I, Canary

Why the heck am I sick when I am doing everything I am supposed to; afterall I was born normal!

Remember in the movie “I, Robot” where Will Smith, as Detective Del Spooner, is facing the scientist hologram of James Cromwell as Alfred Lanning: “I'm sorry my responses are limited you must ask the right questions...That Detective, is the right question.” The internet is a lot like that, you must ask the right questions and use the right search terms before you can find the right answers. Unfortunately, it can be like a needle in a haystack. That is why I have summarized and linked for you in this article “The Best Of The Best” of information I have read to help you find the WHY to why you are needlessly suffering from symptoms or feel like you are simply falling apart.

Over the years I had too many seemingly unrelated symptoms and questions that Doctors and specialists could not even explain. Keep in mind, also, that 20 years ago Google was just a baby: one that I was unaware of. For years I did not know that other people suffered from All Over Body Restless Leg Syndrome; I did not even have a name for it. I stumbled across that. Why is it that when I used prescription cream to help heal facial acne that the pimples just moved to my back? Who else in the world has hands that are so sweaty that the skin peels off in sheets? There was even one candid Doctor who alluded to the unusual nature of my Carple Tunnel condition. He said, “I've never actually seen Carple Tunnel Syndrome in anyones feet...although I have read about it.” And the wierd list would go on: who has night sweats in their late twenties? Isn't that a menopause thing?; Insomnia in my early twenties only to manifest two decades later into "I can fall asleep easily...but I just don't stay asleep"; Why is my memory so unreliable? When I was a kid, school was a snap! Regular moderate cardio-exercise helped manage earlier symptoms, but the fatigue was always there and now my joints were beginning to ache and my back was killing me! How are you supposed to google all of that? There is no continuity, no good reason, only names of separate conditions, prescription drugs, and a market full of "miracle supplements" to choose from if you have the money.

Looking back, I am glad now, that I didn't fall into a disease with a name, because with every known disease comes a pharmaceutical drug: not a cure. Help for symptoms: putting one fire out, only to ignite another elsewhere. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) was the closest I ever came to naming my condition. But even then, it is a “syndrome” and not a real disease to most. There is a definite prejudice against people who are chronically exhausted or energy compromised. You are lazy, not trying hard enough, bulimic, depressed, its mind over matter, suck it up butter cup, you are stupid, spacey, anti-social, making wrong life decisions, eating wierd: shall I go on? The most kind term actually came from my own mother: she called me the absent-minded professor. Which was actually dead on. For example, I could pass a University calculus class, but on the same day I could leave my money sitting in the instant teller bank machine and walk away!

If you want to connect the dots you have to do it yourself or let your kids help

My answers came through my children. I made my son go on a dairy-free diet as I had read somewhere that it helped reduce asthmatic symptoms (don't stop reading here, this is not an anti-dairy campaign!). Before going dairy free my son would frequently get bronchitis that would just not go away even with Doctor prescribed anti-biotics. One day my son asked me “Mom, when can I go off of this dairy free diet?” I said that I didn't know, and being tired (of course) I delegated some responsibility and told him that he was old enough and that he should Google it for himself. The first thing he pulled up was a musicians biography on how he cured his own asthma condition. There I found my Eureka “OH” moment: the search term linked to most illness: INFLAMMATION. I hadn't thought of that before. Was it more than just coincidence that milk (which I cut out for myself years earlier) had an adverse effect on my energy and also an adverse effect on my son's lungs?

2 years earlier after I completely stopped breast feeding my youngest boy, I experienced about 2 weeks of absolute WELLNESS. I had energy all day long, I did not need to go for a run in the morning in order to wake up and clear the head fog, I did not need a nap in the afternoon, and I was happily doing house chores even after the kids were in bed. Gradually, however, after the two weeks, the fatigue and brain exhaustion took over again, with a new side order of extreme back pain. I knew then it had to be related in part to resetting my circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) coupled with whatever nutrients I was receiving from the breast milk my body was reabsorbing. Unfortunately, breast milk is not exactly an open market product and if you google “what is in breast milk” the list is too long and unknown to be of any practical research value for the average person. So instead I focused on the science of sleep, and even went to a sleep clinic. The Doctor concurred with my theory of resetting my internal sleep clock: He called it the act of consolidating sleep. So from then on practicing good and consistent sleep habits did help (a link to good sleep advice is included near the end of this article for your reference). It was not the full picture however otherwise I would have felt 100% again at this point.

