#slayingSIBO or Something Else? UPDATE

I mean, is it really that surprising that I’m hitting you with yet more diagnoses?

The #slayingSIBO saga began when, after two years of total digestive frustration, I want to a gastroenterologist and they made me blow into balloons and tested my breath and told me I have SIBO (you can check out all my posts om that, here).

Then I was told I may not have it because the pipes weren’t workin’ (if ya know what I mean) when I took the test, and told me to just take Miralax every day the rest of my life. I shot my best mean mug at the doc, and she said, well fine, you can take the antiobiotics anyway. (I apparently have an effective mean mug).

If you’ve been keeping up, you know I moved to working with a functional doctor after being completed unimpressed with this gastro, and I’ve been going through MORE tests, some that insurance won’t cover (Annoying. Hey BlueCross – I’m not getting my poop tested for vanity, just sayin’.)

The Update:

So after more and more tests, here’s what we know:

Finding #1: I have active EBV and some other mono-causing virus antibodies, and my body is having a hard time detoxing.

I had a “mono-like” illness in 2011, my sophomore year in college. It was awful. From that point until I got my tonsils out at the end of 2014, I had recurring strep infections every 3 months like clock-work. Once you have a virus like this, you always have it. It can go dormant and undetectable, but it can always flare up. So who knows how long I’ve been dealing with flare-ups from this… BUT we have to get it under control. When your immune system is compromised, everything goes to hell in a hand basket! And I’ve been hit with a double whammy – I have an autoimmune condition (Sjogren’s), so I have to take extra care here.

My liver enzymes are also elevated and my kidney function is less than ideal (which again I knew). This is probably due to the immune response and my toxin load from these nasty viruses, so basically I need to help my body with detoxing.

Solution:

Obviously there is no quick solution to this, but focusing on building and supporting my immune system is key right now. Some of the supplements I am taking are:

  • Colostrum (it’s gross)
  • Omega 3’s
  • Vitamin D
  • NAC
  • Milk Thistle
  • Zinc
  • A multi-vitamin
  • Selenium
  • L-Lysine
Results:

Well, I started the immune supplements only a month ago, so not much to report. Supplements take longer to react in your body, but I have noticed that I’m not dealing with as much swelling in my ankles (a weird symptom I had been noticing as of late), so I think that’s a positive sign! Will keep you posted.

Finding #2: My gut bacteria is all outta whack (duh).

No but really, the results from my stool test were very informative. Basically, I don’t have enough good bacteria, and I have some bad bacteria plus some candida.

The great thing about the test was that they tested different antimicrobials against the bad bacteria strains to see which ones would be the most effective in killing them. Not all antimicrobials kill all bad bacteria, so this was awesome the test went the extra mile so we are just shooting blindly! Made tat $500 just a little more worth it… just a little though.

THE GOOD NEWS: NO PARASITES!! AMAZING! That’s one thing I DON’T have. Praise.

So where are we at with the gut then?

Solution:

Again, this will be slow, and frustrating, but at least we have somewhat of a better pathway to go down with the new information. In addition to the immune support protocol, I’ll be starting a gut protocol with the following supplements:

  • L-Glutamine
  • OrthoBiotic (crazy strong probiotic)
  • GI Detox
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • Butyrate
  • Biocidin
Results:

I’m waiting for my shipment to come, but I will keep you posted on how I am feeling. With the SIBO, i was a little concerned with taking a probiotic, so the plan is to start the antimicrobials (grapefruit seed extract and biocidin) and get to full strength before introducing the probiotic.

However, I do know that I can expect die-off symptoms, which will not be enjoyable. Basically, everything will get worse before it gets better. JOY.

With all this said:

I’ll be retiring the #slayingSIBO posts for now, since my health is encompassing more than just that. I’ll have to think of another catchy phrase for my journey – suggestions welcome in the comments!

