My Journey Through The World of Functional Medicine Pt 2

Today we venture into part deux of my journey to restoring good health. Since I last updated you, I’ve received the results of two things:

  1. the blood work that my medical doctor requested to investigate my level of fatigue i.e. I have had significant anemia in the past and he queried my thyroid function.  
  2. the results of my fecal test – my urinalysis results should be back next week.

I met with Dr. Binning earlier this week and I’ll update you on that in a moment.  

First, what I want to acknowledge first and foremost is that I genuinely believe that medical doctors all enter the profession with good intentions (to help people) and end up battling a system that doesn’t set them up for success. It’s not their fault that the system only allows for 11 minute appointments or that they only get paid for one concern so they only want to treat one concern per visit – which prevents a wholistic medicine approach.  1 issue per appointment isn’t conducive to treating someones HEALTH (in my humble, non medical opinion).  

I’m not against conventional forms of medicine – at all – I feel that there are things we absolutely need medical doctors – like acute/trauma care – that naturopathic or functional medicine cannot begin to address.  In this instance I’m addressing my non-acute, non trauma CHRONIC conditions.  

Ok, so now that I’ve addressed that, let’s delve into the results of my stool test shall we?   It feels rather personal sharing these results with you – and in doing so what I accomplishing is sharing not only the results – but also the information – because what I learned from these results essentially presents us with an opportunity – when we have information that we didn’t have previously we can create change – everything that I learn here is actually a positive (even if the results aren’t great) because that’s an opportunity for better health.

Results Of GI-MAP DNA Stool Analysis

Pathogens = none (yay!)

8 virulence factors for H Pylori = none (yay!)

Bacterial Flora:

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Most are low, one is high – indicating dysbiosis = so, there’s an imbalance in my gut.  So we want to look at can be driving that imbalance – which could be as simple as poor dietary diversity (vegetable fibre – which is odd because until last week I was vegetarian) or not enough or something can be suppressing the growth of healthy bacteria – these bugs all all live off these fibres and if they’re not getting them they can’t grow.  

Overview: insufficient levels of good bacteria and poor mucosal health – these bacteria are all there to protect us, they all serve a purpose, so important that these levels are improved — all of this leads to a healthy gut and healthy immune system.  My AKK MUCI (abbr) is just above the acceptable range.  Phyla Microbiota essentially again saying “Hello! Not bacterial enough growth!”  Is something suppressing that growth?  Is another bug coming in and screwing everything up and taking all the resources or are there really no resources to begin with?

Opportunistic Bacteria: 

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Streptococcus – remember that HUGE rash on my face that my MD diagnosed as peri-oral dermatitis and gave me an antibacterial cream and antibiotics for?  If you missed it – you can check out part 1 of this series here.  This makes a lot of sense!  This is something generally on skin and mouth – if there’s an overgrowth we need to start balancing this out.  

** I’ve left out some of the other results – which are within the normal range **

Intestinal Health:

These levels are look normal – and nothing can be further from the truth.  That’s where the benefit of knowing your patient inside and out, and basing it solely on them and not a “range” comes into play.  This I find interesting.

By way of background until last week, I ate a 95% vegetarian diet. So my steatocrit is at a 7 – the limit <15% – if someone is eating a lower fat diet – that number is high then – why would this be so elevated?  If they’re on a high fat diet that number might be ok – ideally we don’t want to see a number here – we want it as close to 0 as possible.  So what this is saying is that fat is leaking out of my digestive system, I’m not absorbing it and it’s showing up in my stool.  

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Elastase-1 – is at 261 – results show “normal” however it should be in the 400-500 range – even higher.  What this is telling us is that my pancreas isn’t making the things it should and releasing them well (insulin and digestive enzymes).  

B-gluconatodase level is at a 2042 – which indicates normal here – and this can’t be further from the truth.  When your body is exposed to toxins, even the waste of the bacteria that live within you or event the waste of the byproducts of my own metabolism (of every cell) creates waste – my body has to detoxify these things through the liver – not going to lie here – I need to revisit that Dr. Binning sent me on this — something about binding, neutralizing and that that enzyme cutting those two things from each other and frees that toxin to go back into circulation and cause more havoc.  We’ll talk more about this at my follow up appt once I get the results back from my urine test. 

Secretory IgA – 90% of your immune system exists in your gut — this # should ideally be at around 1000 – not high enough – the decrease in this number can be caused by chronic infections or chronic stress – they will just deplete this.  The anti-gliadine is at 55 showing some insensitivity to gluten.  
 
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Zonulin – marker for leaky gut — so I’m pretty close at 99.1 – definitely don’t want this number going up and higher that’s for sure!  
 