Getting back to the eureka moment, I started researching all of my previous symptoms with the search term inflammation. Bingo: A direct hit! Did you know that prolonged inadequate sleep can actually cause inflammation? Carpel Tunnel, muscle pain, depression, foggy brain, and a host of other symptoms can also be linked to inflammation. When I was in my early twenties a Naturopathic Doctor told me I had Candida. I followed her recommendations and it helped, not to the degree I had hoped, but at least I could manage to work, although I was still limited to what and how much I could do. Now, I find, there is research to show that Candida can make inflammation worse:

Inflammation and gastrointestinal Candida colonization ......“in a setting of inflammation, Candida colonization appears to exacerbate inflammation.” Further goes on to say that “Candida colonization is associated with diseases of the GI tract”

So it stands to reason that going on a Candida diet can put out one fire; but not the flame. All my previous symptoms could be linked to inflammation and everything I did that helped me in the past, like moderate exercise and reducing consumption of sugar, could be linked to inflammation management. It helped explain why drinking grapefruit juice made me feel a little better and why a low dose of aspirin (not tylenol) helped with my sleep even before I had muscle pain: both have anti-inflammatory properties.

The Theory Explained

With further research I learned that most syndromes and diseases could be directly linked to chronic low grade inflammation: afterall, it is your bodies natural response to help fix a problem in your body. Ever stubb your toe really hard? Yes, we all have and it swells. Have a dust or grass allergy? You become congested, your lung and nose lining becomes inflammed.This would explain why drugs which target inflammation in one area of your body (like for psoriasis, acne and arthritis) do not work over the long term: because your bodies over-reacting immune response of inflammation will eventually simply target a new area in your body to attack. I also learned that a virus, prolonged stress, or trauma can all serve to trigger low-grade systemic inflammation. This is a topic that deserves a little more discussion.

If virus attack, prolonged stress, trauma and poor diet can all serve to trigger or feed low-grade systemic inflammatory response, then we are all at high risk for this condition. Who hasn't had a bad viral attack of some sort in their life? Who doesn't have stress (environmental or emotional albeit some more than others)? Many of us suffer at some point from the trauma of vehicle, work or play accidents and others from emotional abuse. I look at my own life, and yes, as a child I was involved in a car accident and had inflammation of the head. Couple that with a stressful childhood (it wasn't exactly like the Walton's in our large family), and a predisposition as a light sleeper. Once inflammation attacks your intestines (which it is said is responsible for 70%-80% of our immune system: (follow this link for the reference), you develop food sensitivities which further triggers the inflammatory response. Now, because the cummulative effect of things can serve to cripple us in the long run it is necessary to address the inflammation on all of these fronts. It can get complicated and that is why, below, I provide for you the science behind theory: the medical research studies coupled with the Doctors and Professionals whose treatments parallel what worked for me and has worked for so many others. There is a lot to read posted here, but I included the links in The Science Behind the Theory section as information on many diseases to prove to you that they are all related to an inflammatory problem. It helps demonstrate how important it is to tackle the problem at the root before it manifests into more serious illness. The section on the Doctors, Diets and Professionals is the most important to read as it will allow you to go through your own process of elimination in order to tackle your health issues from more than just one perspective.

The Science Behind the Theory

The Doctors, Diets and Professionals Behind the Theory

All of these Doctors, plus many other people who write that they have cured themselves of Asthma, Crohns, Chronic Fatigue and countless other conditions, I've noticed, have in common four main things : increase anti-inflammatory foods, decrease or eliminate inflammatory foods; and increase Omega 3 fats while drastically decreasing Omega 6. You can further research and familiarize yourself with these diets through the following links.

Dr. Leo Galland: Do You Have Leaky Gut Syndrome? This article provided on the web is a must read. It helps explain why we develop sensitivities to food, why symptoms can manifest into various diseases and the anti-inflammatory diet to help heal your gut and help your own immune system help you.

