2018 MISSION REMISSION SUCCESS!
What in the literal F?!
If you've been following the journey up to now, you know that I had a hell of a lot of healing to do when I started this! Autoimmune diseases & chronic illness are only the symptoms of what lies beneath the surface. I knew that I had Hashimotos, Asthma, IBD, and RA but when I went digging for root causes & received my test results back...I also discovered that I had the WORST case of H-Pylori the doctors had seen in 30 years, (which most likely has been festering for 30 years!) a parasite, intestinal permeability ((leaky gut-present in ALL autoimmune issues and usually occurs before autoimmune symptoms start)), SIBO (((small intestinal bacterial overgrowth))), candida overgrowth, severe adrenal fatigue, heavy metal toxicity, liver issues, potential Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and the list goes on.
Now, I know what you're thinking...DAMN this bitch is seriously messed up. LOL! Well.....Yes, I WAS messed up and over the past two years of really digging deep and learning everything I possibly could about all of these issues, I can gleefully say that my very hard work has been paying off. Its really easy to blame yourself for creating an environment that was disease friendly-food, stress, environment...but in actuality, its not my fault. Deep down did I know that sugar and bread were bad for me?...Yea. Did I know that my horrible anxiety, anger, stress and mood swings weren't suiting for a healthy mind/body...yes. I didn't know that although I had the autoimmunity genes, that I could completely prevent them from ever expressing and if they did show their evil head, I could completely reverse them and go into remission. As you can see, developing autoimmunity and chronic illness involves multifactorial issues.
I've always considered myself really 'healthy' but over the past year, I have made an overwhelming amount of lifestyle changes in order to reverse my dis-eased states.
I thought that an elimination diet was the key to all of my problems...but in reality, with as many triggers and root causes as I had, it helped but didn't put me fully into remission. (there are a lot of people who do go into remission simply by eliminating gluten, dairy, soy, nightshades, eggs, etc).
After taking the proper tests that showed all of my body system imbalances, I was able to systematically take on each task one by one with the help of my devoted functional practitioner Josiah. Keep in mind, there were decades of useless/inaccurate tests and several false negatives, ex. I tested negative for SIBO twice, negative for parasites, never showed results of having the worlds worst H-pylori infection, and showed "healthy/normal" thyroid labs for years- which is very common in conventional medicine/labs.
What to do now?
I had already been implementing the Autoimmune Paleo protocol which had success. The first major life change that I made was the hardest I think I have ever made, and that was trying to RELAX! Lol, meaning I needed to change my response to stress. Stress contributes to every single condition and symptom I mentioned above. Not to mention, when your adrenals fail and you no longer make cortisol plus your hormones are out of wack...trying to woosaaa during everyday normal stresses (TV or driving for example) is a feat near impossible! To heal my adrenals and help my body start making cortisol again (we do need cortisol, among many important tasks, it helps regulate blood pressure and cardiovascular function), I had to 1. STOP drinking caffeine (WTMF!) 2. STOP working out like a balls to the wall maniac (my preferred method of working out) 3. Reduce stressful triggers, ie. Job stress, social media, driving, you name it, all of it.
How I accomplished these goals.
I cried...seriously. I cried a LOT. I was positively certain that giving up my berserk workouts would cause me to gain weight-leading to MORE stress. I was SURE that eliminating caffeine was going to be the end of my life as I knew it....but it wasn't and it didn't. My body appreciated me backing off a bit at the gym and I started to feel less pain due to a decrease in inflammation. After just a week off of caffeine, I wasn't as murderous and after 2 weeks, I started to feel clearer, less brain fog and a level of energy that I had not felt on my own without stimulus in years. I also added (forced at first, and sometimes I still begrudgingly do it) meditation. I always feel much better afterwards. I started theta therapy and NLP therapy (which came much later as it takes time to do each lifestyle change), both of which helped me let go of the past and see things differently, in a much lighter and less bitter or angry light. *Supportive supplements are necessary as well.
DISCLAIMER: I am not saying that every day I am a namaste motherfucker, I am saying that every day I am working on becoming a better and better version of myself. A self that is much calmer and kinder-to herself, which in turn spreads positivity in all aspects of my life.
Eradicate the H-pylori, SIBO and Parastites! EEEEW! ….and all the while, healing intestinal permeability. I knew I had leaky gut-most people do (intestinal permeability) I also had a sneaking suspicion that I had both SIBO and parasites, so I had been trying to do parasite cleanses (to no avail-more on this later) and adding things to my diet that supported healing my gut.