IMPORTANT NOTE:

I did not include the brands or dosages of my supplements because everyone is different. If you are going through health issues similar to mine, I am happy to chat with you and provide my experiences, but please never take my protocol as something you can directly follow! Chat with your doctor ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s all for now, folks!!

xx

happily Haleigh

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27 things I’m welcoming into my life

I’m a big fan of New Year’s, but actually, I think your birthday is an even better time to set intentions. After all, it’s like your own personal anniversary. I’ve been really big into manifestation lately, so I’m clearing mental space for the following to come into my life this year. So without further adieu…

Yesterday, I officially turned twenty-seven. I celebrated with a few girlfriends and lots of food I’m “not supposed to eat” because of my health stuff, but hey, it was my birthday! A few days ago I reflected on 27 things I want to let go, and now, I’m reflecting on 27 things I want to WELCOME into my life, because I think it’s important to start the year off on a positive note ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m a big fan of New Year’s, but actually, I think your birthday is an even better time to set intentions. After all, it’s like your own personal anniversary. I’ve been really big into manifestation lately, so I’m clearing mental space for the following to come into my life this year. So without further adieu…

1. Alignment:

I spoke about misalignment in my previous post, so naturally, I’d like to welcome alignment into my life. Aligning my thoughts with my words, my words with my actions, so that everything is symbiotic for what I truly want in life.

2. Abundance:

I also spoke about letting go of a scarcity mindset. Enough of that. I want ABUNDANCE. Abundance of love, happiness, health, money, friends, family – everything. No need to deprive yourself.

3. Health:

SO, SO IMPORTANT FOR ME. If you’re not up-to-date, I’m having a few health issues (you can find other posts about this on my blog if you’re interested!). It’s draining, but I absolutely need to get it in check this year. So, I’ll be working on truly switching my mindset and making the right moves to welcome health in. And of course, I’ll continue to document on here ๐Ÿ™‚

4. Freedom:

Freedom – health freedom, food freedom, mental health freedom, etc. I’ve felt very constrained by a lot of these things in my life, and I’m hoping to move away from that mindset and feel more free.

5. Acceptance:

Acceptance is just a great feeling, don’t you think? The word itself just makes me feel less stressed. Learning to accept your past mistakes, accepting other people, accepting that we cannot control everything – I think this mindset will be helpful for me.

6. Meditation:

This is hard because it takes practice and I’m just not great at it, if we’re being honest! It’s a very disciplined practice, but everyone swears by it. With my stress levels, I know it’s important.

Something I actually have been loving is this app called “Beatfulness“. It’s binaural beats (learn more here) that can focus on different things you’d like to work on such as deeper sleep, stress relief, etc. I have been using it to fall asleep to, and I can honestly say that I have started to feel more rested! It’s not exactly meditation, but it’s been helpful, no doubt.

7. Mindfulness:

Somewhat similar to meditation, but what I mean by this is being mindful in the moment. Making sure to be present, instead of letting my mind wander to the past or future.

8. Getting Weird:

Okay, only my family and closest friends know this, but I was a WEIRD kid. Just super quirky – always making faces, being goofy, etc. Somewhere along the way, I grew out of that, but honestly, I miss that little girl. I miss her carefree attitude, her zest for life, and silly nature. I want to get back to that because life is too short to be serious and boring.

9. Spontaneity:

I’ve never been great with this, but I hope to work on it! As a Taurus, I love plans, structure and consistency. I don’t mind change, but it definitely makes me feel a little anxious and pushes me out of my comfort zone. BUT growth doesn’t happen by staying where you are! I’m looking to make some awesome memories this year, and sometimes the best memories come from things unplanned.

10. Discovery:

Like I said, I want to make some awesome memories. I’m looking to welcome in discovery – discovering new things I like, new places, new events, new people. I want to discover more of myself.

11. IRL Living:

“In Real Life” Living: I mean this in the simplest of ways — less time on social media, more time in the real world.

12. Community Engagement:

Going along with the “IRL” theme, I want to become more of a citizen of my local community – attending more local events, actually learning about the community I live in, etc.

13. Deeper Relationships:

I have some AMAZING people in my life. Truly – sometimes I sit and wonder why I have been so blessed with my friends and family. But I have to admit – I sometimes feel like I could do a better job of deepening those relationships. So, I’ll be working on that this year. (WARNING: Friends and family, if I start loving on you TOO much, just let me know – I won’t be offended).

14. More time with girlfriends:

See the above point – I want to spend more time with all of my favorite gals because they are always my ROCK. For instance, yesterday on my birthday, I was standing in line at Sprinkles to get some more cupcakes (duh), and I started to feel really sick. I almost passed out, and my friends Emma and Haley were the MVP’s and literally were pulling my jacket off of me, patting my head with a water-drenched napkin, pulling my hair back, warding off boys who were trying to flirt with me while I’m literally dying (WHAT), and coming up with a master plan to get me out of there ASAP. AND, they still got my cupcakes for me.

