Category Archives: Health Class

One Year After Mirena

I’ve noticed this summer that when I log onto my WordPress site, previous posts about my experience with the Mirena IUD receive more traffic than most of my other posts.  Actually, to be honest, there doesn’t seem to be any other interest in my other topics, but people are concerned about the Mirena, and some readers have reached out to me.  It occurred to me that I haven’t written a follow-up describing how my health has changed in the year since having my Mirena removed.  I’ve put it off long enough, and now it’s time to share.

This sculpture reminds me of the struggle I've overcome. Sometimes we just have pick up the pieces.

This sculpture reminds me of the struggle I’ve overcome. Sometimes we just have to pick up the pieces.

Last March I had my IUD removed after using it the full five years prescribed. By that time, I had all the symptoms of what is referred to as the ‘Mirena Crash’: persistent fatigue, bloating, abdominal cramps, headaches, confusion, irritability, limb numbness, back pain, and more, all to the extreme.  At that time, I didn’t know anything about Mirena’s side effects, but suspected it was the culprit.  When I reached out to my doctor at the VA, I did not receive the kind of help that I expected or believed that I deserved.  Instead of being supported by the medical community, I was left to my own devices, and I became very scared and angry.  I had to figure out how to heal on my own, and it has taken me the at least a year to heal not only physically but mentally as well.  The trauma caused by getting “sick” from the Mirena left me feeling isolated, crazy, untrustworthy, and unable to trust medical professionals.

My emotions, however justified, were part of the myriad of symptoms from my reaction to the IUD.  Even after the device’s removal, toxins from the Mirena continued to circulate through my system, and my hormones could be best described as defunct.  I was a mess!  I felt as though I had been poisoned, and in a sense, I had. It was extremely difficult to drudge through the day pretending to be a “normal” person while my body purged the bad hormones and toxic build up.  I felt like I was on a bad drug trip for months, yet I was in for a much longer ride.

It has now been about eighteen months since my Mirena was removed, since I was very ill, and I am so happy to say that I am not the same person.  I am in extraordinary physical shape (comparatively), I feel confident about how I look, I have boundless energy, and I don’t suffer from as many aches and pains.  I love to wake up in the morning and be active all day, because I know I will not become exhausted like before.  I don’t feel emotionally sabotaged and my hormones are finally in balance for the first time since I started using the Mirena.  Best of all, I never have to go back to IUDs, because better options are at my disposal.

But you are probably wondering what exactly I did to take care of myself and conquer the nightmare that left me so miserable, right?  First, remember that there is no magical equation to follow in order to become well after the Mirena Crash.  Your personal definition of well is not going to be identical to mine, and your biology, cultural and familial background, lifestyle, preferences, and external influences are not the same as mine either.  So you must determine which plan is best on your road to recovery.

This is how I did it.

I. First I made a commitment — to myself.  I committed to follow a strict diet and exercise plan to get my health back on track.  I carefully considered how to reach my goals.  This commitment was important because it was an investment in myself.

2.  I took up an exercise routine (kickboxing) that helped me develop confidence as well as muscle tone.  My routine became a catalyst in ridding my body of toxins and excess body fat, both of which had accumulated while I was using the Mirena.  Bonus:  I made new friends at the kickboxing studio!

3.  I tweaked my diet as needed.  For example, when I realized I was not eating enough protein to support my newly active lifestyle, I changed the diet to reflect my needs.  This was critical in healing because the body has to be able to flush out toxins and regenerate new, healthy cells!

*I used the Standard Process products recommended by Dr. J (see the link to his site below) but only as long as I felt that I needed them.  I used an extremely healthy diet to clean out my system because I believe that food is medicine, not the other way around.

4. I made time for myself every day to pursue a hobby, something just for me, and I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt.   Sometimes I just took ten minutes to read a magazine and drink tea; other days I painted or caught up with a friend over coffee.  Very beneficial to my soul!

5. I talked to my friends and family about my struggle and listened to the wisdom that they had to share.  Their love and support helped me feel strong enough to move past my anger and frustration over the situation.

