This time last year I did a summary post of everything I was doing/trying/investigating in an effort to feel better. If the starting gun to My Year of Feeling Better went off in January 2013, I was pretty much stuck not moving until January of 2014.
So what changed in 2014? My naturopath figured out that my cells seem to be ignoring signals, like completely ignoring every incoming call and sending all that energy into voicemail. Cell-to-cell communication was just weak. My lipid panel were amazingly low for someone of my weight and the fact that I was eating a moderately high-fat paleo diet. I just didn’t have enough cholesterol for basic hormone production and cell wall repair. A total cholesterol of 127 is NOT good–it looked like my basic lipid metabolism was a little busted. Dr Skinner mentioned something about lipid replacement therapy and it rang a small bell: way back in 2004 I’d gone to a natural health conference and heard about it. I remember asking our DAN doctor about it and he told me that lipid exchange was what we were trying to do with all the high quality fish oil and krill oil we were giving my son. And that’s where I left it.
Fast forward…Dr Skinner proposed I try a phosphatidylcholine IV push with a glutathione chaser. But I was going to have to be on a low fat diet for it to have the best chance of working. The fats I was eating were getting shuttled directly into storage. The idea is to do an “oil change” to facilitate improved cellular communication. Also, I’d just gotten back my 23andme.com results and I have genes that give me a 70% chance of being overweight AND don’t process dietary fats well. Oh, and two copies of the gene for celiac. Good thing I’m already gluten-free.
Here’s a good article from Patricia Kane, PhD, about phosphatidylcholine and how lipid exchange works. There’s also some evidence that it helps with athletic recovery (physical recovery from fatigue? I’m in!) and supports acetylcholine production, a neurotransmitter.
About the same time I decided to give MediFast a try for weight loss. My mother has had good success with it. I kept thinking I really already knew what I was doing…ha! I had over 100 lbs to lose. Clearly I didn’t know what I was doing and I needed to face up to that reality. It’s a low fat, moderately low carb plan: 5 shakes a day and one lean-and-green meal. I have to admit that it’s been a relief to NOT have to plan on my own meals much. I just make sure I have frozen spinach in the freezer and salad fixings, eggs, eggs whites, and sliced turkey in the fridge. Everything I learned about weight loss and Paleo got tossed in the trash because it wasn’t working for me. I decided a stringent intervention was going to be more helpful than “moderation.” I choose from the company’s gluten-free and soy-free options. Yes it’s processed, but it’s working and my lean-and-green meal is always organic, whole food.
So for my birthday I started the PTC exchange and about two weeks later I started the MediFast. After the success of the first two months, I started using some of my talk therapy time to address some of my poor mental habits around food and emotional eating. (Note to parents of special needs kids: I’m a big fan of the shrink. Look into it if you feel like you need a non-family place to dump your mental garbage and sort through what you need to keep and what you need to let go.)
Almost five months later I am down more than 30 lbs and have had a significant improvement in my ability to function and be an active participant in life. My memory is improving, my brain fog is receding, and best of all my energy levels have increased. I used to have to plan on several naps every week and now I’m down to a couple of 30 min naps, if I’ve had fractured sleep the night before. I was able to go to the AutismOne conference last month, and while I had to bow out of evening activities and was in my jammies by 8 pm most nights, I was able to get through full days of conference sessions–from 8:30 am to 7pm–and withstand lots of high emotion from other conference attendees. Five months ago I wouldn’t have been able to attend the conference AT ALL.
I found this entry from a Whole30 diary I kept last year: “…woke up after 8 mostly undisturbed hours of sleep feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. I’d say about 80% of my joint pain had returned. The lymph glands in my neck were swollen, my throat hurt, my ears and hearing were extra sensitive, brain fog and fatigue. Fatigue, fatigue, fatigue. I was such an unhappy, impatient mama.”
That was pretty much my life 80% of the time. The other 20% didn’t have the active swollen lymph glands and sore throat. I did recently experience a little backsliding due to poor sleep and stress–nothing like a little adrenal burnout to put your health on the skids. Good sleep, a PTC + glutathione IV, and some adrenal/stress support in the form of passiflora herbal tincture pulled me out of that tailspin.
I’m struggling with the diet portion of my program mostly because I stress eat and I haven’t eliminated stress from my life. At least now I can recognize it for what it is. As for the PTC and glutathione pushes, I need to get one every week. I inadvertently took a 17 day break and my mental function and energy took a real hit. The only other intervention that has had this much positive impact on my well being was going completely gluten free a few years ago. That helped eliminate most of my joint pain, but nothing has touched my fatigue until the PTC + glutathione. I’ve also been taking PTC orally in between pushes (and make sure I have it with a serving of almond butter or other good fats).
So, here’s me, before and in-progress:
And the best part of all of this is that I’m able to be a better mom and partner. I have the mental acuity I need to tackle my kids’ myriad issues and the brain power and stamina to remember little things like picking up dry cleaning and making dinner… Please note: I’ve lost weight before but NEVER had the improvement in my fatigue or brain fog. It’s the PTC + glutathione, not the diet.
I’m interested in learning more about how PTC will help my kiddos as well, not that any of them would be happy about a weekly shot.