Girlfriends are the family you weren’t born into, but somehow found you along the way because God knows you need them. It’s so important to maintain those relationships and hold them close.

15. New Relationships:

While I love all the people in my life already, I am always open to welcoming new friends in! Also, seriously wouldn’t mind meeting a guy one day, ya know, organically, like in one of the movie scenes like I talked about… LOL.

16. Family Time:

Family is everything. I spend a good time with family already, but I’m always happy to spend more time with them. I have nieces and nephews, and I love watching them grow up and getting to know them as they get older! Auntie life is the best.

17. Continued Learning:

I’ve always thought about going back to school, getting a certification in something, or learning a new skill. I’m not sure what this exactly looks like yet, but I definitely want to find something where I feel like I’m continuing my education.

18. Art:

The fine arts – I used to be so obsessed with musicals, dance, music, etc… and somewhere along the way when life’s responsibilities crept in, I pushed all of those passions to the back-burner. Recently, I’ve been able to see two musicals (Jersey Boys and Hamilton, both great!), and it reminded my how ignited my soul becomes when I experience art in that way.

This year, I want to see MORE musicals, go to art exhibits, etc. I always feel so culturally engaged and my soul is happy when I am experiencing art.

19. Color:

Black is a color… right? No? Oh… I want to bring just a liiittle more color into my wardrobe… but it’s just so hard because neutrals. are. life. This will be a struggle.

20. New Hobbies:

Similar to continued learning, I want some new hobbies! It’s always fun to introduce something new into your life – coloring? puzzles? knitting? The opportunities are endless! (Okay, now I just sound old).

21. Traveling – for real:

Finances, health, work… I’ve had a lot of excuses not to travel. But now that I have a very generous vacation policy, I MUST take advantage of this! So excited to travel more this year… where should I go?! Comment below ๐Ÿ™‚

22. Writing:

I actually really enjoy writing. I often don’t know what to write about, but when I do write, it is so cathartic. I love the feeling of my fingers whisking across the keyboard, and my internal thoughts suddenly becoming visible. I often wonder if writing is a dying art form – I mean, who needs to read blogs when everyone has a podcast, after all?! (Not bashing, I’m an avid podcast fan). But there is something to be said for the written word – a homage to both things that have passed and things that are to come.

Anyway, I hope to continue writing more this year, whenever inspiration strikes.

23. More Cooking/Baking:

I’ve really started to appreciate trying to recipes. There’s something adventurous about it: will it look like the Pinterest picture? Or better yet, will it be edible? The anticipation is real, people!

I think it’s so important to learn the art of cooking and baking – it’s something that you can always take with you, and you can share both the food AND knowledge with others. A gift that keeps on giving!

24. A personal trainer?:

I’ve been debating getting a personal trainer. I’ve come a long way on my fitness journey, but in terms of form and lifting, I’m pretty much self-taught. I’d love to work with a trainer to perfect form and improve, because I’ve been feeling pretty stagnant lately.

Chicago friends, any good recommendations?!

25. Strength:

Going along with the personal training aspect, I really want to improve my strength! I took a [solidcore] class this morning, and even though I’m in the gym 4-5 days a week lifting weights, this class KICKED. MY. BUTT. It was different than anything I am used to doing, and humbled me big time. It just goes to show you that your body has different modes of strength, and I still have improvements to make!

This is important to me because I have chronic pain issues due to arthritis in my back (guys, I swear I only turned 27), so improving your overall strength is imperative to pain management.

26. Creativity:

I want to tap back into my creative side this year – I think this will come naturally along with some of the above points, so I’m excited to open myself up to that side of me again.

27. Fresh Flowers:

Honestly, I just really love fresh flowers.

I’m so excited to see where this next year of life takes me. I was feeling somewhat blah about it this past week, but I shifted my mindset. I made it another year, I have so many blessings to be grateful for, and I have the opportunity to continue to live an amazing life. Can’t ask for anything more!

xx

happily Haleigh

27 things I’m moving on from

In no particular order, here are 27 things I plan to leave behind when I turn 27, or at least try to. Hey, nobody’s perfect, but I gotta work it, again and again til I get it right… okay I’ll stop.

