*I'm not a doctor, nutritionist, or any kind of medical professional. None of this is medical advice. Always seek advice from your doctor before changing your diet and/or healing routine. I am just a human sharing my experience with this protocol.
Moral of the story, if you can't poop, consider digestive enzymes.
So now I need a digestive enzyme without Amylase and any other starch/ sugar enzyme.
Not a simple ask. I've been digging and found nothing so far. If you have any recommendations, please leave them in the comments below. Although my search continued to turn up nothing, I was not ready to give up on digestive enzymes, they're too amazing. I decided to keep taking that enzyme but only once or twice a week. Bad plan. I gave up on that quickly because the blood sugar issues it was still managing to trigger were too painful. So, constipation returned. And, while I'm shopping around for a better enzyme fit for my gut, I've been making a chia seed "pudding" to help things along. It's just unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, a dash of allspice and sometimes some coconut flakes. Why can't healing be more simple? Why couldn't the digestive enzymes just be the ticket? Why does it always seem like there's a solution but it isn't? Why does my body reject so much?
*** EDIT: Helpful insight from my friend (who is certified in holistic nutrition, still not medical advice) just shared with me that being able to absorb protein faster can also cause these blood sugar fluctuations. So, that is something to consider too.
On to the mitosis.
During the last mitosis, I moved back to the US and my body went haywire. Nothing was helping. I knew Karen would want me to clean up my air, water, stress management, and add beans more often. So, I spent my time finding and setting up air purifiers, trying to find a clean water source, and meditating as much as I could. One thing I knew I wasn't able to do was eat smaller amounts of beans more often. I just can't. I have a mental block there. So, I bought psyllium husk and stared at the bag for almost 4 months before introducing it to my routine. Turns out, I actually like drinking it. It tastes kind of minty to me. All that stress over nothing.
While settling back into life in my home country, and with 2 days left of my thyroid medication, I finally found a doctor. She's smart, easy to work with, and wants to help me get to the root cause of my chronic illness. She worked with me to get my meds and while we were trying to figure out which thyroid med to switch me to, she made a discovery that still shakes me to this day.
This is the scary reality of trying to get the right medication in a country where you don't speak the language.
My German doctor was supposed to have me on a small amount of T3/T4 and supplement the rest of my thyroid hormones with a T4 only medication. I thought that was what I was on. In fact, that T4 only medication was really T3. Yeah. The active thyroid hormone. So, for the last 2 years, I've been on a mega dose of T3. So much so that my doctor said she's never seen someone on so much T3 before (explains why my TSH was .06!). We sat there in shock. I had been having chest pains, an irregular heart beat, and anxiety but I'm used to my body doing weird things. I'm used to rolling with the punches and dealing with it (aka ignoring it). I was still able to sleep at night, take naps during the day, and I had been steadily gaining weight. So, to me, I didn't have the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. The whole reason I was on the extra "T4" was because when I took more of my T3/T4 combo, I got speedy as hell and lapsed into hyperthyroidism as I know it, unable to sleep at night. What the heckie? Maybe the beans were working overtime to push out all that extra T3? As usual, I have no clue. 🤷🏻♀️ Not a doctor. Just a chick with chronic illness.
So, she switched me over to a T4 only medication.
I would have never been open to this before. In the early stages of my Hashimoto's journey, I was anti anything synthetic and anti T4 only meds. But, I'm to the point now where I'm open to seeing how well my body does with converting T4 to T3. And, it was so hard to get natural thyroid meds in Germany that I had to settle for synthetic while living there. My new doctor said it can take a full 8 weeks for the transition of medication to be noticeable. Meaning, for us to truly see how this medication alone is doing. So, I took my T4 med each morning and waited. It's half of what is recommend for my body weight but, we're proceeding with caution.
Exactly one week after starting my new meds, I had my first period of this mitosis.
And, boy, was this one a doozy. With my period app saying I was 3 days out from my next period starting, I was lying in bed and suddenly was hit with a sore throat, nausea, dizziness, and a sinus headache. I wrote it off as weirdness possibly triggered by a change in weather and the fact that I was super tired. So, I called it a night and tried to fall asleep with the world spinning around me.
