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UPDATE Sept. 2018 – While the info I share in today’s blog post (and all of my “Let’s Get Personal” blog posts) will be helpful to those who are starting out on their healing journeys, I felt it pertinent to post a quick update as to where I am now in my healing journey. It has been quite the adventure with all sorts of ups and downs, twists and turns. I got to a point where I no longer felt drawn to share so many intimate details so I stopped writing the Let’s Get Personal series in 2016. If you would like to get the most recent update on my health and healing journey, please read this post, 3 Reasons Why I No Longer Share About My Healing Journey Online. or watch the video below. You are always more than welcome to email me with any questions as well! Cheers! ~Jessica
Hello! It’s been about a month since my last update on my health journey. Things are still moving along, though December was a rough month. I dealt with some depression and overall funky-ness. I fell completely out of my routine, which I think contributed to the overall bummed feeling. We all go through phases like that and normally, I don’t often feel that blue, so this was a little out of the norm for me. That said, I have recovered from my funk and I am feeling happier and more optimistic. It’s a new year and I am determined to continue making progress.
I made a lot of headway on my health journey in 2012. More than I really give myself credit for. I did a little year-end review back in December, which you can read here. Now that the cloud has lifted from around my noggin, I can look forward with optimism that I can make more dramatic changes in my life in 2013.
DISCLAIMER: The content shared on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. Statements/products discussed have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease or illness. Please consult your own certified health care practitioner before making changes to your current diet or before beginning any herbal or vitamin supplement regimen or exercise program.
Getting a Second Opinion and Finding Some Help
One of the changes that I am super excited about is beginning work with a new doctor. I have not been getting the results/care that I need from my MD or my naturopath, so in December, I realized I needed to get a second (or third) opinion. I have had A LOT of people tell me about the success they have had with various illnesses by working with a chiropractor. Now, I already have a chiropractor that I work with, but it really is strictly for chiropractic. He does not offer any alternative health solutions other than that. That said, I found a practice that specializes in chiropractic neurology and after meeting with them, I think they are going to be able to offer me the care that I need at this stage in my journey.
This practice focuses on three overlapping areas of health – immunology, neurology, and endocrinology (all areas that I need help on). They are experienced in treating a wide range of autoimmune illnesses, including Hashimoto’s. They also work with a wide range of other health conditions from autism, ADHD, chronic fatigue, endocrine issues, MS, PCOS, and tons others. The doctor that I will be working with regularly lectures with Dr. Datis Kharrazian, who wrote the fantastic book “Why do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When my Lab Tests Are Normal“. In my initial consult, it was the first time that I felt like someone “got it”. I don’t have any illusions that this will be my cure-all, but I am looking forward to working with a practice who really understands autoimmune and how to treat. That is something that neither my MD or ND has been able to provide — to no fault of their own either, so please don’t think I’m bad-mouthing them. My savior in this whole journey has been Lydia from Divine Health, who has helped me every step of the way. She has provided far more support than my doctors have and I am grateful to be working with her.
I probably won’t start working with the new practice for a month or so, as we are working out some final insurance details, but I’ll be sure to write about my experience along the way. Needless to say, I am super excited that I took the time to get a second, well, in my case, third opinion on my condition. Never take what one doctor says as truth, especially if it doesn’t feel right to you. Keep looking, keep researching, keep asking questions. I know people who go through countless practitioners before they find someone that is a good fit. It is worth the effort – you deserve to receive the best care available and to work with a practitioner that “gets you”.
Second Opinions For Blood Pressure Too
Now, I have another story I want to share about the importance of getting a second opinion when it comes to blood pressure. This is a true story of what happened to me just this last week at my MD’s office. I am sharing it with you, at the urging of several friends, because I think it might save at least one person from a misdiagnosis. Here’s my story.