Brent Bauer, M.D. , General Internal Medicine, Editorial Board member of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, Buzzed on inflammation [Acute inflammation — the kind that protects and heals the body after an injury or infection — is essential and normal….(but) The other kind — chronic inflammation, also known as low-grade or systemic inflammation — can play a more puzzling and long-lasting role in the body.” He goes on to describe how chronic inflammation is related to many diseases.]

Dr. Barry Sears, A Silent Killer in our Midst ,“Silent inflammation is the first sign that your body is out of balance and you are no longer well. You can’t feel it, but it is affecting your heart, your brain, and your immune system.”

Dr. Andrew Weil, as quoted from www.mollyfund.org “According to Dr. Andrew Weil, the Harvard trained natural and preventative medicine physician (as seen on Oprah, and the Dr. Oz show) there is clear evidence to support that inflammation can be very damaging to the body and he therefore openly supports the Anti-Inflammatory Diet”

Dr. Loren Cordain, founder of the modern Paleo diet. His diet is very similar to the anti-inflammatory diet. A simplified description of the diet can also be found on www.mollyfund.org. Also go directly to http://thepaleodiet.com/anti-inflammatory-effects-ketogenic-diet/

And here is yet another diet reference that is also very similar in diet strategy:

  • Avoid gluten and casein (primarily wheat and pasteurized dairy, but not dairy fat, such as butter). Research shows that your blood-brain barrier is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream, where they don’t belong. That then sensitizes your immune system and promotes inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s
  • Happy Endings for this Canary

    I am not an athelete, nor a Doctor, nor a specialist, not really anyone important or special: except to me and my family. But that is exactly why this article is important. Like a canary in a coal mine that drops dead of the gas because he is smaller and weaker, we need to pay attention to the ill and the weak in our society because although they may be the first to suffer we all become that canary as we age and weaken. We are quick to excuse away being tired or sore or forgetful because we are simply getting old.

    So many of us can be suffering from symptoms that turn into disease because we don't deal with the condition as a whole body and whole person condition. We all want the problem to be simple: to be just one thing. How many times have you heard people blame gluten, or Franken-wheat, margarine, air pollution, stress, excess weight, nitrates, chemicals, water fluoride, heavey metals, processed meat, etc. The problem is that the cumulative effective of all of these things can bring us down: because poor nutrition weakens our immune system, pollutants overwork our natural free-radical elimination system, and stress and foods that we have developed sensitivities to trigger our natural inflammatory response which can in turn cause havoc in our bodies. If you want to be truly disease-free or at least live life to your fullest you must look beyond the marketing, and step back and see the big picture. I encourage you to see a Doctor and specialists to eliminate the obvious illnesses (get second opinions of course), and take prescription medications to help with life threatening conditions; but I implore you to do your homework and read about what the Doctors I have linked on this site have to say about illness as a whole.

    My conclusion, then, is that healing and optimum health is more than simply focusing on one thing. Although doing a Candida diet, and then an Elimination diet, seeing an Allergist and a Sleep Doctor and a host of other Doctor's to go through a slow process of elimination has kept me going throughout the years it is not just one thing that made me ill, nor is it one thing that has made me well. The Aboriginal Healing Circle is a perfect construct of healthy living (see reference below). Accordingly, if I did not have faith that I would one day find my answers, I would not be here. 1) Have Faith! Believe in your yourself and tap into your spiritual beliefs. You can do it, you owe it to yourself! 2) Exercise self-discipline in eliminating stress, and also in your sleep, exercise and diet habits. 3) Look after your physical side and it will look after you. Remember, you don't need to know the physics behind riding a bike in order to ride that bike! Likewise your body knows how to heal itself, you just need to help and not hinder. You don't need a PhD to help yourself, there is plenty of reference material as presented in this article to help! I have found that moderate exercise, improving sleep habits, and pre-industrial diets are key as referenced above. 4) Emotional Support: if someone doesn't believe you are ill, or simply doesn't understand close them out! Only let people into your head and circle of trust who can support you emotionally. Also, laugh, sing, dance! If scary movies can give you nightmares it stands to reason that laughing will promote better sleep and a sense of well being. It took me 30 years to to pull it together and I am still learning, but it doesn't have to take that long for you. Step by step, through educating yourself, a process of elimination, and trial and error you can find what works for you too!





























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