Friday, December 12, 2014

Finding a Doctor Who Listened to My Symptoms

I've been getting a lot of messages from people who relate to my symptoms and want to find out what steps they need to take to find answers. By sharing my journey, I hope to help you guys uncover what is ailing you and help heal your body. 

I MUST emphasize that you have to be willing to be your biggest advocate and willing to LEARN, read, research. Don't simply rely on the advice of one doctor...especially if they aren't listening to you or brushing you off. And when you do find a great doctor, I recommend educating yourself if you do have a Thyroid condition (I'm much more likely to follow through when I understand the "why" behind lifestyle changes like going Gluten-Free).

For the past few years, I haven't been feeling quite like myself. Despite eating clean and working out daily, my results were not matching my efforts. For 5 months, I poured my HEART and SOUL into eating healthy and dedicating myself 100% to my workouts. It's not only demoralizing and frustrating when you don't see results...it's kinda heartbreaking. 

You know it's bad when your boyfriend says, 
"Wow, you really aren't seeing results- are you eating meals I don't know about?
PS My ex was 100% supportive and would love me no matter. I was starting to feel like I was crazy or just being a big baby until he confirmed that this wasn't right. Something was going on with my body.

I know I am not overweight- but I am heavier than I've ever been and it's physically uncomfortable. I love my body and I think I have a beautiful figure- but it's frustrating when my body isn't responding to workouts and clean eating like it has in the past.
 
Weight aside...I just don't feel like myself.  I'm normally a laid-back, optimistic, happy, friendly girl. For the last two years, all of that changed.
When out with friends or talking to clients, I can channel the "old happy Kati" but it usually leaves me completely exhausted.
I am, by nature, a very introverted girl...but it started progressing to a whole other level with serious anxiety.

I started writing down my symptoms...even the symptoms that my primary doctor would brush off.  She tell me, "Come see me if it gets any worse."  Umm...it IS worse..that's why I'm here... LOL


Symptoms:
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Insomnia (Trouble both falling asleep and stay asleep)
  • Tired even after 12+ hours of sleep
  • Low Energy. Tired easily
  • Weakness
  • Stress or pressure exhausts me
  • Stressed out easily (normally a laidback person)
  • Depressed for no reason
  • Loss of Ambition
  • Feeling overwhelmed by Tasks
  • Mood Swings
  • Anxiety
  • Cries easily/randomly
  • Easily angry and irritable
  • Restless
  • Always thirsty! Even after drinking a gallon + of water daily
  • Yawn often
  • Sensitive to Sound and Bright Light
  • Migraines (once a month or more)
  • Mental Fog
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Procrastination
  • PMS x100
  • Painful Cramps
  • Poor Memory & Concentration
  • Stomach Pain Daily
  • Acid Reflux
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating- I looked 6 months pregnant!
  • Hair Loss
  • Low Libido
  • Intense Sugar and Carb Cravings
  • Nausea after Meals
  • Always Cold- Especially my Feet
  • Weight Gain no matter what I do or eat
  • I start to feel awake and have energy at 7pm
  • Brittle Nails
  • Don't feel like myself
Dang, I'm exhausted just typing that out and shocked that my boyfriend has endured the "sick Kati" for so long! After my doctor brushed me off, I just dealt with it. I thought...ok I'm getting older...this is how things are supposed to be...I have to soldier through. Truth be told, I look back and had some of these symptoms for as long as I could remember...other symptoms I can pinpoint starting TEN years ago!

For example: I've always had migraines, even as a child. I remember crying in bed because head hurt so bad. But my dad got migraines so I thought I just inherited them.

Insomnia: my parents have never had good/consistent sleep patterns...another issue I thought I inherited.

Fatigue: I worked YEARS in retail with crazy work schedule and lack of sleep. I'm a very ambitious person so I secretly loved being tired because I felt like it meant I was working hard.  

It wasn't until my stomach pain and nausea started back in 2012 that I started to look for answers.
I would eat something and within 5 minutes...I would be doubled over in pain. OR I would have a protein shake and be so nauseous that I had to lay down.
I tried to avoid foods that made me sick, but it felt like everything was making me sick. 

In April of 2012, I moved across the country and moved into an apartment with my love. So many life changes! I quit my job to pursue Beachbody full-time, I was in a new relationship, and we moved in together right away.

I LOVE my own space (again I'm an introvert) so when I moved from my 3 Bedroom house in Pittsburgh...to a one-bedroom apartment in Cali...in a brand new relationship....it was a big adjustment for me.

My Ex & I struggled in the beginning because I would have terrible mood swings, anxiety, depression, I would get angry over anything and everything or just burst out crying.  I chalked it up to the changes...moving to a new city...new relationship...starting Beachbody full time...getting a puppy (Baby Bear!)

