My story about why Diet Sometimes isn’t Enough and why Blood Work is so Important.

My journey to find health started at fourteen years old when I got sick with mono.

I was sick my entire freshman year of high school. Rumors swirled around the school that I was pregnant, after all I was quite the flirt even at fourteen years old. But, no I was not engaging in intercourse at such a young age. My belly expanded because of my swollen spleen and I was told to stay out of contact sports for six months. It was hell. After recovering, I took up yoga, started walking and became very aware of my diet. I noticed that donuts made me throw up and dairy made me break out. At fourteen years old, I was very in tune with my body. This ignited my passion for health and healing with food.

Flash forward to my twenties, I started developing jawline acne and I speculated if I had poly cystic ovarian syndrome. My periods were super heavy, I would get made fun of because I bled through my shorts in class within a hour. But as I read the symptoms of PCOS but it didn’t make sense to me. So I continued what I always knew, working out and eating a plant based diet with some quality animal protein. I did love my nutella and reese’s peanut butter cups. Those were my crutches. Birth control seemed to be only thing that got my heavy periods and acne under control. But, I didn’t like the mood swings it caused and I have always been weary of pharmaceuticals. I have always been a firm believer in getting to the root of the problem and not just covering up the symptoms. So I got off the birth control and the heavy periods came back and so did the acne. Cystic acne is mortifying, especially when you’re an esthetician and everyone expects you to have perfect skin. I was able to mostly heal my skin with my knowledge of skin care and what my triggers were, but still would breakout in the jawline. Oh and forget that time of the month, crippling pain and heavy bleeding. I did not want to leave my house.

The year of the pandemic…

I got sick with Covid-19, went through a mountain of stress, lost income, moved several times, and lost several friends.

Words of inspiration if you’re reading this:

You have survived the worst year that this earth has seen in centuries. You continue to fight and chose to be here. Whatever way you mourn is acceptable and whatever you feel is best to protect your family is for you to decide. Congratulations on still being here. You are a fighter and you are here for a purpose.

Speaking of being a fighter, one day I woke up to this crippling pain on the lower left side of my pelvis. It’s like my vagina was my bodies squeeze ball.

If you’re like me and a complete hypochondriac, I immediately went to the internet. Bad choice, they always tell you that you’re dying.

Is it cancer? Is it fibroids? Is it a cyst?

What was perplexing to me is that I cut out all my food sensitivities, switched to organic, grassfed and drank half a gallon of water a day. Yet I was still tired, getting the pimple here and there and bloating. When I say tired I mean picking up things here and there and feeling like I need a nap. Yes, part of this is depression because of all that I have been through. But, I knew it was something more. Knowledgeable in nutrition, but not ignorant thinking that it heals everything, I decided to find a naturopathic doctor.

My journey with a naturopathic doctor.

My first meeting with a naturopathic doctor was so exciting, all the supplements everywhere, herbs and healing modalities I was ready to dive in. What I love about going this route is that the blood work they take is much more in depth at a regular doctors office and my insurance was able to cover most of it.

Here’s the upsetting news…

This doctor screwed me up even more than I was before. She claimed that I was estrogen dominate and low in progesterone. We confirmed that I did have a cyst on my left ovary but it was not cancerous. She placed me on bio-identical hormones. These are hormones made from wild yam and other natural herbs that naturally balance out your bodies hormones.

What’s the problem then?

I started gaining weight on the progesterone, getting worse acne, felt like I was going to have a heart attack, and my motivation tanked. I immediately fired her and found another doctor. Us as the individual always knows best and we have to listen when something doesn’t feel right.

She didn’t know how to read blood work.

I found a new naturopathic doctor that was horrified when he saw my blood work. “You weren’t that bad to begin with. What did she do? Your progesterone was actually high before. Your estrogen is low, not high.”

Was this lady just trying to make money off of me?” I thought to myself.

The doctor continued to tell me that I was hypoglycemic and iron deficient and put me on a high protein plan with eating every four hours. I noticed the previous doctor taxed my liver and doubled my thyroid levels by placing me on the wrong meds. She could have killed me. I followed her regime for only three months and I knew something was wrong.

What happened after three months?

We switched my diet and got me on a supplement regime more tailored for my needs. I noticed a lifting of brain fog, more muscle tone and after three months my periods weren’t painful anymore.

What didn’t change?

Stubborn belly fat, sweating at night, anxiety, low blood sugar, lack of libido etc…

We ran my blood work again.

We confirmed that I am testosterone dominant and borderline Poly cystic ovarian syndrome. Brought on by all the environmental stress, he said. But, I know it could have been full flown without all the lifestyle habits.

What else did I add in besides eating whole organic foods and supplements?

As scary as a diagnosis can be, it can give us focus on how to treat things. We added in ferratin, vitamin D 5000 mg, a PCOS herb complex, zinc 30 mg, and a b complex. I also take a magnesium at night to help calm myself down. The biggest challenge for me moving forward is developing better lifestyle habits. I am on the internet too much, I read the news constantly, and I scroll for hours on Instagram. Owning up to bad habits is so key. But, finding out why you are doing them is equally as important. So why am I so addicted? I lost my sense of community when the pandemic hit and even though I can be a hermit… at times I am deeply lonely. I love my boyfriend and my cat but feeling a belonging in a community is so important.

Healing is a whole body process. It is your mind. It is your body. It is your spirit. You can not healing yourself, if you eat healthy but think toxic thoughts all day.

May our hearts and minds be gated but not of stone.

Published by ashleyveterenutrition

Bridging the gap between skin health, mental health, and holistic nutrition.

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