Wednesday, January 13, 2010

the update

Carl and I went back to the nutritionist this morning for my 1 week follow up. He is a clinical nutritionist with a background in pharmacology and is currently a candidate for his N.D.. I will be calling him Keith. I've had a really good experience with him so far and feel that he has been the most helpful and realistic in unraveling the web of health issues I seem to be having. I will start with last week and then fill you in on today.

Last Wednesday, I went to have a consultation with Keith. We met for about 45 minutes to talk and go over some "homework" I had done before my appointment; mostly questionnaires. I had a Natural Wellness Screening done and was sent home with more homework and some other tests to complete before coming back. The NWS consisted of getting my vitals, height, weight, etc. I also completed an electrode test which measures how quickly electrical current moves through the body. It also measures your cell walls and water retention. Lastly, I had an iodine test done to see how quickly/slowly my body absorbs it. Turns out, my body is within normal range. I scored well with my blood pressure! Unfortunately, that's about all. I'm retaining water at a fairly high amount, my cell walls are thin and cells move fairly slowly. I have 21 pounds of body fat and am lacking 5 lbs of muscle. I also have an extreme magnesium deficiency. I scored in the age range of a 55 year old woman! Oops! Keith was very shocked at my results. He said he's never had anyone as young as me score so poorly. I was put on 2 supplements and a multivitamin. I was also given a restricted food list to follow for the next week. He is very interested in my food allergies and how that may correlate to my seizures. No wheat/gluten. No dairy. No grains. No sugar. No citrus fruits or tomatoes. Needless to say, it was a VERY hard week! I cheated a few times (wheat was VERY hard to eliminate completely) but gave myself an overall grade of 75%. Going cold turkey was definitely a challenge. My homework was to fill out more questionnaires, have a complete blood panel done, and a urine test to look for metal toxicity.

I was in shock and mourning for about a day over the loss of cheese, butter, tomatoes, bread, ranch and granola. I had an attitude adjustment Thursday night after talking with Holly and realizing that this wasn't the end of the world. Since, I have also talked with a couple of other friends who have either been on a vegan diet or have gone gluten free. I feel very encouraged and hopeful that I can make the best of the new foods I have to eat.

Carl and I met with Keith to go over my test results and put together a plan for the next few months.

Bad News:
-I am "dangerously low" in Vitamin D. (There is a lot of research showing links between low Vit D levels and seizures as well as other issues.)
-My Homocysteine level was high which could indicate a deficiency in B vitamins. (I had found to be a HUGE link to seizures through a book I just finished reading about treating Epilepsy naturally)
-My hsCRP level is very high which indicates there is some type of inflammation occurring in my body. hsCRP usually correlates to the blood vessels and heart. While he is not ruling this out, it can also be a sign of it in other areas of the body.
-My Free T3 (the non-bound carrier protein associated with the thyroid function) was a little more elevated than he would like.
-My BUN and Creatinine levels are low. This shows I am low in protein and could have malabsorption which means my body is not absorbing the appropriate proteins/minerals. It also shows that I could have muscle atrophy and/or nerve/muscle degeneration. (This is linked to my lack of muscle.)
-Potassium is low. This is linked to the adrenal gland. This could be connected to blood pressure and hypertension.
-Chloride is high. This is also linked to the adrenal gland. This is linked to your metabolism.
-I am possibly not absorbing fats and proteins correctly. My digestive tract is officially under construction.

Good News:
-Thyroid panel came back within normal limits
-I get to eat cheese and tomatoes again!!!

The Plan:
-Continue with Gluten-free diet. This means no wheat. I will be foraging for gluten-free bread, crackers, and other options. I need to be eating 3 meals and 3 snacks a day.
-Up my protein intake. I am supposed to eat 1 palm sized portion of protein, 3 times a day (at least.)
-Have Dr. Waggoner (chiropractor) evaluate me for fibromyalgia.
-Conduct stomach acid and pH tests.
-Conduct blood work and NWS in 3 months to see if levels are within normal range.

I'm sure after reading all that it sounds really bad. It is a lot of information. I felt very encouraged to have some answers and a plan to move forward. I am confident that Keith is committed to getting me better and getting my seizures under control.

Now? We're heading to LA for a week! At least it's the epicenter of the gluten-free revolution!


Katy Bradley said...

Hi Cara. I want you to know that I sure will be praying for you as you continue to figure all of this out and explore new foods. Brett was originally diagnosed with celiac disease and we ate gluten-free for over a year and it was the best I had EVER felt! It definitely takes time to adjust but once you do, your desire for those foods definitely decreases. Please let me know if I can help you in any way at all. Praying also for Carl as he supports you. Yea for good thyroid results, tomatoes, & cheese!
Katy B.

Tollya said...


Any chance you could have Celiac disease? My daughter was diagnosed this summer - I've tested high on the blood test myself and actually meet with a doc tomorrow to discuss it. I've done lots of research and some of your symptoms sound ALOT like what I've read about.....maybe the gluten free thing will help everything!

Either way - it's a major life adjustment and I'm praying for you!


amanda said...

oooh C! So glad you finally have some answers. Bummed about your new strict intake......but I know you will dominate :)
YES! We need to see each other SOON, you're leaving for LA, and Im headed to Georgia on Monday.....lets plan on the week after that? The 25th ish??
Just let me know, and keep me posted on all your dr info!
love you C!

neely jacobson said...

well. wow. i dont know how you memorized all the at info. i can hardly remember what the doc tells me when i'm there. anyways, first of all you have the BEST attitude about all this. I'd be pouting and feeling sorry for myself. i look up to you so much because of that. second of all, i'll be praying for you, that God would give you EXTRA strength to get through it all. love you cara.

Julie said...

Cara...I love how commited you are to getting to the bottom of this. Your resolve to improve your circumstance is remarkable. I'll be praying for you and Carl to resist the temptation of the "off limits" stuff and for peace of mind through this process. I hope you have a wonderful trip to LA!

little dalene said...

Check out this website:
She started the blog as a South Beach Diet resource, but now she does A LOT of gluten-free and sugar-free. She has developed a huge following and the recipes are really good! I hope it helps!!!

Mendolin said...

Praying for you!! From the tone of this, you are handling things well and I am sure that after a few months, things will start to become second nature.

There are several people on campus who eat gluten-free. Meghan Leibold is pretty much an expert on things that still taste good and are gluten-free. She also found a place that makes gluten-free cupcakes! :)

If I hear any more good suggestions, I will be sure to let you know. :)


Anonymous said...

Hello~happy new year............................................................

Amanda said...

you are amazing. i'm so proud of you. by the way, is keith really his name? because i know of a nutritionist guy on may and hefner named keith-the health nut or something like that.