It's no joke that I'm obsessed with health and wellness! I had no idea that it was my calling in life until about 7 years ago. During this time, my husband and I were given the diagnosis of "unexplained" infertility. Frustrating, maddening and depressing words that no couple who wants to have a children and a family wants to here. From that point on, I turned as far away from Western medicine as I possibly could. I started dabbling in everything that has to do with holistic health. I immersed myself in learning about the body in a new way, as a whole entity that cannot be "fixed" by popping pills, and that it needs to be treated in a whole way, leaving nothing out.
About 3 months ago, I decided it was finally time to do something about my, our, fertility, and see if we could really get to the root of why we haven't bee able to get pregnant up until now. I have this deep fire and determination to actually get to the bottom, the source, the individual DNA strand if we have to. I am not ok with an "unexplained" diagnosis. I don't believe in that! So to start the journey, I begrudgingly set foot in to the office of a reproductive endocrinologist. I was so nervous, and uncomfortable, and felt completely out of place. She was nice, very nice, and very understanding to our situation and my need to do things as natural as possible. She explained a lot of things that made sense, and other things made me want to roll my eyes, but I nodded, smiled, and was polite. Overall, she's doing what she knows is best and is trying to help in that way. We had some tests done, and everything look fine, normal, within range. Barely any red flags except for low vitamin D on my end. Nothing was even tested in my husband's blood, just other, um, fluids that help to make a baby. "You're perfect IVF candidates" is really all I heard. Because a pregnancy had never occurred, our recommendation was to do IVF. Spend $15,000-20,000 of our precious dollars that are needed for so many other things on a "maybe" that we would have a baby. And if we didn't, the IVF would give us our final diagnosis, or reason, why conception wasn't taking place. Ugh, that was NOT what I wanted to hear. I needed something more, and was ready to get deeper.
We continued with zoning, acupuncture and healthy diet as best as we know how. Then I found a functional medicine practitioner, and decided to take a leap and go see her. Functional Medicine is tricky to define, and if you've never heard of it, this might help (from functionalmedicine.org)
- Patient-centered care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual’s unique needs.
- An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
Integrating best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.
At my first appointment, I did an overall health history interview and was given a list of tests to take. Tons of blood work to be done at the lab, saliva test, and even a stool test. I will skip the details on that! For the saliva test, I spit in to little cups that have a lid 4x a day and sent then in for analysis. I had to send in my stool for analysis too. So fun! I also had to complete genetic testing through 23 and Me. I spit in another cup (my DNA is all out there now, so I'm expecting to meet a clone of myself one day in the near future) and got results that told me I was 2.4% Neanderthal, 20% French and German decent, 13% Eastern European decent, etc. Then I took the raw data, which is actually my DNA genome sequencing, and input it in to this algorithm that my dr sent me to. What came out were a bunch of letters and numbers that I didn't understand, and I was hopeful that she could help interpret them!
About 1.5 months later, we met to go over my test results. I was feeling anxious and excited. Answers were coming, I knew it!! My husband went with me as he was being tested as well. We are both in this together, no reason to go about it alone. We love and support each other no matter what, in any situation. He is a steady rock of love and support in my crazy world!
So now I know what you're waiting for, and we did get answers! I'm not going to say this is THE reason as to why we haven't been able to conceive, yet I have so much faith and trust in this process that I really feel with all my heart that we are on the right path and are getting closer every day. I am determined to get pregnant without expensive and invasive surgeries and procedures. I am not saying that conventional medical treatments for fertility are bad or don't have their place. Thousands of couples who have had no hope and no where to turn have been blessed with babies through IUI and IVF. There is a place for it, there is a reason for it. And it's not for me.
Well, to keep this short (haha, do I know how to do that??) and to not air out ALL my dirty laundry, I will be concise with our findings. Basically my husband and I BOTH have quite a few nutrient deficiencies, which in and of themselves, are enough to cause fertility issues. Think along the lines of magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin D, folate and iron. All necessary to create life, and some completely lacking in either him or me. And our conventional doctor didn't think to look in to any of this. Hmmm. And on my end, I have some problems detoxing excess hormones. So my body is making enough, but then the old hormones that aren't needed any more are just hanging around, causing issues, and my liver is having a hard time getting rid of them. Also, my cholesterol is SO LOW that I could not possibly support a life growing inside of me. I eat avocados, use coconut and olive oil all the time, and eat plenty of nuts and seeds. But I am lacking other good fats, animal fats. So yes, this former vegan is now ... going Paleo. Crazy, I know!! I have completely shifted my thinking. Food is medicine, its nourishing and provides what my body needs. So if my body needs fat, it shall have fat!
Ok, last finding, here's the kicker. I, a clean eating, exercising, water drinking, essential oil using, former vegan health nut, have stage 3 adrenal fatigue. WHAT?!?!?! Yes, yes I do. I don't see it as a diagnosis though. This is how I see it, my adrenals need love, and love is what they're gonna get. My acupuncturist was astounded. She said I do not fit the mold of someone with adrenal fatigue. She told me my skin looks good and I appear to have a lot of energy. Well, it comes and goes, and to be honest, some days I crash HARD. Some days I am struggling for the right word to stay, and I have lots of other signs of adrenal fatigue. At the end of the day, I'm not just "tired", I feel like zombie. I tell my husband every night "I've hit the wall" because it feels like my mind is mush and my body is barely able to move. More often than not, I don't have the energy to do what's necessary to make a baby. Yep, that's adrenal fatigue.
The super encouraging thing is that I can easily take care of this, and will be in top health in 3-6 months. I am so excited at this prospect. I used to be extremely anti-supplement, thinking that all my nutrients needed to come from food. Well, when I learned that my body is not absorbing some nutrients, and most likely not assimilating those nutrients and not converting them to what they need to be (folate not being converted to methyfolate, for example), then supplements are actually crucial and needed to bypass the conversion process that's not happening, so that they can go exactly where they need to go. It's not like I'll be taking them forever, a few months tops. I can do that. Years ago I wouldn't have been able to say that. The old me would have been vehemently against any supplement at all, even the mention of it. My pendulum is swinging and I'm realizing that there is not just ONE WAY to get healthy. There are so many different ways, and they are all here for a reason. It's impossible for just one person or one healing treatment to know how to heal and fix everything. I truly believe that my path is exactly where it needs to be. I foot zone myself once a week, go to acupuncture once a week, and now I'll be taking supplements too, including bovine adrenal desiccant. My past self would have been horrified that I would even consider this. Now my feelings are BRING IT ON!! I have been led down the path that I need to personally be on for health and wellness. My path is not the next person's path. There is an endless amount of combinations that could probably help me. Feng Shui? Crystal therapy? Reiki? I don't know. IVF might even help, but it's not on my path.
I encourage you to find your path. Pray, ask your heart, meditate, do whatever you need to do to get in touch with your inner guide so that you can be led on the path you are supposed to be on. I know I have been divinely led by God to be where I am now. My faith has exponentially increased lately by this experiece. I hope the same for you, in whatever you are going through, that you can find your path and your faith.
To love, light and healing