This is so long, I don't know if I should even post it. I tried VERY hard to include all the details I could think of. There's probably a ton of unnecessary one, but I didn't want to leave out any important clues. Here goes:
I was born in a hospital, without meds of any kind, as far as I know, for myself or my mother. My mother breastfed me, not entirely sure how long, but guessing around a year. I don’t think I was ever given formula. After I was weaned, I would have had pasteurized cow’s milk until I was about six, at which point, I switched to raw goat’s milk until I was about 12 or 13.
I was raised in the country. We gardened. I ate a lot of home-canned food. Drank well water. I played outside a lot. We lived right next to a wheat field, which was sprayed from time to time. My mother would make us come inside and she would close the windows while they sprayed. Our eating habits were far from perfect. We didn’t drink pop or eat lots of desserts, but they made a regular appearance at our table, and my mother regularly used shortening, margarine, white sugar, and Cool Whip. I didn’t even know what real butter was. I thought it was another name for margarine. *sighs*
I was generally a very healthy child. A few ear infections when I was young - which I’m pretty sure were treated with antibiotics. My mother was very nervous about the possibility of my getting a fever that could cause brain damage, so she welcomed antibiotics as the safeguard against that. Still, I doubt I had more than three or four rounds of antibiotics total in my childhood. I can only remember taking them once, for sure. The standard vaccinations for the 80's up until I was 5 or 6, where after I never had any more.
I got lice at around the age of six? I’m not sure, just guessing. My hair was very long, and I just have vague memories of my mother painstakingly going through my hair. It was not fun for either of us. I’m pretty sure that she would have used lice shampoo on me. (I've heard that lice shampoo is HIGHLY toxic?)
At some point when I was a child, I developed a large brown pigmentation on my skin, as well as several other brown spots scattered over my body. I was apparently young enough that I don’t remember it showing up, but my mother informed me recently that I was NOT born with it. I plan to try to go back and look at pictures to see if I can get an idea of when it appeared. Any wounds or scratches that I get on that brown spot take much longer to heal, and one small wound actually turned into a mole when it healed.
First trip to the dentist when I was ten. I had a little sensitivity in my bottom front teeth, and a gap between my two front teeth, but otherwise no problems at all. He cleaned my teeth and sent me on my way. The sensitivity went away on its own after awhile. No braces or anything else required.
11 years old: acne set in. I hated it, and when I figured out that chocolate seemed to aggravate it, I quit eating it entirely. I ate virtually no chocolate for the next 11 years. I also drastically reduced my intake of sugar, always checking labels for how many grams of sugar it contained. I slowly began eliminating more foods that I thought were making me break out: milk, sugar, cheese, chocolate, fried foods, and salty foods were all forbidden. I ate a lot of bread, because I thought it was something safe I could have. I was very thin from ages 10 - 13. VERY thin. I remember eating thirteen meatballs in one meal, or drinking about a quart of milk in one sitting, and still being skinny as a rail. My mother was always very thin, and could eat more than the average person without gaining weight. In fact, she struggled to keep it on, but she also was a workhorse that was constantly going.
12 years old: started my period. Acne did NOT improve.
13 years old: still super skinny. I had long, thick straight hair down to my hips. It wouldn’t hold a curl at all. It was around this time that what I thought was a zit appeared on my face. It turned out to be a sebaceous cyst that slowly but surely grew bigger and bigger.
14 years old: still quite thin, but less than before. Cut my hair to about waist length. Still very straight. Cyst more noticeable, and really hard on my self-esteem. Emotions were pretty low a lot. Periods were manageable, but not fun.
