BROOKE EKELUND

DESIGN + PHOTOGRAPHY

Hopeful Health Update

Brooke EkelundComment

I'm still tired, I still feel like I'm running on empty. I still have been wondering if this is just going to be my "way-of-life" from now on... Getting through the day has been difficult. I haven't been able to work out everyday because my muscles stay sore for about 4 days after a work out. Going to work and having a social life has been especially hard. Today, I wasn't able to rally until about 4pm. My fucked up ear (retracted ear drum) has gotten worse.. and it lasts for longer periods of time now... which adds to my anxiety, adds to me not wanting to be around people/loud places. Sounds like a lot of complaining, I know. But I live with it everyday, so how am I supposed to just NOT talk about it?

I mentioned in my last blog post that I would give an update on my health status once I received one. So here it is. I promise it's hopeful. Lengthy, but hopeful.

Last Thursday I had a second appointment with my Integrated Medicine Specialist, Dr. Bruley. It was a long, 2.5 hour, $1500 appointment... which he recorded (thankfully). And you know what? It was totally worth it. He listens, he cares. He spends entire days on his patients. He wants you to feel loved.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing this is because I got all of my results back from my various blood tests and adrenal test that I took back in early September.

I want to inform you about my treatment plan because for those who deal with health issues similar to mine, there is help... there is a way. You don't have to feel this tired and worn-down forever. Also, if it weren't for my mother, I probably would have never gone to see this doctor in the first place and wouldn't have tried to get help. Thanks Mom :)


First let me break down what vitamins/supplements/medications that he put me on after my first visit with him in late August of this year.

Recommended:
4 Fish Oil
2 Vitamin D3
Vitamin C - 1/4x daily
Adapten-All - 2/2x daily(for Adrenal Fatigue)
Glutamine - 1/2x daily (healthy gut)
Probiotics - 1/1x daily
Vital-Zymes - 2 with larger meals (Enzyme Supplement for digestion)
Cholacol - 2 with fatty meals (for digestion)

Other things I take that Dr. Bruley doesn't mandate:
Lysene 2/2x daily (healthy skin)
Echinacea 2/2x daily (for immune system)
Zolpidem (for sleep)
Magnesium 1-2/1x (for my sore muscles)
ADD Medication


On the less-serious side of things...

I was excited to get my food sensitivities and allergy tests back. I know that everyone is different and that small changes in meals could greatly benefit me. My results have shown me that I have a wheat sensitivity and a few food/substance reactions. (Meaning I should avoid wheat completely and be staying away from some specific foods for 3-6 months) - no biggie, right?

Severe Reactions:  
(Stay away for 6 months completely)
Cranberry
FD&C Yellow #5

Moderate Reactions:
(Stay away for 3 months completely)
Chocolate/Cocoa
Olive
Marjoram
Lemon
D&C Orange #5
Rutabaga
Broccoli
Orgaophosphates

Huge bummer on the chocolate and olive. I have chocolate protein shakes every morning and use olive oil in every meal that I make for myself. BUT there are plenty of substitutes.

The treatment plan for these aim to help rebuild my immune defense and repair systems. All I have to do is stay away for 3-6 months and then slowly re-introduce these foods/substances into my system.


I also have a B12 deficiency, Zinc deficiency as well as a Folate deficiency. Also not difficult to fix. He put me on a dissolvable high-dose Methylcobalamin (B12) vitamin, B-Activ (B Complex) and 5-MTHF supplement that I'm starting to take everyday.


SO! Let's add to the list of recommended vitamins/supplements that I now take:
4 Fish Oil
2 Vitamin D3
Vitamin C - 1/4x daily
Adapten-All - 2/2x daily(for Adrenal Fatigue)
Glutamine - 1/2x daily (healthy gut)
Probiotics - 1/1x daily
Vital-Zymes - 2 with larger meals (Enzyme Supplement for digestion)
Cholacol - 2 with fatty meals (for digestion)
Propranolol 1/every 6 hours (for anxiety)
5-MTHF - 1/1x daily
B-Activ - 1/1x daily
Methylcobalamin - 1/1xdaily
Reacted Zinc - 1 every other day (I haven't started this yet because they didn't have it in stock)

Other things I take that Dr. Bruley doesn't mandate:
Lysene 2/2x daily (healthy skin)
Echinacea 2/2x daily (for immune system)
Zolpidem (for sleep)
Magnesium 1-2/1x (for my sore muscles)
ADD Medication


Okay, so! Lots of medications, right!? Well, that's not the full list quite yet.