6. I let go.  I acknowledged that there was really no one to blame in this situation — not me, not any of the doctors, and no one else.  But I especially stopped blaming myself in hindsight.  It’s a waste of energy.

I like to think that the last year and a half is a chapter in my life that I can close, and now it is time to look forward, move forward, and anticipate what lies in the future.  I sometimes think that my Mirena robbed me of five years of good living, but that is not true.  It was a minor setback, and if anything, I learned to take better care of myself, to be more kind, and to forgive the faults that we all cannot help but possess.

Best of luck to those fighting their battles.

~G

 

 

The link to Dr. J’s site, where you can find his take on the Mirena Crash:

http://www.drjnutrition.com/

 

So…Turns Out My Spirit Animal is a Witch

Lately my priorities have involved self reflection and goal setting.  And just in time for Halloween, I discovered that the path to my good mental health meant allowing my inner bitch to have some breathing room.  She is part of me after all!

Are you sure my spirit animal is a witch?

Are you absolutely sure my spirit animal is a witch?

I’m just a Wicked Witch trying to get by as a Dorothy in this Land of Oz.  Of course I want to be nice, and people are always telling me that I’m too nice — ugh, typical Dorothy behavior.  But it’s not healthy to suppress my inner bitch when she’s trying to look out for my best interests.  The truth is, I have a terrible time saying no.  It isn’t that I can’t ever say no; after I do manage to say no once in a while, I make a concerted effort to feel guilty for as long as possible.  I have also spent much of my adult life making important decisions based on the input of others who feel compelled to tell me what I should do (like they know anything).  I tell you, that makes it quite difficult for a gal’s agenda to progress, whether it’s raising a family or training an army of vicious flying monkeys (practically the same thing, by the way).

I have lost the ability over time to listen to my own voice and make decisions with a clear conscience.  Guilty feelings about saying no to people who have certain expectations only feeds anxiety and self doubt.  In order to get true respect from the world, I must first respect and love myself, delightful flaws and all.  This is where being a bit of a witch really pays off!  I decided that the best way to amend my problems is to reconnect with my inner bitch and allow her some breathing room.   Since she is part of who I am, perhaps she could teach me how to reclaim my true identity and learn to listen to that identity with a clear mind.  I did have to be careful when unleashing this powerful force.  Honestly identifying my feelings and personal goals rather than fixating on distractions made me feel courageous and motivated.   There is a difference between expressing oneself with emotion and just fighting dirty.  For me, progress isn’t about executing a vengeful agenda to get a higher foothold on the ladder of life.  The inner bitch is simply there to remind me of who I am and who I can be, if I focus on what is really important.

It wasn’t long before my confidence was put to the test.  While attending a harvest festival at the local dairy farm, I ran into a friend from the school where I used to work.  She asked if I would be coming back.  “No,” I said simply, and smiled.  “But we really miss you there!”  The guilt started to creep in, and part of me wanted to make promises to appease her expectations, but I stood my ground.  “I don’t know what to say, other than I’m not planning to come back.”   No longer a Dorothy, I was free of the guilt and broke the cycle of letting other people make my decisions for me – finally.   I would run into more friends and former co-workers from the school throughout the month of October.  It was very nice to see them again, but they did not change my decisions.

For Halloween I followed my daughters’ advice and dressed as a witch.  After my adventure of self discovery, why not?  I was originally going to be Dr. Who (the Matt Smith version) but the girls convinced me to throw on a black dress with some witch-y looking black boots, and my husband helped me find an amazing red hat with feathers and black veil.  I painted my lips ruby red, practiced my witch cackle, then sat on the front steps in the freezing cold for two hours welcoming a steady parade of children dressed in an array of colorful costumes.  The highlight of the evening was a visit from an eight year old Dr. Who (Matt Smith version), and his costume was much better than mine would have been.

I am glad that I finally identified with my inner bitch and understood how she fits into my personality.  I can pretend I am a Dorothy all day, but I AM a Wicked.  Instead of skipping down the yellow brick road with random maniacs who pop out of the hedges, I would rather shutter the windows, light some candles, shove gingerbread men into the oven, and watch extra dark episodes of ‘The X Files’.  And I will continue to consult my inner bitch for purposes of self empowerment, if not for evil (although that can be tempting!).  Without her, I wouldn’t be me.