In no particular order, here are 27 things I plan to leave behind when I turn 27, or at least try to. Hey, nobody’s perfect, but I gotta work it, again and again til I get it right… okay I’ll stop.

1. Misalignment:

I’ve been getting a little “woo woo” lately, and one of the podcasts I listened to spoke about manifestation. It’s a very interesting concept that has been talked about for years and years, but really what I’ve taken away from it is this: Manifestation is not just about wishing or envisioning something happening in your life.

Girl, YOU GOTS TO DO THE WORK. You can’t just say “I want x” and then just sit on your couch and expect the universe to hand it to you on a silver platter. No. You want a new job? Guess what, you have to be open to opportunities AND you have to apply and go to interviews.

Are your actions aligned with the life you want? This is something I’m going to be consistently assessing this next year, and I’m leaving the misalignment behind me.

2. Dating Apps:

Okay hear me out here: I have always been the girl who is perpetually single, and to be frank, I’m fine with it. Honestly. Even my mother has told me that she thinks I may never get married, and I wasn’t offended in the slightest by that statement!

But I have always said, that if I do meet “The Guy”, I want it to be organically. Yeah, I want that somewhat movie-magic moment where things just fall into place. Maybe it’s the other part of me that’s a hopeless romantic, but dating apps just seem forced, and have ruined dating culture. I could go on and on about this… But I’ll leave it here:

I’m leaving the apps behind because (to my previous point), having them is not an action that aligns with what I want to welcome in. So catch me in real life, knights in shining armor!

3. Scarcity:

“Minimalism!” Honestly, NO. Guess what, I don’t want to live minimally. Do I want to have a bunch of stuff I don’t need in life? No, BUT, I can’t totally get on board with this trend.

Life is meant to be lived LARGELY and when I’m living in a state of scarcity, I am a sad Haleigh. And this blog is call happily Haleigh. That would be misaligned… so bye bye scarcity! HELLO TO ALL THE THINGS IN LIFE.

4. FOMO:

Oof, this is a tough one. I’m not sure one can truly do away with this mentality, but I definitely am aware of how awful I feel when I have this emotion.

Fear of Missing Out is a construct of society though. Fear that something you say “no” to will be that one magic moment where your life has so much value added to it that you have completely missed the boat by not attending.

Guess what – life gives you what you need, and if you’re trusting your intuition, the decisions you make should make you feel grounded. Know that those decisions are what are right for you, and you’re not missing out. What was there, was not meant for you. And your Netflix in bed probably saved you from a truly horrific night.

5. Fake Likes:

Again, SOCIETAL PRESSURE IS REAAAAL. Have you ever felt like “Oh I should read more because I’m supposed to like reading.” Or ooo, ooo, better example: GAME OF THRONES. (Come one, you don’t all actually like that show).

So, you pretend to “like” something because everyone else does, or you’re supposed to, or it will make you look like a better human. Well no more of this. I shouldn’t feel shame because I prefer watching a good show vs. reading most nights. I shouldn’t feel the need to keep up with certain celebrities that I truly don’t care about.

Stop pretending to like things. It’s dumb and make you a robot.

6. Fake Friends:

Same goes with friends. Stop pretending to like people you don’t like, and stop trying to keep people in your life who don’t actually like you. Plain and simple.

7. Second Guessing:

CONFIDENCE, COHEN. (If you don’t know this reference, you’re a fake friends and I can no longer associate with you. Kidding, kinda).

8. “What If’s”:

Ah, yes, “what if” is a classic and extremely well-known term to any ruminator. I’ve spoken about ruminating before – I’ve done this my WHOLE life. It’s in my blood. I’ll probably still have a lot of these moments the rest of my life, but I’m going to do my best to be more aware of when I get in my head.

9. Saying “Yes”:

I like to make people happy – plain and simple. I don’t like to be difficult, because I think the world would be better if we all just tried a little harder. But sometimes, I hand out “yes’s” like Oprah handing out cars – “You get a Yes, You get a Yes, Everybody gets a Yes!” It gets draining! Knowing my health issues, I have to be a little more protective of myself this year. So if I tell you no, it’s not because I don’t love you, I just have to love me more this year ๐Ÿ™‚

10. Saying “No”:

I know, I’m contradicting myself, but I have a point. Some of the things I say “yes” to, I could definitely cut back on. However, I could also stop saying “no”. No to opportunities, no to new people in my life, no to things that could welcome awesomeness into my life.