So, that’s a really great first step with Dr. Binning – I’m super happy about getting these results – because now I know where we can move forward in the betterment of my health.  We have an appt scheduled for December 27, 2019 to go over my urine results and then we can overlap all of the results to come up with a treatment plan that’ll be aimed at getting me back to good health and function.
 

Results Of Anemia and Thyroid Testing

My interim GP had requested blood work at my request last month as I had asked him to refer me because I was dragging my butt.  I have those results and my Hemoglobin and Hematocrit levels are low and my ferritin is at a 5 (which his the low end of normal reference range (5-272 — how is that even a realistic range??). My Thyroxine Free is at a 10 – and the “normal” reference range is from 9-19 – which again is at the low end of norm.  
 
 
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I have an follow up appointment scheduled with my interim GP to go over the results – he’ll likely recommend that I recommence iron tabs.  As an aside, have you ever taken iron pills?  When I was severely anemic a couple of years ago, I had to take 4 at a time and it wreaks havoc on your GI tract, if you know what I mean 😉  

As an aside, I had a brief conversation with a medical doctor I know, last week about these results, and his response was “you’re barely anemic!”.  This is what frustrates me about the medical profession at times.  That statement hit me in the gut.  I’m barely anemic?  That may well be based on these results – however, why am I dragging my arse?  Why can I hardly function?  Why can I hardly make it though a day without napping?  I know my body, I know what normal for me, I know how I’m feeling and I know where I’m struggling – I wish MDs would put more emphasis on their patients words (I know this is not true of all MDs, I’m just pointing out that this is a common theme I hear regularly throughout the course of my job as a disability claims specialist).  

 

Conclusion

I won’t be commencing anything until I get my final results back from Dr. Binning and together we come up with an appropriate plan.  My body is clearly deficient of other nutrients so I want to balance out my who body and gut biome.
 
All of these tests are starting to come together to give me a clearer picture of what’s going on in my body and why I’m feeling how I am.  
 
I can already start noticing little changes in how I feel just by eliminating gluten and dairy and reintroducing meat to my diet (organic).  Some days I don’t have the need to nap (although it is a bit of a struggle still). 
If you’re interested in reading my first blog in this series you 
can find it here:

https://mybetterlifeca.com/2019/12/01/on-health-the-world-of-functional-medicine-pt-1/

For the last post in the series, you can click here  —>

https://mybetterlifeca.com/2020/01/11/my-journey-through-the-world-of-functional-medicine-pt-3/

Super Soul Sunday Thoughts🧡

I wanted to share authentically with you today for #supersoulsunday

I’m often told by people “you’re so strong” , “you’ve been through so much, and have come through the other side better”, “I wish I had your strength”, “you look great for your age” (and thank you, I think I do too – for any age – not just my age 😉).

I’m grateful that people can see that in me and that side of me. I’ve worked hard to get to the point that what you guys see is the end result of my digging deep. Things always look “awesome” on social media – “oh look at her, she’s having the best life”, or “she’s always out with friends or doing stuff and going cool places”.

And, that all may be true – but what most people do not know are my insecurities, regrets and the choices I am intentionally making each and every day to make ME a better version of myself and create a life I want, not the one I inherited.

We all tell ourselves stories everyday, stories like  —  “I’m this way because ….  I had a tough childhood, my ex was an addict, I was cheated on …. “and the list goes on. But those are just the stories that we live in because they’re comfortable but they’re not the truth per se. Yes, those things DID happen, but they aren’t happening now! They happenED.

The truth is feelings and stories aren’t a good barometer of what’s currently going on. The question is “Who am I being about it? “ We tend to get stuck and guide their lives and decisions based on our FEELINGS and our PAST.

We’re currently living life with our view of life determined by our past. If you’re letting your feelings dictate your life, try coming at it from a different view.  It’s your view of life that gives you what’s possible, so get out there and live your best life!

You deserve it!

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At Transformation

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A few years ago, I went through a period of transformation.  A time where I was forced to do some intense soul searching and dig deep.

I had always been Tina daughter, Tina sister, Tina wife, Tina mom, Tina worker.  I had spent years defined by those roles, as many of us do, that I didn’t even know who Tina was!  I mean I loved being those things, but, after separating from my then husband, someone at that time I had been with for 16 years (since we were 16 years old) I was now single, and raising my two girls pretty much solo.  You’d think that since I became a mom at 19 that I’d be out partying and getting a little crazy (I did do that, it came a bit later).  But that wasn’t what I chose to do immediately afterward.  I spent a lot of time in those following months, staying in alone on weekends, reading, watching chick flicks, enjoying a glass of wine, reflecting and searching the world wide web for anything on how to do me! After all, who was I?  What were MY interests?  I didn’t even know – most of my interests were my kids interests or my exes interests.  What made ME happy?  What did I want from MY life?