15 years old: In April of that year, a plastic surgeon removed the cyst, which was the size of a hazelnut. Partial sedation for surgery, and a round of antibiotics afterward. I remember loving it, because while I was on the antibiotics, my skin cleared up BEAUTIFULLY. My mother gave me acidophilus pills to take WHILE I was taking the antibiotics, but I don’t remember taking them afterwards. If so, certainly not for any extended period of time. It was either June or July of that year that I first noticed my hair falling out. I would try to explain it, but everyone would say, “It’s normal to lose x amount of hairs a day”. This was different. It was sliding out on its own, there was more of it... it was just... weird. I had so much hair that it wasn’t anything more than a “Huh. Wonder why that’s happening?” kind of thing. I attributed it to the huge amount of stress I had experienced that spring, including a major competition, the cyst surgery, and a recital. That fall is the first time I really remember working to keep my weight where I wanted it.
16 years old: much happier without the cyst. Hair still falling out. Skin really bad. Always trying to cover it up with heavy makeup, which no doubt aggravated it. My weapons of choice were benzyl peroxide creams and the like. They didn’t help much and dried out my skin. Emotionally, I was doing great! I was popular, outgoing, and happy. Skipped meals a lot to keep my weight where I wanted it, but by no means was I anorexic. It was just a matter of skipping lunch or supper once in a while to lose a couple of pounds. I also worked out fairly regularly, which helped.
17 years old: Really getting tired of “teenage” skin. I was so ready to outgrow it. Blackheads seemed to be getting worse, even though I washed my face religiously. Acne was just a part of life, but I hated it. Graduated. Got a job. My job didn’t encourage healthy habits: I would often go all day long without eating, then come home and pig out at supper, because I was starving. I was still not what most people would call overweight, but struggled with carrying weight on my thighs more than what was proportionate. I also realized I had cellulite. Periods became very painful at this point, often making work difficult. I caught a cold, which developed into bronchitis that lasted for close to six weeks. My job was very stressful.
18 years old: Chicken pox in the spring. I had been exposed before but never caught it until then. It was wickedly miserable. I don’t even remember itching as much as I just remember hurting and hurting. Stressful summer. Fast forward to that fall: engaged to be married; deliriously happy in that regard, but physically falling apart. I was tired all the time. I would wake up in the morning, get up and make my bed, and already be exhausted again from the effort. My skin was bad. Hair STILL falling out, and after all of the years of hair loss, I didn’t have the mane I used to. The amount of hair I was losing at one time was starting to scare me. I started going to a naturopath. Unfortunately, I didn’t know much about health matters, so I can’t say exactly what I was diagnosed with. I just wanted him to fix me. :-) He would take blood and urine samples, test them with some little machine, and then prescribe various vitamins and minerals. I do remember him telling me that several of my organs were not functioning properly (one was my liver, I believe), and that I was “pre-cancerous”. He hastened to add that I did NOT have cancer, but that I needed to change the course my body was taking or something like that. I have no idea if he knew what he was talking about or not. What I DO know is that whatever he put me on actually made a difference. I think the majority of the supplements that he had me on were the Metagenics brand. I distinctly remember taking their Ultra Clear Plus, because I despised it and thought it was nasty. What’s really terrible, is that I didn’t even know what it was, or why I was taking it. I definitely didn’t take it as often as I was supposed to. I also took a Vitamin C supplement put out by Metagenics, because the month that he had me on that, my skin looked amazingly clear. Within two months of being on the program, my skin started looking better than it had in YEARS. My hair also stopped falling out as badly. I believe that the naturopath also put me on a restrictive diet, but that doesn’t stick in my head so much, because I’d already been avoiding foods for years. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t allowed to have dairy or vinegar, though. I stayed on the program for about 7 months? At one point, I distinctly remember the naturopath putting me on Primal Defense, because after he did, I quit catching every bug that was going around my workplace, whereas before I was getting sick all the time. But the supplements were running about $250 a month. I was trying to pay for a wedding, and couldn’t afford to keep going. I was feeling so much better that I was pleased with the results, and had no problem quitting.
19 years old: married. Energy was back up, and I was even able to indulge in sugar without breaking out, as long as I didn’t go crazy with it. My skin wasn’t perfect, but way, way better than it had been in years. We were poor, poor, poor, though, so we lived on a steady diet of free day-old bread, pasta, and pancakes. My poor hubby got cheap-o lunch meat sandwiches and we ate margarine because it was way cheaper than butter. We gained a little weight, but I still got to keep my good skin until we went on a trip and stayed with a lovely lady who had a house full of sugar. We ate an unbelievable amount of sweets. I distinctly remember that as the turning point, because my skin became angry again. If my hair started falling out again, it wasn’t enough to alarm me.
