Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 7: End of fast and Airrosti

So I ended my juice fast last night. I ate some salsa, guacamole and chips. I was having a hard time concentrating and yes I could have just pushed through but I am not my only responsibility. I have 2 precious little girls in my care and when my fog started to effect my driving I figured it was time to pull the plug. In all I lost 10 lbs in 6 days...not too bad...but weight loss was not my primary goal. Don't get me wrong, it was a great side-effect of the fast but not the greatest.

Let me tell you what!!!!!! I feel AMAZING! I woke this morning and the only thing that sounded the least bit good was pineapple and strawberries with a cup of coffee and a dab of soy milk in the coffee for creamer. Not too far of a divergence from my fast diet except for the caffeine and the fact that I actually got to chew something. The fog has lifted and I am soooo very energized. Normally with my swelling and arthritis normal, everyday tasks can be difficult for me to accomplish. I am usually lethargic, sleepy and a bit depressed. Not today!
I leapt from bed this morning got my daughter ready for school, packed her snack (an orange), made coffee and prepared my breakfast. Then I mopped the kitchen, washed a load of clothes, put up laundry, hung the girls clothes, cleaned our Rae's dresser, matched millions of tiny little socks, cleaned my tub and shower and I am still going. I think the detox was a success!!! I am so very excited!
My taste buds are definitely changed. I tried to sip on some lipton citrus green tea last night and EWWWWW!!!! It was like drinking syrup--far to sweet and sickly thick. My coffee was perfect with just a dab of soymilk--I didn't crave a thick flavored cream or any artificial sweetener. I am thinking that I will have more fruit for lunch and maybe some celery. Even a sandwich sounds super heavy for now. I need to ease my way back in to eating a full 'meal' and even that term has a new definition.
Jason and I have agreed to cut red meat and regular milk out of our diet (unless the milk is used for cooking). We are going to eat veggies (which were shocking absent in our prefast diet), fruit, whole grains, fish and chicken. I am excited.
This morning when I weighed I was up like 1.4 lbs. Didn't really bother me. I realize that that weight is the food in my digestive system...something that hasn't been there in days. With that said I don't look for a continual regain of all the lost weight. With my new diet the scale will continue to inch down at a healthy rate.
With all that said I feel that I should also talk a bit more about something else pretty awesome in m y life right now--Airrosti. I went for my second visit yesterday and it was amazing. I have struggled for at least 5 years with intense neck tightness and pain. I have been to the GP who prescribed 2 different muscle relaxers and sent me to get a MRI. The MRI showed some bulging discs and twisting in my cervical vertebrae. Upon reviewing the MRI my GP sent me to a neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon concurred that the pain was from the bulging and twisting and asked me if I had been in a car accident. I HADN'T! I kept telling everyone that the pain started when I was breastfeeding my first child. She breastfed for a whopping 14-16 months (I cant remember the exact time). He didn't think that could be a cause, even though I was SURE of it, and he gave me a TENS unit. This was a small black box that generated electrical impulses to stimulate the muscle in order to distract me from the pain. He also recommended steroid injections right into my spinal column to reduce the swelling. Well I soon thereafter got pregnant with Raeleigh so I could no longer use the TENS unit or get the shots and it was time to breastfeed again.
While pregnant with Raeleigh I started noticing some joint pain in my elbows, wrists and OF COURSE hips. I thought it was simple joint pain form my tendons relaxing due to pregnancy hormone and I wrote it off. Something else odd started to happen. The neck pain never let up and even worsened with the renewed breastfeeding routine. I started to get extreme pain from any bump, poke or bang. These were my first signs of fibromyalgia. I am no physician but I am educated enough to see a correlation here. I will talk more about my reasoning in a minute.
So I breastfed Rae for 8 months and then had my second bout of Hashimotos thyroiditis and went to the GP. At this time my lethargy was getting out of control. I had to do something. The GP found a lump on my thyroid. My mom had thyroid cancer in her 30s so as a precaution I had a biopsy. Luckily enough the lump was not cancerous but I had no energy. My GP sent me to an endocrinologist that placed me on a small dose of synthroid...very, very small. It seemed to help but I think now it was just the placebo effect and me just WANTING to feel better. Rae weaned herself when I started the new meds.....she didn't like them at all!
So I lived like this for a while...neck hurting, body sensitive to pain, joints hurting and low energy. Then the joint pain got unbearable. My GP sent me to a rheumetologist. The Rheumy diagnosed me with psoriatic arthritis (explaining the joint pain) and fibromyalgia explaining the body tenderness. He also told me I was pre-lupus...ANA negative but enough symptoms to see the path that I was headed down. I was placed on methotrexate and over the following months I went from a small dose of 4 per week to the max dose of 10 per week. Methotrexate is low-dose chemo and kills in inflamed and damaged cells. It is lethal to a fetus. I couldn't live with the idea of unexpectedly getting pregnant and not knowing it in time and losing the baby due to the meds. Methotrexate is the same type of drug that they use for the morning after pill. So, a few months later Jason got 'fixed'. We were done with kids--I mourned. This sent me into a bit deeper depression.
