Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Winter Bucket List

I LOVE LOVE LOVE lists. Love.

Always have. 

The thing is that I'm supposed to be focusing on "being" not "doing" all the time. Being in the present.

I tend to live in the future. Which results in me being a total worry wart. Because the future is unknown. And the unknown is scary for a control freak like me. And fear leads to anxiety. But lists about the future make me feel like I'm taking back some control.  Hence, I've always loved lists.

Unfortunately, the lists don't really help with anxiety in the long run. They just keep me focused on the future. So I'm trying to tone it down on the lists.

That being said, I'm also working hard on using mindfullness to shift my perception of my situation. And one of my "situations" is that winter is brewing. And winter in Winnipeg, when you are cold all the time to begin with (see my blood analysis post that confirmed my blood is "sticky" and not circulating properly so I REALLY AM ALWAYS COLD), is pretty tough. As soon as the first frost hit this week I could feel my brain going to that negative place of dread.  So I need to work on shifting my perception of my situation. 

I do a summer bucket list each year. Which I really enjoy. Of course I do.....its a list. But really, who needs a bucket list for summer. Everyday is easy to look forward to. Summer is full of sunshine and adventure by nature.

Winter. That's another story.

So I decided that it's okay if I make a Winter Bucket List. Its a list. Its kinda making me focus on the future. But in a good way. Its also helping me shift my perception of winter. Because there are really a lot of great things about winter too!  I actually had to stop myself from going too crazy - as to not set up unrealistic expectations and find myself trying to check off the boxes rather than enjoying the journey. 

So here is my list. A list of things I'm going to look forward to doing. And be fully present when I'm doing them. And I'm actually not going to care if I don't get through it. For the record I didn't quite finish my summer bucket list - and I was okay with it - mostly. I'm making progress!

And if this doesn't work, I'm scraping my list and were heading down south for a couple of weeks in February.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Live Blood Analysis - The LIVE results

Wow guys. I have so much to tell you. These past two months have been quite a journey. But its going to have to come in pieces as I can only handle so much as one time.

I've been a hot mess.

Absolutely nothing stressful is going on in my life. I have practiced self-care out my ying-yang. I'm a clean-eating machine, exercising (but not too much), meditating, getting sunshine, dry-brushing, steaming, going to the chiropractor, doing regular yoga block therapy, sleeping, reconnecting with friends. Sounds blissful right.

Not. I'm a hot mess.

If you read my last post I shared a bit of my "issues" in there. The ones I felt like sharing. Most people see the mask that I firmly put in place. Even I sometimes can't believe the amount of turbulence that is going on behind it. But its there.

I recently made the realization that although I tout the "mind-body-spirit" approach to health I had really only been dealing with the "body" part of the equation. I can control what I eat and how much I exercise. Easy-peasy for a control freak like me with a will of steel so that's where I invest all my time and energy. Except its not working. I'm still a mess. I'm out of balance.

But I'm not one to give up, give in, quit. So I have been reading, soul searching, and opening my mind to new ideas. I'm finally ready, or desperate enough, to tackle the mind-spirit aspect of my health. Of my life. My spirit adventures will be coming in a post soon.

Nevertheless, I'm also not giving up on the "body" part of the equation. They all need to work together. So after debating with myself (literally for years) about whether to go for a LIVE BLOOD ANALYSIS I finally did it. I felt like I was cheating on my naturopath (so sorry but I just feel like I've been through her bags of tricks) but I did it.

I went to THE HERBAL MARKET ( on St. Anne's Road in Winnipeg. The appointment was almost 3 hours long ($150 with a coupon). I saw a nurse, a micro-biologist and the Doctor of Natural Medicine.

I was provided with an overwhelming amount of information and I'm not going to lie, I didn't really comprehend everything they told me. I'm pretty well-versed in a lot of this stuff but I couldn't quite keep up. So I'm making notes on some of the things they told me: 1) so I remember since I'm sure I will want to come back to this time and again and there is no way I will remember all of this, and 2) to give you an idea of some of the things they might be able to tell you if you think its something you might want to try.

