As I mentioned last week, my doctors ran several tests and sent me for several scans to try and find out why my incision line kept breaking down and wouldn’t heal. I was also placed on several antibiotics in addition to topical treatments that I used in an attempt to heal.
One of my doctors, Dr. Cross, is a wound care specialist and she was placed in charge of my care because she knows wounds. Dr. Cross placed me on a vitamin “cocktail” which is commonly given to people to promote healing. Everyday I was taking different vitamins and minerals such as zinc in an effort to treat me. Dr. Cross also sent me to a nutritionist at the hospital to help me to up my protein intake and to ensure that I was eating the right foods for healing.
I followed the protein plan that the nutritionist gave me for a while and I continued to take the vitamins – but it didn’t work. So then Dr. Cross took me off of the vitamins as she searched for something else to try.
As you can imagine, trying everything that is “supposed” to work and isn’t is very frustrating. For me and my doctors. With nothing working, Dr. Cross thought that maybe there was something systemically wrong with me that needed to be corrected. That is when she sent me to see a holistic nutritionist.
I started seeing the holistic nutritionist in December 2014. By that point the wound was getting pretty big.
The first thing that the nutritionist did was tell me to stop eating and drinking everything that I was currently consuming. Everything.
No gluten, no cows dairy, no sugar, no caffeine, no red meat. He also took me off of a ton of the fruits and vegetables that I was currently eating. He then gave me a bunch of supplements and powders that I was supposed to start. The foods that I did eat needed to be organic and not genetically modified.
The idea was to see if my body was allergic to some of the foods that I was eating but to also rid my body of toxins. I had undergone a number of MRIs and CT scans over the years which is a lot of radiation. Add in all of the heavy duty antibiotics and pain killers I was on and my body needed to detox.
Starting this “cleanse” was not easy!! I was a big coffee drinker and it was really hard to eliminate from my life. I had some withdrawal symptoms like headaches and I was super cranky! You did not want to be around me!
I was also probably a little hangry to be honest. When you first start eliminating foods from your diet it can be a challenge to find replacements. It seems like gluten is in everything. Corn and soy are typically genetically modified so I had to avoid those ingredients as well. It meant a lot of time was spent reading labels and I really struggled to find good food that wasn’t heavily processed or chemically engineered.
What I found after I got used to this new way of eating was that I felt better. Sure, I lost some weight that I definitely did not need to lose but that was mostly because I was trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I definitely would not suggest an elimination diet as a way to lose weight because it is hard to maintain.
While, unfortunately, this didn’t help my wound to heal, I did discover that I am gluten intolerant. I always thought that I had a problem with “carbs” (namely bread) so I tried to avoid them as much as possible. When I would eat them my stomach would get super bloated. Turns out all along that the problem was gluten. I diligently followed the plan put in place for me by my nutritionist for a good six months. Then I slowly started introducing gluten back into my diet on an occasional basis which is how I knew it was a problem. If I eat gluten now, my stomach will swell and if I eat gluten a few days in a row then I get constipated and have headaches and get sick to my stomach. So while I used to enjoy a lot of things that are made with gluten the pros definitely don’t outweigh the cons.
In fact, I ended up sticking with a lot of this diet. Except for the very occasional latte I don’t drink coffee and I am very careful about how much sugar I ingest. With both of them I can feel the effects in my body. Caffeine keeps me up at night and a lot of sugar can lead to headaches when I crash from the sugar high. When I grocery shop I always read the labels and I look for foods with real ingredients. I look for things that are organic and are not genetically modified and filled with things I can’t even pronounce!
It’s really unfortunate what has happened to our food supply. I’ve found that when I’m not as diligent or I’m travelling and not in control of the food and how it is prepared, I get more headaches, I get bloated, constipated and my skin starts to break out like crazy. My body and my skin are extra sensitive these days so I focus on choosing things that are good for me, internally and externally.
It has not been an easy lifestyle switch but for me it is what I need to do. Going out to eat can be a challenge so I choose the best option that is available. Most places have gluten-free options so I am good there and hopefully more and more places will stop using genetically modified ingredients. One can always hope.