Finally in 2013, my bf said enough is enough! I needed to figure out what was going on with me- every single day I felt sick, had a stomach ache or was depressed.

Finding a Doctor:

The thought of even finding a doctor was overwhelming to me so I kept putting it off. Finally, our friend Barbie Decker shared her story and results after consulting Sagi Kalev, the creator of Body Beast.  Sagi is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist ANDDD a professional bodybuilder and fitness model.
Sagi was amazing and the first person to really listen to me. He told me that no symptom was too small and encouraged me to share everything about how I was feeling. It was the first time I felt HEARD...the first time I felt like I could stop sweeping symptoms under the rug or rationalizing them. 
If you'd like to find out more about what he does and/or schedule a consultation, you can visit his site: www.sagikalev.com.


Here's where I am a total dork.  I did bloodwork with Sagi...but never followed through! One of my symptoms is anxiety, feeling completely overwhelmed, and stressed out about things so I put it off. 

I realized that it would be helpful to work with someone local, so I tried to find a doctor in Pittsburgh.  In the meantime, we were thinking about moving to Tampa...and ending up finding a house MONTHS before I thought we would move...so again...I put things on hold. 
Luckily, my good friend here in Tampa connected me with her doctor and recommended his office.

Dr Springer at LifeWorks Wellness Center 

My first visit with him was almost two hours. We discussed all of my symptoms, my history and what led up to this point.

We blood work, a stool test and muscle testing.

Diagnosis:
His initial assessment was that I have (to the best of my memory)
  • Leaky Gut 
  • Food Sensitivities 
  • Hormonal Imbalance 
  • My Liver was being taxed 
  • My immune system was compromised
  • Mold and yeast in my gut 
  • And I wasn't absorbing nutrients from my food properly.
  • After 6 weeks, we got the blood work and stool test back.
    All of the above was confirmed PLUS they discovered I have parasites (specifically 
    Trichinosis aka the "Pork Worm

  • AND biggest of all, I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's. 
If you think you have a Thyroid disorder, make sure they not only test Thyroid (T3 and T4 levels) but ALSO the ANTIBODIES

Ok, so here are my test results...and Im sure it looks confusing but
  • T3 was 2.4 (normal range 1.8 - 4.6) 
  • T4 was 0.86 (normal was 0.9 - 1.7) 
Those were considered low but "normal"

Antibodies: 
  • Thyroid Peroxidase was OVER 600 (normal less than 35!) 
  • Thyroglobulin was 475.6 (normal is less than 115!)


Finding a Doctor:No matter what I need, I always go based on recommendations whether it's a nail salon...contractor or doctor lol

When looking for a doctor, start by asking around and see if any local friends can refer you.

You can also look up Endocrinologists, naturopathic, or holistic doctors in your area.

I highly HIGHLY highly recommend finding a doctor that will help you get to the ROOT CAUSE of the issue instead of just prescribing meds. 
Your first doctor visit should be between 1-2 hours. They should want to sit down with you and go through your history and symptoms. It typically costs about $250 for that first consult if you go to a holistic doctor, naturopath or functional medicine doctor. To be honest, MOST of the places I've had great experiences do NOT accept insurance.
In total, I've spent about $3500 so far on my diagnosis and healing.  It's not pocket change, but our health is our most greatest asset!

If you think you might have Hashimoto's, PLEASE get to the doctor! If it's left untreated...your thyroid could be destroyed and you would develop HYPOTHYROIDISM...meaning your thyroid cannot produce enough thyroid hormone and you would need to be on medicine for the rest of your life.

I also recommend snagging this book:


Disclaimer:  This information is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your condition.

6 comments :

  1. Great post Kati! After reading this, I realized I need to quit ignoring my symptoms & get them checked out. I checked everything but 2 of yours. Even being in healthcare, it's frustrating to find someone who treats ALL of you. Glad you found a comprehensive doctor & you're on the mend!! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks so much for this Kati, I have had a lot of those symptons, and, like you, I have chalked it up to my circumstances, and feel like I'm just not tough enough to overcome them. Your post got me thinking maybe it's something more, thank you so much, this is something that I'm going to start to look into.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kati are you taking prescription medication now for this or are you taking natural supplements and diet changes?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kati, you have literally just described every part of my life. I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2011, but I've always felt like there was something else. Thank you for sharing your journey. I'm making an appointment tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Everything you have said here is what I have been talking to others about with my symptoms for the past 3 years and I am always "normal" at doctor visits. Thank you for all of this as I feel it is time to really get to the bottom of all of my own symptoms and find someone who is willing to listen.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It is true, in fact when it comes to health, there is nothing more important than managing to eat healthy food and doing exercise regularly.
    regards,
    Hospital Jobs

    ReplyDelete