The Road to Better Health

Today I feel confident in saying that everyone in my house is on the road to better health.

Neutrino’s eye has improved dramatically. There is no more gunk on it, and he keeps it open all the time. The cloudiness is also clearing up. I think this means he may not lose vision in that eye after all. Neutrino has also started running in the last day or so. At first it was slow, deliberate steps, one foot at a time. Now he scurries everywhere he goes, running around the living room like he owns the place! To top it all off, Neutrino is entirely on cat food now. He has absolutely no desire to nurse.

Fudge was on a downward spiral for awhile. She was losing weight, so I started to bottle-feed her, believing that she was just losing the competition with her brothers for one of Charge’s two working nipples. Fudge still continued to lose weight despite being fed every four hours. It wasn’t until I took her to my friend’s house while I played Dungeons and Dragons that I figured out her problem – she had diarrhea. Charge was keeping her so clean that I had absolutely no evidence that she wasn’t making normal poop. Suspecting a Clostridium infection, I started her on Clavamox. Within the next twelve hours, Fudge started eating well on the bottle. Within twenty-four hours, she was nursing well, fighting her much bigger brothers for her spot at the milk buffet. I feel pretty darn confident that I made the right diagnosis. Miss Skinny-Mini, as Michael calls her, has started to gain weight rapidly. While I know that I am not out of the water, I feel awfully good about her.

The unfocused eyes are pretty normal for a two-week-old kitten. Don’t worry!

Duck’s Clostridium infection has also cleared. He gets that infection regularly, so I’m thinking that this will be a lifelong ordeal. It’s no big deal, so long as I stay on top of it and get it treated. I just hate filling the poor baby with so many antibiotics. None of the illnesses have actually bothered Duck – he’s maintained his happy little demeanor. In fact, I caught him looking outside yesterday, purring at the window. He’s just Ducky.

By now, Charge has learned to tolerate Duck. She didn’t like any of the other cats at first, probably because of her mommy hormones. The passage of time and Duck’s quiet persistence with the whole friend-making thing paid off in the end, so now Charge lets him visit her babies. It’s kind of nice for Charge because I let her roam the house to get a break from the babies while Duck babysits and cleans the little ones. Notice how Butterscotch (in the right hand picture) looks like a miniature version of Duck? Maybe Charge thinks he’s their father! 🙂

Michael and I are also getting healthier – or at least trying to. I’ve been seeing a Chiropractor to treat my chronic, random illnesses. They believe that my chronic fatigue and autoimmune conditions are caused by adrenal fatigue, a condition in which your immune system is so over-active that it shorts itself out. The treatment plan involves a cleanse diet to rid my body of toxins and regulate blood sugar, and then a customized permanent diet based on the results of the myriad tests I took. They tested everything – blood (so much blood), saliva, and stool. The tests are designed to determine how my immune system is functioning and what food allergies are causing the continuous inflammation, leading to the failing immune system. I fear I don’t want to know what I am allergic to – it might be too depressing.

So, why am I not seeing a regular doctor for my symptoms? That’s an interesting question. Western medicine doesn’t believe in adrenal fatigue. It does, however, recognize Addison’s disease, which is, as far as I can tell, the more advanced version of adrenal fatigue. Traditional doctors just won’t treat you unless you are so severe that you require surgery or expensive medications. Make no mistake, I think western medicine has its points (antibiotics and vaccines used appropriately are wonderful), but it just doesn’t treat early-stage anything except cancer. The clearest example I can think of is in the case of hypothyroidism. Technically, the normal range for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is between 0.5 and 5 mIU/L (thousandths of an international unit per liter). Realistically, it should be at 1 for a person to feel healthy and normal. I was diagnosed when my TSH reached 7. I suspect I’ve had tests before in which my TSH was around 3, but it wasn’t really considered a “clinical” issue. Now that I am officially a thyroid patient, my doctors increase my dose of medication when my TSH reaches 3. I feel like this approach is like not vacuuming until you can see the dirt in your carpet. I assure you, there is dirt in your carpet even if you can’t see it. Just ask my Dyson. The point is, I can’t see a traditional doctor until I get so sick I have an Addison’s crisis, so I have to see someone who believes I am sick.

