Detox?

wooden-bowl-with-diatomaceous-earth

I’ve always hated this word. Hearing the word “detox” around the Internet usually means someone is talking about and/or trying to sell shakes or juices, pills or oils…seems like someone somewhere is always detoxing from something!  Look, I’m not saying it’s not real – I know our livers are supposed to do it for us, but I guess sometimes it could use a little help. What I’m not on board with is spending hundreds of dollars (or even close to a hundred!) to achieve this.

What really got me thinking about detoxing was a plethora of events lately: researching epilepsy and seizures, a bad seizure morning with Eli, research on silica supplementation and finally, realizing that I can’t really ignore the symptoms that are rampant within my own body. I’ve been exhibiting symptoms of an autoimmune issue for well over a year now. It probably started before then, but I really started to take notice in October of 2015. It started with a full body rash.

We had moved to North Dakota in August of 2015. The climate here is very dry compared to Iowa, and I chalked up my skin issues to the really dry weather. The biggest problem was the rash didn’t get better, the dry skin didn’t really disappear and I was scratching my legs to the point of bleeding in my sleep. I cut out gluten, which seemed to help a little. But then other symptoms started to show up:

Bleeding scalp sores/ulcers ** thinning hair ** Bouts of EXTREME fatigue and tiredness ** Tender and inflamed joints, especially fingers, elbows, shoulders and jaw ** Raynaud’s Phenomenon (fingers and toes turning white/blue and going completely numb for a period of time) ** ulcers in my nose and mouth  ** Lack of a real appetite…eating only because I knew I was supposed to ** Insomnia ** Poor sleep quality when I did sleep ** Weight gain, especially around the midsection ** Mood swings ** Headaches (not normal ones… Migraines) ** Total body aches and pains ** Constipation, followed by bouts of diarrhea ** Bloating immediately after eating ** Extremely dry skin **

One of the “better” episodes this past week…at least it was only two fingers this time.

I really didn’t know what to think…the symptoms would appear only to disappear. In March of 2016, I decided to take the gluten free thing a bit further and eat Primal. I cut out sugar, grains and most really delicious carbohydrates (lol!). In April, I took it one step further and decided to follow a ketogenic lifestyle…very low carb…in hopes to heal my body. It worked and didn’t work. I lost some body fat which was very pleasing, but the symptoms never really disappeared. During the summer and early autum of 2016, things seemed better, so I stopped thinking of autoimmune issues. Given that I have family history, I know better…I need to keep an eye on these symptoms.

January and February 2017 – I noticed things were worse…I was feeling worse. I struggled to find energy to move during the day. I struggled to find motivation for things that typically I loved doing. Just moving myself HURT…my body hurt. I hardly had any energy for my workouts. Most mornings it was a struggle to even get out of bed. This wasn’t the usual “Oh, I should have gone to bed earlier last night” feeling…this was more of “how the hell am I going to survive today awake and upright, taking care of everyone and doing what needs to be done?” sort of feeling.  That may sound dramatic but if you’ve ever experienced that sort of absolutely crushing fatigue for any amount of time, you know EXACTLY what I mean. I checked and double checked my diet; I tweaked macros; I eased up on the strength training; I added more training; I ate more/less complex carbs…more/less protein…more/less healthy fats…; NOTHING helped this time. Final straw – I decided to completely cut out my guilty pleasure and get rid of wine (sad….). We’ll see if that actually helps (hopefully it’s not the wine!).

So March 2017. Wine free, more strict Primal eating (more ketogenic than in the previous two months), back to my usual workouts and adding a few variables that were not part of my lifestyle before: silica supplementation in water and a diatomaceous earth “detox”. I’m not going to spend tons of time explaining DE in this blog post…we’ll see how things go and if it actually makes a difference, I’ll take the time to write it out. There is SO much information on the Internet about DE detox and silica supplementation.  Both are supposed to be fabulous for heavy metal detoxing, which is something I worry about with Eli. Did the vaccines that we did allow him to get end up affecting him neurologically? Could a heavy metal “detox” help him as well? Is this even a problem?

