Can't We All Just Get Along?!

{ Disclaimer: this post is likely to turn into a rant halfway through. consider yourself warned. }

Over the past few years I have spent a fair amount of time in doctors offices.  Always wanting them to help me, trusting that they knew what they were doing, and not really questioning whether our individual visions for optimal health actually aligned.

I finally - on a whim - scheduled an appointment with a naturopathic physician who specialized in inflammation.  I figured it couldn't hurt anything (aside from my bank account!) to try it and see if she had a different take on my health.  My paranoia around prescription medication aside, she spent an hour and a half with me going over every detail of my health as far back as I could remember.

After she ordered a few additional tests, she smiled at me and told me that she had no doubt that she would be able to get to the bottom of what was ailing me.  A simple, kind sentence. But hearing those words were extremely encouraging, especially for someone who had only gotten "best guess" diagnoses for the past several years.

The results of those blood tests confirmed all three of her suspicions.  I was suffering from adrenal fatigue and I tested positive for both a gene mutation, known as MTHFR, and the least likely: Lyme Disease.

To say I was surprised by the latter was an understatement.  And to say I have been overwhelmed with information on both Lyme and MTHFR is laughable.  But I have poured over countless research articles and case studies, in addition to talking to my ND endlessly, trying to understand what is happening to my body and get a feel for what's ahead for me.

The adrenal issues as well as the MTHFR require a few supplements be taken daily (which have made me feel quite a bit better already), but the Lyme is going to be a bit of a long road.  The initial treatment is (at best guess, since everyone is different) 7-12 months of strong herbal treatment (in lieu of the standard antibiotics. no judgment here, just the route that I personally prefer to take.) with the possibility for some pretty strong side effects.  My ND put it this way, 'it's going to get worse before it gets better.'

Apparently when I kill off the bacteria caused by Lyme Disease the bacteria will release all of their neuro toxins into my body.  They are already doing this, which is what's causing my symptoms, but having it all done at once apparently can be quite debilitating. Obviously everyone handles these things differently, but I am preparing myself for the worst, hoping for the best, and looking forward to putting this all behind me.

Am I happy to (hopefully!) be on the road to recovery?  Of course!  But it isn't exactly the diagnosis that I was hoping for.  Both MTHFR and Lyme will likely require ongoing attention and treatment for the rest of my life, and require permanent dietary changes as well.  At the moment I feel up for the challenge, but I am sure I will face moments of frustration and rebellion with these necessary changes.

Additional suggested MTHFR 'treatment' involves removing gluten and dairy permanently from your diet.  I did this as a bit of an experiment 6 or 7 weeks ago (and feel a million times better from it!), but I wasn't anticipating it to be a permanent change at the time.

As if processing this information wasn't difficult enough, I have also faced an interesting and equally frustrating challenge.  The battle between conventional medicine and the more natural, holistic medicine.  My comfort zone is certainly with the latter (though I appreciate the need for traditional medicine as well), but the inability for these two worlds to work together is mind boggling. My OB and ND both suggest that the other is simply uneducated about 'insert diagnosis here,' and that their own recommendation is the one I should be listening to.

I want to take the right course of action in treating both of these diagnoses, but who am I supposed to listen to when they completely contradict one another?  When this is my own body this battle is hard enough, but when it is concerning my (potential) future child there is no margin for error.

Since I can't get pregnant while on this herbal treatment (sigh..), I don't have to worry about this decision for a while and can hopefully get another opinion or two in the meantime. Fingers crossed that I can find some answers that I feel comfortable with before moving forward on that front sometime next year.

That's all I know for now. My focus is now on getting as healthy as I possibly can over the next several months and I am hopeful that I will come out on top at the end of all this.  Though you'll have to forgive me if this space goes quiet off and on over the next few months, and feel free to send your positive vibes this way. They are very much appreciated!