Helicobacter pylori Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, is a bacteria that causes ulcers by attacking the stomach lining, allowing your stomach acid to seep in and eat away at your gut lining. Like many of the infections on this list, H. pylori is very common, but most people are asymptomatic and never realize they’ve been infected. In a study comparing H. pylori infection rates among groups of autoimmune and thyroid patients, 86% of autoimmune thyroid patients tested positive for H. pylori, compared to 40% of non-autoimmune thyroid patients, and 45% of non-thyroid autoimmune patients.
TREATMENT: The normal course of treatment is antibiotics (just make sure that you support your gut while doing so). I opted for specific herbal and supplement protocols in two phases. I will retest my stool this spring to see how it went.
When the beneficial bacteria that should live in the large intestine (colon) migrate up into parts of the small intestine (and in terrible cases can make their way up to even the stomach!), a condition called SMALL INTESTINE BACTERIAL OVERGROWTH (SIBO) occurs. These bacteria wreak havoc on the digestive process by consuming food that should be absorbed into your body and produce hydrogen and methane gas as an end product. SIBO is SO common that in several studies, 100% of people tested had some varying degree of it, 84% of IBS patients test positive for SIBO and once treated successfully, they go into remission from their IBD.
Signs that you have SIBO:
1. Gas, severe bloating, and diarrhea 2. Abdominal pain or cramping 3. Constipation (much less common than diarrhea)* the one I have :( 4. Diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 5. Food intolerances such as gluten, casein, lactose, fructose, and particularly histamine intolerance. 6. Chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, neuromuscular disorders and autoimmune diseases. 7. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including vitamins A, B12, D, and E 8. Fat malabsorption (signified by pale, bulky, and malodorous stools) 9. Rosacea and other skin rashes 10. Leaky gut
*IMPORTANT NOTE: My conventional doctor tested me for it after I suspected it in myself once I had been through school and various medical conferences. Its not something commonly checked for and there are a lot of false negatives due to lab reliability, patient compliance etc. The 'breath' test, while more commonly known by physicians is not something I recommend. You really want a comprehensive stool test-which will determine much more than just SIBO.
TREATMENT: Specific herbal and supplement protocols as well as gut healing foods and stress management.
The thought of having a parasite is...lets be real, fucking terrifying! But you are not alone. 9 out of 10 people have them and simply do not realize their symptoms are from an infestation.
Signs you may have a parasite:
Unexplained constipation, diarrhea, gas, or other symptoms of IBS (Check)
Trouble falling asleep or wake up multiple times during the night (Check)
Skin irritation or unexplained rash, hives, rosacea, or eczema (Check)
Grinding your teeth in your sleep (Check)
Pain or aching in your muscles or joints (Check)
Fatigue, exhaustion, depression, or frequent feeling of apathy (Check)
Never feeling satisfied or full after your meals (Check)
Diagnosis of iron-deficiency anemia
Traveled internationally (Check)
History of food poisoning (even once) (Triple Check)
Frequent Mood Swings (Quadruple Check)
Trouble sleeping, skin irritations, intense mood changes, and muscle pains can all be caused by the toxins that parasites release into your bloodstream. Often times, these toxins cause anxiety, which can manifest in different ways. Example, waking up in the middle of the night or grinding your teeth in your sleep are signs that your body is experiencing anxiety while you rest. When these toxins interact with your neurotransmitters or blood cells, they can cause mood swings or skin irritation.
TREATMENT: Same as above, specific supplemental and herbal protocols. The reason that the parasite cleanses that I tried in the past didn't work were 1) they were not tailored to the specific parasite that I had and 2) they may have killed the adults but missed the egg hatchlings a few weeks later (BARF!). Eradication of parasitic infections most often clears up candida overgrowth. *You must be careful NOT to attempt any of your own protocols and never without accurate testing.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: A comprehensive stool test has the ability to find 17 different types of parasites. I had a stool test that completely missed any parasites. I believe this was due to extreme constipation and while my practitioner prefers I do not do colonics, being that I started them a month prior to my second stool test is why I believe a more accurate diagnosis was found.
As we've discussed, we all have good and bad bacteria. The good guys keep the bad stuff in check, they ensure that our body fights off excess candida, parasites and help to digest and absorb all of the essential nutrients your body needs to handle all of the metabolic mechanisms it goes through each day. Having intestinal permeability, leaky gut, (which is also terrifyingly common in N. America) allows for these guys-good & bad, along with undigested proteins, pathogens and more to leak through to your blood stream, which creates a large variety of issues including autoimmune responses.