Basically, I need to work on a better balance between “yes” and “no” this year.

11. Hiding:

Isn’t it so easy to hibernate in your room, in your bed, under the covers, watching Netflix or endlessly scrolling on social media? It’s so easy. Especially when you have a valid of excuse of “I’m really not feeling well, I need to rest, etc.” (this is valid in my case).

And yes, knowing things I’m going through, I do need to rest and take care of myself. BUT I do NOT want to become a hermit in this world. I live in the most beautiful city, with awesome people, and amazing experiences. It’s a shame to hide from that, and it’s a shame to hide myself from the world! Again, balance.

12. Society’s Timeline:

BOY BYE. Do you feel like everyone you know is getting married, having babies, buying houses, etc? Yeah, I feel that too. And it’s polarizing when you are no where near that point in your lie. But remember, God isn’t putting that timeline on you – society is. And you know what God doesn’t care about? Society. Yeah, he really doesn’t lol.

You know the only thing you should care about? Your timeline that God has given you. He has it worked out. Don’t stress.

13. Comparison:

MUST. STOP. SCROLLING.

Again! Don’t compare your chapter to another’s chapter – YOU’RE IN A DIFFERENT BOOK! Of course they won’t look the same ๐Ÿ™‚

14. Control:

I’ve also touched on this before on my instagram, I believe – trying to give up that need to control EVERY little thing in my life. As the great Carrie Underwood once said: “Jesus, take the wheel”. Amen, girl.

15. Other people’s baggage:

Repeat after me: “Other people’s baggage is not yours to carry”.

Do you work at the airport? Are you a taxi driver? NO. You are not a baggage handler!! Let people figure their own stuff out. It’s great if you want to help, and I think we should all help each other. But don’t carry it. DO NOT.

16. Band-Aids:

Netflix, food, social media, coffee… you name it. We all have a lot of “band-aids” that we turn to when we are stressed or wanting to feel numb. Band-aids don’t have to be anything “bad”, but I definitely know that there are things in my life that I use to distract myself from feelings or thoughts.

17. Resentment:

I mean, this is just never a good thing, I think we can all agree on that! I don’t carry a lot of resentment, but I do have a hard time forgetting when someone hurt me. I carry around little nagging feelings, and they are sometimes hard to shake. But, I have to shift my mental picture on this to understand that this emotion does not affect the other person, it only affects me… not cool! So buh-bye!

18. Boring Nights:

Now let me clarify, I will still revel in my Netflix nights. But what I mean by this is shifting my mindset. Some might say a typical week-night at home is “boring” because it’s normal, nothing special, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable! I’m going to practice shifting my mindset to enjoy all of my nights, even if it’s my normal meal-prep, dinner, netflix bed routine.

19. Things I just don’t want or need or use:

Stuff. Get rid of the Stuff. ‘Nuff said.

20. “I’ll be happy when”:

Oooo yes, “the grass is greener”, “I’ll be happy when”‘s… LIVE IN THE MOMENT HALEIGH. We are not promised tomorrow, so just be happy now.

21. Guilt:

Past mistakes are in the past – the guilt will eat you alive, and cause you stress, and make your health issues worse, so stop that.

22. Perfectionism:

I will never truly be rid of my perfectionism, so this is more of a thing I’m always working on. But, I know that it contributes to my stress levels, and again, I’m trying to zen out over here.

23. Waiting:

Because I am a very “what if” person, I tend to think on decisions for quite sometime. Sometimes that is good, but sometimes you just end up waiting. Waiting and doing nothing. Because Hamilton is on my mind, I related so much to “Wait for It” sang by “Aaron Burr”. I’d like to think I could be more like Hamilton, but maybe a mix between Burr and Hamilton would be better…

24. “Just”:

I’ve pretty much successfully erradicated this term from my professional emails because I once read an article that women use it to justify themselves in business settings (ain’t nobody got time for that).