The next morning I woke up feeling mostly fine. Some of the headache was lingering from the night before but who cares, I'm used to that. So, I got up and dressed as usual. That day my mom had an appointment for a facial and as a treat she scheduled me to have one as well after hers. As we drove to our appointments, I started to feel strange. A creeping crawling in my brainstem that I hadn't felt in awhile. My headache grew in strength and I told my mom that I would wait in the car while she had her facial as opposed to inside as we had planned. I didn't feel right and prefer to be in a more private space when I don't know what my body is up to.
The nausea hit again.
And, all of a sudden the cloudy day seemed so bright through my sunglasses and my eyes couldn't stay open. As I was grabbing for my scarf to wrap around my eyes, the realization that a migraine had hit me sunk in. I wanted to cry. As the headache worsened, my heart broke even more. I was questioning everything. What did I eat recently? Is my TSH spiking from the change in meds? Is this a period migraine? If so, why? I never used to get migraines with my periods. What causes that to happen anyway? I started talking to the migraine in my mind telling it that I didn't need it anymore. I tried thanking it for letting me know there's something wrong with my body. The crazy things we do when we're so tired of suffering.
I felt with my hands through my hair to the headache point at the top of my head.
With a strong grip, I pushed and massaged the point but felt no relief. After a few minutes, I gave up. Sitting in my mom's car with a scarf wrapped around my head like a weirdo, in pain, trying not to vomit, feeling totally defeated, I remembered my friend Jaime had told me to massage my shoulders to relieve any tension. She gets bad headaches too and that always helps her. So, in desperation, I reached up and began pushing and massaging on my shoulders. I felt a sore spot in my right shoulder and decided to dig my fingers into it as much as I could. The pain and tenderness of the point was nothing compared to the pain in my head and, as weird as it sounds, this new pain was a welcomed distraction. Either it was divine timing or just the ticket, the migraine started to weaken. I kept working the point. Pressure lifted and lifted. Soon, I was able to remove the scarf and face the day with only my sunglasses on to protect my eyes. The waves of pain and nausea were still whirling, but I could at least sit up, look around, and glance at my phone, over an hour had passed. My mom showed up a few minutes later and I went in for my facial appointment.
I spent the rest of the day resting.
Do migraines suck the energy out of you too? I was surprisingly able to stay awake the rest of the day (not common for me after a migraine, I usually pass out hard for 8-10 hours) and in the evening, my period hit. Unfortunately, the heavy bleeding is still back along with painful cramps that woke me up out of deep sleep over and over all that night. I won't take pain meds unless I think I'm dying so, like with every thing else with my body, I just rode the pain out. The next 8 days were full of migraines and heavy bleeding. I had a couple of massacre moments where my vagina just gushed massive amounts of blood out randomly. Not fun. At least I have a period cup again. When the massacre happens and I have a tampon in, it is literally flooded out each time. Not a fun surprise to have randomly happen.
A short two and a half weeks later, I started bleeding again, this time in random spurts and I was completely exhausted. Like sleeping all night, then laying in bed all morning, napping all afternoon, and sleeping sound all night again exhausted. The whole period situation looks like peri-menopause and that makes me want to burst into tears. Last year my hormones were healing so well and now, I feel like I'm back at square one. I want to have my hormone levels checked but I don't have the money right now. No use in giving up so, I started looking for answers.
After some light searching, I discovered period migraines are from too little estrogen.
I had always assumed it was from too much. You know, that pesky estrogen dominance that's spoken about all over. Then, while listening to Lacy Phillips talk about the bean protocol on a recent episode of Expanded, she mentioned how Unique Hammond had advised her to cut back on the beans a bit while recovering from giving birth since you lose a lot of hormones from giving birth. And, it hit me. Even though I have been eating the 1/2 cup of beans 3 times a day as instructed, I had added in the psyllium husk once or twice a day. It was too much for my system right now. I'm pulling out too many hormones. I wanted to be pulling out all the added fragrance and chemicals I'm exposed to now but the plan failed. I most likely put too much of a dent into my estrogen stores and triggered migraines.
So, I cut out the husk.
I stopped the psyllium husk altogether and only have it on hand for emergencies like traveling or if I run out of beans. And, I cut back my beans to twice a day. Not ideal but I need those hormones.
