Turning to Functional Medicine: Part 2

I had actually planned to write this post a few months ago, but life got in the way, and it actually worked out because I think I now have more perspective to share anyway! I’ve gotten all my test results and implemented some big changes, and… well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

To catch anyone up who missed my last post, after what feels like years of poor health and not finding any answers, I decided to visit a functional medicine practitioner and see if they could help me out. I went to my first appointment and completed all the testing required, and in July, I found out my test results.

I knew the testing was extensive, but I had no idea just how extensive. The snapshot that I got was basically a total picture of any information I could want to know about my body. It was almost overwhelming, but in a good way. All of these things I’d been feeling for years, but had no answers for, was spelled out in black and white. In some ways, it was a relief to know I wasn’t just imagining all of these things.

In short, the results showed a lot of inflammation, hormones completely out of whack, thyroid levels not ideal, infection markers that could indicate chronic fatigue, low vitamin D and C levels, and some MTHFR genetic markers that I should keep in mind.

Since that appointment I’ve changed my thyroid medication, taken supplements recommended by my FM doctor, eliminated gluten from my diet (another recommendation, actually made before I got the testing results back), stopped taking birth control (worried it was messing with my hormone levels), tried to decrease my stress levels, and transitioned to as many all-natural products as possible. I’m also on Day 25 of a 28-day elimination diet that had a detox component in the middle of it, that was mandated by my FM doctor.

When I type it all out like that, it seems like a lot. And I am proud of all that I’ve done in the last few months. But it hasn’t always been easy – I don’t want to make it seem like it’s been all sunshine and rainbows. The supplements can be a lot to keep up with and I haven’t been perfect in taking them, and although I’ve done a few rounds of Whole30 and can eat 100% clean like a pro when I need to, I was really not feeling an elimination diet this time around. Mentally, I didn’t want to restrict and worry about following a million rules for 28 days. But this time, I didn’t have much of a choice. September was the perfect month for it (no big events or vacations) and I wanted to schedule my follow up for October. So I plugged away at it, despite internally seething with annoyance (if I’m being honest). I wish I could say I learned something wonderful and I ended up being grateful I did it… but I can’t wait for it to be over. Tuesday it ends and I’ll start reintroduction, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. But, if I’m being fair (and not whining)… it probably wasn’t a bad thing for me to eliminate sugar, alcohol and caffeine for a month and try to eat as well as possible, after a summer of fun. I will (begrudgingly) admit that much.

Now onto the most important question – how am I feeling?

Honestly. I’m feeling a lot better. I am sleeping better and I have more energy and have been able to accomplish more during the day and stick to a more consistent workout routine. Bummed to report my inflammation is still an issue, as the chronic injuries I have are still paining me. But I’m hoping that will come with time. For now, I’m grateful that I’ve seen some improvement (FINALLY, after years of issues), and I’m looking forward to what comes next in my FM doctor’s agenda. Hopefully no more elimination diets for now! Stay tuned for Part 3 (I promise this time it won’t take months).

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