Last week, I had an checkup appointment with my MD. So, some of you know that I am working on weaning off my blood pressure meds (I discussed this in my December post and got a lot of encouragement, so thanks!). I have been doing it slowly and I have two blood pressure monitors at home that I use and my numbers have been great. My monitors are both electronic, one is the cuff for your arm, and one is a small one for your wrist. I have been careful to compare them to the readings I get at my doctor and they are always within a couple points, so I am not concerned with their accuracy. I do plan on getting one of the regular “old-fashioned” BP monitors at some point in the future.
So, the day of my appointment, I go in and the nurse takes me into the room and rolls this crazy fancy (and crazy expensive, I’m sure), electronic BP monitor up to the table (not like the one you see to the right … this one was huge and had wheels!). I commented that the “old fashioned” BP monitor was gone and she said, “Yeah, we’re using this one now”.
So, she put the cuff on and took my BP.
She was like “WOW, that’s really high. That’s weird. We’ll take it again in a little while”. I started freaking out (of course), because I never have numbers that high. And for those of you who know me, you understand how things like this can really throw me into a panic. Every time prior to this, my numbers have always been 120/80 or lower, most of the time lower. Yes, I had just had a morning rush-hour drive, and yes, I breezed into the office and they took me straight back with no time for me to relax. However, that is no different than any other time I have been there and have had normal readings. Something was askew.
Soon after, the doctor comes in, we chat and he notices my high reading. So, he takes my BP again.
Better, but I’m still freaking out. At home it’s always well under 120/80. He said, “Huh. OK.” and notes it in my chart.
After my visit was over and I was on the way out, I stopped to talk to the nurse who had taken my BP earlier and I told her I was really concerned about the super high readings. I explained that I have been weaning off the BP meds slowly and my numbers at home are always good. She said, “OK, let’s take it again right now in the other room”.
The other room only had the old-fashioned, non-electronic BP monitor and she proceeds to take it.
Drumroll please …….
She was SHOCKED.
I was RELIEVED. Like WAY SUPER DUPER relieved!
She noted it in my chart and said they’d look at the new monitor. She mentioned that from now on, we’ll take my BP at the end of my visit and if the reading ever comes in super high again, she’ll do a manual check to compare. She also suggested bringing one of my monitors in as well to compare.
It made me think — Is this done on purpose to write prescriptions? I am not saying my doctor is shady, but it just seems odd to me that such a HUGE difference in readings could occur. These machines are obviously not calibrated correctly and it makes me wonder how many people are now freaking out because they got a false high BP reading. And how many people are automatically prescribed blood pressure lowering drugs because of it. I’m not being a conspiracy theorist here, I am just sharing one of the first thoughts that popped into my head as I went through this experience.
Moral of the story? If your blood pressure is taken on an electronic monitor and the reading comes in high and there is no reasonable explanation for that to be, then make sure you ask to have it checked with a manual cuff. Always get a second opinion, no matter how large or small the issue is.
What do you think? Do you always get a second opinion? How about the blood pressure issue? Have you ever had a false reading and been prescribed medication, when you know it’s not necessary? Would love to hear your comments below!
Health Journey Update – 8/18/15
Here are a few videos of my current progress. To see even more up-to-date info on my personal health journey, check out my YouTube channel here.
Support Your Stress Response, Adrenals, Thyroid, and Whole Body Through Herbs
When it comes to supporting overall wellness, herbs are a great tool to have in your toolkit, especially those who may be dealing with chronic illness of some type. Since 2009, when I started this site, I have met thousands upon thousands of people through my work and by far, the #1 health complaints are:
- adrenal fatigue (or adrenal dysfunction of some sort) (click here to read all of my adrenal health articles)
- thyroid disorders (hypo-, hyper-, or autoimmune) (click here to read all of my thyroid health articles)
Because of this, I wanted to add in a section into this post about the benefit of using herbs with chronic illness. Adaptogens are by far one of the most used herbs when it comes to working with people who have low energy, fatigue, and overall imbalance in the endocrine system (thyroid, adrenals, and blood sugar).
While the benefits of adaptogenic herbs extend far beyond just supporting that one system, this tends to be one of the main reasons people turn to adaptogenic herbs in the first place. That said there are a lot of other herbs out there that offer amazing support for the body, especially those dealing with chronic illness which is why I wanted to share this section today.