Here goes - the highlights from my live blood analysis and consultation;

1) Low blood sugar - they did a blood sugar reading and I was on the low end of "normal". Per the nurse this should have been higher given the fact that I had just eaten a strawberry smoothie on the way there. Apparently that might explain, or at least partly explain, why I'm ravenously hungry most of the time and can't go more than a couple hours without eating;

2) Low blood pressure - 90 over 60 - My blood pressure has been low for a while so this was no surprise. Apparently this is okay as long as I don't feel like passing out - I don't usually so that's a good thing but I think there is something more to this;

3) Faint Pulse - this is not the first time a nurse looked at me funny and said "I know you are alive because you are talking to me, but I can't find your pulse". But apparently it was a first for her. She eventually found it, and it was normal. On the very low end of normal in terms of beats per minute just really faint. By my "vitality" is not what it should be so this makes sense;

4) Candida - the good news. My "primary" candida - the newbies were actually low and fairly normal. Yay! Makes sense since I have been significantly restricting sugar (including fruits) and eating mostly low fod-map foods since the beginning of August. Plus I was taking some herbal anti-fungals. I'm fairly certain these would have been raging if I had been tested at the end of July so this is great news;

5) Candida - the very bad news. My "secondary" candida (symblasts), the little beasts that have been around for a while and have made a nice impenetrable protective shell around themselves are moderately bad. That means my Candida has been around for a long time and its making it rounds through my body. These guys are not going to give up their territory easily. Its actually kind of scary as these guys are destructive but at least I know what I'm dealing with;

6) Low Immune system functioning - no surprise there. Two strep infections in June. Also, my "regular" doctor had referred me to a hematologist (who didn't want to see me btw and cancelled the appointment) due to my low white blood count so I know my immune system is struggling along. I don't know why, could be the Candida;

7) I'm Blood Type O and a Thyroid Body Type - This part was interesting. There are some people that swear by the blood and/or body type significantly impacting everything from how you metabolize food to your personality, emotions and ability to lose weight. I actually have looked into this before so my interest is definitely peaked and can't wait to learn more. What I did gather from what we discussed and I have subsequently read is that Type O blood should stay away from dairy and they have more difficulty than any other blood type with digesting grains. VALIDATION;

 8) Protein metabolism - I also learned (as per #7) that my blood/body type does best on a high protein (from animal sources), low carbohydrate diet during meals and snacks. I got the green light to never become a vegetarian. Mixed feelings on this as the environmentalist in me really would love to give up meat but when you can't eat grains that is really impossible. Anyway, I felt quite gratified that I had intuitively already figured this out. I'm still a mess but I have figured some stuff out on my own. So if I'm eating the right foods why am I still having issues.......see next.........

9) Low Stomach Acid - Somehow she could tell from my blood results (something about undigested proteins) that my stomach acid is low. As such, I am not fully digesting foods. Which means my small intestine and colon have to work harder than they should. Which means over time they have been weakened (and sluggish). Yep. Yep. Yep. I have done stomach acid tests in the past and have failed miserably (i.e. I have very little) so this was not new but interesting that they came to the same conclusion by looking at it an entirely different way.

10) Liver and gallbladder congested/toxic/acidic - This part I absolutely did not fully comprehend. But I'm not surprised. I can't even pretend I understand what this meant? Next appointment I'll ask more questions. She wasn't even going to try dealing with this issue yet anyway.

11) Blocked Heart Chakra - This is where things got even more interesting, I was practically giddy at this point since, as I mentioned, I've recently become fascinated with the "spirit" part of the mind-body-spirit equation. I've been suspecting for some time that all my "shoulder and neck" problems are not really (at least not 100%) caused a physical problem but by some kind of emotional/energy block. I'm not one to dwell on the past so I just kept sweeping my suspicion under the rug. Its not a conscious thing, but sub-consciously something is obviously going on, something from the past that I need to deal with???

12) Red Blood Cells - my cells were all stuck together. Again, can't remember the explanation for this but they did ask "are your hands always cold". YES INDEED. It has been so bad lately that I really have trouble swimming with my kids even in indoor heated pools. I feel like such a wuss at times (and hate missing out on this fun activity) but I'm REALLY cold. Apparently my blood can't circulate properly.
13) Adrenals firing at 95% - Whoop. For someone that had SEVERE adrenal fatigue this is crazy good news. And interesting since I had just recently stopped taking my adrenal supplements. After being on them for most of the past 4 years and frankly being paranoid about missing one, I suddenly felt that I didn't need them anymore at the end of August.

