I stared at the spreadsheet blankly.
Straining to focus on the numbers as they went in and out of focus. What is happening? I printed out the spreadsheet and thought that I must be tired and needed a break from looking at a computer screen.
While I peered at the spreadsheet, my eyes started the same focus in and out game. I placed the spreadsheet down gently on my desk and left my office. Maybe I just needed a minute. As I walked around the warehouse greeting people and asking how their day was progressing, I feel the fatigue start to set in. It was exhausting to make one round in the warehouse and I kept forgetting people's names and why I walked in a certain direction. Was I going bonkers?
My body was wrapped in fatigue like a lead blanket.
I made an appointment with my doctor. I was assigned to a nurse practitioner who was new. I knew she was new because I hadn't seen her before and she was uncommonly nervous yet curt. I proceeded to tell her of the bizarre situation with my vision and constant fatigue starting around lunchtime every day. She listened intently while taking notes on her tiny black laptop. She asked a dozen other standard questions and then exclaimed that it was probably time to bump up my thyroid medication dosage.
Let's take a quick time warp back. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism back in 2012 when they found my TSH to be 68! Yikes. For the non-medical folks here, a TSH = 1 is ideal.
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2012.
I said that I respected her opinion but I felt like this was something more than a thyroid issue. The fatigue was not like I've experienced before and my symptoms were different from normal low thyroid issues. I asked her what else could be the issue. She appeared annoyed and told me that if it was going to be an issue then they could arrange to have my thyroid removed.
They could arrange to have my thyroid removed.
What the #$%@? Who would threaten a patient like that?
It was time to move away from this doctor's office and look for other options. I started to comb the internet about chronic fatigue and other symptoms that I was experiencing. I came across a website that talked about chronic fatigue caused by heavy metals. You could buy a testing kit, take the sample at home, and mail it in. Within weeks, I would have a test that displayed dozens of different nutrients with ratios and heavy metals levels.
It was a hair test.
I've never heard of testing someone's hair. It sounded a little hokey, if you ask me. A thought, "What the heck?". My doctor wasn't helping me and learning about new technology sounded cool. Maybe I would find out what was causing my unannounced afternoon naps, brain fog, and my voracious salted corn chip addiction. A note to the reader: I'm a type A personality, hard-driver that is excellent at pushing through sleepiness to my detriment. Sleeping mid-day was not my thing.
Being sleepy most of the day was not ideal.
Being sleepy most of the day was not ideal. I knew that if I needed to get anything with dedicated focus done, that it had to be before lunchtime. After lunchtime, I was like a sleepy, unfocused monkey with a laptop.
I drank coffee all day.
Coffee or any caffeine was my drug of choice. I drank it morning, noon, and night. I tried to ease up after 4pm or I couldn't fall asleep which would bring a whole other bag of problems. If I let the caffeine wear off, then I was really in trouble. I crashed. Hard. I can't tell you how many times I almost dozed off driving around town. This had to stop. It was dangerous.
Waiting for the hair test results was unnerving.
I finally got my results back and I poured over them for the next week.
The good news was:
- No heavy metal toxicity
The bad news was:
- Severe adrenal fatigue
Ugh...I've heard of adrenal fatigue and it was now my mission to find out more about it. In case you were interested, adrenals are these little organs right above your kidneys that produce adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones that are vital to life. They're kind of a big deal.
But wait, what if this test was wrong? This new hair test thing could be complete quackery. I'm a skeptic.
I needed proof.
I made an appointment with a functional medicine doctor.
A functional medicine doctor is like the beautiful marriage of a conventional doctor and a naturopathic doctor. They don't try to mask symptoms with drugs. They seek out the root cause and take appropriate actions that could be drugs, natural supplements, relaxation, diet or other actions that heal the core of your issue(s).
