Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thyroid health and Hotze Health and Wellness Center.

When I think about the last few years of my life; I think of how blessed I have been, how much favor God has shown me and my family, the busy-ness of having 1, and 2, then 3, now 4 daughters. I also think of how tired I have been. I think about poor Tyler and how he has dealt with my moodiness with such grace (and patience. Ok, lets just say he REALLY LOVES me). I think about how I tell my mom all the time that once I turned 30 everything began falling apart with me health wise. We joked about it, but as of recent, the joke turned serious and I realized there were some things I didnt need to continue to ignore.

Totally normal to be exhausted when you have littles running around, right? Of course. Totally normal to be irritable and happy and sad all within the same 7 minutes of time when your body has really and truly been pregnant for 5 years in a row, right? Absolutely. Totally normal to loose your hair, deal with random bouts of adult acne, have dry patches of skin, your fingers and ankles swelling, a metabolism that is basically non-existent, and not sleep at night just because you turn 30, right? Well maybe, but I got fed up with it. I was tired of being tired and not being able to sleep at night. I was frustrated that I would work out 3-5 days a week watch my diet to only GAIN weight instead of loose it. I hated that I could no longer even fit into "fat pants" anymore. It killed me when I try to style my hair for the day only to feel it thinning excessively and falling out - not to mention be incredibly brittle. I thought it was so odd that when I exercised and exerted myself physically - I didnt sweat like I used too. I ended up on depression medicine again because, of course the moodiness got to me - but I also could not look at myself in the mirror. I hated how I look, and worse - I hated how I felt. I was ready to get help and I wasn't going to stop until I found someone who could help me take control over all of these symptoms.

Rewind back to about 3 years ago. It was 9 am, and in the background of my changing diapers, tending to screaming babes, and probably trying to get someone to nap - Good Morning Texas on WFAA Dallas was playing. A segment came on, with a Doctor who had come up with an innovative and progressive way to treat women in their early thirties dealing with thyroid issues. He had two of his patients on with him who gave testimonials of success. They looked and felt great. I remember nothing else of that show that day - but I remembered that segment and I am so glad I did. I was not experiencing any of they symptoms, but it was like I filed those womens stories in the back part of my brain as if I knew I could have their future in my own near future. I remembered the segment - but for the life of me, I could not remember the name of the Doctor, I just knew he was based somewhere out of Houston.

In September of this year, I had it with myself. I was sick of depression medication - and wanted to venture into the part of my closet that involuntarily off limits to me. I put in a call to my family doctor, who graciously saw me at the end of October. She ran some labs, and most everything came back "in the normal range". What she saw was elevated liver enzymes, so she helped me get set up with an ultrasound to look a little deeper into it. Turns out I have "non alcoholic fatty liver". Its quite common, and can easily be reversed - but I am so thankful she helped me learn that about my body. Even though I knew my thyroid was tested and came back normal - there was more digging to do. I know my body and I know that its not functioning the way it should be. So I started doing facebook searches for hypothryoid groups and low and behold. I saw another video clip of that doctor from the GMT segment. I watched his video that discussed thyroid function and hormone imbalance, and got his name. Instantly, feeling full of hope, googled his name and found his institution's website. You can click on that here. I think I read the entire website twice. I called my mom and Tyler both sobbing saying that I found the institute that could help me. The website talked about how 90-95% of the general population will have labs that come back "in normal range"  and that blood is just a comparison to everyone elses bloodwork that has been tested and was not a valuable form of finding a problem with the thyroid. It talked about how the treated the patient, not their lab work. They listened to the symptoms. It talked about how lab work can be in normal range, but if its not where you uniquely need it to be - a problem still exists. A problem that has a real solution, a treatable answer.

The website gave a phone number and welcomed anyone who was interested in their services to call. It was Saturday, but I called anyway. Monday morning, December 1st, at 8:30 am they called back. They lady on the phone said, "You do not have to silently suffer any more." She set me up to have a phone consultation with a nurse that afternoon. The nurse went over all my issues and symptoms, asked me what my goals for health would be and if I could come to the office for a 1 time visit. She said I was a poster child for who the institute helps and finds success through their program. I was elated. I called my mom and asked her if she would go with me to Houston if I could get an appointment. Sandy (the nurse I spoke with via the telephone) said if I could come in this month I could get a $1,000.00 discount because they are celebrating their 25th anniversary, and offering that discount until the end of the year. I said yes. Knowing that my parents have a trip planned to Cabo this month and Tyler has a trip to the Border (again, I know.) planned for this month. Knowing that Anslee has 3 school parties and Christmas program and Christmas vacation this month. Kensington has a Christmas party and program this month. I didn't care, I was going to figure it all out and make it happen. I was ready to be treated and clearly wanted to take advantage of the discount being offered. She scheduled me for Thursday, December 4th. I couldnt believe it. in 3 days! My mom wasn't gone on vacation yet. Tyler had the day off to keep the girls, and no parties or programs on this day. It was perfect timing. 7:30 - 11:30 am was my scheduled appointment. Yes. They spent 4 hours with me.4 hours. It was clear they wanted to spend a lot of time with me so they could treat me from all angles and have every bit of information they needed to be able to do so.

Wednesday the 3rd my mom and loaded up and headed to Katy, Texas. It was about 4.5 hour drive - that ended up taking us over 5 hours due to getting turned around and confused and driving the wrong way down a one way street. But that is neither here nor there so we will move on (Love you, mama :)

We got to the hotel and basically went to bed. We woke up and headed over to the institute. This is what we drove up too.

