Written by my Spring 2018 apprentice, Trish Marshall, a registered nurse, BSN, RN, soon to be ADAPT Kresser Institute health coach. When conventional medicine failed her and others she knew, she began to do her own research and ask questions (imagine that!) So, pull up a chair and let’s cut the BS we’ve all been force fed for decades. It’s about to get real.
Do you ever feel like something is off with your health but you can’t put your finger on it? You don’t feel terrible…but you don’t feel amazing either?
I felt this way for years and it sucked my soul dry. Especially when my doctor and other healthcare professionals insisted that I was fine and what I was feeling was “normal”.
I didn’t understand. I’m a nurse—my job is to make people feel better so why was I not feeling my best? And worse, why did my doctors not give a damn? In my quest to regain my health, I discovered some interesting and simple solutions to my problems and now I’m on a mission to help others listen to their intuition and take back their health.
I worked the night shift for seven years and I loved it. But over the years, my health gradually began to decline. It’s hard on the body to go against nature staying up all night when we should be sleeping.
I didn’t realize fighting nature was taking such a toll on my health. Up until then, I had considered myself healthy—I had no diagnosed health conditions and I rarely got sick. Now, I was always tired, often irritable, I had developed seasonal allergies and got sick more often, I got random skin rashes, and just felt “off”.
The doctor will help me, right?
When I went to my doctor I was told that it was normal to feel this way—I wasn’t in my 20’s anymore and what I was experiencing was just part of getting older.
Since when is feeling lousy normal and since when is 30 old?
I insisted on having my labs checked. I knew if any of my hormonal, vitamin or mineral levels were off it could have a serious effect on my overall health–something that is so rarely emphasized in conventional medicine.
My lab work showed a vitamin D of 11 (the standard U.S. range is 20-50ng/mL, although functional medicine ranges tend to be 35-60ng/mL, or higher in some cases).
Vitamin D is technically a hormone and plays a crucial role in the body including calcium absorption, muscle function, immune function, mood, and cognitive function. I also had elevated eosinophils (a key player in your immune system), and I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
My doctor seemed unconcerned about my vitamin D level, I was put on thyroid medication, (which I was told I would need to take for the rest of my life), and in response to my elevated eosinophils I was told, “Yeah, you’re definitely allergic to something,” (as if it was a brilliant discovery). I was disappointed, frustrated and I felt helpless.
I tried everything else to “fix” how I was feeling. I took thyroid medication, I revamped my bedroom with blackout shades to trick my body into thinking I was sleeping at night, I changed my diet and started doing yoga. But nothing seemed to make a significant difference.
When I got woke
My body had been pissed off for years and it was “whispering” trying to let me know but I ignored the whispers and brushed it off as “normal”. My doctor wasn’t concerned, so it must be normal, right? Wrong!
I knew I had to become my own detective. I discovered functional medicine and was intrigued by the focus on finding the root cause of health problems vs slapping a proverbial Bandaid on it like we so often do in healthcare. I decided to get a second opinion.
Turns out my “normal” symptoms weren’t normal at all. My vitamin D wasn’t just casually low, it was critically low. My hormones were out of whack. I was diagnosed with HPA-D (or “adrenal fatigue”) and although my thyroid was off my new practitioner felt that it was likely subclinical hypothyroidism and likely to return to normal with some lifestyle changes. And, he highly suggested I switch to day shift.
The answer to all my problems
Intuitively, I felt that working night shift was playing a key role in how I was feeling but I was so stubborn and unwilling to budge. I ignored the fact that nature may actually be smarter than me. (Spoiler alert: nature always wins.)
Everything else I tried wasn’t working and I remember my best friend saying to me, “If switching to day shift was the solution to your health problems, would you do it?” As much as I wanted to say no, I knew I had to try it.
I switched to day shift and felt better immediately. And not just slightly better, I felt amazing—I felt like how I used to feel. This was my normal! Stella got her groove back, but Trish got her health back! The root cause of my health problems was THAT simple.
I began spending time outside in the sun and taking vitamin D supplements. I was sleeping like a baby at night, making healthier food choices, and putting my health first for once. My energy increased, my labs normalized, and I was eventually able to get off my thyroid medication.
If this was the solution to your problem, would you try it?
For years I refused to accept the fact that something so simple was the root cause of my “chronic” health problems. I find this is common. It’s so easy for us to be in denial about what is affecting our health, largely because we live in a society that normalizes poor health and dismisses simple causes to complex health problems.
Things that are proven to negatively impact health that most conventional healthcare professionals will never investigate:
- Job stress
- Relationship stress
- Sleep hygiene
- Hormone imbalances
- Environmental toxins
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Dietary intolerances/food sensitivities
You are the CEO of your health
By ignoring the subtle signs, I destroyed my body, my adrenals and my entire hormone system. I’m not suggesting that all health problems are reversible or can be solved organically, but often times they can. Trust yourself. Your body is brilliant and resilient but it will let you know when it’s not happy or something isn’t right. The sooner you pay attention, the better.
Listen to your body—even when doctors and others tell you everything is “normal” or dismiss your concerns. It’s typical that patients only spend a few minutes with their doctor, then ignore their own intuition and automatically take their doctor’s word as final say. It’s great to take their professional opinion into account, but often times you need to investigate further, search for answers, and be your own health advocate. Last time I checked you knew your body better than anyone else.
The bottom line is this: You are the CEO of your health. If I had continued to ignore my intuition, who knows how many pharmaceuticals I’d be on, what my health would be like, or how awful (aka “normal”) I’d be feeling? Luckily, I listened to my body and in doing so I was able to fix my underlying health problems and take back my health. Now I’m sharing my story in hopes that you will be inspired to do the same.