If you are dealing with any type of chronic illness, I’m sorry to break it to you, but caffeine may not be your best friend. 🙁 While you can find lots of info online in both the pro- and the anti-coffee camps, the fact of the matter comes down to the fact that are a lot of people dealing with chronic illness, especially thyroid and adrenal problems, that simply cannot tolerate coffee and caffeine.
While those with sluggish adrenal glands tend to feel run down and in need of a regular pick-me-up (like coffee and other caffeinated beverages), in the long run, caffeine can do more harm than good while you are healing. I go into the “whys” around caffeine and your adrenals in this detailed post here. In addition to the caffeine, there are other constituents, molds, and mycotoxins that can show up in coffee that some people find they react to and can further exacerbate the toxic load on the body.
When I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and adrenal fatigue, one of the first things that had to go was coffee. In addition to dealing with these issues, we suspected that I was having some detox pathway sluggishness so we wanted to also focus on supporting the liver and lymph systems. Most people who are dealing with chronic illness are also going to have issues with detoxification of the body, which is why herbs can play such an important role.
To be honest, I never drank coffee because of the caffeine. I drank coffee for the taste and aroma, as well as the emotional experience I felt to my morning cup of joe. For me, it was a ritual that I looked forward to every day (and sometimes multiple times a day). Whether I was brewing it at home or going to my local coffee shops, the experience was one that I clung to tightly.
But, when I was faced with new health struggles, I knew I had to do whatever I could to support my body and give it the tools it needed to heal. Giving up coffee and caffeine was one step in this direction.
And it sucked.
I turned to the coffee substitutes on the market in a desperate attempt to recreate the ritual I had grown so fond of, but nothing ever tasted the way I wanted it to. Nothing ever gave me that same experience that my cup of “real” coffee did. I knew there had to be something better, but I simply could not find it on my health food store’s shelves.
Necessity is the mother of invention so that is why I created my own coffee substitutes. They were made with organic, sustainably harvested herbs with zero grains, zero gluten, and zero caffeine. Just herbs.
Herbs that not only tasted delicious but supported my body’s function, like liver detox, bile production, digestion, etc. All of the herbs used in my “coffee” blends have been used for thousands of years to support the body’s normal functions and help everything work a little better — something we all need in today’s toxic world! (psst, dandelion is one of the herbs!)
When it came to creating these blends, if I could get something to not only tasted amazing (and helped me recreate my dearly loved ritual), but also did amazingly supportive things for my body, then it’s a no brainer!
I sold these pre-made blends on Etsy for awhile and the demand was more than I could keep up with. People literally LOVED these blends and were stunned at how much like coffee they actually tasted. Customers who had been dealing with a variety of chronic illnesses had given up coffee to heal their bodies, but like me were deeply missing their morning cup of joe ritual.
After careful consideration and work with some highly experienced advisors, I decided to stop selling the pre-made blends and instead share my proprietary recipes in the form of an eBook. That way I could arm people with the knowledge and recipes they needed to make their own caffeine-free, gluten-free, grain-free blends in the comfort of their own home.
That is why I created the best-selling DIY Herbal Coffees eBook: A Complete Guide To Making Delicious Herbal Coffees to Support Healing & Stress Relief.
Now in its second edition, this ebook features:
- All of my proprietary herbal blend recipes to you can craft a homemade herbal cup of “coffee” at home.
- A ton of researched information about coffee’s impact on the health of those dealing with issues like adrenal fatigue, blood sugar dysregulation, autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, and any other chronic illness.
- Information about all of the herbs used, why I selected them, how to source them, how to prepare and store you “coffees”, and much more.
- Access to your own personal coffee shop where I show you how to recreate your favorite coffee shop drinks and pastries with wholesome, nourishing real food ingredients. No junk here. Only real food.
This book truly is a comprehensive guide to supporting your health, reducing your stress, and bringing a little something special back into your healing journey. You can learn more and download your own copy of this revolutionary wellness guide here, or simply click on the image below.