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My experience with Tracy has been life-changing and eye-opening. I feel that in order to convey how far I have come I have to start from the beginning.

It seems to me that there have been three distinct “health chapters” of my life:

1) the time before I got sick, when I didn’t think about my health much at all;

2) the chapter when my life was abruptly and violently upended by a barrage of auto-immune issues… mixed with countless disappointing and inconclusive doctor’s visits;

And  3) the period of time after I started working with Tracy and began to HEAL.

Up until I was 28 years old, I would tell you that I felt fairly healthy if you were to ask. I was physically active, enjoying hobbies like hiking, bike riding, and canoeing; I was a healthy weight. To be honest, I didn’t think much about my health. I made an attempt to eat pretty good, I thought… back then I believed that counting calories, minimizing my fat intake, and consuming things like soy milk, Lean Cuisines, and those little plastic cups of dye-laden yogurt meant that I was doing better than most to take care of myself. Sure, there were a few things wrong, like needing birth control to manage my ovarian cysts, but at the time I wanted to be on birth control anyway. My college years had taxed me with the stress/binge drinking cycle and skipping meals or sleep to study, but I could recover from excess in short order. I felt that as long as my body could do the things I asked of it, I was surely healthy, right?

I had finished my degrees and moved across the country for my first real job. I was planning my wedding, working a crazy schedule, and getting used to a new town. The stress of college was replaced with the stress of growing up. Still, I never really thought about my health.

Everything changed in one night.

I woke up with a strange electricity and intense pain in my upper back near my shoulder blade. I thought I had slept wrong and tried to stretch it out. Within hours I was checking myself into the emergency room, unable to use my right arm in its normal capacity. In the weeks that followed, countless doctors’ appointments, specialists’ visits, and tests ensued. I was tested for everything from multiple sclerosis to Lyme disease to lupus to thyroid issues, all negative. My blood work was off but nobody could find significance. The best guess that could be provided by medical professionals was that a virus had caused my body to attack its own nerves. I reluctantly resigned to my fate, a life where I could not use my arm. I could not shampoo my own hair without great difficulty, I could not do my job and was moved to an administrative position, I could not do the majority of the outdoor hobbies that I loved, and I was too depressed to do the others. More issues began. I started losing hair. I was diagnosed with eczema and psoriasis. My blood pressure was very low and caused dizzy spells. I gained 30 pounds within two months without changing a thing I was eating. I would starve myself as best I could and cry on the bathroom floor when the scale climbed ever-higher. My body was in a scary state of inflammation and auto-immune disarray. I pleaded with doctors to find answers but soon ran out of patience, as each new specialist seemed more clueless and dismissive than the last. My general practitioner genuinely cared, but I could not afford the one-test-at-a-time approach that seems to be protocol for Western medicine. I found that acupuncture helped with my nerve pain and over the course of time, I started to resume feeling in my arm.

I stopped trying to guess what was wrong with me, although I knew it was something. I gave up on doctors ever figuring me out.  I slowly came out of my depression, and began exercising again. I stopped panicking when my body would have unusual new symptoms – this was my new normal. I still had dizziness, allergic reactions to common metals and skin-care products, and no matter how hard I exercised my weight would not budge. Some symptoms abated while new ones popped up. I felt helpless in fixing whatever was wrong, so I tried my best to ignore the symptoms and the fear that accompanies not understanding your body, and just stay positive. My depression from my failing health had impacted many of my closest relationships and I was determined at minimum to get happy again.

Life went on and about a year later, I was still essentially in the same condition and had long-ceased asking doctors about my issues. I tried several times in one year to stop taking birth control, thinking that perhaps that was the cause of my problems. Both times ended with such severe and terrible results that I chose to go back on it immediately.

My symptoms were increasingly of a gastrointestinal nature, each day coming to a close with me being bloated and miserable. Once while out of town on business I had an episode so severe, bloated and distended to the point of blinding pain, that I was certain that I was having some internal hemorrhage and checked myself into an emergency room. After hours of testing they told me that I was constipated. I was embarrassed and furious at their dismissal, and the feelings of hopelessness about my health returned. Convinced that my ER “diagnosis” was beyond an over-simplification, I began rigorous allergy testing and saw more specialists once back home. I strongly suspected that there was a link between something I had been eating and my GI troubles, if not more of my issues. The gastroenterologist said I had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and colitis, but he was not useful in providing solutions. The skin test and patch test said that I was slightly allergic to green beans and intolerant to garlic. My problems did not subside even as I avoided these at all costs. I was defeated.

