Health: My Story.


I've been wanting to write about this for months... but I knew it would take time to sit down and really write it all out.. so I keep putting it off. I have been through a whirlwind of health discoveries in the last year.... so much so.. I even had my family thinking I was turning into a hypochondriac in the process.

Truth be told... if I were everyone else from the outside looking in... it was starting to look that way. But being healthy all of my life... I knew what I was feeling was wrong.. and my body just wasn't right. I was having tightness in my chest... and I was told from everyone around me... It was anxiety { they know me well... and thought I must just be over-doing it...as usual } I never had to go to the doctor much in my life. I am usually never sick... not even the seasonal flu. Health was never a concern for me.... and when its not a concern.. its easy to take feeling good for granted. The tightness in my chest persisted for months... so much so.. that I finally caved and made a doctors appointment.

 When I explained that my chest felt tight... the first thing the Dr did was an EKG.....which came back normal... so the Doc suggested since i haven't had my blood taken in years... why not run a complete blood panel. I agreed.. thinking nothing of it. I went home and carried on as usual.. still feeling tightness in my chest... and then started burping { to my relief.} I then thought... Oh gosh.. this is indigestion! Whew... a little aloe vera juice and I am on my merry way...  but I tried every remedy for a week and instead it worsened. I tried to eliminate acidic foods, spicy foods, top allergic foods, you name it.

Then the day before thanksgiving.. my phone rang. Ill never forget it. The Nurse informed me my blood work came back "abnormal".... my Ana titer was elevated. I had no idea what "Ana" was... and she wasn't quick to explain.. but instead short and cold. All she continued to say was that she wanted to refer me to a Rheumatologist so they could rule out serious diseases such as Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I hung up the phone.. and threw myself on the floor. I was on my face..... crying out to Jesus begging him for hope. A weird tingly feeling came over me... and I felt nauseous. I felt I had no strength to lift Italia from her crib. I was floored... literally.

Finding a Rheumatologist that was even available to see me was a challenge in itself.  When I finally did... the Doc ran a battery of tests on me... which all came back negative. He told me this was good news... but that auto immune diseases can grow over time... a negative report today.. could be a positive report in a month from now. He told me not to worry.... and to come back if I had any symptoms of an auto immune disease. That just felt like someone telling me to stand right there in the train track and wait for the train. I know that might sound dramatic.... but I have always been pro-active about my health..and I wanted to do something... or at least educate myself further. I asked the Rheumy what causes high Ana's... and auto immune diseases... his answer...? . " Its one of those medical mystery's".

At that time.. All I had was indigestion... so the Rheumy referred me to a Gastro to run tests on his end. The Gastro saw me and right away ordered an endoscopy. He told me that "sometimes" people who have elevated ana's have stomach cancer... or Hpylori- and this could be reeking havoc which might be causing this extreme indigestion. he told me however.. not to worry.. I seemed like the "picture of health"..so the endoscopy was just to err on the side of caution. He gave me some "reflux" medicine and off I went.... { Not taking the medicine of course }

The Endoscopy: Came back normal... the Gastro said I looked Pink and Perfect in my tummy. Nothing of alarm. I was thankful. However... knowing that the indigestion meds would only cover up the symptoms.... and knowing that my blood was still "abnormal"... I felt like the mystery was hardly over. The fact that the rheumy seemed to have thrown up his hands on where these awful diseases came from.. stumped me too. Surely.. it isn't that much of a mystery. Surely....and so i researched. I found that auto immune diseases come from toxins... environmental, heavy metals stored in tissues, gluten in tolerances,allergies, anything that can interrupt the bodies communication...and yes some of us are pre-disposed because of our genetic makeup... but it dosent mean we have to get these diseases.

I wont bore you with every Doctor I saw after that... but I saw many. I saw eastern Drs, western Dr's and anything in between. I was diagnosed with mono, h pylori { which was funny.. because I had the endoscopy to prove that wasn't so }, allergies, Scarlett fever.... everyone took a nice little guess at little Miss hypochondriac... I was started to feel like a joke.... a new day... a different supplement... a different antibiotic... a new expensive test ran.

It was the longest year of my life... and most expensive. I was starting to feel bad about my quest for health. I was spending money... and hadn't taken one forward step in my health. My symptoms were worsening.. I was actually barfing in my own mouth { sorry.. if that's t.m.i} and I would wake up with this constant pressure in my chest, weird rashes, neck headaches and joint pain. On top of it.. I was clearly anxious... and was starting to feel like my anxiety might be causing my symptoms to worsen. I also felt like there was no one who really understood me... even the people in my family were growing tired of my woahs.