What caused my adrenal fatigue, then? I have suspicions, but there is no way to know for sure. I had a stressful childhood. I threw up many mornings before or at school when my parents were divorcing. We moved a lot, which I now understand is stressful for a kid (I rather liked it, but I knew no other life). My symptoms were at their worst right after my ACL reconstruction. Surgery is a known trigger for adrenal fatigue and Addison’s disease. It could have been any or all of this that made me sick.

How am I treating the disease? It took a long time to get this sick, and it’s going to take a long time to get better. It all starts with an elimination diet. For three weeks, I have to do a cleanse. This means that I have to take a whole bunch of supplements. I take this powder in liquid (the nutritionist suggested that I take it with Almond milk spiked with fruit):

I also have to take these supplements three times a day:

The toughest part is the diet. The list of what I can eat is shorter than list list of what I can’t, so I’ll provide that here.

What I can consume:

  • water, herbal teas, decaf green tea
  • fresh fruits (except tomato)
  • fresh veggies
  • beans and peas
  • fish, chicken, turkey and lamb (but I don’t like fish and I don’t eat baby animals, so just turkey and chicken for me)
  • olive oil, coconut oil, and flaxseed oil in moderation
  • seeds and nuts except peanuts
  • almond butter and cashew butter

Note there are no grains,  not even rice. I can’t have caffeine, sugar or fruit juices. I can have Stevia (a sugar substitute). No soy, no gluten, no eggs, no beef or pork, and no milk.

The added complication is that I am leaving in a little over a week for a wedding, then a trip to Puerto Rico. Guess how many of the things on my consumable list are sold in airports? As far as I can tell, just fruit cups. It’s going to be rough. The place I am staying for the wedding has a kitchen, so that will work for me. One of my best friends is the bride, so she is planning to try to work with me to be sure there is something I can eat at the wedding. I’m not sure about Puerto Rico, but Michael has a colleague there who might be able to help me find what I need (we’ve already explained the diet restrictions when he invited us out for pork – sigh).

There is a bright side to this – Michael is doing the whole diet with me. It means that I won’t suffer alone. He’ll be able to understand the frustration I have and commiserate. It will be good for him because he wants to lose weight. But mostly, it means he really loves me.

I’ll get through this, chronicling my progress as I can. If I can’t update in Puerto Rico, I will write the posts, then put them up when I get home. My aim is to post every other day (the supplement schedule changes every three to four days, so you won’t miss anything on the off-days). Wish me luck!


3 thoughts on “The Road to Better Health

  1. Hey Barb! Whew…lotsa’ stuff gg on with u and yours – eh?
    Glad to hear your “babies” are moving in the direction of health and you are too! Yes, Michael definitely loves you a lot to ride the restrictive diet road w/u…but then I already knew that…as does everybody who knows u 2. Well, feel good and enjoy your trip. I look fwd to your blogging all about it. Luv your FB posts and your blog!
    Hugs, j.

  2. Hi, I’m very interested in your adrenal fatigue regime. I also suffer from this malady. If you could update on exactly which supplements and how much, that would be wonderful. I don’t have the funds to see a homeopath, but I would love to get well, and get my life back. Sick for 9 years now. I am also a lover of cats. I have 7 at present. Wonderful blog!

    • Cindy,

      I am happy to photograph the labels on the supplements and put them on my blog. I make it so you can click on my pictures to make them larger and more legible. The thing I would warn you about, though, is that the cleanse part of the whole regime can be dangerous to do without a doctor’s supervision. I am no doctor, and I cannot recommend that you do or don’t take anything that I do. That, and there is a LOT of stuff in each supplement.

      After the cleanse, the doctors are going to customize my diet based on the blood, saliva, and stool tests that I did (at least I think that’s the plan – we’ll see). That part might not help you at all. They are looking for food allergies. They may find the allergies based on what happens when they add them back to my diet. In that case, you’ll know that if it makes you feel bad, you shouldn’t eat it anymore.

      If you find it at all helpful, I took a B-vitamin complex and probiotics (both Whole Foods brand, which I find to be a superior product) before the diet, and they helped a lot. The biggest help was when I figured out by accident that I am now allergic to milk – my throat swelled after consuming milk products. Abstaining from them made me better.

      Good luck! Barbara

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