the endocrinologist, who told me that he was sure we would uncover the reason to tell me that I was right. And he was the first person to tell me to stop the training, because of the stress it was putting on my body, and my body’s inability to overcome it.

So I share these things not because I have sour grapes about getting diagnosed. I actually feel so lucky to have experienced the roadblocks, because it led me to the doctor that told me I wasn’t crazy. Well, not for this, anyway. I don’t know that there are many MDs who place as big an importance on a patient’s intuition as the number on a test result, you know? And I don’t know of a great many MDs who are open to or supportive of holistic or functional medical practitioners. So I do feel very lucky.

I have gotten so many IMs and emails asking questions about various aspects of my process and my recovery, so I plan to continue to address them here. Please know I’m no expert though; I’m simply strong willed enough to keep on. And I hope that you are, too.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Donna July 11, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Good for you, Sue! My old gym partner, whose son has celiac, thought I was crazy for giving up grains. “Why do you have to do that? You don’t need to go grain free/gluten free.” She’s in far better shape than I am, and every Saturday, we’d trade in our usual ellipticals for the treadmill. We’d walk 45 minutes to an hour, at whatever pace felt good. Sometimes she’d jog, and I’d just keep walking. Usually I’d hop the deck a few times to let pain in my knee or hip subside. After about 4 weeks of being grain free, it occurred to me: I’d made it more than 45 minutes without having to jump the deck once. And when I told her, she was surprised. I knew the grains/gluten/simple carbs/whatever were aggravating all my old injuries and contributing to inflammation. She didn’t really buy it, but I knew “I was right.”

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