My wife's a mess, where to start?
Hello, I am new to the forum, been reading the site for about 6 months.
Short version: 31, female, 5’2”, 135 lb. medically diagnosed with IBS w/spastic colon, fibromyalgia, insomnia, narcolepsy, GERD, PCOS, and ruptured spinal discs. Also experiences arthritic joint pain, migraine headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness, transient numbness. Where do we start?
My wife is 31 and has chronic health issues that are highly debilitating. She is in the process of getting disability with Social Security. The issues seemed to start 5 years ago with GERD that got worse and worse and didn't respond to medication. She got a Nissen Fundoplication and that solved the issue. Then during her pregnancy 3.5 years ago she had severe morning sickness and gall stones. She generally felt like crap during pregnancy. Three years ago she gave birth and then had her gall bladder removed a couple weeks later. We were thinking that these two changes would get her back to normal, but this is when everything went to hell. The gall stones (there were some residual symptoms) but other stuff got much worse and new symptoms appeared. In 2010 she has hundreds of doctor visits and tests trying to figure out what was going on.
In 2011 she had another pregnancy with hyperemesis, worsening back pain, sudden and severe depression and sleep problems. During labor she had a neurological event which has never been diagnosed/explained, but the effect was similar to a small stroke or a traumatic ischemic attack. Since that event, she has experienced intermittent numbness in her arms, legs, and face. After giving birth she was diagnosed with ruptured discs in L4/5, and L5/S1.
In 2012 she had a Selective Endoscopic Discectomy, which was not successful in relieving back pain. She was diagnosed with iron anemia, got infusions and is no longer anemic. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroid, which seems to have now resolved itself. She has filed for disability. We’ve seen dozens of doctors, and she’s (rightfully) fed up with their inability to help, as well as the fact that they are mostly assholes (going to 200 doctor appointments a year sucks triply because (a) you can barely do anything else with your days (b) it’s way expensive (c) you have to talk to a bunch of prick doctors). She feels like she's got the body of an 80 year old at 31, it's completely miserable.
Her situation has some many similarities to success stories I’ve read (Tons of Doctors and No Solution | Mark's Daily Apple, Brissia’s Story – How a Paleo Diet Helped Her Fully Live Life and Reduce Fibromyalgia Symptoms) so I’m hopeful something in this lifestyle can be of help. So here I am, hoping that someone can sift through this and help us imagine a nutritional/behavioral/primal plan of attack that makes some sense. Here are some ideas that I/we had:
1) Elimination diet: dairy (tried this for a week without impact, could try longer)
2) Elimination diet: grains
3) Elimination diet: fructose
4) Probiotic (she tried Align and felt worse, but could try something different)
5) Sleep in a different bed to eliminate disruptions (our youngest wakes once per night)
6) Wake without an alarm (this would be contrary to doctor orders and would require a big lifestyle shift since we share one car)
7) Exercise: water aerobics or evening walks, she's too weak for much else
We appreciate all your help and ideas, thanks in advance.
T. H. Wilson
Wow, that warm wishes goes out to your wife. That sounds like a pretty difficult existence.
Are there not practitioners of holistic medicine who adopt paleo principles in their plans? I feel like you need someone who is licenced in holistic or naturopathic medicine to assist you. I do think some conventionally trained doctors are so BAD is diagnosing yet alone treating illness that are not common place.
Anywho best of luck and hopefully you get some opinions and assistance from PF'ers who have similar ailments and have healed themselves with this WOE but I still think you should seek professional assistance ultimately tho.
I agree with Lawyerchick12. Look up a Naturopathic Doctor in your area; I'm seeing one next week for less-severe things, but your wife may find some solutions for her ailments in non-conventional methods, including some of the ideas you have listed. Ideas are great, but see a professional before taking things into your own hands with something so serious as your wife's very extreme ailments.
Best of luck!!!
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Thank you for the replies.
