This is probably going to be the grossest and most honest thing I have ever written. That being said if you can’t handle talk about bodily functions, I suggest you stop reading. I debated whether or not to even publish this journey but it has been one of the most widely read blog entries I have ever written – who knew. I guess people are always curious about achieving optimal health – that or they like people humiliating themselves – whatever.
When we last left off I was leaving Dr. Kanodia’s office with two bags filled with boxes of tests I had to complete over the next month. These boxes would tell us if I had too many heavy metals in my body, if I had parasites (gross!), if my hormones were normal, if my ‘sleepy’ hormones were normal (think cortisol, melatonin, etc), did I have leaky gut (a.k.a. intestinal permeability problems), did I have enough good bacteria in my gut…the list goes on. I won’t bore you with the details of ALL of them but here’s a funny look at the procedure for the most ‘entertaining’ tests.
“If Peeing Your Pants is Cool Consider Me Miles Davis”
No, I did not pee my pants. This quote from Billy Madison just popped into my head when I thought about this first set of tests. The first test I did was – hey, pee in this cup, swish it around and save some in a vial. That was the ‘pre test’. Then I had to drink some sugary substance (which, have I talked about my diet? I had not had ANY sugar in 10 days, whatever was in this stuff was delicious compared to the stuff I had been eating). Then I collected my urine for the next 6-8 hours. Yes. I had to walk around with this jug of my pee. All. Day. Long. THEN I had to shake the container and put some of it in a vial. The best was when I ended up having to go out. Good lord. How do you pick a purse to carry a jug of pee around?! Well, it turned out I didn’t have to do much outside the house but in case I had to pee it was important that I collected it or the sample wouldn’t be accurate.
We did another urine test to evaluate the levels of fluoride in my body along with other things whose names were too fancy for me to remember. This one required a 24 hour pee collection. This was the best – I carried around a bright orange, what looked like mini gas container, around with me everywhere I went for 24 hours. I tried to do this on a day I wasn’t working so I reduced traveling with the bright orange nightmare but I did have to pack it in my backpack at least two times to run errands. Its amazing how you think everyone is looking at you if you are carrying pee around in your backpack.
There were other “pee” tests. I had to pee on paper strips and HANG them so they could dry without touching anything else. are you kidding? It was hysterical there were pee strips hanging from a hanger in my bathroom. Nate seemed than thrilled. Ok to be honest, my side of the bathroom is so messy, he probably didn’t notice.
The last one I will mention was a spit test. I had to spit in a vial pretty much all day long. Do you know how much time it takes to fill a small vial with spit? It takes a freaking long time. My lips were chapped and I really was sick of trying to squeeze my tongue to the backside of my teeth in order to make more spit. Ugh. If I never see another vial again.
Here’s the best test of all. The PARASITE test. I mean we all have them, it’s a matter of if they register through testing or not. This will (probably) be addressed in another blog post but holy-freaking no-shame-moly-pants. This test was so pride crushingly gross. Let me state – I am not grossed out by poop. Usually. I have had some interesting incidents on long runs, during races, etc. Poop happens. I have never really been up close and personal with it before though. Now I have.
Over the course of several days I had to poop into what I would call a “French fry tray”. This poor red and white paper tray would be the vessel that would capture my waste and allow me to ‘scoop’ a sample from. Oh yeah, it gets better. This wasn’t like okay just poop collect, and throw in a baggie. I had to poop, collect it, then use the cap of the vials which had tiny spoons on them to take small samples from a variety of areas of the stool.
I wore plastic gloves and washed my hands so rough after each time that my hands got chapped. What was even worse was that one of the samples had to be FROZEN. Yes. I had to place my stool in a baggie in the freezer. Why? I don’t know. I like to think the scientists who tested my stool just threw it out and laughed thinking how gross it was to have my poop near the ice tray. (Don’t worry it wasn’t near the ice tray it was in our basement fridge quadruple bagged).
Tests Done. Now What?
Once I finished each test I would ship it off to some lab to have them analyze my waste and then tell me if something was wrong or not. I was HOPING that I had not done all of this for nothing.
In the meantime I had homework from Dr. Kanodia. I was prescribed something a doctor normally does not prescribe: a diet. He wanted me to commit to a strict paleo diet that removed all grain, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and sugar. On top of that Alcohol was out for me since I was taking an anti-depressant (wine lovers rejoice, one or two glasses a week are usually okay). I mention this because as we get more into one of the main issues I have had to overcome, diet plays a huge role. I said I would do this 100% so I did. I went to the grocery store and bought all sorts of veggies, and lean meat, and olives and anything else on his shopping list. He has a packet of information that he provided for me to follow. It wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Eventually I was seeing a difference in the number and quality of my bowel movements. Dude, if you don’t poop all day, it can cause some major crankiness whether you know it or not. Along with this new regularity I was realizing that as my monthly cycle wore on, I was not having the ups and downs I normally had. Nate was noticing a difference. I was sleeping better. I felt better about myself. I was starting to feel strangely energized.
I still found that I craved sugar for a long time (we will get to the source of that later) but I was able to stay away from it because I was seeing some REAL changes in myself physically and emotionally.
First Round Of Test Results
I was anxious to get back to see Dr. Kanodia as fast as I could because I wanted to know WHAT WAS IT!? What WAS WRONG! What else can I do? I was feeling so much better but I still was no where near being 100%.
One of the tests that were done at his office was an Immunolabs Bloodprint test. They test your blood against a variety of foods to check to see what you react to or have a sensitivity to. I am not sure if its technically an allergy test but I can tell you the results were fascinating. When we saw the results I had 25 foods that reacted to my blood. The reactions are listed as +1, +2, +3, etc. The higher the number the worse the reaction/inflammation response. The top responding foods were eggs (+3), brewer’s yeast (+3), Black and White Pepper (+3), Cow’s Milk (+2), basically every bean there is including GREEN, and lots of other goodies like chocolate. This meant staying away from anything that was a 2 or 3, and only eating something that was a 1 if it was a rare treat. I mean look at that list – black and white pepper??? Wouldn’t you think that was pretty benign. Or eggs for that matter. Green Beans, FOR REAL?
Ugh, I had to add these to the no no list. This was our first sign that I had intestinal permeability issues or “Leaky Gut”. The proof would come later.
And now I wait…and eat veggies…and meat…and more veggies
That was pretty much it for that point. I had done all I had to with the tests and it would take about a month to get all the results. The ball was totally in my court now. Eat well. Drink lots of clean water. No alcohol. Sleep as much as I needed. And no exercise. Oh yeah did I mention that <- zero exercise. It was awful.
In the next entry I will share (some of) the results along with several things we did to encourage my body to heal itself. If you feel this hasn’t been ‘out there’ enough just wait…this stuff gets even more exciting.