~G

 

In Search of The Perfect Day

 


I recently celebrated my birthday.  It was a great day.  In kickboxing class I beat the hell out of a punching bag, then I cooked myself a big brunch while watching ‘The X Files’ on Netflix.  I sat on my deck and burned a sage smudge to clear my head, and then I took a nap.  When my children and husband came home, they took me out for dinner, and I ended my day cuddled up on the couch with my husband, eating chocolate, watching ‘Dutch’ and drinking wine.  A great birthday.  Last year, my birthday was overshadowed by the government shutdown and news of the South Dakota blizzard that killed thousands of cattle near my hometown.   I don’t recall truly celebrating.  This year I treated myself to as much fun as possible.  I could always save the hum-drum for the day after my birthday.

I am reading a self-help book right now — something I never imagined doing.  In the book there is a passage about a man hung up on the idea of reliving his “perfect” day.  He couldn’t imagine living an imperfect life day after day, having experienced one day of absolute flawlessness.  He wanted that perfection every day, and it angered him that such an ideal could not be achieved to his satisfaction. When reading that excerpt, it struck me that I have been having the same problem.

This summer I spent not one perfect day, but one entire fantastic week in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  After running wild through the hills literally searching for gold, going back to life as a housewife seemed pointless.  The moment I set foot into my house in Kansas, I wanted to turn around, jump in my car, and drive immediately back to South Dakota!  I was even tempted to formulate wild excuses in my head as to why I had to go back for an extra week, or month.  Sound a tad neurotic?  Maybe so, but I knew what lay ahead.  Boring menu planning, unending laundry, pushing the vacuum cleaner back and forth, and pacing in my tiny yard, staring at nothing but cookie cutter rooftops instead of towering spruce covered hills.  I wanted to relive my perfect days, but that would not be possible in Kansas.

Last night, my husband and I had a profound conversation.  He is typically my more insightful half, but last night my self-help book and I came to the rescue.  Frustrated with a negative situation at work, he described a rosier future scenario that he wants for our family.  I recognized that like me, he is also suffering from the desire to live perpetually perfect days.  After concluding a successful term as a company commander, he is now in limbo, and nothing else he accomplishes seems as gratifying.  I told him that we were both at the same junction in our life together, but for different reasons.  He had come out of a very successful point in his career and was realizing that for a while, his work would not be as perfect as he expected.  I was trying to decide what to make of my life, and how I could guide my family as a matriarchal character.

” There is no such thing as a perfect day, but we like to think so, don’t we?  We are at a point where we can accept that any good day is what we make of it.  We can take control of some of the aspects of every day, even if we can’t make every day perfect.  And, if we’re genuinely unhappy with the way things are, then we can make changes for the better.  I hope that makes sense, I am kind of tired.”

“That does make sense, and it’s helping me feel a lot better!” my husband smiled at me.

“Really? Wow, I am so glad!  I know that we are both going through the same things right now, which is kind of nice in a way, because I totally understand how you feel.  And I know that you understand why I want to run away to South Dakota.”  I smiled and patted my husband’s knee.

“Absolutely, I want to run away to South Dakota.” he stood up and stretched.

“Well, as long as you don’t run away to South Dakota without me!”

“I have to pee really bad.” And that was the end of our deep conversation.

