Chronic Fatigue Nearly Killed Me: Part One

My struggle with my health began in July 2014. My skin randomly began itching without rhyme or reason. At first I thought I needed to be more diligent with my lotion usage…it was summer and I had been out in the sun my fair share. As the weeks passed in July and now August was coming to an end, I found myself in uncharted territory. The itching not only effected both of my shins, but had creeped up to my right thigh, both arm pits. These isolated areas were seeping, hot to the touch, and would scab over during the day. The problem was at night I would begin itching again (the itching was always the worst at night) and I would rip open the scabs in my sleep. Immediately this would cause me to wake up in pain and realize what I had done. At different times I would also get whole torso rashes that would last 10-20 minutes (not hives, but very small little itchy bumps that were hot to the touch).

After some persistent pushing from my hubby, I gave in and went to the doctor. I didn’t like his answer……”Oh just rub this cream on it, you have scabies.” I knew this wasn’t it, but again I was at my wits ends with the insanity level of my seeping legs, and more gentle pushing from my husband to humor him and try what the doctor said. After some tears, I had the cream prescription filled at the pharmacy. The gut feeling that this was a bad idea just wouldn’t leave me alone. The short version is I tried the cream, bad idea, it made my skin look/feel like it had second degree burns all over the affected areas! Ouch.

At this point, I began to keep a journal of food I was eating, and the flair up rashes and tried to put together the puzzle pieces. Then I got on the phone and started calling any moms I knew that had children that struggled with allergies of any kind. The consensus, “Don’t waste you money going to allergist”. They all agreed the journal idea was good and to be my own advocate and follow my gut instinct.

To this day I do not remember who recommended that I call a Nutritionist and have an MRT test administered. (I really wish I could remember because this was a MAJOR victory in starting to piece together health puzzle).  This meant another three weeks of waiting for the results. To say I was shocked and almost speechless (which says a lot) at the results, would have been the understatement of the year. I was now sitting the nutritionist office and she was explaining to me that the food I was eating is leaking into my blood stream (leaking gut) and my body was in turn attacking itself to fight off these foreign invaders. NOT COOL!                                   ** I will note I eat clean (little to no junk). At this time I made 80-85% of our food from scratch. I was active and got good exercise. We even grew and harvested 95% of our meat. So how could this even be happening to me? How could I be so sick while eating so clean and leading a healthy lifestyle?

My results: “YOU CAN EAT” 3 types of meat products (nothing processed), 5 kinds of fruit, and 7 types veggies. Minimal spices and herbs….that’s it. No dairy, no soy, no nuts, no soy, no lecithin, no gluten, no eggs, and NO for all the other fruits and veggies not listed on my sheet. SAY WHAT? So this began the extremely hard and time consuming journey of learning what to fix for my meals with such limited options.

THE GOOD NEWS: With in three weeks, my seeping legs and itchy skin was a beginning to become a distant nightmare. A drama I was hoping I would not have to encounter ever again! I literally ate all the time….seven to ten times a day. The food I was able to eat was low in calories and didn’t stick with me long.

THE BAD NEWS: I was fixing SIX-EIGHT meals a day. I would prepare “mom’s meals” and then meals to feed the other five members of my family. I went from a mom who loved to be in the kitchen, loved to try new recipes, and feed my family food from scratch to an exhausted tired of living in the kitchen mom.

Now that I had the test results and food plan in place, I started to reflect on my health history and how I had been ignoring some warning signs. I realize my level of exhaustion had been in the RED ZONE for some time. I am a doer by nature. A get-it-done kinda gal. No excuses, pull on your big girl panties and make-it-happen mom.  This well intended, yet toxic level of work ethic had stepped over the healthy line long ago. I was now paying the price with my health. For years, my exhaustion level keep creeping up the dial. I brushed it off to having four babies in six year, plus throwing an ectopic pregnancy/child loss into the mix in case that wasn’t enough. I thought to myself, “Show me a mom who doesn’t have four kids close together like me who isn’t tired.” There you have it my friend……Justification! I don’t have any exhaustion issue, I just need to try harder, develop a better plan, push through it…no whining now, and I would be just fine.

Can you relate? Are you a doer? Do you push yourself past the point of exhaustion day in day out?

TO BE CONTINUED……….

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