Research has shown that the common thread linking all autoimmune diseases is the gut. It's known by the terms leaky gut or intestinal permeability. Simply put, this happens when the lining of your small intestine (the organ responsible for selectively choosing to let nutrients in and keep pathogens out) becomes more permeable (leaky), thereby letting some of the contents pass into your bloodstream or lymphatic system. Your immune system has to deal with these undigested proteins, viruses, bacteria, and toxins that shouldn’t be there in the first place, which causes more inflammation and potentially sets off an immune response.
Food allergies and sensitivities (especially to gluten), dysbiosis (the imbalance of gut flora, ie. SIBO), medications (especially corticosteroids, NSAIDs, etc), low stomach acid, STRESS and over exercise can cause the lining of the small intestine to become more permeable. By removing or reducing these triggers, you lower the burden on your immune system, leading to less inflammation and fewer symptoms.
TREATMENT: Treatment is ongoing since as you can see, its pretty easy to damage the epithelial lining of our gut (Its only one cell layer thick!), good news is that its constantly repairing itself IF you do things to support that gut repair. Ie. Not eating gluten, casein and other known allergens. (Yup, even in healthy folks, gluten destroys the gut lining)
Some helpful healing gut remedies: bone broth (NOT the store bought crap...its crap, go to a butcher or make your own, its really easy), aloe vera, (I recommend this aloe), L-glutamine, Licorice and marshmallow root, etc. You can visit my holistic pharmacy and sign up for a nice discount as well as a personal supplement protocol recommendation.
I have also had stem cell therapy, which will be detailed in another post but among its vast capabilities, it helps to restore the lining of your gut, which may be very difficult on my own with all of the strikes against me. (You can contact my practitioner-linked above) for more info.
All of the other crap.
Healing is an ongoing process and the duration it takes to fully heal varies from person to person depending on just how many root causes and triggers there are. As you can see, I am on one extreme at very complex. There are plenty of folks as I said before who fully heal by simply removing certain foods and who I would consider a mild case. I do take a LOT of supplements, mainly because of the malabsorption issues I have due to the infections, leaky gut and dysbiosis. (If you have any symptom's of irritable bowl, you are not absorbing properly).
Eventually my gut, liver and immune system will start to function perfectly and I will be 110% every single day. For now, I am humbly grateful for this entire journey. ALL of it, the good, the bad, the very bad and the ugly. It has really taught me to appreciate my body in a way that I have always taken for granted. I think we all take our health for granted and push the limits to some extent, eventually...it catches up to you, so as the old saying goes,
Treat your body like the temple it is.
THE GREAT NEWS!
I have learned SO much and am so inspired to continue. This year I have completed my UNLV and Nutraphoria School of Holistic Nutrition, Nutrition sciences courses. I now have a bachelors in Nutrition Science as well as a degree in Holistic Nutrition and will become Board Certified in 2019. My functional medical training will also ensue in 2019 along with becoming AIP certified by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne herself. (the creator of the Autoimmune Paleo approach).
The BEST news of all????!!! Is that I have FULLY come off ALL of my asthma, thyroid and RA medications. I am considered in the beginning stages of remission! What that means, all of my antibodies are below autoimmune status and dropping. I will always have Hashimotos, Asthma, RA etc however by adopting these lifestyle changes permanently, I WILL STAY IN REMISSION! HALLELUJAH! If someone would have said to me a few years ago that I could heal asthma with food/supplements and lifestyle changes....Lol, I would have thought they were OUT of their damn minds. I was on the strongest doses of steroids available to patients otherwise, I was on a respirator in the hospital. It IS possible. YUP! I healed asthma, hashimotos, RA and a slew of other ailments holistically-without conventional medication and I am fully in remission! I am living proof, and not just me. There are thousands and thousands of others putting their autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses into remission.
I want to help you!
I would love to help as many people as I am able to achieve this, whether its fixing it all or taking baby steps towards small changes that will greatly improve your day to day living. After all, until you are ready, it will not happen. I myself, had to hit rock bottom in order to decide to make these changes. (You may recall that my rock bottom was being in so much agonizing pain that I could not walk.) I am in the process of creating an affordable downloadable program for any and everyone looking for help. It will include: meal plans, recipes, workout routines, supplement guides with specific protocols for each issue (remember there is a specific way to tackle healing as resolving one issue may clear up another), and support options.
If you need a more personalized approach, I offer a variety of plans here as well as others not listed in order to cater to each and everyone's separate needs. These plans include one on one meetings/skype/facetime, advanced test reading, supplement protocols, meal and fitness plans catered to you as well as heavy duty support.
Thank you all for caring enough to spend time with me today! If anything you read here helps, please comment and share via social media.
Love, light and blessings in the new year!
Brianna Marie, HHFC
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