Those are the biggies. There was all sorts of other stuff they mentioned - possible parasites, awesome cholesterol numbers, diet ideas for my body type, etc. We talked a lot about my lifestyle, my feelings, my faith - I laughed, I cried (a lot). Like I said, kind of overwhelming. A lot happened in three hours.

So what's next. What did I leave with.

Well, I left with a bunch of herbs of course. Some chinese herbs for my heart Chakra and anxiety issues, some protein enzymes and probiotics to help my digestion issues, some cat's claw for my immune system and Candida.

And a referral to an Energy healer. I'M TOO EXCITED for this.

And I'm going back in a month to figure out what happens next.

You may think this is all quackery. You may think this is all in my head. You may think I'm crazy for believing in this stuff. And that's okay. Your thoughts are not my problem. Sorry, but I've got enough of my own.

Normally, being the control freak that I am, I would want to understand every single thing they told me. Question, research, evaluate, decide if this is the right path for me.

But not this time. This time I'm just going for it. I don't understand it but I'm going to do what they say.

Stay tuned for my spirit post - and find out why - there is a reason!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Candida Killed my Summer............Now I must kill it

I've noticed a trend. I very infrequently blog anymore. But when I do, I seem to wait until the storm has passed and then summarize/comment/report on how much I'm feeling better. How I did it.

Not because I'm trying to brag or show how great of a problem solver I am. Simply because I usually have more energy at that point and when I'm in the storm I'm using all my reserves for full battle.

That's probably why my blog posts have become even more infrequent in 2015. There has been a lot of stormy weather.

So this time, I'm going to give you the honest goods. The honest not so pretty - the storm has not passed goods.

I have a severe systematic invasion of Candida overgrowth in my body. I'm pretty sure I've had a Candida issue my whole life. Its been barely controlled a few times when I got serious about cutting down on eating sugar which never seemed to last that long.

Cravings for sugar caused by Candida are brutal. I don't just "like sweets" - I literally feel like every cell in my body is screaming for them at times. Something I thought was just a personality trait of sorts - a lack of will at the least. Something I am/was embarrassed of. I often make a joke of it but its actually shameful to be hiding in the pantry eating chocolate chips hoping no one will notice (for the record kids can sniff out this behavior and will call you out on it each and every time - and they smell it on your breathe if they don't catch you red-handed). It consumes my thoughts.

I'm not going to go into the long list of symptoms I have had over the year. Its a long boring story and I'm tired of re-playing it in my mind. If you see me, you will likely question whether it is "all in my head". I "look" fine most of the time, I act fine most of the time. But I don't feel like myself. This is not who I am meant to be. I'm better than this. I'm shinier than this.

I was really confused about what was going on until recently. Symptoms of Candida overgrowth can be varied and inconsistent. I have had vastly differing symptoms over the year including a severe flare up of my IBS, and LOTs of other mental and physical manifestations. Lots of weird stuff going on.

This summer is the first time I think I started to actually feel defeated. I've been living "clean" for 3 years now. I could be the poster child for healthy living. I have structured my whole life around reducing stress (barring having three kids), eating well, sleeping and exercising. On paper, I've got this. In reality, its not working. Its incredibly frustrating. I don't know what else to "give up" and how much more money to spend on doctors and supplements.

In my frustration and tears, I finally told my new chiropractor about this situation last week. I don't always share my Candida issue with people I don't know well but with my chiropractic thermo scan results also showing something extremely odd going on in my body (a whole other story) I thought it was time to fess up.

She actually knew about Candida and was very open/understanding. Thank-you for not shaming me. I get enough of that from doctors. But she said "well, how did you get rid of it before?". I didn't really have an answer for her. Upon reflection, I  never did get rid of it. It got better at times, but I didn't get rid of it.

And one of my newer symptoms (although its been brewing for a few years) is severe mood swings. That's the part I can't handle. That I refuse to live with. I don't like that version of me.

So Candida killed my summer. A summer that had all the ingredients for perfection. It wasn't horrible by any means. I enjoyed many moments. But it wasn't what it should have been. I wasn't who I should have been.

So now I must kill it! I may have felt defeated at times. But I have another character trait -  steadfast determination - so I'm not giving up. Stay tuned. She isn't going to go down without a fight.

Prayers welcome!