But I realized that this word creeps into other areas of life:

“Oh I’m just going to brunch with a friend” – NO. You are going to brunch with a friend!! You have a friend! You have money to buy brunch! You will be fed! You will be creating memories! THIS IS AWESOME!!

“Oh I’m just hanging out at home” – NO. You have a home to hang out in, a roof over your head, a place to keep you safe! THIS IS AWESOME!!

“Oh I’m just doing laundry” – NO. You have clothes to wear! You have money to buy clothes and do laundry! You have a way to express yourself! THIS IS AWESOME!!

Do you see how diminishing the word “just” is? Nike should get a new slogan.

25. Tension:

I literally feel stress and tension in my shoulders every day and that just needs to stop. Maybe I just need more massages?

26. The past:

All I have to say is this:

“There’s only us, there’s only this
Forget regret, or life is your’s to miss
No other path, no other way
No day but today”

(again if you don’t know this reference… ugh.)

Mic drop.

27. Coffee

LOL. You thought I was serious.

xx

happily Haleigh

So, I’m turning 27…

(on May 11th – mark your calendar)

And for some reason, I suddenly feel inexplicably old.

I know I still have three years until 30, but approaching 27 feels like a final countdown. Maybe it’s because I’m 26 and don’t feel like I’m where I should be by society’s standards. Or maybe it’s because I’m 26 and am dealing with health issues that steal much of my life and energy. Or maybe it’s a combination of things, but I’m having somewhat of a hard time with this birthday.

I normally do like my birthday, after all – it’s supposed to be a day all about you with a bunch of friends, cake, and celebrations. But this year, when I think of indulging in treats, I just think of my health problems and how I should’t be eating a cupcake or donut or whatever (but you know I will be LOL). When I think of celebrating with friends, I run into scheduling road blocks and distance road blocks because a) May is busy b) at 26, I still have not cultivated a unit of friends that mirrors the Sex and the City girl gang and c) a lot of my dearest friends are not even in Chicago. When I think about celebrating, I think of the money I’m spending on one day that I could be putting away for something else.

Basically, as an almost 27 year old, I feel like a boring old lady, and it’s almost causing me to be down on myself, which, is SO sad.

You should feel awesome on your birthday! But I don’t feel super awesome. But then I try to remember this: I’ve made it to 27 years on planet earth. That’s pretty neat. Nothing guaranteed me making it here, so that’s a great birthday present in and of itself.

Thinking forward, I know 27 is going to be another huge year of growth. Working through health issues, continuing in a new job, some other big life moves, vacations to take, upcoming weddings, friends having babies – there’s going to be A LOT happening.

Knowing this, the rest of this week I’ll be taking time to reflect and look forward to reset some expectations and goals, and to appreciate all the good and lessons I’ve experience thus far.

Stay tuned for some more posts throughout the week! ๐Ÿ™‚

How do you celebrate your b-day? Still taking suggestions over here!

xx

happily Haleigh

I may just be the sickest healthy person you know…

“You eat so well!”

“You crush it in the gym!”

“You’re young and look so healthy though!”

All comments that have been said to me — and yet, here I am, about to turn 27 and feeling like an 80 year old whose life has been ripped away from her far too soon with every new medical discovery and diagnosis I receive.

Yesterday, I had my second appointment with Dr. Nicole. If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll remember her to be my new functional doctor. Since my first visit with her, I’ve finished my round of Xifaxan prescribed by my no-longer gastro for the SIBO (and no, I’m not feeling magically better as I had wished) and have also completed more bloodwork – something pretty routine to me by this point.

At my appointment yesterday, we went over the new bloodwork Dr. Nicole had requested, and boy, it was quite the overwhelming experience. I’ll be honest, my happy-go-lucky, can-do attitude broke a little yesterday.

Dr. Nicole, is great – let’s not get that confused. She sat with me and talked through all the findings, and summarized everything into her plan of action very clearly. She answered all my questions, and is just a great human overall. But the information she shared was less than appealing, and although knowledge is power, yesterday, knowledge just felt like a ton of bricks.

Picture this: A movie moment — cue the dramatic and triumphant music (you know the one), a track-star about to win the race, smiling ear to ear, he makes his way toward the finish line in slow motion. The end is in sight, the gold so close he can taste it, and out of nowhere, he starts to trip and his smile fades slowly. Zoom into his ankles turning this way and that way, his knees knocking, now back up to his face that has now gone from a look of victory to full-on defeat before cutting back to real time with the winner-to-be face-planted on the track with a furry of feet trampling him to take his place for first, second and third as he just lays there, defeated.