20 years old: After a year of carbs, I was 15 pounds heavier, putting me at my heaviest weight ever. (Only 7 pounds over my “recommended” weight for my height, though). I started doing aerobics, determined to shed the pounds. I pushed myself harder than I ever had in my life, sweating and forcing myself to do “just a little more”. Not only did I not lose weight, my thighs grew larger. We moved to a new house, one that needed TONS of work. A major remodeling job took place; we did most of the work ourselves. One job was stripping the paint off of a staircase; it was hours of work with an extremely strong stripping-chemical that even I worried about being exposed to at the time. A couple of months later, I was pregnant. From the beginning, it was a nightmare. I had a fever. I was nauseous. Then I was throwing up. All the time. I threw up until it felt like my stomach had split open, and the streaks of blood in my vomit didn’t reassure me. I lost 15 pounds, but should have lost much more, considering how little food I managed to keep down. I went days with almost no fluids. I would eat food, struggle to keep it down for hours, then throw it back up six hours later, undigested. The most horrible acid reflux set in, something I had no previous experience with. I found out I had hyperemesis gravidarum. I couldn’t even bear to change clothes, or wear anything fitted at all. The motion of pulling a shirt over my head would make me start vomiting. If I so much as LOOKED at my kitchen, I became ill. Prenatal vitamins were out of the question as they came right back up, so I didn’t take them. My husband would go to work, and when he came back home, I would be right where he left me, laying on the couch, deathly ill. I didn’t even need to use the bathroom the whole day because I was so dehydrated.. When, at around four months, I was actually able to start eating some food again, I became horribly constipated. This resulted in another fun new experience: hemorrhoids. Thankfully, they improved as the pregnancy progressed. My midwives tried very hard to help me. I tried an herbal tea: threw it up. I tried homeopathics (Nux Vomica); no help. I tried digestive enzymes briefly in the beginning, but noticed no improvement. I tried protein shakes every half hour, which helped briefly, then stopped making a difference. I remained sick up until giving birth.
21 years old: My baby M. was born after an uneventful, 10 hour labor. He was 10 days late and skinny, but very big - over 9 lbs. I pushed for about an hour; had a home birth, no meds, and no tearing. Did take ibprofen once or twice for afterbirth pains. My sickness disappeared within 24 hours. He nursed like a champ. Other than my tendency to bleed too much and extreme weakness due to the long illness, we recovered nicely. Oh... but those pesky hemorrhoids reappeared after pushing out that 9 pound baby. Chronic constipation also seemed to set in. Oh, and ridges in my nails appeared. About a month after he was born, I found my first white hair. (Really?? At 21??) Unfortunately, it was only the first of many to follow. Chronic dandruff set in. My back hurt very badly for months after he was born, but eventually seemed to go back to normal. T-Tapping seemed to really help. M started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old. At around 3 months old, he started waking up again. We decided it was teething... or did it have anything to do with his shots? His first shot was right around 4 months old, and we only let him have one. We spaced them out every two months, never letting him have more than two at once. At 18 months old, we abandoned M’s shot program all together, as evidence began convincing me that perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea. Weaned M. at 14 months old. He slept horribly. Even at 18 months old, I remember him waking up and crying repeatedly during the night. He never slept through the night regularly until he was 3 and a half. When M. was about six months old, I took peppermint essential oil internally at the advice of a naturopath (they said to detox my liver), and a persistent rash on the back of M’s leg promptly went away and didn’t return, and my chronic dandruff FINALLY went away.
22 years old: fighting that baby weight. Actually, I weighed LESS after my child was born than I did before I got pregnant, thanks to the vomiting. But, the fat on my body had shifted and seemed to cling stubbornly to my tummy and thighs. Especially my thighs. My cellulite hadn’t improved.