There is an episode of ‘Parks and Recreation’ called Pawnee Rangers in which Donna, Tom, and Ben enjoy something called a Treat Yo Self Day.  The first time I watched this episode, I remember thinking that it was cute, but not terribly realistic.  The scene begins with Tom coming into the office and presenting cupcakes spelling out “Treat Yo Self” to Donna, thus prompting a celebratory atmosphere and a massive shopping spree.  There are no restrictions, the characters purchase anything and everything that they want after embarking on a luxurious spa visit.  While not exactly financially feasible in that context, the idea of having a Treat Yo Self Day is quite brilliant when considering mental health.  I like the concept of applying a Treat Yo Self mentality to each day rather than expecting perfection.  A Treat Yo Self mentality is forgiving and generous; perfection is neither of these.  Treats don’t have to be substantial and expensive either.  Sitting with a loved one and having a meaningful conversation, investing in a kickboxing class because it’s always been a personal goal, drinking a favorite cup of tea every morning, or just taking a walk to the mailbox can feel like a treat after you embrace the imperfections that make your life unique and special.   And now, I must treat myself to sleep, and submit an imperfect post to the online community.  And yes, I am happy.

~ G

 

 

Taking The Journey Home

Me a long time ago, before being an adult really got to me!

A long time ago, before being an adult really got to me!

This post marks one year of blogging, and this is my one hundredth post!  The last twelve months have been turbulent, so I am grateful to still be here, writing. Life is a journey, but until recently, I didn’t realize that so often the journey is about renewal and rediscovery.  Yesterday was my birthday, a significant milestone in life, and I feel as though I am once again ready to begin a new chapter.  Last October, when I began blogging, I believed that I had it all figured out.  Feeling fine, I had my life organized, with everything in its place, and a nifty master plan for the future.  I was beginning to think I had discovered the secret to that elusive Wonder Woman Syndrome.

This spring, a bizarre illness knocked me down, hard.  The illness seemed to come out of nowhere, and didn’t make any sense, and to make matters worse, I had a very difficult time getting the medical care that I needed for swift recovery.  Without an official diagnoses or even satisfactory answers, I did what any tenacious and frustrated housewife would do: I tried a vigorous detox cleanse and blogged about my symptoms.  All summer I attempted to purge my body of toxins and negativity, but by autumn, I just felt angry, vulnerable, and exhausted.  I was grieving over something that had been lost, and though I didn’t know what it was, I really wanted it back.

When my children went back to school, I did not miss returning as an employee, nor did I regret my decision to stay home and focus on my health.  I did, however, feel a little stab of guilt for failing to hack it in the “real” world.  I worried about being seen as unreliable, and I was reluctant to make plans lest I’d have to cancel due to illness.  This continued to feed the guilt cycle.  After my husband and I quarreled about how difficult it was for us to attend social gatherings, I began to see how my illness affected him.  He was tired, he wanted things to be better, just like me.  So now a great question loomed in my mind.  Would I spend the rest of my life in a cage , or finally break free?

Three weeks before my birthday, I visited with a medical professional about my concerns.  All my recent test results were normal.  On paper, I’mm a perfectly healthy person.   In her opinion, my symptoms are in my head; I simply have anxiety.  “You bitch,” I wanted to snarl at her, but instead I agreed to explore her theory.   After all, I was the one who had requested a referral to a counselor at the beginning of the appointment.   I did make one statement in my defense.  ” I got sick this spring but couldn’t get the care I needed, so of course I feel anxious! No one ran any tests on me seven months ago, when I asked for help.  I don’t want actual physical symptoms overlooked just because I have anxiety!”  We agreed to meet each other halfway; she promised to check into my symptoms  for legitimacy, and I took the first step in reclaiming what I had lost.

The first step in my journey began with kickboxing.  A friend talked me into it.  “I’m probably not in adequate shape to even try this,” I balked, but she insisted.  “You’ll be fine.  The class isn’t that tough, and it’s fun!”  I puked and nearly passed out halfway through my first class.  But my friend was right.  It was fun, and I made an extremely important decision that day.  I must take better care of myself, because I am worth it.  Kickboxing is more than just an incredibly addictive treat — it has reminded me that I deserve to grow and develop.  I have spent most of my life encouraging others, and now it is time to encourage myself.  I deserve to invest in myself as much as I have invested in the lives of those around me.

Me now.  Still adorable!

Me now. Still adorable!