I was also feeling convicted of my fear.. God was showing me sides of myself I never knew existed. I always felt I was fearless... but with two precious children on my mind.. I was becoming fearful... and I wanted { just like everyone else} to have some quality of life... lets face it.

Unless you have ever heard a doctor suggest you might have a disease... you can probably not relate... but if that has happened to you, maybe you can relate.... life is different. more precious. the complaints of yesterday and goals of the future seem immediately unimportant. My focus was God, my children, my husband , my family, getting well.... and trying not to lose it in the meantime.

Id be lying if I said the whole thing didn't stress me.. Praying and praying... crying... and waking up in night sweats.. begging God to direct me... It was hard. Meanwhile... everyone around me... was starting to think I was possibly a hypochondriac.. I knew I didn't feel good... but it was so hard to pin point . I knew I had no diagnosis... and I knew I shouldn't worry... but every time a symptom would come at me... that tingly fear would come over me too. I also knew on the spiritual side of things, God was teaching me through this trial.. I could feel my heart being stretched.. and I knew God was going to use this for his glory. I vowed ... no more "google" to send me on scary rabbit trails... no more self-diagnosis. I was going to do everything I could to use preventive medicine... a good diet, good sleep and a good attitude... I was going to pray, exercise... and most importantly ... not let the devil rob me of joy any longer.

So before I get started on my  experience with Dr Luepnitz.. I want to make it very clear.. that I believe God is in complete control of the universe.. including my body. He is the healer. The rest of us are just guessing... and some guess better than others. Some of us have PHDs and some of us ..just google. I do however think its important for us not to just assume since God is in control ...that we can kick back... abuse our bodies, not educate ourselves on our health and throw our hands up. I suppose we all have that decision. I can only speak for myself... and I choose to learn.... even if it sometimes seems like my efforts are extreme.... my constant challenge in educating myself.. is to remember.. that God is in control... not me or the education I pursue... and so if I keep my eyes on him... and ask him to show me only what he wants to show me.. I wont waste my time and efforts.

 So Dr Luepnitz.. where to start ?A bunch of friends had suggested I see a Dr.. by the name of Luepnitz, in Austin. I was hesitant and put it off... I was on a hiatus from seeing expensive Doctors..and I was discouraged that this Dr would be any different. But something motivated me to take one more stab at it. So i scheduled. { I had to wait two months before he could even see me } Dr Luepnitz specializes in helping cancer patients, his main focus is nutrition and supplementation to combat disease and boost immune system... but his massive knowledge has him recognized as top 100  to contribute to the medical world.

I went in... and I sat down.... and I listened to this guy interpret my blood work and me for an hour. It was more info than I had ever gotten and he had me in tears. He explained finally to me what was going on in my body...and offered up some options of attack. On top of it.. he was a christian and told he was the donkey for God.. just a donkey with an education.. and it made me realize... that God was using him mightily...as I prayed on my drive to meet him.. that God would speak through this man to me.

Some things he suggested I Do:

1. Take a food allergy blood test { this determines the delayed response.. not immediate response... } I had a food panel done at the allergy dr which all back normal. But the delayed response measures your blood for antibodies for delayed offenses. -

I found out I was allergic to  cows milk, celery and cabbage.

2. Begin several supplements: Agaricus, Licorice GI, Oregano Oil, MSM. { amongst some others to exchange with } Agaricus being the key player.... read about it here and here.

3. He agreed that it wasn't a bad idea to go ahead and yank those tonsils out too { I had high levels of strep in my body from the first strep throat I had ever had which Dr L Suggested might have lingered causing my ANA to higher as well. - So in early November I had my tonsils removed.

4. Get a Dna test to check if I was gluten intolerant.-

My Dna revealed I am double stranded gluten intolerant...meaning both my parents are gluten intolerant and so I got both genes... which also means both my kids are gluten intolerant.This was a huge breakthrough for me. Many people are gluten intolerant and don't have serious enough of symptoms to really make the conclusion. Unless you have full blown celiac disease it wont show up in a blood test either.. making things even more confusing for most of us seeking answers.

Dna tests are never wrong. its your DNA.. it never changes. That's nice to know.

Gluten intolerance vs. Celiac ? - read here. and here.

So I agreed to cut out all gluten products out of my diet. It was super simple. I was happy to do it. Some people have asked me if it was hard. Honestly, it was super easy. Its not like I had to give up coffee or something tragic like that. Because I am not "celiac" I do not have to worry about getting trace gluten from sauces or anything less than 2%.. infact.. its important I get some trace of gluten so I am not hyper sensitive to it in case I am ever accidentally exposed. So for the most part, I avoid bread,pasta, baked goods and such with gluten in it. The great thing about living in today's world... is that there are plenty of gluten free products... so if I am craving pasta or muffins.. I can have it.

