When Christine came to Companion 18 months ago, she was feeling very overwhelmed by a litany of diagnosis, symptoms and doctors. She had a complicated and long history of Addison’s, Hashimoto’s, Fibromyalgia, weight gain, and food intolerances. Not only was she suffering from chronic muscle and joint pain, she also had inexplicable rashes and flushing all over her body which seemed to flare up more with certain foods. To add to that, she had begun having involuntary movements and periods of tingling and numbness in her legs and arms. She was taking a dozen medications added over the years by various doctors to address symptoms, and medications to then address the side effects from other medications. She was not sleeping well, had to take a leave of absence from work, and in her words: “Sick of being sick.”
Dr. Jorge started with a series of labs to get to the bottom of her systemic inflammation which was, literally, visible on her skin. A GI mapping test showed she had severe imbalance in her gut (dysbiosis) and an intolerance to gluten and dairy. She worked with her health coach to remove gluten and dairy from her diet and shifted to a plant-based diet, substantially increasing her intake of fresh vegetables to feed her gut the healthy fiber and nutrients it needed to heal.
At first the nutrition changes felt like a punishment to Christine when she was already feeling defeated, but she began to see them as an act of self-love: “I am choosing better habits because I deserve to feel better.” She began cooking at home regularly, from soups to vegetarian stir fries, and made a consistent effort to drink more water and curtail the evening cocktail.
Suspecting mold in her new home might be an issue, Dr Jorge ordered a Mycotoxin mold test which indeed showed significant mold toxicity. Dr Jorge started her on a regimen of supplements to heal her gut and a mold detox protocol which included a series of immune-boosting IVs in our office. (Fast forward, one year later, her subsequent Mycotox shows improvement of her ochratoxin and she is feeling relief from so many symptoms.)
Next up on the list: hot flashes that were keeping her up at night. Hormone Testing confirmed she was needlessly suffering hormone imbalance brought on by perimenopause. The safe bio-identical hormone therapy (BHRT) we prescribed improved her hot flashes and sleep within a few months. At the same time, she worked with her health coach to improve her sleep habits–like establishing a consistent bedtime. Her poor sleep had been depleting her energy which wiped out any motivation to exercise. This had become a vicious cycle: poor sleep-> waking with no energy-> not feeling up for exercise-> more stiffness and pain. After nine months of trying to get into an exercise habit, she found motivation with improved sleep and a new gym buddy–her teenage son! As it turned out, the gym helped them both lift their mood and provided an activity they could enjoy together! Christine noticed very quickly that when she exercised in the morning, she had more energy in the afternoon and also slept better. She has gone from sleeping only a couple hours at a time, waking throughout the night in a complete sweat, to sleeping through the night and waking energized and ready to head to the gym where she still goes 4-6 mornings a week.
Christine’s improvements did not happen overnight. They took her investment in her health, fiscally and emotionally, hard work changing habits, and real patience. And even when the aches and pains, rashes, sleep, nutrition and exercise were all improved, and the weight was coming off, it was still not where she wanted it. Dr. Jorge prescribed her Semaglutide injections which has helped her continue to lose more weight in conjunction with her significant lifestyle changes.
So where is she now? Down 38 pounds (with about 10 to go), taking only a few medications, enjoying a plant-based healthy diet and regular exercise, and sleeping through the night. We referred her to a therapist who has helped her work on her self-love, boundaries and relationships, which she was ready to improve. As she told us, “A year ago my boundaries with food, alcohol and people were nonexistent. I was a feather in the wind. Now I have a voice.”
She is proud to be a size 10 now, but Christine realizes it is so much more than weight loss: “This has become a lifestyle, no longer just a goal to achieve. It’s starting my day like this, every day, for the rest of my life, feeling strong, capable and grateful!”