I decided to start seed cycling again as well.
It was my first thought as to how to get my estrogen levels up. I went and bought a coffee grinder, all the seeds, looked up the calendar, was fully prepped to start the next morning and then, literally that night, I saw this:
God damn it.
Now, I don't just follow any little thing I read on the internet but I had been reading a lot of Jess Aldredge's stuff and LOVING it. She also has Hashimoto's and histamine/Mast cell issues and she has some great takes on how to navigate that world. As well as, insights that were freaking mind-blowing for me. Like, remember how last mitosis I was going to incorporate beef liver into my diet again? I kept dodging the liver. Why? Because I always feel gross when I eat it (even pill form). Turns out, people with histamine issues react to beef liver! Yeah. Histamine. Bone broth, I started reacting to that a couple years ago. Had to stop making my favorite soup with it, histamine! 🤯 Raw dairy, collagen and gelatin too! Suddenly so much made sense!
So, a lot of the stuff she talks about, I've personally experienced. And, that gives what she says more weight in my world. It checks out. So, when I saw that post about seed cycling, my heart sank. I really wish she had elaborated as to why it's a no.
Then I saw this post by JessicaAshWellness.
I definitely don't salivate when looking at seeds.
And, I dug through her account and read another post of her's about seed cycling. It made me question what I was doing and I decided not to seed cycle.
While scrolling Jessica Ash's Instagram, I went down the vitamin E rabbit hole.
Something I've thought since moving back to the US is about how much more I'm exposed to seed oils here and how those seed oils contain PUFAs. I figured my only defense against PUFAs was to avoid eating them but then I learned about how vitamin E can protect our bodies against PUFAs. So, I ordered vitamin E. One of the many reasons why I was drawn to The Bean Protocol was the need for almost no supplementation. But, my body's been struggling and I want to try to relieve some of that. And, from what I've read it seems pretty hard to get vitamin E these days.
I hurt myself again.
And, wasted more money. Can you tell I'm a 3/5 in human design? Where's the light socket? I NEED to stick my finger in it! So, the vitamin E was painful. I took one of the pills and was hit with a nasty headache, dizziness, and nausea. I know my system is sensitive so I decided to let my body rest a few days and then use it topically. Laying in bed one evening after gua-sha-ing my gut to help with digestion, I decided to pop open one of the vitamin E capsules and rub it into the skin on my stomach. Cue the blinding headache, dizziness, and nausea again. I even bought the super high quality vitamin E that Jessica Ash recommends but alas, my system was not having any of it. I will stick to getting my vitamin E from tallow of which I ordered a 4-lb tub. Why again are animal fats considered bad? They seem to have all these wonderful vitamins my body craves yet in a form that doesn't cause me blinding pain. On a side note: crazy adverse reactions to supplements is a MCAS thing. So much sends my body haywire and continues to point me toward MCAS.
Why is it so hard to find the right path toward healing?
There's contradictory information EVERYWHERE. At the end of the day, it's all just one person's opinion vs another but, that doesn't make it any easier to navigate. I'm SO TIRED of feeling sick and tired. I'm SO TIRED of spending money on shit that doesn't work or worse, does more damage. I just want to fucking feel better. And, there are so many suggestions out there that seem to be the solution to my problem but none of them are. It's maddening.
During this time I began to feel the full effects of switching from the mega dose of T3 to the small T4 only dose.
These flare ups lately come in waves of a week at a time.
I prefer this to the flare ups that last months. My 30s were eaten up into the black hole that is Hashimoto's flares. After some time, about eight weeks after the med change I found myself basically functioning as normal, normal for Hashimoto's that is. I have days were I have more energy, days where I can't keep my eyes open, and days that are in between. Way below are my labs. My TSH ended up landing at 4.2 uIU/mL but I'll get into that in a second. Let's get back to my periods for a minute. I talk about them a lot because I think they're the most obvious way to tell if my body is improving or not.
My second period of this mitosis was a dream.