Among the doctors she has seen were two naturopaths. The frist was a little helpful, but not much. She suggested accupuncture, which does provide temporary partial pain relief, so this has been a minor success. She also suggested around 20 supplements, which my wife tried serially. When one failed to provide any benefit, she always had another one to try. Only one of these actually seemed to help at all (vitamin D, she still takes). The second didn't have different ideas/tools than the first, so she only went to a visit or two. Given this low success rate, my wife's got limited enthusiasm for naturopaths. On the plus side, they seem to be nice.
If there is a thing to look for when selecting a naturopath that actually is helpful, that would be good to know.
With those spinal issues my first stop would be at a Chiropractors office. Take your previous imaging tests with you for them to evaluate. Get a consultation and see if they think they can help. Work on the structural side in that manner and follow the PB or paleo autoimmune protocol STRICTLY for at least 30 days and more likely longer. 7 days is nothing in terms of an elimination diet, so you do need more time.
First, sympathies to you and your wife. It is really depressing to feel old and sick when you're still young. (Possibly it's depressing when you're old, too, but...)
Maybe I missed something, but are you and your wife eating a Primal diet yet? I would start there, at the very least.
I have a copy of It Starts With Food next to me; it's a great book to go along with Mark's Primal Blueprint. Their recommendations for an autoimmune protocol include eliminating added sugars and grains (basic primal stuff), but also eliminating eggs, nightshades, dairy, nuts and seeds for 90 days. They also suggest eliminating NSAIDs for this time because they are so hard on your gut.
I mention this because when we tried the nightshade elimination (for partner's rheumatoid arthritis) we only did 30 days. I am wondering now if this was long enough. In your case, I suspect that a week without dairy is not long enough to determine if its absence makes things better or not, and it's starting to look to me like even a month without some foods is not enough to really see results.
I have read that improvement for autoimmune issues can take a long time (2-3 years) even after dietary changes are made.
I have a friend with multiple health issues who is having good luck with the GAPS protocol, that would be another avenue to check out.
Wishing you and your wife all the best.
Thank you for the reply. Tried two or three chiropractors (bit of a blur), either without benefit or with temporary relief.
Originally Posted by Neckhammer
I agree, 7 days is not long enough.
I also have the book but have not yet read it. I think eliminating 7/8 things for 90 days will be daunting. If there is a way to start more gradually, I believe adherance would be more likely. I can try to pitch this, thanks for the reference.
Originally Posted by SuBee
Thank you for this resource, it is a new one to me. I will definitely check it out.
Originally Posted by SuBee
I would DIE.
Originally Posted by SuBee
I will catch hell on here, but I would recommend you go to Home | JackKruse.com and read all his stuff onhealing the gut. Your wife's story is a lot like my wife's, she has started regaining her health since focusing on her gut. With a bad gut flora, you can't absorb vitamins and make hormones--I'm not making that up, it's true. Lots of bone broth, vitamin D, and labs need to be done. You can't fix a problem like this with paleo eating--you need to find a good doctor who will listen and test a lot. Labs need to be in the upper quartile of normal--not just barely in range. A bad gut can take years to heal, prior antibiotic use destroys normal gut flora. Many women on Kruse' forum fighting the same thing. Kruse' site is free and he has an extensive blog with good cites.
I don't mean to say you need Dr. Kruse to be your doctor, just look at his site for inspiration on how deep you need to look. My wife found a good doctor and with the knowledge we gleaned from his website we knew what labs to ask for and were able to fire doctors who weren't meeting our expectations. Conventional Wisdom Docs love to medicate and treat symptoms, few will peel the onion to look for root causes.
All, please read Jack Kruse latest blog about an Australian Olympic Gymnast with spinal injuries who followed his advice with great results before poo-poo'ing me. Cold Thermogenesis & Epi-Paleo Rx at the London Olympic Games | Jack Kruse
Last edited by otzi; 08-31-2012 at 12:50 PM.
Thanks for the link, I will check it out.
Originally Posted by otzi
How did you find a doctor who was helpful, random trial and error? What specialty, GI or something else?
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