Dietary Changes

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After our first appointments with the Functional Medicine doctor, we made some very drastic changes in our diet.  For Cierra it was recommended that she cut out gluten, which was really hard at first for her.  She LOVES pizza, brownies, and almost all glutinous foods; but being the trooper she is she took the plunge.  At her six week follow-up appointment it was recommended that she avoid dairy for six weeks, which was just as hard for a cereal, ranch, and ice cream loving teenager.

It was recommended that I also cut out gluten as well as dairy.  I took it not just a step further, but a whole flight of stairs!!  After reading Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause by Dr. Izabella Wentz, I cut out many other foods.  Eventually I adopted Dr. Kharrazain’s AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet, a more restrictive form of Paleo.  As the primary cook, I guess that my family adopted AIP along with me.

Gluten:

After being gluten free for a while we ‘cheated’ a bit one week and boy did we pay the price.  Cierra instantly became very nauseous and experienced horrible stomach pains for about a day.  She also became very moody.  To counteract all of this we gave her 2 activated charcoal pills and had her take an Epson salt bath, soaking for over 30 minutes.  Both seemed to bring some relief.  We suspect she may be Celiac even though the blood test was negative.  I had extreme inflammation (especially in my hands and ankles) and joint stiffness/pain.  Lesson learned, gluten free for life!!

Dairy:

We are unsure about the effects of dairy on Cierra as she has not reintroduced it.  There is a concern that dairy could trigger migraines.  She loves ranch which contains buttermilk as well as aged cheeses which are high in tyramine (more about this in a later post).  When I consume dairy it causes inflammation in my sinuses and if I consume it more than once within a few days I develop a sinus infection.  The glands in my throat also become very swollen.  Even though our reaction to dairy is not as severe as gluten, we are choosing to stay away from it.

AIP:

I am not an expert on AIP by any means and really had to fumble my way through the first few weeks.  However now I have a pretty good idea of allowed foods and foods to avoid.  There are so many resources out there on the AIP lifestyle, and I call it that because I will follow a modified AIP for the rest of my life.  I am part of a Facebook group called Hashimoto’s 411 and Elimination/Provocation Diet: Hashimoto’s 411.  They have been a great resource for questions, support, and recipes!  Another great resource is Hashimoto’s 411.  Eventually after all my symptoms are gone, I will begin reintroducing foods every 3-5 days, watching for reactions.  The purpose of this diet is to remove inflammatory foods as well as foods that trigger Hashimoto’s symptoms.  The ultimate goal is to reintroduce foods and see which foods my body can handle and which ones it cannot.  I will however remain gluten free.

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Document, Document, Document!!

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Me: I don’t need to write it down.  I’ll remember it.

Narrator: She would not remember.  In fact, she immediately forgot what ‘it’ even was.

I love the thought of keeping a journal or a to-do list; but alas I forget about them after a day or so.  Some would say I need to be more disciplined and I would have to agree with that to a degree.  I have found in dealing with any illness it is so important to document, document, document!!  How do we figure out a trigger without having documented the previous occasions.  Such as with a migraine how can we figure out if a certain food is causing problems if we forget to document our food intake?  I guess I am preaching to myself because like the narrator said, I forgot what ‘it’ even was!!

Why From Triggered to Happy?

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We have been dealing with daughter’s migraines and other health issues for years, as well as my own.  The cycle has been research, see a medical professional, try something new, rinse and repeat. There is a plethora of information regarding hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue (which they now say is not a real thing – live a day in either my daughter’s or my life and you will think differently – but that is a whole soapbox within itself!!), PCOS, GI issues, etc.  However, there are not as many resources on adolescent migraines.  When Cierra’s migraines spiraled out of control yet again we were able to find some effective ways to treat her acute symptoms.  Many of the things we have tried or found as triggers, I wish someone had told me about when her migraines first started.  As we continued to dig deeper we found that migraines were not the trigger, but rather a symptom of the bigger picture.  There was something (or multiple things) causing her to have migraines and as we dug deeper, we found it was not just hormonal issues that were the problem.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made, we are God’s greatest creation, and as such think about how amazing and interconnected our bodies are.  So many Conventional Doctors just treat the symptoms we come to them with rather than digging deeper to find the root of the problem.  Many times, the medications or treatments they prescribe or recommend have horrible side effects or interactions, causing more problems.  We didn’t want just another pill to ‘throw’ at our daughter, the prescription medications had stopped working, so how was ‘throwing’ a new pill at her going to help?

It wasn’t until after what I call the turbulent days of the end of February and first two weeks of March, did this idea come to me.  It was on my heart to document this and share with the ‘world’.  I’m really not a big fan of blogging, nor do I love putting myself and my family out in cyberspace.  There are so many good things to be found on the internet and there are so many bad things.  There are so many negative comments that can really be discouraging.  But I got over myself and here we are, our journey.  Please note that the first several posts are historical.  But they are important because so many key discoveries as to what worked for both my daughter and myself were made during that turbulent time.  I say they were turbulent days because our daughter was hit with debilitating migraines back to back.  For four weeks she only had less than a handful of days where she was migraine free.  She would just come off of one, still have the ‘hangover effect’ from the migraine and bam, she would be hit with another one.  But as of today she has been migraine free for 8 full days.  That is such a victory for us.

Trigger Point – December 2016

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The prescription medication had stopped working and Cierra’s migraines had seemed to spiral out of control.  She was having a migraine every other week it seemed like and they would last for days.  This was not the first time she had experienced frequent migraines nor was it the first time that her medication ‘routine’ had stopped working.  But she was now in high school and her migraines were causing her to miss up to a whole week of school at a time. The previous summer her pediatrician recommended that we take her to a neurologist at a metropolitan children’s hospital.  We ended up not taking her for a few reasons; her migraines had significantly decreased in frequency and I was leery of just throwing more medication at her.    

The events of December were the trigger point for me even though you could say that the trigger point started years before.  It was recommended by a family member to take her to a Functional Medicine doctor.  I had never heard this term before, oh but I wish I had.  I know hindsight is 20/20.  I had taken her to Conventional Pediatric Doctors, Pediatric Gynecologists, one Neurologist, and a couple Naturopathic Doctors.  They all had helped to a point but none had addressed the root cause (a phrase I hadn’t heard before but would later learn so much about).  I was very impressed with the Functional Medicine doctor she saw.  She spent about 2 hours with us going through family history and Cierra’s personal history.  During this appointment, she recommended that I be tested for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis since I had been treated by a Naturopath for hypothyroidism for about 8 years.  She was very concerned that if I did have Hashimoto’s that we would need to ensure Cierra did not develop it.  As it turns out I did have Hashimoto’s.  I refer to this as our trigger point because this is where it all began.  Cierra’s migraines in December triggered us to seek out answers from a qualified professional, which in turn triggered us to find the root cause for both of us.  Cierra for her migraines and other health issues, me for my Hashimoto’s.  It has only been a couple months but boy has it been a journey.  I won’t say an easy one and it got way worse before it has started to get better.  But we are finally on the right track from Triggered to Happy!!