23 years old: Skin not great, not terrible. Noticed new moles showing up, especially on arms. Weight a little better. Starting to shift to healthier foods: butter instead of margarine. No more shortening or CoolWhip the majority of the time. Occasional juicing. Got inspired and did a 14-day fresh juice fast, hoping to “detox” and avoid another horrible pregnancy. No noticeable changes, other than the hemorrhoids disappeared for good, until... then next pregnancy.
24 years old: Pregnant. Mild , constant sickness that faded around three months. Which was also when I found out that the baby had died. Miscarried with the help of homeopathics two weeks later. Recovery was very slow. Bled horribly at the slightest over-exertion. Did Dr. Foster’s liver cleanse that summer, kept improving my diet. While not actually varicose, my veins seems very blue and prominent in the back of my legs and forearms. Tried to go back to my naturopath, but he was no longer practicing. Tried another one. Had thyroid and hormones tested, both came back fine. Naturopath had no insight; wasn’t very helpful. Said it sounded like I was doing everything right.
25 years old: Pregnant again, and sick as a dog all over again. Not QUITE as severe as the first time, but still horrible. Food not digesting; constipation; unable to tolerate ANY water or fluid other than one herbal tea for a month-long stretch - not even much of that would stay down. Promptly lost 15 pounds. Dragged myself through the pregnancy and survived it to deliver a 7 lb. 11. oz. R - one week before his due date. Again, no meds, and fairly uneventful. At 7 days old, R. became very fussy and irritable. Spent the next few weeks crying a lot. R. had green poop at some point in the first couple of months; the midwife said that meant I needed more fat, so I ate more. More and more fat, but his poop stayed green. My weight, which had fallen off effortlessly, suddenly started piling back on. It was like I had messed up my metabolism and couldn’t get it to reverse. Not sure what changed, but eventually his poops went back to normal - in color. But he started going only once a week. Or week and a half. Or he might even go close to two weeks. They kept saying it was normal, but it didn’t seem right to me.
26 years old. My hair won’t stop falling out. My teeth look translucent. Legs ache just before and during period; sometimes they ache when I’m just tired. Sebaceous cyst appears on top of head. Blackheads are out of control. Body odor that NEVER goes away, no matter how much I scrub; if I sweat too much it will sinks into shirts and ruins them forever. The only time the BO was really gone was once after a Dr. Singha’s mustard bath. Notice more mucus in my throat and nose than normal. Ridges have spread to my toenails. I developed two bald patches in the front that thankfully started growing back in after a brief round of prenatal vitamins (New Chapter). My pelvis feels loose and “slips”; I can feel my joints/bones grinding when I roll over in bed. Sometimes it’s quite painful, mostly just mildly annoying.
R was exclusively breastfed until he was almost 8 months old. Started him with avocadoes, gently cooked egg yolks, and other veggies. Kept him almost totally off wheat until he was almost a year old. He has never been vaccinated. He was a horrible sleeper. HORRIBLE. He could wake up every half hour. He cried and cried and cried through the nights. It had now been years since I’d had any kind of regular sleep. I was worn to the point of sheer exhaustion.
27 years old: My health is shot. Skin is horrid, horrid. Aggravated by dairy, raw or not. Wheat give me a stomachache within five minutes. A little wheat leaves me bloated and miserable for the rest of the day. Whole wheat seems to effect me far worse than white flour. ?? Oats don’t necessarily give me stomachaches, but seem to make me pack on weight overnight. Must take herbal laxatives to stay regular. My hair falls out all the time. I can’t lose weight. Working out seems to make me GAIN weight. Difficulty recovering from exertion. Skin seems... not very elastic. Ridges in nails, weak veins, struggles with depression, and tired all the time. Major keratosis pilaris on backs of arms; has now spread to sides of upper thighs. Hands and feet are cold constantly. Want to just curl up in a warm place and not move. My eyes - normally noted for being very large - somehow look “smaller” and less open all the time. Dark circles under my eyes for years now. Lack of focus/ambition. Whites of eyes look dingy, not very white, and bloodshot. Dandruff that I canNOT get rid of. Dandruff spreads to my eyeslashes. Little flesh-colored bumps form around base of eyeslashes. Skin around my lips is pale, won’t tan, even though the rest of my face does. Really dry feet with cracked heels. Sensitive skin that is easily irritated when scratched.
