Don't read this.
Hello, thank you for not reading. My name is Josh, and I've lost 120-ish pounds on my primal journey. That's a bad thing, because I reached my goal weight of 180 back in July and have been muscle wasting ever since. I stopped taking Effexor and Lamictal a few months into my diet, thinking I had cured my depression. I was right and wrong, really. I've come to realize that while my mood didn't entirely need balancing by the medication, it did reduce my stress significantly.
That stress ripped a huge hole in my life. It's always been lying dormant in me, but as soon as I made food my medicine, I started having uncontrollable irritability that turned into a violent rage which stays with me to this day. Like I said, I've always had a hidden rage inside of me that would occasionally rear its ugly head, but now it's front and center and kind of ruining my life. I don't know what I did exactly to exacerbate things, but I do know that my health has been slowly deteriorating since I went off the medication.
The obvious advice in such a situation is to see a doctor. Last year I let my sense of pride overtake my common sense when I switched from my parents' absolutely fucking fantastic health insurance that covers [I]everything[/I] to company insurance that cost $200 a month that didn't cover shit and carried a deductible I couldn't afford. So I trapped myself in a corner. I was stuck with my shitty insurance for a year before I could use the good insurance again. That year has come and gone, and it was incredibly shitty year, and now I'm able to use my parents' insurance again. Unfortunately, during that time I found myself getting inspired, for better or worse (worse), by all the n=1 experimenting people were during in the paleo community, and I decided it was worth a shot to try to fix my "metabolic derangement" on my own.
I visited my PCP a few times in the past year to get random blood work that everyone seems to agree a person should have. So here are a few things I know. I have low B-12. It sits at the very bottom of the range. I also have low folate, which from what I've read can occur as a result of low B-12. I have low testosterone. It doubled from the 200s to the 400s between the periods I had it tested, with the first test years before I started dieting. It's still less than half of what I'd like. I'm 24, so I figure it's not too unreasonable to be unhappy with that number. My 25-OH D is 29, I think. I'm not concerned with that. I haven't had a comprehensive thyroid panel, but everything was in range and my TSH was low.
Through my research I learned that it's extremely hard to be deficient in B-12, and if you are it means you're an idiot vegan or you have some sort of digestive problem, so I figured I had a digestive problem. It wasn't a hard sell. Since I made the switch to a low carb, high protein, ketogenic Atkins-like diet with lots of dairy, I had very consistent diarrhea. I took dairy out of my diet after a while and my bowel movements improved... slightly? I found myself going several days between bowel movements, and most of them were soft and painful, but not full blown diarrhea.
My research on gut health led me to the standard advice you hear: probiotic, betaine, digestive enzymes, bone broth, yadda yadda. I didn't really want to admit it at the time since I was staunchly low carb, but I had the hardest time digesting fatty meals. They left me nauseous and killed my energy. As I transitioned to things like potatoes and rice I found my digestion improved and my energy returned. So that was the death of low carb for me, but I still had my issues. I considered my low B-12 status and figured I just didn't have enough stomach acid, so I supplemented the betaine.
After I did that, everything went to hell. The pain and bloating I was experiencing after meals went away, which was good, but my violent outbursts became significantly worse, I was stressed as all hell all the time, and I experienced whacky fucking arrythmias. One night after a violent outburst I was lying in bed and it felt like my heart was vibrating and rotating around in my chest like a rock tumbler (that's bad, right?). Also, that's when I lost all the strength, energy and motivation I previously had to exercise, and I lost significant amounts of lean mass everywhere - my back, shoulders, forearms, legs. The only fat I kept on my body was in my abdomen and thighs.
I've since been--what's it called, reverse dieting?--to add fat and lean mass to my frame, but it's not working as well as I had hoped. Either way, I'm now seeing a gastroenterologist so I can get a proper [B]diagnosis[/B], which almost seems like a dirty word in the primal community, judging by how many people I see writing about how they're "healing" their "gut problems" and "sensitivities". Will they ever be fully healed? I hope so, but it's hard to treat a disease without a diagnosis. Well, I'm tired of chasing ghosts. I'd like to know exactly what's wrong with me and actually have it fixed so I can feel like a human again. I'll use this journal thing to provide occasional updates on my treatment. Right now I'm awaiting the results my recent labs. He ordered lipase and tTG.
