A guest post by Renee Welk
At the time of this post, I had no idea that in November, our Mara would be homebound and in bed for 4 months straight!
A little background – my daughter, Mara, started vomiting, about quarterly, when she was 18 months old. In pre-school, she started getting some headaches. In kindergarten, she started throwing up in her mouth multiple times daily, several days a week. By fall of her 4th grade year, she had a continuous migraine and was in bed for four months starting November 2, 2018. Along with the migraine came nausea, restless leg, and fibromyalgia symptoms from the waist up. We couldn’t sit in bed with Mara or give her hugs because it would make her feel sick or cause pain – it was heart wrenching, tear jerking and mind-boggling.
In those 4 months, we saw 24 doctors and had 2 ER visits. They tried to rule out leaky gut, Lyme disease, eye issues, heart issues, tumors in her head and neck, hormone and vitamin deficiencies, and more!
December 27, 2018: We went through a really rough patch with lots of pain and dead end doctor visits, including one visit to the ER due to severe pain. After visiting with a Functional Health Doctor and neurologist, we started to feel hopeful. The Functional Health Doctor did some deeper testing and although most tests came back “normal,” she found that Mara was very deficient in Vitamin D. The neurologist recommended treatment to rule out a sinus infection before moving on to the next steps, which would be a steroid and a daily migraine medication. After starting the Vitamin D and one dose of the antibiotic, the nausea was gone for the first time in two months! Mara still had pain, but was able to be upright, get out of bed, and sing in the back seat – music to our ears.Although we were excited about the progress, all diagnoses and treatments led to dead-ends. Even after working the medications up to the maximum dosage, they still didn’t work. The neurologist told Mara “There’s nothing wrong with you. Go to school and be a normal kid.” That infuriated me – how many people on this journey are told it’s all in their head? A few minutes later Mara responded, “I want to go to school, but the only way I don’t feel sick and have worse pain is when I lay down, and I can’t do that at school.” We later began therapy because being in pain and immobile makes you pretty isolated and very lonely– Mara was often under her blankets trying to “hide from the pain.”
In January 2019, I was teaching a class on nutrition and gut health when a guest asked me if I knew of the book, The Migraine Relief Plan, after hearing part of Mara’s story. I didn’t know about the book and didn’t act on it because we were in the middle of trying medications and a new eating plan for Mara. In March, the guest asked again, so I ordered it. The book was essentially an eating plan for those who have migraine issues. It made sense and the author was very transparent and understanding, so we gave it a whirl and it worked! Due to previous blood tests, we were a bit stricter with the plan meaning we did no grains (not just gluten free as suggested), and no dairy except American cheese because we knew Mara could tolerate this.
Throughout this time, my friend who is a PA at an integrative health clinic helped us think of things to try differently and explained how our bodies worked and why. We continued to seek wisdom and learn as much as we could so we didn’t overlook anything. This is quite time consuming, but so worth it. If you don’t have the time, find someone who can be your advocate!
We could not believe the results! In 12 days on the eating plan, Mara was back on her feet! After four months of pain, being bedridden, and trying everything we could think of, there was progress! Mara was still not feeling 100%, but she could function and attend school. In addition, Mara started physical therapy to help her body’s overreaction to the sense of touch (the fibromyalgia symptoms) and this combination worked!
Since that time, Mara has had only two migraines (in about 16 months), and some smaller headaches. For us, that’s a miracle. We closely monitored what she ate and added some of the items removed with the plan. We found a major food trigger for Mara were oats, of all things!
Without the help of our functional, holistic, and integrative healthcare providers, we would not have had the knowledge we needed to dig into possibilities. I am so grateful for women like Dr. Lisa who truly look into the “why” behind our body’s reactions and symptoms. They empower us to look closely at what we do everyday to see what could factor our health issues and keep our bodies working as efficiently and effectively as possible. They can be your advocates when you simply don’t have the time or energy– use them as your support system!
One clear message for anyone out there who needs it – keep the faith! Do not give up on finding the reason and a way to feel better. I know it’s so hard to do while you’re in the process, but find yourself some great support systems and keep searching! It may take years to find your answers, but the best is yet to come. When you find the answer, you will appreciate all of the things you no longer miss out on or suffer through! You are strong enough and you know you better than anyone else. Keep the faith!