That is how I felt after my appointment yesterday. When I had the SIBO diagnosis, I felt like I was on my way to victory – FINALLY! Something to blame all my problems on, and medication to potentially fix it! However, the antibiotics haven’t left me feeling any better (deep-down I knew that 2 weeks wouldn’t truly make a difference). But today, I found out that in addition to the SIBO, I have candida, and have also been living with 3 chronic viruses in my system. THREE.

Epstein Barr Virus (two strands of it, actually), some other mono-causing virus, and herpes (no, not that kind). And before you ask, NO I AM NOT CONTAGIOUS.

Am I totally shocked? I mean, not really. Yes in the sense that these viruses are still in my system, but I had mono in college my sophomore year (2012), and since then, have struggled a lot with my health.

In addition to the viruses, I also found a few different things were off with my autoimmune response, candida, some vitamin levels, thyroid levels, etc.

Basically, I’m the sickest healthy person you know. What I mean by that is I do everything right. I do my best to eat well, I exercise regularly, and just generally take good care of myself, and it’s not enough. And isn’t that frustrating? It is. I really can’t even put into words at the moment just how draining it feels.

Dr. Nicole has a protocol for me which I’ll chat about in a different post, but for now all I’ll say is this: it’s a lot of supplements that of course insurance won’t cover, so of course I’m starting to stress about money. But stress isn’t good. How do I not stress? NOW I’M STRESSED ABOUT STRESSING. (Do you see how for a type A personality, this can be a black hole?)

Anyway, the short of it is this: start the supplement protocol, complete the stool test (which cost me $500 – yikes), follow a candida diet, and follow-up in 5 weeks when the aforementioned test results are in.

I know this post was a little more negatively toned than what I typically convey, but I’m having a moment. I feel like I am wasting the prime years of my life just trying to heal myself. At 27, I should be going out and enjoying life and spending my money on fun experiences and meeting new people — not worrying about spending my money on supplements and how much sugar and carbs I’m eating and if I’m doing everything to lower my viral load and kill yeast and bacteria… UGH. Somedays I just feel like an old shell, and it’s hard, because that is NOT me. I used to be, and want to be, a very full person. But it’s hard some days, and that’s just the truth of it.

With my birthday approaching in 2 weeks (May 11th if ya wanna set a calendar reminder!), I feel so conflicted. I know I’ll want to celebrate, but I’ll feel guilty knowing it won’t be good for my body – but am I supposed to just not celebrate? WHERE IS THE FUN IN THAT?!

Life isn’t fair, but I’m trying to remember that there is a lesson in all that we experience. What is meant for you will find you when it’s right for you.

Look out for my next post on my protocol and a few more deep-dive details (if you’re following me for specific health interests!), but until next time…

xx

happily Haleigh

#slayingSIBO // general update

SO.

Here I am, 3 days after finishing my two-week round of Xifaxan, and I feel… the same.

In fact, I might feel worse? Because along with not finding relief, that ROUGH round of antibiotics left me with some fun side effects: breakouts, weird rashes, swelling in my limbs, worsened joint pain… super fun times, my friends!

Thankfully, I have another appointment with Dr. Nicole on Monday. The plan is to chat about anything she found in my bloodwork, and discuss about next steps (remember that super fun test I talked about previously? Yeah, that’s probably gonna go down LOL).

In the meantime, I have also secured an MRI for my chronic lower back pain and emailed a doctor about my toe pain (I was set to actually have a toe surgery in January, but getting a new job threw a wrench in that!). Not only is my original, right toe still hurting, but now my left one has started bothering me. OOF.

Today in Chicago, it is snowing. Yes, in April. And honestly, while I’m not THRILLED about it, it’s given me the perfect excuse to take this Saturday and truly do nothing. As I’m typing this, I’m laying in bed in the middle of the afternoon with no plans for the rest of the evening, and it’s glorious. I did start my day off nicely though – woke up for a workout where I met a new friend, grabbed a coffee, went to my first therapy session, and wandered Whole Foods just because (does anyone else do this?! Didn’t even buy anything – I just love it!)

