It has been a while since I posted. It has been a busy couple of months with vacation and starting a new job as a GI lab nurse. After 5 1/2 years in the ER, I finally switched specialties. My 5 year plan is to become a Nurse Practitioner and I am very interested in focusing in Gastroenterology as an area of specialty.
This is prompted by my own gut health issues of course, but the more I started researching and the more people I started talking to I realized many people have issues with their gut. I am specifically interested in Colitis, Chron’s, Celiac’s, and how a person’s immune system reacts to and perpetuates those conditions in-addition to the other auto-immune conditions that a person is at risk for when they suffer from those conditions. Yes, I am a nurse, but my original degree is in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from CU Boulder. I totally go into science nerd mode when I read about this stuff! I love it!
I now have enough information to share my story with you in hopes of getting someone else thinking about their own health issues and possibly address that nagging feeling “something just isn’t right.” I was diagnosed with SIBO last week. This link takes you to the type of article that makes my science nerd squeal with delight. Chris Kresser has great info here that is straight forward and won’t bog you down with in-depth science stuff.
My “something just isn’t right” moment started about 3-4 years ago when I noticed that wheat products, when consumed in excess, started making me extremely bloated and gassy. Weird, I thought. I never had a problem when I was little. So I rolled with it and ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I also started to notice I had loose stools too.
In January 2016, I had my gallbladder removed after being diagnosed with gallbladder dyskinesia. I felt great for 3 short months after my gallbladder came out. No symptoms except for loose stools which I chalked up to not having a gallbladder anymore. Then the severe heartburn started. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I also started having severe abdominal bloating, abdominal discomfort, nausea, brain fog, and other vague symptoms. Again, I figured it was because I didn’t have a gallbladder.
After putting up with this for a year, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I finally made an appointment with a GI doctor. I had to wait 3 months to see her. So I decided to follow a Paleo elimination diet in February 2017. This went really, really well. A lot of my symptoms went away. I continued to eat strict paleo for many months, slowly re-introducing foods back in. Potatos, oats, good old fashioned sugar, small amounts of white bread, corn and beans-all good. Wheat bread, white and brown rice, dairy-all bad. With dairy being really, really bad. Then my symptoms came back the beginning of May 2017. I felt awful and I really thought I was going crazy. Why did everything change all of a sudden? Why did I seem to have food intolerances and food sensitivities when I used to be fine in my 20’s?
I got into see the GI doctor at the end of May and I was tested for Celiac’s (negative test result), H. Pylori (negative test result too) and SIBO in June. My test result for SIBO just came back last week exactly one month after I took the breath test for it. In retro-spect my diet might have been low FODMAP this past winter and recently has become higher FODMAP this past spring leading to a flare up of my symptoms.
A completely accidental finding, which might be related or unrelated, I have abnormal liver function tests that my primary care doctor found on routine blood work that I requested be performed. This could be due to many things and now I have to get repeat blood work done and will be getting a liver ultrasound tomorrow. This could have been diet or supplement related. This could be an autoimmune thing. This could be a tumor. This could be related to my lack of a gallbladder. Or this could just be a fluke thing and was caused because I went to a Crossfit class prior to my blood work being drawn and my liver function was elevated due to the stress of Crossfit on my body.
As a follow-up to my previous blog post Let’s. Talk. About. Fat. Baby eating a high fat diet did not raise my cholesterol levels. My total cholesterol is 173 (should be below 200). My LDL is 101 (should be below 100). My HDL is 57 (should be above 46). My triglycerides are 77 (should be below 150). Not too shabby for someone who has be diagnosed with high cholesterol and controls it with diet and exercise.
I also have included pictures of myself this blog post that I took today after my run this morning. If you want to criticize my body feel free, but that isn’t why I am including these pics. I am including them because you guys don’t know me. I could see where it would be easy to think that someone who is overweight and sedentary is blogging about this stuff if you don’t see a picture of them. It can be easy to fall into stereo types with our thinking. Someone who is overweight has health issues and someone who is thin has none.
Not true. I am 34 years old, very active, and take the best care of myself I can that is within my budget to do so. I am trying to fuel my body and heal my body with food while steering clear of excessive medications. Little did I realize that certain foods where contributing to my symptoms.
My weight fluctuates based off of my food and activity levels. I am 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds of yesterday. I have recently added more low FODMAP grains into my diet and have backed off the Crossfit. That is what my body needs right now. I weighed around 135 pounds eating a high fat, no grain diet but now have decided to steer clear of excessive animal fat consumption until I figure out my liver problems. I have found that the summer produce is not meeting my carb needs so I have added the grains I can tolerate back in.
My plan is to take the antibiotic prescribed to me for my SIBO, follow a low FODMAP diet for the next 2-6 weeks, and take a probiotic. After that I will follow a Paleo diet again to help heal my leaky gut and provide the best environment for my good bacteria to thrive. I feel that medical problems need to be treated holistically with the occasional help from modern, mainstream medicine. This is an interesting source discussing antibiotic vs. diet treatment for SIBO if you are interested. Here is a podcast link from Robb Wolf and Dr. Ken Brown on SIBO and its treatment that I also found fascinating. While I am aware that not everyone agrees on SIBO, its causes, its treatments, or its long term effects on a person’s health I really feel that it is causing a lot of my health issues and some issues I have noticed that seem unrelated to my gut. More research needs to be done and as I figure things out I will keep you all posted.