The last ten months have been such a whirlwind for our family. Our move last August threw such a wrench in our normal operations from my kids acclimating to new schools, The Chad settling into and operating in a new, high level, position at work, and my overall operation. I tended to take on the majority of the stress for my family, I wanted to ensure that they would fall back into some formal of normalcy, despite moving 2000 miles away from everything we knew for the past 14 years. In taking on all my family’s stress, I had my own stress that I was not dealing with, emotionally, physically and mentally. Despite my trips to the gym and processing what I could, I had not dealt with the negativity of past relationships that I had severed (as they no longer served me or my family), the loss of my close friends and family, and being alone in a state where I knew no one. What I did not know was that all of this stress, coupled with the stress my body was put through with my weight loss journey would be a perfect storm for my health.
So what in the health was wrong? Well, like most young folks who head off to college and gain fifteen pounds, I too suffered a bit of the freshmen fifteen as well. The move and stress caused a significant amount of weight gain that I was unprepared for, especially considering my rigorous workout routine. I was in the gym three to four days a week, lifting LOTS of heavy weight. Now my friends said “Oh it’s muscle” but muscle doesn’t cause you to gain two pant sizes again. I was frustrated. I was sad. I had a small bout of depression as I grieved the loss of a dear friend who was so damning to try to rebuild a relationship. I was also deeply stressed as I managed the move and ensured that my kids and husband were okay. I basically ignored myself in the pursuit to care for them. Story of every woman and mom’s life right?
I really dialed things in with my diet and exercise with a coach I had hired. In addition to these basics, he really wanted me to focus on relaxing, focusing on my mental health and so he prescribed yoga twice a week and getting in a small 20 minute walk so that I had basic sunshine and just got outdoors period. We saw lot of changes in my happiness, wellness and slowly my weight began to change. My stress began to decrease as well. So causation was correlation right? Not necessarily, as we were early on into the new year and my weight really began to increase. While I was able to maintain, I could not do anything to drop the weight. My next step was to investigate what else was going on with my health such as my hormones and my digestion.
Our gut has been identified as our second brain and I really wanted this to be in tip top shape coupled with my mental well-being, my nutrition and my fitness. What I never imagined is how much my gut health would be the epitome of my life going forward. In March, after a strong workout that I was absolutely exhausted from, I came home to have a quick after workout meal, what happened next completely caught me off guard. Stricken with an immediate fever, chills, shivering, aches, nausea, I just wanted to curl up into a ball and die. The vomiting came on and did not stop for the following eight hours. Finally having enough and realizing I was not getting better, The Chad took me to the ER. The results of the ER visit were also not anything we had expected.
After a battery of tests and blood work, ultrasounds, CT scans, and five short hours later I had a diagnosis. Cholelithiasis, or gallstones. How the hell did this happen? How do I have a faulty gallbladder despite eating as healthy as I do? I don’t eat fast food that is loaded with high fat, I don’t eat loads of fat, I eat tons of vegetables and fruit and lean proteins. How did this happen? I sobbed. I sobbed until I was out of tears. Shortly after being released and getting a good night sleep, I began researching like a mad woman.
The more research I did the more misinformation I found. Supposedly gallstones were attributed to too low fat of a diet, too high fat of a diet, the inability to process bilirubin, not enough fiber and veggies, the list could go on with causes and reasons. In short, what I gathered from my personal experience was that I had done severe diets for too long and my genetics. When I say too long, the too long was one year. For a full year I restricted everything I ate in an effort to lose my baby weight and compete in a bodybuilding show. In addition to the one year were the times in the history of my life that I had done extreme dieting such as HCG, Slim Fast, Atkins, you name it, I had done them in the name of perfection and fitting into the societal mold.
Wanting to kick the societal mold in the ass I was hell bent to heal my gallbladder and try to avoid surgery. Each day I took a capsule of my essential oils, drank water with orange essential oils (because of the high levels of limonene which are used to break up cholesterol and gallstones), and I ate a gallbladder healthy diet. But the attacks kept happening. Two more to be exact. On top of my struggles with diet was my struggles to get to the gym. When I would do a workout, I was exhausted. My body felt so depleted and wasted that I was not recovering properly despite adequate nutrition. My skin was a disaster. I looked like a teenage girl with my skin broken out and I was afraid to be in public because I felt like I looked so awful. More research took place regarding diet, nutrition and options to help overcome my gallbladder issues and clean up my skin.
While not a lot of information was available, I did not have any attacks for two weeks straight on a higher fat, moderate protein, high vegetable diet. My skin began to heal, but not enough. Despite all my efforts I ran into the deadline of my appointment with my gastroenterologist. We immediately scheduled an EGD (a fancy camera down your throat to look at your stomach and intestines) and a surgical consult. Unfortunately the surgical consult won out over my tests. Even though my MRI showed a reduction in my stones and no thickening of the gallbladder wall, I still had stones and the surgeon felt the gallbladder needed to go. The EGD just happened to be preventative measures for anything else going on with my gastrointestinal tract. With my drive to really take a deeper dive into my health, more so than I already have with eating a clean, organic diet and my essential oils, I have decided to become sort of a self advocate on the misinformation regarding diet, health, disease, and how we can reverse many of our ailments just be eliminating garbage. I hated that I had a what in the health moment in my life, I have been so adamant about my health and that of my family that I failed to even recognize the down stream effects of what dieting and traditional western methods can do to our bodies. With that said, I hope you will follow me as I share more about my health and my crazy, healthy, alternative methods for living on my new site TheApotheKarie.com.
All in all, I am doing okay. I am 10 days post op from my gallbladder being removed and on the path to healing. I did not have a whole lot of time to process the events as I met with the surgeon on a Monday and surgery was Friday. However, I am taking steps everyday to improve my gut health to what it was before my incident. I am taking steps to educate others about the importance of gut health. I am on a path to educate and share about Gods gifts of the plants and animals that can deeply benefit our lives and our health and removing processed, over-processed, traditional western methods of eating and healthcare. I hope you join me!