In the meantime Jason's grandfather passed and his grandmother became more and more dependent on the family to provide for her. I committed to driving to see her once a week. The house and yard was in great disrepair so I began cleaning up a bit on my visits. One such visit I spent about 2 hours outside trimming bushed, shrubs and trees to clean out the overgrowth. I used some heavy duty hedge clippers and really hurt myself. The action used to chop off heavy branches seriously tweaked my neck. I was in excruciating pain. I went to the chiropractor the next day. I saw her for 5-6 visits and it helped a little but it wasn't intense enough. She used what is called the activator method and I later discovered that it is not as effective as hands on manipulation. I was so sad nothing was helping. I was always hurting. I went from ice to heat and back again several time a day. I was up to 4 aleve per day in addition to all my other caustic drugs. This was not a pattern that I could continue and it was getting worse. One thing I got from my chiro that actually helped was sleeping on a towel roll paced under what should be the curve of my neck....my is distorted so badly that it doesn't curve back at the neck to support my head like it should...it juts forward and makes my head feel very heavy for my neck to support.
The depression then increased my neck pain and lethargy. Enough was enough. I went back to the GP about 3 years after the first MRI and the GP ordered another. I have what physicians call a buffalo hump. I have had it as long as I can remember...even back in middle school. It is larger now and consists of a hard center and tons of swelling. I could get the swelling gone with ice. MRI showed same results...good news that there wasn't any deterioration but options remained the same....cortisone shot....I was at my wits end and did it.
It was invasive, scary and expensive...but I got relief--for THREE weeks! *SCOFF* $750 for 3 weeks? I think not. So I was back at square one. Or at least I thought. Good news was on its way. Jason had attended a meeting at work about some new health benefits and one new program sounded very promising--Airrositi.
It was supposed to be able to relieve most neck and back pain in 3-5 visits and the visit copay was only $10. I could totally try this. The chiro copay had been $40 per visit and the shot...well, it was insane. So I signed up. I am so very glad I did.
This is where I will talk about how I believe all my disorders stemmed from my chronic neck pain. I was well until the neck pain began. I was a normal weight. I was active and while I have always been quirky...my autoimmune disorder was under control. When the neck pain began, my sleep was disrupted and I began to snore. I began using a cpap for the snoring. But the sleep deprivation from the pain began to manifest symptoms of fibromyalgia. If you read about fibro there is always a sleep disorder associated with it and some people and researchers believe that fibro can be set off my chronic pain--the body hurts so badly for so long that it begins to misinterpret signals and everything registers as painful. The depression and pain from the neck and fibro began to take a toll on my immune system and new disorders started popping out. The lethargy from the thyroid and depression led me to self medicate with caffeine and sugar for energy and the weight piled on worsening my psoriatic arthritis and poor diet began to take its toll on my immune system. It is all related. 100% positive.
So now here I am two visits into Airrosti and things are looking up. I can fall asleep unmedicated. I am down to 2 and sometimes no aleve per day. I am not continuously in pain and my doctors says in 2-3 more visits I will not only be pain free but HEALED!!!! He said my fascia was in a mess and had contracted and balled up from hours and hours of holding something in a cradled position with both arms while my head was down and my shoulders pulled up. Sounds interestingly like the position one takes to...BREASTFEED!!! He agreed. I was right all along and no one listened. I was not in a car accident--I was a mom who breastfed for a combined 24 months (feeling sorry for Michelle Duggar's neck right about now). The treatment is oh so simple. The doctor uses his thumbs to apply extreme pressure and a slow directional force to stretch the fascia (tissue encapsulating the muscles) back to its intended length. He explained that muscles are very vascular and therefore heal fast. Fascia, however, has very little blood flow so that when it become damaged or contracted it needs help to relax. The treatment is very painful. I get nauseous and have even felt like I could pass out but afterwards the results are UNBELIEVABLE!!!
This last time he worked on both sides of my shoulders and then the attachment from my jaw down to my shoulder. It felt like he rolled the muscle/fibers from my shoulder to skull along both sides of my neck and I literally had to recite the Lords Prayer to myself in my head so that I wouldn't vomit and then pass out. But today...NO PAIN!

After the 30 minute hands on treatment you see an in-house physical therapist who doest some exercises with you and assigns homework etc. They use some 'kinetic tape' to increase blood flow and promote healing--you wear it after you appointment for up to 3 days. It is awesome.
After 5 years I have found someone who doesn't just want to give me drugs or cut me open--they actually want to heal the problem....treat the issue...I am so very EXCITED! I LOVE AIRROSTI.

So this has been and epically long post. I have tons of other things I want to touch on but I will save those for tomorrow so I don't bore whoever may read this to death!
Here's to juice fasting, vegan/vegetarian eating, juice fasting and AIRROSTI!!!

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