Saturday, October 4, 2008


A whole month has gone by since I last blogged. How does that always happen?

My orthotics came in and I have less pain now. My hormones on the other hand continued to be out of control. Since Dr. Wallner insisted that my dose of hormones was not too high (I was getting between 100 to 200 mg of progesterone in a cream when the normal dose is 20 to 40 mg) and her only suggestion was to put me on antidepressants, I decided it was time for a new doctor. Since it looks like we will be moving to Nashville anyhow I did some searches and found Dr. Mark Calarco at EMP Health in Franklin, TN. After some more research I found an entry at about Dr. Calarco. A woman said her friend highly recommended him and that he helped both of them with hormone imbalance.

I went to see him on September 12th since he happened to have a cancellation. He is very nice, kind, and knowledgable. He spent about 2 hours with me and then prepared a dossier, which I just received a few days ago, with a treatment plan. He recommended a ton of supplements which I already ordered and after being off my hormones 4 weeks he will get a baseline of my hormones with a blood test and will then make a recommendation on bio-identical hormone treatment.

At the time I thought it was a good idea being off the hormones 4 weeks. I figured it might give me an idea if I may be able to stop them all together. It's been 9 days now since I have been off of them and I feel miserable. While the cream I was on was dosed way too high, and Dr. Mark agreed, not having any hormones leaves me feeling fatigued, swollen, and miserable.

The day before Bob and I went to Florida the fluid retention and abdominal distention finally went away after 14 1/2 days. I was SO relieved and happy and was able to wear normal clothes in Florida. Four days later, as we were on our way home, it all started back up and I am still swollen. This time I am on day 15 and hating it. I can't wait to get my hormones tested and then start treatment. I am hoping that things will balance out by the time we go on vacation and a cruise end of November. It would be so nice to have a vacation WITHOUT PMS for a change.

Friday, September 5, 2008

::finding a good doctor::

When I first started this blog I thought most if not all my problems were related to candida overgrowth. Although it was hard to believe that one day I could tolerate 6 T of coconut oil and the next day even a teaspoon gave me die off pain, that's what people kept telling me. Or rather, the people on the candida Yahoo group I found. That was in October of 2007. I had good intentions of starting the diet on November 1st but never did stick to it. At the time I had PMS every 7 days for 3 days - it was awful. Every time I had PMS I would give in to things like bread, dairy, sugar, etc.

January 2008 I got tired of being in pain every day and started seeing Dr. Sherfey in Monterey, TN. I had gone to get a massage, hoping it would help with the pain, and Donna, the massage therapist recommended him. Bob and I went together, the doc spent 3 hours with us taking the medical history himself, ordered some blood tests, and charged us $500. My insurance company paid 60% of that.

He found bacterial imbalance, high iron levels, c. diff infection, lots of other stuff, and eventually pretty bad adrenal fatigue. When I first started seeing him I thought he was being very thorough and felt it was a good thing I went to see him. At this point I am not so sure anymore. He DID find high iron levels but obviously they werenn't so high that they were the underlying source of my problems.

I had another appointment where he checked me for metabolic imbalance ($75) and then one to examine my distented stomach. Before going to see him I said he would weigh me but not to tell me how much I weigh. Weeeeeeeeeeell, he didn't, but he said I have no medical evidence of fluid retention and maybe I "just gained weight". I wanted to shoot him. This is when I had been swollen every single day for close to 30 days and even I found it hard to believe that it wasn't actual weight gain. My anxiety was sky high during that time, I was depressed, and basically didn't knwo how to make it through the day. So to tell me that, after I told him repeatedly about my eating disorder, was horrible.

Two days ago I got another bill from him in the mail for that "examination" of my stomach and all the email and phone conversations we had - $375. Ouch!!! I sent him a check and asked if he could apply it to the office visits since I doubt my insurance company will pay for phone or email conversations.

My orthotics still haven't come in and waiting is driving me nuts. I am beginning to think that candida is the least of my problems. There's probably some overgrowth but my guess is once I start wearing my orthotics and then get my back adjusted, the pain will go away. What I thought is a toe nail fungus is just a really bad, thick nail. The podiatrist I went to see took a sample and had it evaluated at the lab - not a fungus. I have also been reading that problems with your spine will cause nerve intereference so that the brain cannot communicate with the rest of your body as it is supposed. This can then cause health issues anywhere in your body, including hormonal imbalance. I am not saying my feet are ultimately the problem of my hormonal imbalance, but I wonder if that is why my body is having such hard time getting back to where it needs to be. My diet may not be perfect, but I eat good 95 % of the time, I exercise 4 to 6 days a week, and since I have quit my job I rest more, take baths 3 to 4 times a week, and in general do a lot of stuff to take care of myself. Yet I am not getting the results I had expected.

