A Keto Journey Back To Strength
Out Of Control
After my divorce, the depression created a vicious cycle of pain, weight gain and more depression. Even changing careers and going into business for myself only served to remind me that all I could do was work. Desperation in the form of my beautiful mop of red hair falling out in clumps, leaving me sitting in the shower crying because it was so indicative of my life, finally drove me to schedule an appointment with a doctor.
Numerous doctors, tests for illness from cancer to hypo-hypothyroidism and even the possibility it was all in my head brought no answers, no relief and no hope. I was pretty sure that I was just going to survive in misery and confusion, to work until I died.
Cringe worthy and wanting to hide.
A Simple Answer
A snowstorm making it impossible for the primary care physician I was seeing to get to work, led me to the doctor that finally looked at me, listened to me and applied a common sense approach. She "happened" to notice that my blood tests routinely showed very low vitamin D levels and that led to a discussion about my diet and exposure to sunlight. The discussion revealed that my levels should not be low, I was obviously not absorbing nutrients and a quick ultra sound revealed gallstones which were most likely causing bile acid malabsorption.
This little glimmer of hope, so simple, a quick surgical procedure and perhaps, in the mirror, I would see that strong confident woman that I knew existed.
Hope Reigns Again
Finally, just the thought of diagnosis made me feel hopeful, the month prior to the surgery was the best month I had in years. I had no fear of the surgery or the side affects, after all the surgeon told me that only about one percent of people without their gallbladder have any lasting ill effects.
Under the knife I went, absolutely positive that this was going to cure me, that I could live normally, eat normally and regain the strength that I missed so deeply! I imagined myself fishing and hiking again, nurturing new relationships and have a social life. I could just about touch that dream of living and not just working while I waited to die.
Devastation Of One Percent
In August of 2018, approximately 90 days after my surgery, I was no better, it appeared that I was going to be one of the one percent that would struggle with absorption for the rest of my life.
The loss of my mother early in that month added to the depression, I was right back where I started and felt as though I was being slammed by a truck of karmic justice every morning.
Everything I ate went right through me, I could not lose weight because I could not absorb nutrients and therefore had to eat more to just get enough energy to maintain through the day, my joints hurt, my hair continued to fall out, I was not thriving.
The Last Straw
My sister and her family, for the first time since I left my hometown, came to visit for my daughters graduation, taking them to see the sights of the big city was excruciating, every step caused every joint to scream.
Not wanting to disappoint my daughter or my family through the celebration, I pushed myself to exhaustion and kept the more embarrassing side affects of my decline hidden as much as possible.
It was, I think, the embarrassment that pushed me over the edge, I was supposed to be the vibrant, social one and all I wanted to do was hide. I promised myself to find a way to heal myself, cure my gut, find my strength and for the rest of the summer, every day I did a new search for a solution.
Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Web searches for symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency show the same information, from depression and fatigue, joint and muscle inflammation, bone loss, auto-immune disorders and some even state that it is linked to cognitive issues and cancer.
The first thing I found was an OTC supplement for IBS, what a relief! The supplement allowed my gut to slow down, nutrients were being absorbed, I had a little more energy and I lost a little weight. However, I did not want to take this pill for the rest of my life along with my other supplements.
Then a conversation with my sister opened my eyes, I had heard of the keto diet, but was skeptical. Her revelation that she and my brother in law had started it due to his health and it was working for him, motivated me to do more in-depth research.
To me it seemed surprisingly simple, I had already cut most of the flour out of my diet as I thought maybe it was causing yeast issues, I was not prone to drink sugary drinks nor was I much of a desert fan.
The Counter-Intuitive Solution
Keto worked! Even though cutting carbs was not as easy as I thought it was going to be. It was counter-intuitive to cut out the fruits and vegetables, it was shocking to discover my vitamin D laden love of whole milk was not keto friendly, it was a huge struggle to consume enough fat to produce the ketones needed for brain function. It has only been sixty days and I am a new person. I work out everyday, my gut function has normalized, my skin and hair are vibrant again and I can feel myself getting stronger every day.
Today, I can see the person that I always knew I could be, she is in the mirror and I am welcoming her each day. The challenges ahead of me are also welcome, the can-do attitude of my youth is back and my dreams are achievable!
Keto Is Not For Everyone
Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise regime.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.