I don't mean to be overly harsh about people trying to fix things on their own. It just frustrates me to see so much of an anti-medicine sentiment in this community. I tried the n=1 thing, and I ended up fucking myself because I'm an idiot. I hope all you other people who go it alone do it more wisely than I did, or if you reach a point where you've done more harm than good, you can let go of your pride and get some real help. That's what I'm doing.
Thank you again for not reading.
Good luck to you. I saw a lot of doctors and was determined to have lots different things wrong before I finally connected the dots MYSELF and got the right test done.
Pernicious anemia was my first diagnosis. Seven years later, I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance. Three hours of my own research later, I was tested for celiac disease. DING, DING, DING! I was sick for over a decade and saw a number of specialists, and had oodles of tests, and buckets of blood drawn.
Doctors failed me.
Good luck. I hope you have a different experience and can get well.
I'm glad you figured out the problem. And I hope you didn't open the floodgates for everyone to share their horror stories about how conventional medicine failed them and they made the proper treatment decision on their own. That would make me feel like an even bigger idiot.
Good luck with your journey. It sounds like you have some real issues and I think a doctor is a good person to help you try to sort them out. You get the information they give, you research on your own and you make your own informed decisions.
My only thing about your test results would be to tell you that Vit d level (25 OH) is seriously deficient. The CW recommended range is 30-100. The optimum non CW range is 65-75. Vitamin D is so important in so many body functions. I have finally got my levels up to 65 (taking 6000IU/day) and I feel so much better. Winter is my low time, hate Xmas etc. I feel great right now for the first time in years. I have always had low levels - 30-40's.
Not meant to make you feel like an idiot in any way. That is the limitation of the written word.
It's a caution to not place your complete faith and trust in any one person's hands. Even under the care of a physician, you will have to be on top of your own issue. That is damn hard to do when you are sick! If my post sounded angry or bitter, it is because I was remembering trying to get someone to figure out what was wrong with me when I was too sick to make it through the day without a nap.
With blood levels like that, you have to feel like crap. I know I did. It took a strict regimen of B12 injections for me to raise my level. I never did recover the ability to absorb B12, even after healing my gut. I take an injection every six weeks.
I sincerely wish the best of luck with your dr. I hope they find out what is wrong quickly and are able to give you the care you need. You can get better.
Josh all the very best of luck.
And yes I could write a book on Doctor knocking, which is NOT what your thread is about, however there are some amazing Doctors out there - and good luck in finding one to help you through your journey.
ask lots of questions.......questions give you answers.......answers are knowledge.......... and knowledge is power !
When I eat too much refined sugar (maybe it's just the fructose?) I have very violent, bloody dreams full of rage and pain. And that's just if I eat too much fruit, I'm not talking doughnuts.
Hope you can get it straightened out soon. Good luck to you.
So sorry. I hope you find some answers soon. I did great on Primal my first year and then screwed around with my program and can't seem to get back on track. I understand your frustration.
Update: The problem is gone. Yep, all the symptoms I was experiencing - depression, anxiety, low libido, digestive issues, fatigue, irritability - all miraculously disappeared a couple days ago. What changed? Well, the change that immediately preceded my recovery was a pair of UV blocking glasses. My wife bought them for herself to aid with sleep because her usual sleep aid is going to run out now that she's not covered under my insurance anymore. I told her to get me a pair as well so we could do it together. The other night was the first night I wore them, and when I woke up, my body worked. I have no idea what the mechanism would be if it actually was the glasses, but if it wasn't the glasses, then the reverse dieting fixed the problem.
I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to tell my doctor or how the "treatment" is going to go forward, but this is day three of a normally functioning body, and I'm loving it. It's time to eat mountains of delicious primal food to get my B12 and folate normalized, and perhaps my testosterone as well. I haven't had hair on the back of my legs in a while. I also have the energy and motivation to start exercising again, and with how underweight I am, I should see fairly instant results. Maybe I'm not too far off from a success story now. :D
So there you have it, this is the shortest primal journal in history. Thank you as always for not reading.
After an unfortunate return to form yesterday after a bad night of sleep, I find myself forced to admit that it is the UV glasses that help me stay sane. What's left to discover is whether there's a problem with my body that's creating this need for a fantastic night of sleep or if it's truly necessary for me to sleep in a hammock outside my yurt in the middle of nowhere just to be happy. Because that would be great. :D
I think I'll ask my doctor to run some baseline blood work so I can see if my improved mood is a reflection of actual improved health.
In other news, I actually did some PBF this morning, and it kicked my ass. It's been a while. And I actually sweat. That's new.