I also started reading the book Empowering Your Health by Dr. Asa Andrew. He uses a whole body approach by looking at structural, emotional, and chemical imbalances in your body. I figured this is exactly what I need since I am also still wondering if I have some brain chemistry imbalance going on that is contributing to the frequent PMS. So I did some searches on the internet and found a blog by a woman who went to see him. I went back in her blog and read about her appointments with him from the start. She had actually gone to see Dr. Mercola who I love, but he wasn't able to help her. Dr. Asa however has been able to heal her of the Type II Diabetes she has been dealing with.

I made an appointment with Dr. Asa for October 16th, 2008 - it's the first available appointment he had since he is going back to medical school. Oh yeah, he's a chiropractor but in his book he keeps talking about medical rounds and they refer to him as a "board certified physician". Then they called me and said they had a cancellation for today at 11 AM. That was a few days ago and I took it. Yesterday, wanting to be prepared, I did some more searches on him and came across this blog. Needless to say I was starting to question I if I really want to see Dr. Asa. I did find it odd that they schedule appointments 15 minutes apart when in his book he speaks of the importance about spending time with each client. So I clicked on the comments and found this. After that I really did not want to see him and cancelled the appointment. I had also found Dr. Jana (from the comment) and we started emailing back and forth. It turns out she does the same thing he does but at a different chiro clinic. I made an appointment with her and felt a little better. However, as we started exchanging emails, I realized that she can't order blood tests, she can't prescribe my Armour thyroid med, and she doesn't do x-rays at her location. She's also only been doing hormonal balancing for 1 to 2 years and she can't prescribe hormones so I am NOT going to see her.

At first I was really bummed last night and even regretted canceling the appt. with Dr. Asa, but maybe it was all for the best. Maybe things WILL improve when I get my orthotics and I won't need a new doctor. If not, then I still have the appointment with Dr. Asa on October 16th and in the meantime I will be doing some searches for alternative practitioners in the Nashville area.

In the meantime I am trying to stay positive although I am PMSing again and I am on day 4 today. All my clothes are tight, I feel like my butt has doubled in size overnight, as have my thighs, and my stomach looks like I am pregnant. How awesome it would be if that didn't bother me but it does. That along with the headache and backache is enough to make me mad. I am taking 5-HTP and St. John's Wort to try and keep my mood up. Actually, I decided to get back on the St. John's Wort every day since it needs time to build up in your system. When I first started my current hormone cream I thought I wouldn't need it anymore, but maybe I do.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


The PMS is killing me. Why do I always let it get to me? And why do I always let it drive me to eat uncontrollably? I feel like two different people. When I am not PMSing I am calm, positive, and stick to 3 healthy meals for the most part. When I am PMSing I feel hyper, negative, filled with anxiety, and I am constantly in the kitchen eating something. Because I am hungry but don't want to eat for fear of weight gain it brings up the temptation to chew and spit food. I wish I had never read the 'self help' book where I got the idea of chewing and spitting!

Friday, August 22, 2008


I had good intentions of blogging every day or at least every other day but somehow that’s not working out so well. I even had tons of time while Bob was in California.

Yesterday I went to see Dr. Rosenbaum - a podiatrist. A few weeks back I remembered that about 9 or 10 years ago I got custom made orthotics. At the time I went to see the podiatrist (back in Austin, TX) because I had heel pain. He also noted that my left leg is shorter than my right leg. (Incidentally, both Dr. Ellis and Dr. Rowan said my left hip is lower than my right hip. Dr. Rowan doesn’t think it’s an actual limb length difference as those are rare, but that my body always compensates for some reason.) About 3 or so years ago my orthotics had to be resurfaced and it took several months to get them back. At the time I was dealing mostly with lower back aches and felt that they had improved while not wearing the orthotics - so I stopped wearing them all together. Luckily I kept them.

Dr. Rosenbaum measured my legs and agreed that my left leg is shorter. In addition, my feet are misaligned and I have hammer toes. The hammer toes alone will put tension on the tendons in the bottom of your feet causing calf pain - which I have. The difference in leg length and misaligned feet will cause problems with your spine and can cause the pain I have been describing. Although I don’t know that not wearing my orthotics IS the cause of my pain, it gives me hope. This week was really hard. I was getting so frustrated, mostly with not getting any answers, and was wondering if I just need to start taking pain killers.

The orthotics I currently have take the leg length difference and misaligned feet into consideration so I can continue wearing them. Since a new pair is $400 I was very grateful that mine still work. However, mine are half length only which means they tend to slide forward when I wear them depending on which shoes I wear them in. She is going to have them ‘corrected’ as she put it, by extending them to full length, adding cushioning to make them more comfortable, and also adding a metatarsal lift for the hammer toes.