A reputable website lists the following symptoms as a reason to use a DE detox regimen:

  • Food Cravings
  • Inflammation
  • Restless Sleeping
  • Poor Focus
  • Fatigue
  • Skin Rashes or Outbreaks
  • Constipation, Diarrhea, Bloating, Gas, or Other Indigestion Problems
  • Mood Swings
  • Headaches
  • Weight Gain
  • Body Odor or Bad Breath
  • Allergies
  • Aches and Pains

SO – today is March 8th…8 days into my cleansing month, lol! I started silica supplementation last week Thursday, and started DE on Monday the 6th. Obviously, it’s much too early to say “Yes” or “No” but I want to keep track publicly. After all, if my journey can help someone else to help them self earlier than I did, my difficulties will be worth it!

Until the next time….

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Weeks 3&4 – Eli

I got a little behind with blogging. Studying and making Christmas presents will do that to you!

So where are we at with Eli? I’ve seen some huge improvements. I haven’t seen Β any of the longer, partial type seizures in two weeks, and Eli said he hasn’t experienced any of them. That in itself gives me hope. He’s still having the absence seizures but the ones I’ve witnessed have been very short…maybe 3-5 seconds. It’s basically been a month and we just adjusted dosage a little so I think it’s just a matter of patience and waiting now.

 

 

Week 1 – Eli

So, as mentioned in my background post, we are in week 1 of trying something new and different with Eli. November 8th was a big day in the United States, but for me it was a bigger and better day in North Dakota. No, nothing to do with the presidential election in this case. North Dakota voters voted to allow medical marijuana as treatment. Huge. This is such a fantastic thing for so many people. I’ve read many medical journal articles that show exactly how this is beneficial for so many different ailments. One such ailment that it has shown promising results with is epilepsy, from childhood absence epilepsy to other forms involving Grand Mal seizures. Huge. Enormous. Possible game changer.

Adam did some research online and found a place where we could order Charlotte’s Web, which is a medical marijuana supplement. This is one that I researched when we first got Eli’s epilepsy diagnosis. Unfortunately at that time, we lived in Iowa which did not allow for the use of this supplement. Now, thanks to the voters in my state, we can legally try this with Eli.

Order one placed. High hopes all around. While we waited for the shipment, we were able to gain access to a the Realm of Caring website with dosing instructions based on many different factors, research articles, forums…so much information! I became completely engulfed in the chemistry parts, probably because I’m deep into the chemistry part of essential oils in my certification course right now. I couldn’t help but notice that there are chemical components in medical marijuana oil that match components of certain essential oils. These components have been shown to have calming effects neurologically, particularly the sesquiterpene beta-caryophyllene. Hmmm…if only I’d been a chemistry nerd back in 2013 maybe I could have made better sense of some things with oils! Copaiba is particularly high in this component…usually 50% or more! But there are others such as Melissa, black pepper, clove, and ylang ylang oils that have significant levels of this component. Interesting to me is how now that I have better knowledge from a renowned aromatherapy certification course, this all makes much better sense. Chemistry is so cool.

Our first bottle arrived the 18th, the day after Eli’s tenth birthday. We started his first dose after school. As much as I wanted the heavens to part and have God himself say “Eli is now seizure free!”, I knew it was time to wait and watch. Saturday was his first day of two doses. Then Sunday…and Monday. We’re on Tuesday. Call me crazy but my kid is waking up now looking much more rested (absence seizures can happen during the person’s sleep cycle as well). Saturday afternoon was his birthday party with his friends…six crazy boys running around with all sorts of excitement and enthusiastic animation. Usually this is the sort of situation when we notice an increase in seizures. I saw ONE seizure Saturday…before his party. Sunday I saw one seizure. ONE. Monday he was at school during the day but I didn’t see any when he came home.

Call me crazy. It’s okay because I feel a little crazy thinking about it.Too early to say for sure but I’m more hopeful now than I have ever been about this possible solution for Eli.