I have been gluten free since October... and in the short period of time, I feel much better. My neck headaches have gone away, my joint pain gone, and most importantly ... my indigestion completely gone. Imagine feeling like an elephant was standing on your chest for over a year and then one day, he stepped off your chest... imagine the way you would feel with your new found freedom... that's how I feel. I also lost 10 pounds of unwanted baby bulge that I have been carrying around since being pregnant with McCoy... and Ive worked out intensely to try to lose it... but not until I omitted gluten was my digestion able to cooperate with me.

The trickle down blessing.. is that My mom, Dad Sister and two daughters have been educated about their gluten intolerance's by my single Dna test. Clearly the best $150 a person could spend if suffering as I was. Now looking back... it makes such sense to me.. McCoy would always complain her tummy hurt.. so much so.. that we took her to get an xray because we had gotten so worried it was something serious. It also takes me back to Italias long bout of acid reflux after she was born... where she had to be medicated so she wouldn't choke on her own saliva... She had so much mucous in her mouth.. they thought she might have cystic fibrosis and had us do the testing for that. Now that we are all off gluten, there are no tummy aches, no indigestion and Italia is putting on more weight....{ gluten intolerance's are known for children failing to thrive}. Praise God for showing us this avenue.

I am still in the midst of this battle with the blood test.. and I wish I could report all is normal.. but it can take up to a year for my body to stop making antibodies.... and Lord willing.. I will be healed. I know that this knowledge is at the end of the day... just worldly wisdom.. and only God.. the true and only physician can heal me... So I take this wisdom as a tool... but I don't put my hope in the tool. My hope is only in him.. who has the power. I really try to rest in that... and when i get worried.. I remind myself of how good I feel now... and how God loves me. I can trust him... no matter what the circumstance.

I only found out a few days ago that I was allergic to "Cows Milk" from my food antibodies test and my first reaction was not worried at all... because I am not a big milk drinker... but then yesterday it hit me for the first time... that milk is in my yogurt, my cheese and is an ingredient in many recipes. duh! I am not one to complain... because I am just so thankful to find out whats been ailing me and happy to make changes... but I am not going to lie.... no-one is going to want to have us over for dinner ever!!!!!

Health is an ongoing quest. I think it is important to educate ourselves as much we can ...and share with the ones we love.. in case they could benefit from it. I know that I am forever thankful for the friends who shared Dr L with me... and for the wisdom others have imparted to me ... so hopefully this post will help someone seeking answers in this area of their life. Dr Luepnitz also does phone consults... so you don't have to live in the Austin area to see him. And if you are in a situation where you cant afford to see him or have tests ran, I might urge you to try cutting gluten out of your diet.. since it is aggravating for most people.... you might see a drastic change as I did { but give it at least a month before expecting results}

Lastly... I just want to commit myself to pray for each and everyone of you who are sick or have a sick family member. Lets leave our prayer requests as comments too and commit to pray for each other, wouldn't that be beautiful? God can use even our sickness for his glory..... I know that no matter what God chooses to do with my health.. I want to remain on my knees.. humbled. I love the quote above " Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"...  Ofcourse no-one enjoys being ill... but I also never want to be THAT comfortable where I am not on my knees...  I choose joy... because I get to rely on God.

Stay tuned later this week for a gluten free-sugar free-yeast free Bread! Baked fresh by McCoy.



Matthew 8:17
This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases."
Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Joel 3:10
Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, `I am strong!`

11 comments:

  1. wow. okay, first of all, i know EXACTLY what you're going through. i have struggled with autoimmune problems my whole life, and had emergency surgery when i was 14. pretty much sick from there on out. now i have incredible problems with my neck and anemia so severe that my doc's don't know how i even managed to function. i am RIGHT THERE with you. i completely understand. and i will pray for you continuously that you are completely healed. on a side note though, i think you are doing amazingly, considering. your family is absolutely gorgeous and your business is incredible. so cheers to just...doing it anyway.
    <3

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  2. WOW. thank you for being so transparent with all of us.

    your heart was so obvious through this whole post. and it's BEAUTIFUL.

    i just said a prayer for your continued healing and PEACE that passes all understanding!!

    you have encouraged me to THANK GOD for my health.

    grateful,
    erica

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  3. Wonderful.

    Your faith inspires me so much. I was so very glad to come across your Etsy interview and see that there are other awesome Christian artists out there. Thank you for standing up for it and not compromising.