I was actually excited about everything she found because if she had said my feet are perfectly ok then I would be back to searching for an answer. Like I said, I don’t know that all this is the cause of my pain but it certainly could be. It will take two weeks to get my orthotics back - I am praying I will get them next week so I can start wearing them. In the meantime I am trying to get by with my muscle relaxant, occasionally Aleve, and Sombra (pain relievieng gel with menthol and other ‘warming’ ingredients’).

it's been a while

August 13th, 2008

Giving in to chewing and spitting was SO not worth it. The white coating on my tongue, no doubt from candida overgrowth, is now worse than it was before. I have been waking up with swollen eye lids and a puffy face since then, and the daily headache, backache, and calf pain has intensified. It’s like starting over and I am not thrilled about it.

I went to see Dr. Rowan yesterday to get a second opinion regarding my back. Dr. Ellis had said that my lowest vertebrae is rubbing against the bone of my sacrum, causing inflammation and therefore pain. Since Donna, my massage therapist, said that Dr. Ellis is ‘hopeless’ I decided to get a second opinion from Rowan. He said that my spine is very much out of alignment - mostly in my neck and upper back and slightly in my lower back. Ellis said to avoid exercise with impact, like jumping rope, jogging, etc., Rowan said I can do what ever I want. Ellis thinks I need e-stim and traction along with 5 days of taking 600 mg Ibuprofen to get rid of the inflammation. Rowan says I need a few adjustments. I am not sure who to believe.

Today I have an appointment with a podiatrist to see if I still need my inserts or new inserts. But I wonder if I should even go. Maybe I should give the massages, adjustments, and avoiding nuts and grains and other foods that increase the pain a chance first. If I go to the podiatrist he’ll probably find something and recommend $400 inserts. I hate all these decisions and what is happening in my life. I am also still PMSing - since Saturday night. I had hoped it would be gone this morning but not so far.

Yesterday I didn’t take any Cortef. I probably didn’t taper off of it as slowly as Dr. Wallner wanted me to but I wanted to be done with it. My energy seems to be ok so maybe the medication she gave me for Epstein Barr is helping. If only I hadn’t started eating nuts and grains. I could kick myself!

August 10th, 2008

I messed up last night. The whole day was a struggle with wanting more pecan butter and something OTHER than meat, veggies and fat. I finally told Bob about it after I almost gave in while he was taking a shower. We talked about it briefly. We spent the afternoon in Knoxville then came home for dinner. Later he left to take something to the office and turn the A/C on for church this morning and I was tempted again but got ready for bed. Then he called and said he was going hog hunting with Matt. Again I was tempted but still got ready for bed. I think I would have gone to bed if I hadn’t been so horribly swollen but the fact that I was just sent me over the edge. I don’t know if it was a reaction to something I ate or of it’s already PMS again, but I just can’t stand it. I spent more time looking like I am pregnant than looking normal. Bob came home to change clothes. After he left I posted about my temptation on the EDA board and although I got replies I eventually gave in and was up until 10:30 PM chewing and spitting food.

This morning I was/am still very swollen. I walked in the kitchen and went right back to chewing and spitting. I am so scared. What has happened to me and my life? How do I get back to being healthy - physically? Where do I go from here? I feel so alone.

August 9th, 2008

I can't believe it's been this long since I have written. In short, I have been messing up. I was chewing and spitting almost weekly, every time had PMS, and then eventually I was able to stop and now have around 60 days. I continued to have pain daily and still do.

Thursday was such a "good" day. By afternoon I had almost no pain and I felt so positive. I was sure that I can heal. I had more energy, too. Yesterday the pain was worse and this morning it was awful. I took a muscle relaxant and 600 mg of Ibuprofen - that was around 6 AM - but I still have pain. I constantly feel like I can hear my pulse in my head and it is driving me crazy.

We are going to Knoxville today to meet with a guy who is a missionary in Germany. Pretty cool and in a way I am looking forward to it, but I am so tired, and worn out, and achy, that I would just like to crawl back into bed.

I am also tempted to chew and spit - have been since Thursday when I got into the pecans. To make matters worse I made pecan butter which is even harder to stay away from. I am not supposed to have nuts because of various health issues and of course I don't want to gain weight, so chewing and spitting came to mind. I have 66 days today without c/sing and I don't want to mess that up. Yet while Bob was in the shower I was sitting here with the pecan butter tempted to do it. I should tell him but I can't find the willingness. It reminds me of the internal struggle Paul talks about in Romans 7:14-25.