Tomorrow, I’ll be attending a restorative yoga session – yoga, something that doctors have told me time and time again to partake in for stress management, and something I usually blow off. However, in the spirit of working on my mental health, I’m going to try. Again.

So anyway, this post was really not substantial because truly, there has not been much change. More to come, and I’ll keep you all posted, but until then, I hope your life is beautiful and your days are wonderful.

xx

happily Haleigh

Talking to yourself – weird or necessary?

It was an interesting thought: your body has been listening to your mind your entire life. Every negative thought, your body has heard and absorbed. Kind of eye-opening, right? I thought about all the negative thoughts I’ve had in my 26 years on earth – every self-diminishing thought, every “what if”, every “you’re not good enough”. Thinking about that, it’s no wonder the physical pain you can feel and damage you can experience as you walk through life.

This week, I took a little break from scouring the internet for SIBO information. I could feel myself getting a little wrapped up in it all, so I’m just chilling. I’m on the antibiotics, so I’m just letting them do their thing (more on that later), and I’m trusting that Dr. Nicole will be reviewing my previous labs to decipher a killer plan of action for when I see her next (April 29th).

Saying that, taking a step back allowed me to use my brain power for other things – a few podcasts that I enjoy that I had putting on the back burner, for instance. Podcasts are amazing – you have access to knowledge and new ideas for FREE. #blessed.

One podcast that I’ve been loving lately is Almost 30. Honestly, these girls are the GOAT. Krista and Lindsey are so fun to listen to, and caring for their listeners. Their podcast focuses a lot on wellness, bringing in amazing guests to chat about mental health, physical health, mindset, manifestation, etc. A few episodes I’ve listed to recently have been helping my mindset this past week.

On one recent episode (I can’t remember which one), they were chatting about shifting how you communicate with your body. It was an interesting thought: your body has been listening to your mind your entire life. Every negative thought, your body has heard and absorbed. Kind of eye-opening, right? I thought about all the negative thoughts I’ve had in my 26 years on earth – every self-diminishing thought, every “what if”, every “you’re not good enough”. Thinking about that, it’s no wonder the physical pain you can feel and damage you can experience as you walk through life.

So what if we flipped that, and actually thought kind thoughts about our bodies and communicated that internally. It seems silly, but what if you stopped yourself every time you had a negative thought and turned it positive; better yet, what if you just started your day or took time every day to proactively say positive things about yourself and your body.

I’ve been trying it the past few days – and honestly, this will sound a little “woo woo”, but I swear it has helped. It has helped me release tension from my body. I never really realized how much of my day is spent in tension until I actively tried to relax. My shoulders are typically always raised, my breath shallow – almost as if I’m perpetually in a fight or flight mode, ready to be stressed (which aligns with the fact that I do have adrenal fatigue, so makes sense!). But I’ve noticed when I take time to think positively and just truly breathe, some of that tension instantly drops, and I feel a little more relaxed.

A little mantra I’ve been starting the day with or saying throughout the day when I need it: “Good morning/hello body, I am thankful for you, you are safe, I love you.” It sounds ridiculous, I know. But try it, I swear it’s euphoric.

I’m starting to realize that for the past two years, I have felt like I’m in a state of fighting with my body. Part of it is because of my symptoms I’m feeling – stressing about them, being angry about them, trying to get rid of those symptoms, etc. Part of it is because I’ve been striving to achieve a certain image – a socially accepted image (probably a deeper rooted issue here, I know).

So I think moving forward, some of the work I need to do is flipping the switch from fighting with my body to working with it.

I wish it was as easy as just “flipping the switch”. Honestly, as I type this, it feels so silly to even have this issue. Why would anyone ever feel at war with their own body?!

But I don’t think I’m alone, in fact, I think a lot of people feel this, but just don’t openly discuss it. I am beginning to crave so deeply to feel one with my physical self, in both functionality and visual acceptance.

So how do you practically go about achieving this? Well, that’s the million-dollar question, now isn’t it?! I think it’ll be a continued practice and journey that I’ll have to intentionally focus on. I’m sure I’ll continue to discover new things about myself, what works and what doesn’t for helping me stay aligned, but for now I’ll stick to my little morning mantra and just remind my body that it’s safe, and I’m taking care of it.

xx

happily Haleigh