I had had joint pain all my life, I just didn’t know it until it went away. I had had ovarian cyst pain all my life but didn’t know it until a doctor told me that was not normal. My hair had been falling out all my life (when I wasn’t hormonally controlled), acne, and the list goes on.
My biggest fear when I wasn’t pregnant anymore is that all this stuff would return and return fierce. I hoped nursing my little guy would keep some of it at bay. I also hoped I’d have another miracle happen before I finished nursing. I was not going back on “The Pill” ever again. And I was done with synthetic fertility drugs forever. So, I needed to get healthy, but I was so tired from having a new baby!
Thanksgiving of 2011, my folks came out. I had been dabbling in gluten free and really limiting my consumption of such things because I knew it could be the source of some of my problems. But in all honesty, I really hoped and prayed (did I really pray about gluten? Probably not.) that I could just limit it and I’d be ok. That Thanksgiving, I made pies and all the goodies that come with the holidays that we were not accustomed to eating. We had wild Alaskan salmon for Thanksgiving dinner, with steamed broccoli. My parents love pies and breads and I was careful not to eat bread, but I did eat a half slice each of apple and peach pie.
The next morning, my joints were so incredibly stoved up. It hurt to climb the stairs in that old farm house and I seriously had to use my arms to help pull myself up them. I thought, “For crying out loud, I’m 34!” What is going on? I remembered back in my high school sports days that there would be rare occasions when I felt really energetic and strong and could tie even with the fastest girl on the basketball floor running “lines” or I could make a really good start running to the grocery store (sports practice) and back to school when I felt good. I figured it all had to be tied in together.
I must have a food allergy. I got online once my parents left becuase I vaguely remembered some posts and links on gluten and PCOS or gluten and joint pain or gluten and cysts. My abdomen was screaming at me, even though I was still nursing. My face was clear, though, still! I also knew sugar was terrible for your immune response.
So, when one has questions where do we go? Books and the Internet. I’d just finished reading Robin O’Brien’s The UnHealthy Truth and started Kaayla Daniel’s The Whole Soy Story on deck was a book about Excitotoxins and non-related Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s biography.
After some research showing that 85% of PCOS women have a gluten sensitivity and seeing how gluten causes cysts and gluten free healed some women I was convinced. Joint pain, cysts. Sugar also doesn’t help the matter. So I went on a two-week elimination diet of gluten and sugar. I was strict. If I’m going to do it, I do things right…usually. In this case, yes. I didn’t want to start over!
On Day 9, I was pain free. I could get up those stairs no problem! On Day 11, I goofed up and had a hamburger bun. Just to make sure I had two (sometimes “they” say to get all glutened up to test it). 24 hours later I was stoved up and the pain was back. I went back to gluten free and sugar free and 9-10 days later the pain was gone again. I goofed up and ate some sugar and got a hell of a heachache, extreme crabbiness 30 minutes later and then the classic sugar crash. Joint pain followed in about 12 hours and subsided within 2-3 days. The joint pain was a little different than that with gluten. Not quite as intense. I also dropped more weight, yes in two weeks. I don’t own a scale, but I lost a ton of weight…fast. Ok, not a ton, but a noticeable amount and fast, within 2-4 weeks.
I got on the phone. I needed some answers! I called allergists, made appointments, cancelled appointments and finally spoke to a Naturopath who did gluten testing. She was in Seattle (or one of those cities up there). I decided I didn’t want to go that far in the winter (it was not December), so I called around at Spokane and sent emails if they had a website.
I found Dr. Graves in Spokane. I met with him in January when our Flex Spending Account reset and he immediately tested me for Cortisol Imbalance and told me that when the Cortisol is “off” it can cause inflammation. I was tested and had a fairly significant imbalance, putting me in Stage 2 of Adrenal Fatigue. He recommended staying gluten free, soy free and sugar free. He said only raw dairy (which we were doing at that time anyway) and increasing greens and berries and nuts, red meat, etc. I was already doing this, so no problem. Later he tested my Vitamin D and it was way low. My baby was still not sleeping worth a darn and he told me to read Good Night Sleep Tightby Kim West and follow her suggestions. I did and that little bugger was sleeping from 7-5am in a few days. He told me PCOS would go away and he’d seen it happen before. I wanted to believe him and I was going to put myself into this 100% because it’s all I had left! He also told me I’d get pregnant again, which I wanted to believe also, but I wanted to nurse my second little guy as long as I could.
Gluten, Vitamin D deficiencies and Cortisol alone are indicated in PCOS and I had all three problems! I always wondered where the missing link was. Perhaps I’d found it?