Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Nutritional Supplement Story
WARNING!! This is a lengthy post, but I feel it is important.....

Here I am in December 2001, Holding my 6 month old (who is 10 1/2 now!) & on the right is me (summer 2011) after getting my lab results at the hematologist. 
Clearly you all can tell that I am much healthier & happier. 

Back in 2001 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which since has been up graded (or down graded depending on your view) to hoshimoto's disease. Basically my immune system is destroying and killing my thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is what produces hormones that greatly affect metabolism (hence the extreme weight?), fatigue, mood and other various symptoms. I knew something was not right, however I was told it was all normal postpartum issues. I knew briefly about thyroid disorders from some of the women in my family including my own mother. I had an aunt who had her thyroid removed due to suspected cancer, my grandmother suffered in the past and had been on meds for most of her life. My mother actually had radiation therapy when I was about the age of 2. I guess at 26, it was my turn? I went to many endocrinologists who kept telling me that my labs were normal and the weight was because of what I was consuming and that I needed to be more active. OK, so what does a FAT girl do? join weight watchers and exercise 2 hrs a day, 1 hr cardio and 1 hr weight training (with trainers too). I did loose a little weight...however I did not see or feel the results like I hoped. I did notice that through the exercising I felt mentally stronger and kept that up. I did my best with the diet regime. 
After many years of struggling with my weight, I decided to go under the knife. Was I scared you ask? Of course but not for the reasons you would expect. I had done my research and trusted the surgeon completely. My fear was that it would not work and that I would have put my family and myself through this stress for nothing. I had the gastric banding that would restrict the amount of food I ate, which would help with controlling hunger. Again, I was lead to believe it was because I was eating too much, even though I was eating healthy food. It was just too much.

I lost over 90 lbs! For those of you that do not know much about the LAP band, the patient must visit the surgeon often to adjust the amount of saline that is in the band. The port is just under the skin in the abdominal area. Because this is me we are discussing, that port flipped and I required surgery to fix it later on. I had to sleep sitting up because I suffered (and still do) from esophageal dysmotility. This is when the esophagus does not help with swallowing nor does it help to keep the food/liquid down. I would drink water and lay down to sleep hours after drinking and would end up choking and gagging because the water would travel up my throat and I would aspirate it (breathe into my lungs). 
Then in 2006, along came my youngest child (who is now 5!). During the pregnancy I had gained back all the weight because I had to completely unfill the band due to reflux, causing me to eat normal amounts of food. 
It wasn't until we figure out my body was rejecting the surgical silicone the band was made out of that I decided to convert the band to the more invasive bypass, which restricts and adds in the malabsorption of nutrition (my youngest was about 3 then).
 Again I lost weight.

However my blood work which had always been so/so was now really bad. I was serverly anemic, deficient in vitamins; D, C, A, K, B's and so on. Not to mention that no matter how much my thyroid meds increased my thyroid was always wicky-wacky. I also required multiple abdominal surgeries such as hernias (results of being over weight), hysterectomy (due to endometriosis) and I was requiring iron IV infusions weekly. 
I had known that it would be required to consume vitamins/supplements for the rest of my life, that no matter how much I ate, it would not be enough due to the malabsorption, I would never ingest enough nutrients for optimal health. I was taking the dr recommended chewable or sublingual supplements, injecting myself with B12 weekly. My regiment of vitamins was CRAZY. I started at 5am, took something every hr and ended at about 10pm everyday. I had to sort out when I would take what. I learned a lot about which vitamins to take together for proper absorption and which ones to never ingest together because they would block each other from being absorbed. I did this religiously, and my labs were still crap. 
About 2 years ago, after a shocking visit to the Hemotologist, I was determined to be healthy. The Dr explained to me that iron is what helps carry oxygen and nutrients to my vital organs. He told me that if I did not do something, my organs would begin to fail as a result. He estimated 5-10 years. I cried. I sobbed. thought long and hard of what to do. Then I wiped my tears and began research into a company I had been invested in as just a consumer of the non-toxic cleaners SHAKLEE.
It dawned on me that just as I cleaned up my house of toxins, I needed to do the same to myself. I threw out all my bariatric supplements (which did not help and cost about $175 per month).
During my vitamin/supplement research I learned that many vitamins on the market are laced with toxic chemicals and ingredients that offset the potency of the vitamin. Also smoking is that after calling the companies of those expensive briatric vitamins, they could not guarantee the results of the vitamins, not could they guarantee they were safe. When I explained to them that my labs where not moving in the right direction, they tried telling me that the vitamins may be expired! Umm, I think I can read the expiration date. Basically there did not stand behind the products they were pushing on people desperate to be healthy that had just had major surgery and were only listening to the advice of the surgeon.

I switched to the Shaklee  Vitalizer as a test run (cost $76 per month). Within 30 days my labs increased tremendously. The Endocrinologist could not understand why it seemed that  suddenly it appeared as though my thyroid meds where being absorbed better. My Dr's where shocked. I went back after 6 months of consuming the vitalizer and for the first time in almost 10 years, I felt better, looked better and the best thing of all my labs were AWESOME! 
Since then I have added other supplements to offset the fact that I do and will always suffer from malabsorption. Some of the other supplements I added are B ComplexVitamin D,  Vitamin C, Nutriferon, Omegaguard, and of course the  CINCH products. 
My husband was so impressed with the increase in my overall health he also consumes shaklee vitamins and is sick less often than his co-workers! He complains less about feeling run down, joints hurting and his energy level is higher than it has been since he was in his 20's.
To make this long story a little shorter, I'm do not regret the weightloss surgery (regret the lap band tho), I am glad, it motivated me to continue to search for my optimal health by showing me what feeling healthier was like and made me stronger, mentally :)

Me in august 2011
I still have a lil ways to go with my goal weight (I'm doing CINCH), I'm confident I will succeed :)
(I know I am healthier now in my 30's then I ever was in my 20's, so I say bring on the 40's!) 

Have a great day!

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