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

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#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

On to the next… #slayingSIBO

As hopeful as I was, I should have known the appointment would be frustrating, leading me to the search of yet another doctor.

Well, it’s Friday, and thus, I had my follow-up appointment with my GI doctor about my SIBO results.

As hopeful as I was, I should have known the appointment would be frustrating, leading me to the search of yet another doctor.

So here’s The Skinny:

I walk into my appointment, expecting to see my doctor. Instead some tall, slightly dopey looking man walks in and introduces himself as a resident, and then proceeds to ask me about how I’ve been feeling. I’ve never interacted with this man, so I have to go through my entire medical history… AGAIN.

Talk about frustrating. While speaking with him, I shared that at one point since my last appointment, I had stopped taking Miralax for one day, and due to that, was dealing with constipation again. In fact I was dealing with it when I took the breath test. Looking back, I should have just left this tidbit out.

Anyway, I asked all my questions I came prepared with:

  • Antibiotics:
    • Q: Is it best to dose Xifaxin with Neomycin since I read it was most effective for Methane dominance?
    • A: I haven’t heard of that, but I’ll ask the doctor.
  • Diet:
    • Q: Should I start a lowfodmap diet while taking antibiotics or after?
    • A: No definitive answer.
  • Prokinetics:
    • Q: I read that these may be useful in cases of constipation – should we consider this?
    • A: Mmm, probably not, we can talk about that later.

He asked me a series of questions regarding my stress levels, diet, etc. then went to talk to the doctor.

My doctor comes in and tells me that they no longer know if I have SIBO. WHAT.

She says that since I was dealing with constipation during my breath test, it could have been a false positive. She then said she’d like to just continue treating my constipation with Miralax, saying it’s fine because they give it to pregnant women all the time.

I straight up looked at her and asked “So, you’re not prescribing me the antibiotic?” She looked a little flustered and asked “Well, the thing to note is if you feel bloated even when you’re not constipated…” and to that I said….

YES. Look, I have been dealing with this for 2 years. I’m uncomfortable when I wake up, and worse when I go to bed. No matter what I eat, what I do.

She answers “Okay, then we’ll give it to you!” *insert eyeroll*

I then asked: “What does follow up look like? Do we need to retest to ensure it’s gone”

Response: “No, no protocol – we just treat the symptoms.”

I had so many problems with this appointment:

  1. The fact that they sent a resident in first really bothered me.
  2. The fact that the doctor was so changeable really bothered me.
  3. The fact that they were fine with saying I should just take Miralax the rest of my life really bothered me. This means my body isn’t working right!!
  4. She told me I was not a person at risk for SIBO, when honestly she never took into account all of my other health issues that most DEFINITELY have put me at risk for this.

This was such a typical Western Medicine approach. I was hoping for so much more because the doctor seemed so proactive in getting me the test in the first place, but the follow-through is lacking.

I was very emotional this morning, but I’m trying to take the positive out of it and no that this experience served its purpose, and now it’s just time to move on. I got the antibiotic out of it, and I’ll start there, but now it’s time to find a functional doctor in Chicago (who accepts insurance) who can help me with the rest of the process.

Another bump in the road, but what’s new!

Stay positive people!

xo

happily Haleigh

Week 4 Update

Four weeks already?! Whaaaaa….. Crazy.

Anyway, I actually shared the below vlog a week or so ago now, so we’re actually in week 5. BUT, if you’re interested, check out the following vlog for a few little updates on how my bulk and health journey are going.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional vlogger, so please excuse the lack of quality! This was uncut and unedited because it was just what I was feeling and dealing with in the moment.

UPDATE SINCE THIS VIDEO:

  • Continue to deal with weight fluctuations – went all the way back down to 116lbs but now I’m stable around 120lbs.
  • Eating around 1850 per day – I’ll probably stay here for a bit just because I know I have the holidays and work travel coming up, and I’ll probably inherently end up eating more in those coming weeks – natural bulking :p
  • Still dealing with hair loss (obvi) and IT IS THE MOST ANNOYING.
  • I have a doctor’s appointment with a new endo next week – I am PRAYING that this doctor takes all of my past and current medical struggles seriously. Curious if anyone has experience knowing what thyroid tests to ask for? I know that you have to be really proactive with the information going into one of these appointments. Comment below if you have any tips!

So that’s the little update – enjoying bulking so far, taking it slow, trying not to freak out about all my health ailments and keep my stress in check which is virtually impossible because money sucks, life is hard, and health is silly LOL.

xx

happily haleigh