So here we are.
You’ve stumbled across my website, probably in the midst of searching for answers to your own problems, and you’ve found yourself interested in mine!
Grab yourself a snack, herbal tea, and get comfortable… because this is going to be a long story. Don’t give me that look, you asked for it! 🙂
It all started when I was a tiny human.
I was always skinny and petite, growing slower than other tiny humans. After repeated fruitless visits to the doctor, my parents deluded nothing was wrong with me… I was just going to be petite (I wish!).
Years go by, I gain height and weight like everyone else. All seems normal, right? Wrong!
I suffered with serious allergies and asthma. I was allergic to everything. Dust, pollen, dander, perfume, the sun, dairy & gluten (unbeknownst to me at the time). I had insomnia, anxiety, and was plagued with influenza/colds/stomach bugs/ear infections/throat infections every few months.
The allergies made my breathing so bad, I couldn’t sleep unless I was sitting up (I’m not kidding). I had a bean bag chair pushed up against my wall to act as a “sit up” pillow, in order for me to breathe. Visits at night to the hospital for medicated breathing masks were frequent. I missed more school than I attended.
Being an 80’s kid in Canada (oh dear did I just give away my age?) I was raised on the typical Canadian Diet: Dempster Bread, Kraft Singles, Chapman’s Ice Cream, Margarine, Dunkaroos, Fruit-By-The-Foot, Poutines, Toaster Strudels and the oh-so-dear to my heart Pizza Hut stuffed-crust pizza.
Now, this is not to say that my parents didn’t actually cook meals like responsible adults. They did! However, most meals contained some form of Dairy and Gluten. I even have vivid memories of sneaking into the pantry to eat PLAIN slices of dry bread. I craved it so much it was like crack to me!
Fast-forward to the age of 11, when I broke my ring finger by breaking my fall. No, this was not from a high height. This was falling onto the first landing of our carpeted staircase from the ground. So… falling over essentially. After 12 hours at the hospital, I was sent home with a cast and a diagnosis of brittle bones. Brittle bones at 11 years old. An 11 year old with brittle bones. Let’s let that sink in for a sec…
By the age of 13, I was tipping the scales. Not only did I have the same problems as when I was younger, they were exacerbated by my disordered eating.
On top of this, I had a physical pain in my body, from head to toe that would come and go. I was able to piece together the correlation between eating a meal and the pain coming on within hours. The pain was likened to being hit by a truck (not that I know what that feels like). My entire body felt like one giant bruise. I couldn’t touch my back, chest, my stomach or my throat/neck without excruciating pain. My lymph nodes became swollen and sore to the touch. My body filled with fluid (edema) every time.
But why? My family doctor had no answers.
I went on like that for years, accepting that food could sometimes make me wish I hadn’t eaten.
Speed up to the age of 18. I was no longer tipping the scales, but I was sicker than ever.
My hair was falling out, my nails were peeling, I was frozen all the time, had zero energy, I would get dizzy when going from a seated to standing position, blood sugar was all over the place, periods were screwed up… It was horrible. Absolutely horrible.
Are you actually still reading this giant novel of a story? What do you know! You’re just as crazy as I am, I approve 🙂
Moving onto my early 20’s.
I contracted infectious mononucleosis that went un-diagnosed for weeks. If anyone reading this has ever had it, you know it’s akin to slowly dying. The edema in the eyes, the excruciating pain in the throat to where it hurt to even breathe, the utter and complete exhaustion…. It’s no game that’s for sure.
The doctors told me they couldn’t do anything but watch it. This was, obviously, unsatisfactory advice. So we sought out the help of a Naturopath. She took one look at me and handed me a bottle of Defense Plus by Nutribiotics. No more than 3 days later, I was on the road to recovery. No longer were my eyes swollen shut… the excruciating throat pain began to subside… and I felt as though I was alive again.
It was that very same Naturopath that discovered I was allergic to several foods. I had adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, hypothyroidism, and celiac among other allergies. She started me on a course of Rhodiola, B12 injections, Iron supplementation and dietary guidelines.
Finally, I had some answers!!
You can see in the photo on this post, the face on the left is the next morning after being cross-contaminated by allergens such as gluten, dairy, MSG, carageenan, or whatever else I’m allergic to. The face on the right is 2 days later.
The allergies affect my lymphatic system. So when even a small crumb of gluten goes into my body (gluten triggers this response the most, with carrageenan coming in second), it leaks out into my bloodstream by means of tiny holes in my digestive tract… and causes my immune system to go absolutely f*cking bonkers. This leads to systemic inflammation and edema.. among other things. Thus, the cycle continues.
I do not wish this on any human.
Daaaaayum, look at you! Dedicated to readin’ up on my problems and stuff. You’re awesome 🙂
And here we are.
The year 2017.
I am finding great success in following a Low-Histamine Whole Foods Plant-Based lifestyle with great focus on lysine levels (immune boosting) and digestibility.
I have my slip ups, but I’m only human. I still have a lot to figure out, however, life is a Journey and this one is 100% mine.
I hope that my story helps to shed some light on your own personal situation. If I can help even just one person by spilling my inflamed guts, it’s so worth it.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me and my story.
Love, peace and coconut grease…
– Casandra Willis 🙂