We stay at home parents often discount our capabilities , perhaps believing that since we are not breadwinners, we have less intrinsic worth to offer our families through support and service.  When we minimize ourselves and put our needs on the back burner, we suffer, and then the family suffers.   I have been a wife and mother for one decade.   I got married at the age of 23, just months after returning from a long deployment to the Middle East.  Barely an adult myself, I hardly knew what I wanted out of life when I married a career soldier and became a young Army spouse.  I threw myself completely into my family, doing and being everything for them.  I was trying to be Wonder Woman, never quite living up to the standards I set for myself.  That my friends, is the recipe for perpetual frustration.

Once I started to treat myself with the kindness that I deserve, I began to also give myself room to grow.  I also began to forgive myself of my faults and understand that I am not the sum of my thoughts or limitations.  It is no coincidence to me that this transformation has happened around the time of my birthday.  Every new chapter of life is traveled on a new trail.  While reflecting upon renewed life on the day of my birth, I had to ask myself what is really important.  I may never know why or how I got sick, or the real source of my illness.  I may even continue to battle illness for my entire life.  Perhaps that is but a small detail of my bigger journey.  Why waste any more time on fear and anxiety when life is out there to be lived?  The only thing that matters is today, and what I want to do about making myself better — more kind, compassionate, loving, and adventurous — than the person I was yesterday.

After spending my entire life putting the needs of others ahead of mine, I essentially have no idea who I am.  I have been angry because I miss being who I once was.  Although I really can’t go back in time, I’ve been mourning the loss of a person who hasn’t existed in years.  It is time to break out of the brittle old cage and make the journey home, to reclaim my identity and rediscover who I am by simply living my life.  Yesterday I went to the school to pick up my daughters, and one of my favorite students recognized me.  I hadn’t seen her since spring.  She has a disability that makes her speech difficult to understand, but when she stepped forward, she spoke very clearly, asking where I had been, what was going on with my hair, when would she see me again?  And she hugged me tight, three times.  I could see that I was not the only one who had given myself room to grow, and it felt very satisfying.

~G

 

 

My skin has been breaking out in swathes of pimples and streaks of rashes, thanks to my ongoing Mirena cleansing process.  With buckets of toxins and bad hormones oozing from every pore, hair and skin has taken the worst beating.  Coarse and wild, my hair resembles a horse’s uncombed tail.  But my face!  Oh, the horror.  I used to look in the mirror and say “Hey, not bad.  I can leave the house without makeup”.  Now I resemble someone slapped across the cheeks with a hot waffle iron and then squirted with olive oil for good measure.  Yuck.  I pamper my skin, but lately every well intended product just scatters more red welts across my cheeks.  Even the most gentle of moisturizers has left my face dry, itchy, and pitted, with pores large enough for someone to dive into.  Gross.  I couldn’t wear makeup, much less wash my face, without inducing yet another flare-up.  My skin has never been so sensitive or so irritated!  What to do?!

 

2014-07-03 09.28.42Fortunately, I remembered a special purchase during my recent trip to South Dakota.  I visited Prairie Edge, one of my favorite shops, in Downtown Rapid City.  Tourist attraction, souvenir/gift shop, Sioux trading post, history center and art museum rolled into one gorgeous historical landmark, Prairie Edge is nestled on the corner of Main Street and 6th.  The best is the Sioux trading post.  While my rowdy children fingered sumptuous fox tails and exclaimed loudly over the price of bison sinews and leather pieces (and I pretended they weren’t my offspring) I stared at the herbs and prairie plants.  One whole corner was dedicated to medicinal plants and herbs used by the Lakota.  Sage, the predominant healing herb, took up much space, but many other fascinating products caught my eye.  One was a small tub of salve labeled Ha Pejuta, or Skin Medicine in Lakota.  The ingredients are natural — wild bergamot, arnica, calendula, lavender, garlic, tea tree oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, and locally sourced beeswax — no chemicals.  The label states “This salve stimulates circulation and heals”.  I purchased it and a bottle of sweetgrass hydrosol, a distilled liquid smelling of the delicious water grass.