The doctor listened patiently to my symptoms while her assistant clicked away in the corner on a laptop taking notes. She ordered multiple tests for me. Her dedication to finding out the root cause of my fatigue and other symptoms like craving salty snacks, was energizing. I shared with her that I had a hair test done and that it was pointing to adrenal fatigue. One of the tests she ordered for me was a cortisol saliva test which tests your adrenal function. That would be the test that showed if I truly had adrenal fatigue and confirmed that results of the hair test.
During the day of the cortisol saliva test, the entire day included me watching the clock and on four occasions inserting cotton tubes under my tongue for ten minutes at a time. I wasn't able to have caffeine all day as to not skew the results. It was torture. True torture.
My results came back as Adrenal Fatigue Stage Two. Adrenal Fatigue has three stages. Stage three is staying in bed and full time rest. The hair test combined with the cortisol tests matched.
The tests matched perfectly.
I was sold. This is incredible. The hair test was correct and I did have adrenal fatigue. She suggested a series of natural supplements to help boost my adrenal function and I started to get better. I stopped caffeine completely (that is for another blog post) and started taking dedicated naps. I had been whipping my adrenal glands with caffeine every day and now I gave them permission to rest and recover.
I started to feel better.
One day as I sat scrolling through cat videos on my phone (yes, I love them) with my 13-year-old Chihuahua, Mr. ChaCha in my lap. I wondering if I could get a hair test for him. He has slowed down a bit and was starting to go blind. We have switched foods dozens of times and were on and off feeding him raw. Either I was making it or we were buying pre-mix raw diets. Sometimes, I would mix his raw food with cooked food. It was kind of all over the board as I was learning about raw food and its benefits.
- What if I wasn't feeding him the right food?
- What if I wasn't feeding him enough calcium, potassium or whatever nutrient he needed the most?
- What if I was screwing up royally and I would have to say goodbye before I was ready?
I started to obsess over his diet and felt like a complete raw dog food failure on several occasions.
One day, it dawned on me that it was my duty as a good pet parent and a good person to find out what was going on in Mr. ChaCha's body.
It was my duty as a good pet parent.
I went back to my online research and network of friends. I contacted the hair testing facility and asked a good friend if she knew of any holistic veterinarians that could help me with this research.
She referred me to Dr. Laurie Coger. Dr. Coger isn't your normal veterinarian. She graduated from Cornell University and had advanced training in nutrition. She was a holistic veterinarian and a wealth of knowledge. She was a breath of fresh air compared to my conventional veterinarian that shied me away from raw food. We decided to order a test for Mr. ChaCha.
We sent in Mr. ChaCha's hair test.
His test came back and I found out that he was low in iron (possibly anemic), high copper, and high mercury. Iron helps the body rid itself of mercury. I knew I needed to do something now.
He was anemic.
Dr. Cojer suggested that we add more iron back into his diet but not iron foods that were high in copper due to his high copper levels, like liver. We landed on a raw organic egg three times a week in his breakfast.
It was time to take action.
I discontinued the use of a probiotic powder that didn't test for heavy metals in their ingredients. Happily, I switched to raw goat's milk which is full of natural probiotics. Mr. ChaCha loved the raw goat's milk and he would spin in circles while I prepared his food in the kitchen.
I was getting my energetic Chihuahua back.
I knew that I was doing everything I could to make my dog's life happy and healthy. When I look into those big brown eyes as he peers up from my lap, I knew that everything was going to be okay. I've done my work as a pet parent today.
I was at peace.
My mission at ParsleyPet is to offer this simple, non-invasive test to all health-conscious pet parents who want a better and healthier life with their dogs. Our time with our pets is so short. Why not extend our time and joy with them? It gives us one more throw of the ball or excited tailspin as they greet us at the door.
Why not extend our time and joy with them?
This opportunity comes from my heart. As a loving pet parent, I have gratitude for my pet's love and anticipate warm snuggles on the couch any day of the week.
Now it's time to take that afternoon nap, but one more belly scratch before we drift off to sleep...
Jaime Rowe + Mr. ChaCha
Wondering if your dog is getting all of its nutrients or maybe your dog has unexplained hair loss or itchiness? Learn more about the Nutritional Blueprint Testing Kit.