I nursed R - even through the night - until he was almost 20 months old. Slowly started switching him to a bottle. My body was exhausted, he cried when he pooped, and I was fed up with trying SO stinkin’ hard to be healthy... and yet my kids just didn’t seem healthy. I mean, we rarely got colds, and we had good teeth, but they were just so FUSSY.
Raw milk made all the difference. R started pooping like a champ; no more crying or straining. I felt relieved and free to wean him. He started sleeping through the night almost immediately after I weaned him. ???
After about a month of giving R a bottle of milk at bedtime, I started noticing that his teeth looked... different. They were still very white, but not so SOLID looking. Then I started wondering if they were actually disappearing. It looked like the enamel was wearing away. I couldn’t be sure, but...
Then MY teeth started being weird. They had been a little sensitive off and on before, but now... I looked in the mirror one day, and this tooth felt really sensitive. I looked at it, and it was like... a sinkhole had appeared over night in my tooth. Not brown decay. Just... like part of my tooth had disappeared. In the next few weeks, I developed probably ten cavities. Just like that. I went from NO cavities for 27 years, to TEN in two weeks??? I started noticing a direct correlation between what I ate and a new cavity appearing. I eat oats for breakfast, a sandwich with bread for lunch, and something dairy/sweet for supper: BOOM. New spot shows up on my teeth tomorrow. I’m not kidding. It’s that fast. And I can FEEL it in my teeth right after I eat it; it’s like the minerals being sucked right out of my teeth. Sounds nuts, right? After the “sinkhole” appeared in my tooth, it’s like my bite is off now. I often feel like my face is tense or headachey (I almost never get headaches), like I just can’t quite get my mouth to sit properly.
I’m not SURE about R’s teeth. They don’t look quite “right” to me, but there’s nothing glaringly wrong, either. But my husband’s teeth have suddenly taken a turn for the worse, with two BIG cavities in his back teeth (he’s always had poor teeth, though), and when I looked in M’s mouth today, I’m almost certain I found a little cavity.
What gives??? For the past year of my life, I have worked harder than EVER to provide the healthiest food I can give my family. I cook almost everything from scratch, have reduced our use of white sugar to almost nothing, and only eat Rapadura or raw honey-sweetened desserts once a week, as a general rule. I realize that may not be perfect, but compared to most people, it’s AWESOME. And their teeth aren’t falling apart, and ours are. We never drink pop, or fruit juices. We use Himalayan salt, which is supposedly packed with minerals. I have greatly reduced the amount of bread we eat. We do eat a lot of brown rice, though. I make kefir, but I don’t drink it because the dairy still seems to bother me. Water kefir has never turned out properly for me, even though I’ve tried to get it to do its thing. We eat free-range chicken, but I’m sure the beef we eat is grain-fed... supposed to be antibiotic and hormone free, though. I get healthy eggs some of the time, but can’t always afford to. I buy organic produce whenever I possibly can.
I have never used hormonal birth control or prescription meds (other than my childhood antibiotics). I don’t even ever use Tylenol or ibprofen, with the exception of dealing with afterpains after giving birth. I don’t drink coffee, or even tea most of the time. I never drink alcohol. I don’t smoke. I don’t go to tanning beds. I may be “blubbery” for me, but I would not be considered overweight by the medical establishment. I don’t wear fake nails, and only paint my toenails maybe once a year. I use natural cleaning products around the house.