More time went by, more than three years had passed since my health first started to suffer, when I heard about Tracy through a friend. I found her website and studied it carefully. I knew that I fit the criteria for people Tracy helps, but I was reluctant to throw my all my eggs back into the basket of hope. After deciding to give the initial appointment a try, and after Tracy accepting me as a patient, I deliberated about the cost. When I weighed my options, I decided that I had but a few: 1) continue crossing my fingers and hoping I don’t get worse, 2) go back to searching for a conventional doctor, or 3) give Tracy a chance to help. I chose Tracy. This decision ended up being the best I had made in a long, long time.

Together we laid out a plan for tests I would need run. When the results came back, I was floored to see what was going on inside of me… I was intolerant to gluten, and since I had eaten it nearly every day I could remember, it was likely the cause of the dysbiosis and overgrowth of bacteria and fungi in my GI tract, and potentially the cause of many of my other health problems. We discussed an overall plan that included a diet change, the addition of supplements, and future testing. She sent me tons of information, everything from professional papers to her notes from conferences, to links to podcasts by doctors and nutritionists.

I am not going to lie, you have to be ready to receive help when you start this program. I was so ready for anything to work that my protests to her suggestions were feeble. Tracy put me on the Anti-Candida Diet (ACD) which is incredibly strict. Basically, you can eat non-starchy vegetables, meat, nuts, avocados, lemons, and limes. That’s it. No fruit, no sugar or starch of any kind, no dairy, no grains, no processed food. I remember having so much trouble at first but I soon learned that I could modify recipes from the popular “Paleo Diet”. There were times this was a really hard change for me. I wanted a glass of wine or a bite of cake, or to be able to order normally at a restaurant. Sometimes I failed to plan and there was literally NOTHING in my house that I could have for a quick snack that fit the rules. But I stuck to it because it was the only option I felt I had left, and I would not let it fail because of my lack of willpower.

Over the course of a few months, Tracy and I adjusted the regimen as we needed to better suit the results that I experienced and that we saw in tests. Pounds fell off rapidly. I ate so well and so often that I would not believe it if it didn’t happen to me. The weight loss was a welcome bonus, but the real changes came in my overall health improvement. My skin cleared and I no longer have allergic reactions, and rarely if ever see any sign of the eczema or psoriasis. My mood improved. I am no longer bloated, and my GI functions are normal. My blood pressure is now normal, and I am not dizzy. I am able to enjoy all of my favorite rigorous activities. I am back to my normal, healthy weight. I feel my body becoming stronger all the time. The diet relaxed as my health improved and now I eat “Paleo” which includes fruits and some natural sugars, and I even have the occasional glass of wine. It is an entirely sustainable lifestyle for me. I feel like I can listen to my body and what it needs; the signals it gives for hunger, a food I don’t tolerate, tiredness, etc., all come through loud and clear whereas before I was left guessing. I have even stopped taking birth control. I have been off the pill for four months now and so far everything is functioning normally with no signs of cysts.

It has been over seven months since I started working with Tracy. I know there is still some distance left to go. It took time for my body to become so chronically sick and it will take time for it to continue to heal. But what a difference this time has made… I almost can’t believe how much I responded to Tracy’s individualized program for me. My health journey has been chronicled online and I have had over a dozen people reach out to me to ask questions about getting on board. Many of them have changed their diets and some have chosen to work with Tracy to add the benefit of her knowledge. I could not have done this alone. I needed to know the specifics of my condition to be able to commit to such a huge change in lifestyle. I needed the accountability, the research, the hard numbers. I can look back at my health quantitatively and know exactly what I have healed and what I have still to work toward. Working with Tracy was nothing short of a miracle for me, and I hope that you will consider utilizing her expertise in your journey to improve your health.

 

-J.B.

9/26/2013

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