The Long and Winding Road

Originally posted on October 11, 2014

Hi, this is me, Rebecca Weber.  Holistic Health Coach.  How did I get here you might be wondering.  Well, I'll tell you, it was a round about way!  I'm originally from the Toronto area, I've lived in a few towns and cities in the GTA, I currently live in Whitby.  I have also lived in Western North Carolina for a few years, and that's where my journey to Healthy began.

In 2006 I was diagnosed with Grave's Disease, which is an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid to go hyper.  I'd been sick for a while, my weight was going up and down, at the time of my diagnosis it was up, and I was felling like crap.  I couldn't sleep, couldn't seem to eat enough food, no matter how much or what I ate, couldn't tolerate heat in the least (I had the a/c on in February!) and my resting heart rate was in the 90s! I was always short of breath, and cranky cranky cranky!  Oh, and my sinuses had been stuffed up since I moved there in Oct. 2004!

When I got the diagnosis of Grave's I had no idea what the heck it was, or what an autoimmune disease is, how one gets such a thing, or what to do with it once you get it!  I was given a prescription for Methimazole and told to come in for regular blood work.  Unfortunately my employer had a different idea and wouldn't let me take time off for my first appointment, so I ended up going hyPO thyroid, and felt even more like crap! Plus I gained 20 pounds in a month. (it's very important to keep doctor appointments!  don't work for an employer who won't let you take time out for doctor appointments!...yeah, I quit that job...).  We managed to get my thyroid levels back on track though, and after 18 months the Grave's disease went into remission.  

All told I had gained about 30 or 35 pounds over the course of the 18 months, and no matter what I did, I couldn't lose it.  The endocrinologist cut me loose though, because it wasn't Grave's making me sick anymore, so I wasn't his problem!

I tried the grapefruit diet, I tried the cabbage soup diet, I tried Weight Watchers, I tried the Special K diet (I don't even like Special K!) and I just kept getting sicker and fatter.  I was desperate, I was always constipated (I had a bowel movement on average once a week, and only if I took laxatives). I had noxious gas that at times I was sure I was going to kill my spouse and co-workers, and then one day while sitting at work I had to unbutton and unzip my jeans because I was so bloated and fat they were about to snap me in half!  Seriously, I was desperate!  I figured the only diet I hadn't tried yet was Atkins, and even though I'd heard it was "bad for you" and even "dangerous", I figured it can't be worse than how I felt at that moment, sitting in my office with my jeans undone!  So, I found the website and started reading.

I started Atkins just before US Thanksgiving, 2008.  Yep, Thanksgiving.  Time of turkey and stuffin' and pie.  Not only did I cook the whole meal for my (now ex)husband's family, but I made the entire dinner high fat-low carb.  I personally thought it was all very yummy.  They lamented the lack of crust on the pumpkin pie and wanted Cool-Whip (ugh) and the lack of German chocolate cake (which had been tradition when my Mother-in-Law was alive).  But otherwise the meal went well.  Within 4 days of starting Atkins, I could once again button my jeans, and the noxious gas was gone, as well as the painful GERD I'd been suffering since 2005.  I even stopped taking the Nexium!

I thought WOW this is amazing!  How is it even possible that this diet makes me feel so incredible?  Better than I've felt in Years!?  So I went to the forum and asked.  Several members and Colette Heimowitz suggested I probably have celiac disease, another autoimmune disease.  So I went to Dr. Google for some more answers.  Turns out I also have another autoimmune disease which I already knew of, but just never knew that it was autoimmune.  I'd been diagnosed with psoriasis when I was a kid.  They should have caught the celiac 'round about the same time...huh...

So after months of Atkins, and researching, and talking to my PA and my husband who refused to believe I could have such a thing as celiac disease, I finally was able to get to see a gastroenterologist in the Autumn of 2009.  We scheduled a biopsy for 8 weeks later, because I'd been eating pretty much entirely gluten free for almost a year, I had to do a gluten challenge.  I was not looking forward to it AT ALL!  Turns out, I had every right to be afraid.  