    My best friends is lactose and gluten intolerant so I know well how to deal with this! Found this recipe on Pinterest earlier today and sent it to her and when I read this about your health adventures, immediately pulled it back up to share with you! http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Gluten-Free-Banana-Bread?_mid=2271464&_rid=2271464.1311011088.35078

    Praying for you my dear sister in Christ - keep the faith. Romans 8!

    <3

    - s

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  4. I also had this battle about two years ago and only by the grace of God found out I was gluten intolerant. I went to countless doctors diagnosing me with Lupus.. ect. but on my own learned I could not longer eat gluten, dairy, eggs, and soy. I was able to finally go off all the steroids and medicine all the doctors put me on! Thanks for sharing your story.

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  5. Thank you, my daughter has been struggling with serious tummy pain, she has missed so much school because of tierdness and pain. The doctors have tested for celiacs and it is negative. You have given me another place to look.
    Thank you and bless you. I pray the remaining symptoms would disapear fast and McCoy would never get the stomach problems again.
    Also thanking God for free health care in the UK

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  6. While I don't suffer with autoimmune issues/my six year old does--we are suppossed to do a full panel this week, but he has been down since Wednesday with a high fever on and off and complaining of tummy hurting. . .I'm going to follow you journey, you've given me three things to specifically ask for with blood work/dna test. . . thank you for sharing!

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  7. Hey Shauna! I have been following your blog for a while now, always excited to see a new post in my inbox. Todays post was a true eye opener. I have been suffering from daily headaches and chronic fatique for quite some time now. I had been putting off going to the doctor as well, but lets face it; I am 22 years old and have a 4 year old. I am way to young and have too much responsibility to be feeling like this. When I went to my doctor, she did a full blood panel which came back showing that at some point I have had mono and I also tested positive for auto immune/rheumetoid. So she reffered me to a rheumetoid doctor. In the mean time of waiting to get in with him, she ordered an MRI on my brain to see if she could figure out where the headaches are coming from. It showed that I have a small growth on my pituitary gland. She stated there was no need for concern and that she would just monitor it and I would have another MRI in a few months to make sure it hasnt grown. She prescribed me presciption strength pain meds, told me to take Magnesium and CoQ10 daily, and that was the final diagnoses for my headaches.
    I finally got in with the rheumetoid doctor. They did more blood work which came back to say that I am showing signs of rheumatoid from family history. At least thats how it was explained to me. I was then told to just come back in a few months. I was so frusterated because here I am not having any way of treating what I am going through. Still tired ALL the time and still having such bad headaches. There are days I feel I cannot even get out of bed. I have been taking the Magnesium and CoQ10 daily and still no change. I believe in my heart that I need to take the reigns here and begin a change which I believe is going to start with gluten free! I am a Christian as well and I believe God puts people in our lives at just the right times and today, reading your blog, was no accident. Now my research begins about gluten-free! Any advice you can give would be AWESOME! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story! You have been a blessing to me!

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  8. Nothing like being told you have "speckled" ANA. Of course -- speckled. If you know my history, I don't DO normal. It's always weird -- like speckled.

    I have both Fibro and Lupus -- a double whammy of auto-immune. The years of testing and ruling things out takes a huge toll on a person. I remember a few months ago when they said it may not be Lupus, but cancer or this other horrible thing that makes your bones fuse together and I told my doctor: You make Lupus sound GOOD.

    We still don't have all the answers yet. I'm about to have surgery on my foot after a year of questions, tests, even a bone scan -- now it's exploratory to see if they can find out anything. I feel your pain, and if someone hasn't been there, they really can't understand what it can do to one's soul.

    All that to say: I know EXACTLY what you mean. It's rough, but in the grand scheme of things, it's pretty minor. It's NOT cancer, etc. But that waiting... oh boy. Worst. Thing. Ever. Glad you seem to have found at least a partial fix!

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  9. Thank you for sharing!
    I can relate to having autoimmune issues, i do as well & have for as long as I can remember. I just never "feel good".
    This totally just gave me inspiration & some motivation to look further into what I can do for myself. Gluten free sounds like it just might work...who knows!
    I am so happy to hear that you & your family are feeling much better...isn't God so good??
    :) xo

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  10. P.S. Keep sharing! I love hearing your wisdom & findings-you are helping others by sharing! :)

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  11. I am learning new stuff and cant wait to share with all of you about hormones and its effect on auto immunity.
    stay tuned.

    and brittany.. i found out my pituatary is also something of concern.. email me directly.. i have no way to reach you but would like to share something with you.

    Blessings x

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