On the first night using the salve, my skin was so sensitive I could hardly cleanse without crying!  Gently dabbing the sweetgrass hydrosol over my face with a large cotton ball cooled the irritation.  Next came a few drops of tea tree oil on my T-Zone, then I rubbed a little Ha Pejuta over my face.  My skin was still very sensitive and at first the salve stung, but within a few minutes my face felt warm — the salve was living up to its claim!  The next morning my face looked clearer.  Cleansing still proved uncomfortable, but I followed the same pattern; soap for sensitive skin (the only part of the routine that included any chemicals), sweetgrass toner, tea tree oil, and Ha Pejuta salve.  I then added a dab of moisturizer with sunblock.  The salve created a barrier over my skin so I could add sunblock or moisturizers without causing further irritation.

For one week I followed the same regimen and tried not to wear makeup if possible.  The dryness and oiliness has resolved and my pores have shrunk.  The raised red areas smoothed out and disappeared.  My skin has even started to glow again!  I also made my own facial mask: a cherry tomato plucked from the garden, a dash of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of rolled oats, all pulverized in the blender with a bit of water.  I spread the mixture on my face and let it set up for 5 minutes, just enough for my skin to feel tight.  I will continue to use my Ha Pejuta salve to protect and heal my skin, and keep my fingers crossed for better facial health this summer!

2014-07-03 09.23.58

Just pulse in blender or food processor with a few drops of water and you have a homemade facial mask!

Update: After going back to my former skincare routine, my face started to look kind of blah again.  My chin broke out and I noticed dryness as well as oiliness on my nose and forehead.  So I believe the Ha Pejuta salve made an improvement.  Not wearing makeup for several days also didn’t hurt.  If you need a facial overhaul, you don’t have to buy Ha Pejuta, but try tea tree oil and a salve based on natural ingredients and try to avoid products with chemicals.  See if it helps.

— G

 

Medical Misfit

Nurse uniform in the 1900's.

Nurse uniform in the 1900’s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday a phone call from an endocrinologist’s office left me seething. An administrator — she didn’t offer a name or title — indicated in a polite but vaguely superior manner that I was not requesting services at the correct clinic.  There was an icy undertone, as if the fact that she had to contact me to explain all this was putting a huge strain on the clinic’s resources.  It took me a good ten minutes of  cajoling, conniving, convincing, and just plain bullshitting to get her to understand that it wouldn’t be a complete waste of the endocrinologist’s precious time for me to come in, but it wasn’t until I uttered the magic word ‘fibromyalgia’ that she granted me status as a legitimate patient.  What is this place, anyway?  Am I creating such an inconvenience that I cannot be seen by this doctor unless I successfully pass vetting by a bureaucratic toady with a list of secret code words?

I was not surprised that the doctor at this clinic was reluctant to take me on as a patient. My referral, sent weeks ago from my PA at Fort Riley, had been rejected on the grounds that  my “specific” needs did not “encompass” the doctor’s specialty.  It was a possibly a coding error made by the insurance company making the authorization for services. The nurse from my referring clinic spent several days making phone calls to the clinic as well as my insurance company on my behalf, smoothing over the misunderstanding and pleading my case. I don’t know if that is even part of her job, but she knows that I am sick. She has seen me too many times over the last few months to not want to help. And she must have deduced from the cryptic, noncommittal responses coming from the endocrinology clinic that I would need a champion.

It’s been difficult to get good medical care in Kansas.  My tiny local Veterans Affairs clinic seems to always be bogged down and overwhelmed; I can’t get in but once or twice a year, and that is just for routine blood tests or ‘Well Woman’ visits.  God forbid anything goes wrong in between!  When I lived in the Black Hills, I had the best VA care.  If a non-emergent matter arose, chances were I could get a same day walk-in appointment, and the staff listened to my needs.  Here the story is different. During a non emergency episode when I needed immediate advice (which happened in between my allotted visits), the local VA staff either misunderstood or misjudged my situation, leaving me to seek medical attention elsewhere.  After the incident I plan not to return to the clinic.  Luckily I can still turn to the clinic at Fort Riley, where I trust my physician and nurse.  The problems arise when they have to refer me to specialists.