Within 20 minutes of the first bite of gluten, I was writhing in pain. I wanted to cry but I had to go to work, and suffer this for 8 weeks!  I didn't think I was going to make it.  Immediately my migraines returned, the noxious gas, the painful bloating, the menstrual cramps, the joint pain, the brain fog, the cranky, the crying, the stuffed up nose, and constipation and and and and...I had no doubt that it was celiac, though the PA and the GI doc still doubted it because I was old and fat, not young and skinny....I used to be a young and skinny kid....huh...(is it any wonder I don't like doctors?)

2 days before my endoscopy, I got a phone call from my sister back home that Mum was in the hospital after having a massive coronary.  I couldn't reschedule my appointment (remember what I said above!) I just couldn't suffer more weeks of eating gluten (I'd already had to stop eating the suggested 3 servings per day over a week prior, I couldn't do it, I could only eat one serving per day).  It would have taken another 8 weeks to fit in the schedule again.  So I booked a flight home the afternoon after my endoscopy.  I was still groggy from the anesthetic when I got on the plane, but I had photos of my atrophied small intestine and the GI told me she would call with the biopsy results in a few days.  No matter what the results were going to be, I went gluten free immediately!  No way was I going to suffer that pain voluntarily ever again!

I was home for a month with my Mum, and I cleaned out her kitchen cupboards and the refrigerator of all junk food, for her health as well as mine.  She was in hospital for 2 weeks on a vent, then had a stent put in, and they sent her home on Christmas Eve.  I wrote up "The Roolz" and told her she can either start taking care of herself and eating a healthful diet, or she can die.  Her choice.  While I was there, she followed Atkins Induction Phase, I left her with a bunch of recipes and a fridge full of yummy whole natural foods and told her to stick with it or I'd come back home and kick her in the arse.  

I was back home in Canada for good by May of 2010.  Divorced, no job and no money, so I stayed on Mum's couch for a few months until we got a bigger house and I could have a room of my own!  During months of unemployment and no income whatsoever, I searched and searched for a college nutrition programme to enroll in.  I couldn't find one that fit.  I got a job downtown, and then was struck with a mysterious something or other that caused a year and a half long bout of extreme vertigo.  It was exhausting, let me tell you!  And nauseating!  I lost that job because I couldn't keep up and couldn't focus.  It's difficult to focus when everything is spinning.  I went to specialist after specialist.  ENTs, neurologists, etc etc...nobody could find anything "wrong", despite all kinds of tests and tortures.  I was at my lowest of lows, the last neurologist I saw said to me "we can find nothing wrong with you, you should see a psychiatrist"...I'd heard that before...seems to be a stock answer for "we don't know what's wrong with you so you must be crazy".  huh...once again on my own to figure this out.  And then my periods just stopped...turns out it was menopause.  For some reason my GP hadn't even thought of testing my hormone levels, despite my long and storied medical history of gynecological problems!  (maybe I'll tell you someday, but this is getting too long already!)  

So, yeah...once the hot flashes started, the vertigo went away.  Weird right?  Hot flashes are no fun, but a whole heckuva lot easier to manage than having everything around you constantly spinning and having to take antinauseants 3 times a day!

Somewhere in all of this, I had joined up with a local ADF druid group, and made some friends in the Pagan community.  2 of the members of the Grove decided that we should all do a 21 day primal challenge.  That was in September of 2012, and I've been "Primal" ever since.  It was on one of the paleo/primal weekly newsletters from someone that I received some information about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in April of this year.  I looked at it, it sounded like a perfect fit, I went to the bank and got a loan (EEK they gave me a loan!) and enrolled for the May 2014 class start.  And here we are.  That's me in a very large nutshell.  Yes, I'm a bit nutty.  You'll get used to it  ;)


Security Check
Please enter the text below
Can't read text above? Try another text.