I tear up writing that. I was SO SCARED to have my period again. I'm tired of being in pain. I had cut back on the beans and like I wrote above, 2 1/2 weeks after the monster migraine period ended I started bleeding. Spotting is really the best way to describe it. This went on for a week and then right on time, my period started. The bleeding was heavy this time but NO CRAMPS. Not a single one. What a fucking roller coaster. It seems like cutting back on the beans worked at least and I survived another period.
If you're suffering from menstrual migraines, consider cutting back on the beans.
You just might be pulling too much estrogen out of your body.
7 days out from my next period, I started spotting again.
This new spotting trend is annoying but if my periods continue to be pain free, I'll take it. Fuck it, I'll bleed for half the month as long as there's no pain. But unfortunately, when my period showed up a day early, it came with cramps. I was boiling some water that morning and all of a sudden it felt like my water broke (I've never been pregnant, so I'm only guessing that's how it feels) but it was blood, fully gushing. Day one of my period I had that weird pre-migraine tingling feeling in the back of my head all day but it never developed into a headache. And, the bloating was INTENSE. I looked 9-months pregnant. I had to lean back when sitting because it hurt too much to lean forward at all. Good times! Moving on...
I found a free hair mineral analysis test kit.
That's right, I only had to pay $17 for shipping. And, it came with a free consult that was very informative. I knew I had to be low on potassium because when I went carnivore a couple of years ago I kept almost passing out all the time and my heart kept racing along with some dizziness. The internet told me those symptoms were similar to potassium deficiency. And, boom! There it is in black in white. I took kind of crappy notes but here's a breakdown of what she told me in the consult:
They recommended a great healing plan.
I actually really enjoyed the consult and thought the healing plan sounded great but do I really want to throw a lot of money at supplements AGAIN? How many times do I have to learn this lesson? So, as hard as it is, I'm shelving this for now. And moving forward with my doctor's suggestions. Which are:
The whole goal is to try to get my digestion working and get my body replenished a bit. She suspects I have POTS. I've wondered this myself over the years. She said my blood pressure "couldn't get any lower". I told her I've searched a lot for how to raise it but there are no helpful suggestions only: stay hydrated, don't under eat, and exercise. I'm hoping maybe the electrolytes might help. When I go back in a few months, we can hopefully move on to trying to figure out my mast cell triggers and consider H1/H2 suppressors.
Skin, Hair, and Nails
Digestion and Poop
Mood, Sleep, and Energy
Face, Body, and Periods
And, it wouldn't be a new mitosis if I wasn't reading a new book.
Dr. Afrin thought that didn't seem right so he called the lab that processed the biopsy and asked if they used serum CD117 that he had requested, they hadn't. They had used the normal serum instead because it was faster and cheaper. The lab tech didn't understand why CD117 even needed to be used as these were the most normal samples he had ever seen. So, Dr. Afrin had to basically beg him to reprocess the samples with CD117. And, guess what? Now the slides showed a mast cell issue. And the lab tech was scratching his dumb-ass head. Can you tell this stuff fires me up?
I feel a personal frustration when I read stuff like this. I've had biopsies come back as normal, be told that my intestines look "perfect" and then left with NO HELP. Why are most doctors not more curious? A patient is suffering but everything looks "perfect". How does that not keep them up at night? Why do they not want to do better and learn more? It's hard enough to find a doctor that will actually listen, the labs are EXPENSIVE, but you also have the lab techs in the way. Craziness. There goes my poor limbic system.
Anyway, it's a good read. Sometimes when he's listing out the medications he has his patients on, I feel like I can't breathe. It's so overwhelming. I can't stop thinking "there has to be a better way" but I also wonder if I would be willing to take all of that as long as I could function and feel well. And, it's scary to think about how I probably would. I don't even take things like Tylenol but, I'm to that point. One where I would consider taking prescription drugs (beyond my thyroid meds) as long as they helped.
That's all for now, see you in 90 days!
Hi, I'm Dana.
I love art, design, vintage goods, healthy living, and weirdo fringe stuff.
I design wallpaper and textiles under the name Dolphin & Condor.
I have my own line of pillows based on the periodic table called Element Pillows.
I have an ugly Christmas sweater shop called My Ugly Sweater.
I edit and sell vintage photos under the handle Photo Trade Co.
And, so much more! Can you tell I enjoy working?