I realize that it’s a Me Problem.  It’s not the world that’s strange, it’s me.  I’m the misfit.  I take supplements of turmeric and holy basil and treat hormonal breakouts on my face with a salve made from an old Native American recipe.  I use cabbage poultices and rub herbal oils on my forehead  to fight off migraines.  I am treating my current ailments using natural remedies instead of chemicals and drugs.  I abhor drugs.  I am probably a traditional doctor’s worst nightmare. So if/when I go to a specialist and invariably open my big fat mouth to spout things like “I am researching home remedies and the use of ethnobotany for possibly treating my migraines and hormonal imbalance” or “I really don’t want to take any more pills” I run the risk of being written off as a crazy jackass.  Even the mere mention that I take herbal supplements and seek chiropractic care results in odd looks, as if I am lapsing into an unknown language during the dialogue.

Yet my specialists don’t seem to take the time to actually read the medical records my referring clinic is required to fax to them.  Instead I am interrogated with rapid-fire questions, in a patronizing tone.  If they had read the records, they wouldn’t have to ask me the questions, and we would have time to discuss the most important part of a visit to any doctor: what type of treatment is truly best for the patient?  I am sure these specialists are brilliant, and with limited amounts of time in their work days they have to make quick decisions based on what information they gather from patients.  I probably don’t help with my rambling history of odd symptoms intermingled with home remedies and Native American medicines.  But damn it!  They are supposed to be highly educated professionals with vast stores of knowledge about various types of treatment.  Why are they so single-minded about ramming more pills down my throat?  And when did practicing medicine medicine come to include treating patients, and potential patients, like children, or worse yet, like criminals who have to prove their validity before receiving care?

Maybe I am wasting their time with my herbal supplements and quackery treatments. But it’s my body.  I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want better quality than the living death sentence my very first neurologist prescribed, something to the effect of “take these pills every day  for the rest of your life and pray for early menopause to ease the pain of your migraines”.  The nerve!   Certainly that can’t be the best option, for anyone.  If the care I am receiving here is so laughable, there is at least one thing that I have taken from my experience, and I do consider it a blessing.  I, and only I, am completely and unequivocally responsible for my health.  Doctors don’t know everything.  Medical professionals can and will do their best (I hope) for me, but it is ultimately up to me to take care of myself.  I can make decisions about my body and my health, because sometimes there will be no one else willing to take the steps to ensure my health.  If it takes being a medical misfit, then so be it.

I am my own best doctor, nurse, and patient!

— G

First Mirena Detox: Wrapping It Up

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My vibrant purple detox smoothie. Secret ingredient? Red cabbage!

I had promised to keep better notes for the remainder of my Mirena detox, but I failed to do so (life and all…) However, I did make observations that may be beneficial to others thinking of doing a detox, for whatever the reason.  Here is what I learned while doing my first detox.

  1.  A high quality detox is what your body deserves.  Do research and planning, make broad as well as specific goals for yourself, and be willing to invest in the best possible plan for you.  Mine was expensive, but overall I am happy with the results and plan to detox again.
  2. Don’t beat yourself up if something goes wrong during the detox process.  Case in point: during mine, I spent a week with severe stomach flu and then ended up with bronchitis! Getting my body to simply accept Pedialyte  and rice became the highest priority for several days, so I had to put detoxing on hold.  Be flexible with the process; it is all about listening to your body.
  3. Get the most out of it.  You are going to spend money (presumably) on this, so don’t counteract the positive effects by eating double bacon cheeseburgers and fried pickles the whole time.  It doesn’t work that way!  DO treat yourself to the best fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates.  Your body will respond.
  4. Get plenty of rest, drink a lot of water, stay active, and do things to reward yourself.  I like to make homemade cinnamon rice tea and stir fried vegetables to treat myself after a long day.
  5. Listen to your body during the process!  As toxins are released and the healing process accelerates, your body may begin to send more signals to indicate what it needs from you.  Go with it. Take naps, go for gentle walks, start doing yoga, try new and healthy foods for dinner.  Be open to the detox process and keep notes if you want to remember specific circumstances.  Above all, be patient and accept the fact that detoxing can take time and effort.

— G