We were greeted by the kindest staff. They were trained to be service oriented and it showed - from the lady that welcomed us, to the nurses (who wear suits and heels. no scrubs allowed!), to the Doctor, the pharmacist, and the vitamin specialist. I felt like I was being treated like royalty. Everyone asked us what they could get for us, if we wanted more coffee, or a bathroom break. It was more spa like than clinic like. Color me thrilled.

We got signed in, and filled out some additional paper work, and were walked straight back to the scale and restroom by the nurse. She took my vitals and weight and then took us back to our exam room. Then they took our "snack order". What? We would get a snack as soon as I was done getting my blood drawn. They took 8 viles of blood for testing to have a baseline. They assured me, though, that was just standard procedure but my treatment would not at all be a reflection of the lab results.

Then, Mom and I feasted on this.

Hummus. Cucumbers. Carrots. Boiled eggs, Bell pepper, INCREDIBLE coffee, and almonds and cashews. It was all so delicious. Especially the bell pepper and hummus. Oh my yum.

After we snacked, the nurse took me to another exam room to do my EKG. They wanted to make sure my heart was healthy enough for any type of treatment they potentially could have me on. Then I did a lung function test to test lung capacity. All looked well with both.

Then, we were taken back to my room and the doctor came in. He spent well over 1.5 hours listening to me. Talking to me. Explaining things in detail to me. Doctor Ellsworth is brilliant and knows his craft inside and out. He did a test on me - He put a liquid form of bioidentical cortisol and progesterone under my tongue. He asked me how I felt immediately after I swallowed. I had some congestion, and after the drops it was gone and I told my mom I felt like I could run a couple of miles. It was an instant mood lifter. Mommy crack much? Don't worry, we bought a few viles of that stuff and I am high on my own hormones. Good stuff.

After listening me list off all my sympotoms, from fat fingers (and everything else for that matter) to not sweating, to moodiness and depressive like thoughts and feelings, to cold hands, low body temperature, to not being able to loose weight (my biggest concern, because apparently I am vain). He was confident in his diagnosing me with low thyroid fucntion. He explained that my body was clearly making enough of the hormone (why my labs came back normal) but that when the hormones were delivered to my cells - they werent functioning correctly at the cellular level.

He explained that I needed to be on a yeast free diet. He says if we have been on an antibiotic of any kind for any amount of time the good bacteria, along with the bad which creates an abundance of yeast (candida) in our gut - and its hard to get healthy in any way if your gut is not working at its optimum. 5 days into this diet I will begin a nystatin regimen to kill off any other candida still in my system.

He asked me what goals for my health were. I told him, and said ok we can help you reach those goals. I told him I wanted to wear my precious wedding ring again. I wanted to loose this pesky weight. I want to sleep at night and feel energized during the day. I want my hair to grow back. I want my nails to not be brittle, thin and rigid like they are. Also, the doctor looked at my tongue and said it was retaining fluid as well - I said that even though that didnt bother me on a daily basis - I would prefer my tongue not retain fluid any longer. :)

Next, they served us lunch. I forgot to get a picture of that, but it was a grilled chicken, brocoli, and raspberry salad. It was so good. The raspberry vinaigrette dressing was so delicious I made them give me the recipe - to which they said, "my pleasure" and did so.

Here is what I left my appointment with

Approximately 23 natural vitamins and supplements. These will help gut health, tiredness, and helping my body replenish itself with everything it is deficient in. I also came home with Armour thyroid, nystatin, and progesterone. Thyroid and Progesterone to level our hormone imbalance. Ive started out taking 1 thyroid each day. In two weeks, I will add another. Two weeks after that I will be taking 3 daily. Then I will bump up two weeks later to taking 4 each day. I take 2 progesterone capsules, on days 8-28 of my cycle. Nystatin I will begin in 3 days (after 5 days of being yeast free in my diet).

As mentioned before, I got the viles of mommy crack. These are taken as needed for relief of moodiness and tiredness. They are two for the price of one on your first visit, so yes, two bottles of sanity for the price of one - please and thank you. All of the hormones I am taking are bioidentical, and not synthetic. My body will not be able to tell the difference between what my body is actually making and what I am supplementing it with.

Throughout the day, as our visit went on, notes were taken, suggestions were made, and every bit of information was complied for me in a personalized treatment binder. I also have 24/7 access to someone on the nursing team via phone or email should I have any questions.

They also gave him his book, that I am sure I will learn so much more from. I am excited to begin reading. Along with this one.

This book will go into more detail about the important of balancing out all of our hormones, not just the thyroid. I think this talks about how bioidentical hormones are much safer and effective than synthetic ones that are made in a lab. 

As a reminder of how important it is to drink water, they gifted me with this super nice water bottle. Bottoms up, friends.

The yeast free diet is explained in this optimal eating guide they sent me with. 

There are suggestions in here on what to eat with certain foods - spice recommendations, and several tips and "cheat like" foods to eat. So many recipes in here, as well. It will be a great go to guide for cooking and meal planning for my family. Its actually VERY close (just a little more restrictive) to the TRIM HEALTHY MAMA diet I have been doing for a couple of months - so the transition to this way of eating will not be such a shock to the system. 

I feel like I learned so much about overall health, my own personal health, and that I can trust myself and my sympotms more than just blood work. We are so much more than what our blood says, and its important to trust yourself when you think something is off with your health. I am so excited about the results that should come hopefully within the next 3 to 6 months. I hope to report back on this soon. I am currently on day 3 of treatment and the yeast free diet so I am just a pup at this. I can't wait to see how my daily living quality will be changed. 

Thanks to my mom, who spared no expense to help me get started on this. It speaks volumes to me that she would take two full days of life and dedicate them to my health. I owe her more than I could ever repay. 

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