A few notes in regards to things that may or may not be significant to the rapid decline of our teeth: shortly before I started noticing the active tooth problems, we went through two little jars (in two months) of Bubbie’s sauerkraut. Whenever I ate it, or even drank the juice, it would almost instantly help the constant stomach aches I was having, so I did enjoy small amounts frequently. Could the lactic acid have caused problems?
Also, I went through a bottle of Garden of Life’s RAW Prenatals. I was desperately trying to get my hair to stop falling out. It didn’t seem to help my hair, but I FELT an amazing difference in my energy levels. Probably a week after I ran out of them, my teeth started falling apart.
Shortly before my teeth did their thing, I also started getting up at 5:30, trying to accomplish more. I was also fasting one day a week. The fasting seemed to kick my body into starvation mode, and I’ve been packing on the weight ever since, no matter what I do or don’t do. I’m no longer fasting or getting up at 5:30 most mornings.
To top it all off, we have a mold problem in our house. I probably started smelling it about six months ago. It’s apparently inside one of the walls, and will be a major thing to fix. Due to various factors, it has gotten bumped back until we get our taxes back, which should be very soon. Since I’ve smelled the mold, I’ve noticed the boys have coughs, runny noses, etc. and I get headaches sometimes just from sitting by that wall. I know it’s a bad thing: but could it have affected our teeth?
During this time, I’ve also had very high stress. Years of no sleep, a recent diagnosis of terminal cancer in my immediate family, a wedding in the family, a very tight budget, and a HORRID stomach virus that wiped us out for two weeks. I’m also questioning our lack of iodine; we stopped using iodized salt probably five years ago, because it was supposed to be “Bad” - now I’m wondering if that was a smart move.
I have read and read and READ trying to fix this thing by myself. I’m so tired of trying things and them not working. I’m tired of spending all my time in the kitchen, and still having worse health than everyone else.
My current theory is this: Food allergies. I suspect, wheat, dairy, eggs, tomatoes, oats, corn, potatoes, rice, kamut, and soy. There’s probably more. I think my adrenals are shot, and I’ve gotten to the point where I’m so mineral-deficient (but why???), that anytime I eat something I’m allergic to, it’s draining the minerals I have left right out of my body. In this case, it seems to be going straight from my teeth.
Another note: both of the boys were born with ridges in their toenails. And their toenails curl down instead of growing straight out. R looks like he’s developing mild ridges in his fingernails. And all of a sudden, in the last 2-3 months, the boys AND I have all developed new moles. R has one on the palm of his hand and one in his hair! And I got one on my stomach, where I have no moles, and it’s not exactly exposed to the sun a lot. Weird.
Everything seems to be pointing to a mineral deficiency, food allergies, and possibly fungal something-or-other. But I’m too tired to try to put it together anymore. I’ve read and researched until I’m sick of all of the conflicting information.
What I’m doing now: I’m broke, so my options are limited. I took a couple of Standard Process products for a couple of weeks (bioDent and CataFood), hoping to stave off the cavities. I can’t really afford to have 10 cavities fixed at the moment, and I don’t see the point if new ones keep popping up every few days.
Avoiding my suspected allergens seems to help. Taking amla powder mixed with spirulina seems to help. Drinking nettles tea in hopes that it’s helping my mineral levels. I’m VERY leary of taking a mineral supplement, but NOT taking one sure hasn’t helped me, so... I may have to consider it yet.
The craziest thing of all, is that we started eating this way BECAUSE my husband was having such bad problems with his teeth. We had gradually been eating healthier a little more and a little more, but after two thousand dollars worth of dental work, we decided we couldn’t afford to NOT eat healthier. So we started eating all real food, limiting sugar like crazy, and he started taking Butter Oil and Fish Oil from Green Pastures.
And now we all have bad teeth. Sigh.
I just want SO BADLY to be healthy. I don't wanna just be kinda-okay. I want to be radiantly healthy. I want my KIDS to be healthy. I want there to be direct results from all of my efforts. I want to live a little more like a normal person. I don’t want to think about every ingredient I put in my food or in my mouth every single day. Or at least, if I do have to do that, I want it to pay off.
So... (whew!)... any ideas?