So, onto the more serious of health issues...
Dr. Bruley had told me at my first appointment that he thought I had Adrenal Fatigue. I worried that it was Stage 3 (which is the stage before Adrenal Failure). And he and I were both right. The weird thing about when he told me, was that he was excited about these results. Which turns out to be a good thing. He has a solid treatment plan for it, and he's treated many individuals with Adrenal fatigue. For my test, I had to spit into 4 different tubes at various times in the day (lovely, right?). I couldn't eat or drink 1 hour prior to each, I couldn't take any medications, and I couldn't drink any caffeine or alcohol for the entire day. Getting to 10pm was a HUGE struggle. I even had to nap in between tests.

What's shown are my personal results, as well as a range for low-high cortisol levels.

So, what this graph is telling me is that my fatigue/tiredness/lack of everything... is due to my Adrenal glands not producing enough Cortisol. 

These results revealed a few things:
1. I don't have to go to bed at 9PM every single night (including weekends)
2. I'm tired all the time, for a reason.
3. I get annoyed/angry, for a reason.
4. I can't properly handle stress, for a reason.
5. I can't sleep for a full night, for a reason.
5. All these other things I'm feeling, for a reason.

Dr. Bruley put me on a few more medications to help me get back to a normal life. Yes, it takes me like a half hour every morning to take all these meds.

SO! Let's add to the list of recommended vitamins/supplements that I now take:
4 Fish Oil
2 Vitamin D3
Vitamin C - 1/4x daily
Adapten-All - 2/2x daily(for Adrenal Fatigue)
Glutamine - 1/2x daily (healthy gut)
Probiotics - 1/1x daily
Vital-Zymes - 2 with larger meals (Enzyme Supplement for digestion)
Cholacol - 2 with fatty meals (for digestion)
Propranolol 1/every 6 hours (for anxiety)
5-MTHF - 1/1x daily
B-Activ - 1/1x daily
Methylcobalamin - 1/1xdaily
Reacted Zinc - 1 every other day (I haven't started this yet because they didn't have it in stock)
Support Adrenals - 1/2x daily (haven't started yet)
Adrenal Cortex - 1/2x daily (haven't started yet)
Licorice Root Extract - 10 drops/1x daily
Pregnenolone - 10 drops/1x daily (haven't started yet)
DHEA - 3 drops/1x daily (haven't started yet)

Other things I take that Dr. Bruley doesn't mandate:
Lysene 2/2x daily (healthy skin)
Echinacea 2/2x daily (for immune system)
Zolpidem (for sleep)
Magnesium 1-2/1x (for my sore muscles)
ADD Medication

The nice thing about all these "medications" is that they're natural. They're supplements. I won't get "addicted." I won't need these to continue living. I just need them to help me to get back on track. So far, it's cost me about $3K (just with this doctor/treatment plan) but what's most heart-breaking is that it's cost me years of my life.


What is "normal?"

Dr. Bruley thinks I will feel almost back to my normal-self by February. What scared me the most about this statement was that I feel like I don't even know what "normal" is. I haven't lived a "normal" life since 2007? It made me realize that I don't even really know who I am or who I have the potential to be because my health has held me back from life for the past 10 years.

Below is a photo from 2007 (summer before sophomore year in high school, I think). I thought it might be interesting to see when my last "normal" was...

2007

Anyway, I've rambled on enough about this. But... in conclusion: there is hope for me. Change will come, and I need to be patient now more than ever. I need to treat my body with respect, stick to a routine with food and medication so that I can allow myself to get back on track.

If ANYONE is feeling similar to the way I've described in the past 2 blog posts, please don't hesitate to reach out. I will refer you to my doctor, I will listen to your pain, I will be the support you need. I will be here for you, because I understand what you're going through.