17990691_10155030908085168_9023561088869871015_nYou know when you’re stuck and it feels like your life is a disconnect that a good self help/discovery book is where it’s at.  Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was the beginning of my transformation.  I followed Elizabeth through her pleasures in Italy, her devotion in India and love in Bali.  Although tempted, I skipped the mounds of pasta meals but started to meditate and get acquainted with Hindi mantras,  heck I wanted to do the whole Ashram thing myself.  I listened to Alanis Morrissette’s “Thank You India” on repeat.  The book touched me so, to the point that I got Om Namah Shivaya tattooed on my left hip as a constant reminder to myself to honour The Divinity That Lives Within Me, to Bow to Shiva My True Identity.

I was on a roll … and I loved it.  I picked up a great Riesling and then picked up every single Robin Sharma book on the market!  Chapters loved me lol.  Discover Your Destiny.  This book gets you hooked at the first line … “You are far greater than you ever dreamed of being.  And, no matter what you are experiencing in your life right now, trust that all is good and unfolding in your best interests.  It may not look pretty, but it is exactly what you need to learn for you to grow into the person you have been destined to become”.   Wow!   I couldn’t put it down, all I wanted to do was keep reading to watch the choices and decisions Dar was going to make and how I could apply these lessons to live my highest life, and be my authentic self — I wanted a life of authenticity.  My copy is dogeared beyond belief and I still refer to some passages and quotes from it to this day.  Heck, for a few months afterward I kept it in my purse, and when I had a moment or needed to take a break, I’d open up one of the dogeared pages and and read from it.

Here’s a  link to a free excerpt of Discover Your Destiny:

http://www.robinsharma.com/product-samples/pdf/Discover-Your-Destiny-1.pdf

I’ve read most of his books, I find him to be a truly inspiring human being! Truly magnetic! He’s the kinda guy I’d like to morph into a little gnome and carry around in my pocket and he’d spout out inspirational thoughts throughout the day like,

“Hey Tina:

•Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow ~ Helen Keller

•Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive ~ Matt Cameron

•Change your thoughts and you change your world ~ Norman Vincent Peale”

If you haven’t read any of his powerful books, I’d encourage you to give some a try. They are life changing!  (oh and if you believe in serendipity – I got a chance of a lifetime to see the one and only Robin Sharma as keynote speaker at our Arbonne Canadian National Conference in 2013 – talk about destiny! – whoop whoop!)

I was on my way – I was feeling good, I was getting in tune with moi and I was discovering that I not only liked me, but that I loved me.  That me and only me was in charge of my life and destination. Personal growth starts simply by becoming a better version of your former self everyday.  Step one successfully accomplished (well at least acknowledged – personal growth is a lifelong journey!).

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 10.16.02 PM.pngNext, I was going to tackle getting out of my comfort zone – life begins at the end of it don’t ya know!  Most people live their lives in their comfort zones, afraid to change, afraid to step out of the comforts of their norms, their regular routines – that are safe, where they know all of the rules of the game.  I realized that we set these limits ourselves and that we keep ourselves locked in because we typically dread what lies in what we don’t already know.  I admired folks who shook the status quo, who took chances, who weren’t afraid – I admired the people who jumped!  I didn’t need to stand on the sidelines and admire … I could jump too!

Shortly after, I stumbled across a poem that I saw posted by George Strombolopoulous, I forget what exactly he was posting about, but I think his mom had this poem by Edgar Guest hung in their house.

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Authenticity, integrity .. this poem struck a chord with me so much that I tattooed the last six lines on my right ribs.

I started redefining my norms, what was possible — becoming authentic is an individual mission, I mean how can we be who we truly are if we spend our time and attention being something we are not for the purposes of the approval of others or being fashionable for instance?  I started by listening to my inner self and kicking my fictional self to the curb.  I found that my life was simpler when I was more peaceful inside, when I made the right decisions for the right reasons.  I decided to end friendships that were not healthy, started surrounding myself with people who were supportive and likeminded, and started making a plan for the next chapter – following my own compass.  I had some friends who were definitely instrumental in helping me through this transformation (shout out to Stacey and Selena), friends definitely helped.

I ended up getting three more tattoos – I’m now a walking billboard for positivity and growth.  And, yes – when I’m by the pool or at the beach, people will stop and ask to read me lol.

Hey, listen, I’m not here to preach that because I am striving to be a truer version of me that my life is perfect, it’s not, no one’s is … it’s filled with just as many challenges as everyone else’s, life will continue to throw us curve balls, but I’ve now learned that it’s how we deal with those challenges that determines the quality of our lives.  I’ve really forgotten this lately … but thankfully life’s a journey and I can continue to make strides. Tomorrow is a new day.

~ “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” – Tony Robbins