Background – Eli

Eli was diagnosed with childhood absence epilepsy in 2013, when he was 6.5 years old. His symptoms had been around for longer than that…at least a year, but I didn’t know that it was something as serious as a seizure. If it hadn’t been for a friend on Facebook describing her own son’s seizures and diagnosis, I would have never even thought of it. IfΒ  you’re unfamiliar with this type of seizure activity, don’t worry…so was I! It manifests itself as what appears to be the person “spacing out”…Eli will kind of stare off into space for several moments, and then after will just be completely normal again, with the exception of not having heard anything during the seizure. He doesn’t fall on the ground, there is no violent shaking, and again, within moments he’s back to his normal self. We thought Eli was just daydreaming or ignoring us.(I kick myself a little every time I think about this…)

Eli went to several doctors appointments, had a sleep-deprived EEG, an MRI that required dye injection, and trips to see a neurologist. We learned that USUALLY children will outgrow this form of epilepsy when they hit puberty, but that occasionally the absence epilepsy will develop into a more severe form of epilepsy. We learned that there were a handful of medications that are approved for the treatment of childhood absence epilepsy, that many don’t really work that well, and that the side effects are often severe and more prevalent than relief from the medication.It might work, it might not…but he would most likely have side effects. I asked about not medicating him. His neurologist was honest: that was totally an option. If Eli was able to lead a fairly normal life without meds, and wasn’t in danger of getting hurt…he would be a good candidate for just pushing through until puberty to see if the disease would disappear.Β  We made the decision to let our 6.5 year old tough it out until puberty.

That isn’t the end, though. I became the person who then researched everything. I was willing to try everything in my power to make his quality of life better during this time. I read about how certain vitamins and minerals could support his system. Probiotics should help to heal his gut, which could help. I’d already been using essential oils for many years and tried to find out if there were any that I could use to support Eli. I read about changing our diet, which was our first round of the Whole 30 elimination diet. After that, we tried Paleo for a while, but Eli was missing some foods so much that I didn’t force him to stick to that. Nothing we were doing completely eliminated Eli’s seizures but many helped to markedly decrease the number he experienced. Lack of sleep and stress are huge triggers for his seizures, so we set a bed time that USUALLY gets followed. He has good and bad days. For a while, the good outnumbered the bad. As he got older, it seemed to bother him more that he had these seizures. It wasn’t because he felt different…he was bothered because he just was tired of having them. That’s a tough thing to hear as a mom.

This autumn, we noticed something different. His seizures had decreased significantly and when he did have them, they were much shorter. This is good, right? Yes. Also, no. The “no” comes in the form a different type of seizure activity. Eli was just “not here” for about 15 minutes. I could talk to him, he would look at me and respond with one-word answers that sometimes didn’t make sense. He was unable to hold a conversation. After what was a terrible and long 15 minutes for me, he was COMPLETELY back to normal. What in the world? The first time it happened, I figured he was really tired. The second time it happened, I got a sick feeling in my stomach. The second episode, Eli explained what it was like from his end: his thighs tingled (he had mentioned this to me before the episode), he could see and hear me talking to him but he felt like he couldn’t answer me. It was kind of like a tunnel, but not really. He was completely aware of the entire thing, he just couldn’t talk to me. Back to research…was it something worse like simple partial seizures or even complex partial seizures?Β  What would this mean for him? Sure, he was having less absence seizures but was he trading those for less frequent, worse seizures? ugh.

That’s where the background ends. We are currently in the first week of trying a different, natural approach to help my buddy.

New Blog

I’d forgotten how tough it is when you first decide to start a new blog: you need to decide on designs and fonts and colors and content and….oy vey! This poor blog has been sitting for years without a single entry. I already have a blog (kind of neglected lately!) that is for my family and I knew I wanted something different, but I wasn’t sure just what I wanted.

That’s when it dawned on me. I’m in a very different place than I was when I started my first blog almost 10 years ago. The biggest change is that I’m much more focused on fitness, health, well-being and being very natural with the choices I make for myself and my family. So THAT is what I want this blog to be about: these aspects of my life and my experiences with them. I wish I’d decided this even a couple years ago but I think this is as good a time to start as any. Stay tuned…I’m working out the details, including what in the world I want to name this blog!