About a week ago I had my annual physical. I don't use allopathic medicine for much, but I do see where it has a time and place in my life. Surgery, blood labs, medical procedures, there are simply things naturopathy cannot replace.
Each year I get my base blood labs redone. I was particularly interested in this years because I have lost so much weight over the past year (90 lbs) that I was hoping to see a few numbers drop, primarily my thyroid levels and CRP (C-reactive-protein). Over the years the thyroid levels have been controlled by the same dosage of thyroid medication, and I am very pleased to report that my current prescription dosage is being cut-down by 1/3. Yay me! Also my CRP levels, which were once in the teens (which is levels seen in cancer patients and those fighting disease) is now below 1. The number should be zero, so it's not perfect, but it's astoundingly better.
I have cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and liver panel levels that match my healthy life style, very proud of my diet and the work I have done to create those results. I have always tried to control the things I can, heck, I have tried to control the things I can't, but I think I try even harder to fix what I can knowing there a health issues I have that nothing I do changes. It's frustrating sometimes which makes good test results even more meaningful.
Unfortunately, my labs were not entirely perfect. My naturopath suggested I have them rerun a test that was actually taken by mistake late last year prior to my IVF cycle. There were required tests I had to take, so they could treat me properly should there be certain conditions. Autoimmune disease is a whole different ball game when it comes to IVF, and therefore they follow different protocols. During that time leading up to our IVF cycle , I had tests run by my primary physician because we did our IVF cycle abroad, in Barbados. Some how the doctor or lab made a mistake and tested me for something called AMA (M2) It's a Anti mitochondrial antibody.
Here is a quick explanation of this antibody/test:
Antimitochondrial antibodies (AMAs) are detectable by indirect immunofluorescence in >90% of patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), but this method also detects AMAs of differing specificities in other diseases. The mitochondrial antigens recognized by AMAs in patients' sera have been classified numerically as M1 through M9, with the M2 antigen complex recognized by AMAs in sera from patients with PBC. M2 antigen is comprised of enzyme proteins of the 2-oxoacid dehydrogenase complex that are located on inner mitochondrial membranes. Included in this group of autoantigens are the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, and 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase complex.
Reference Values (My Results were 5.20)
Negative: <0.1 Units
Borderline: 0.1-0.3 Units
Weakly positive: 0.4-0.9 Units
Positive: > or =1.0 Units
Reference values apply to all ages.
Positive results for antimitochondrial antibody (AMA) of M2 specificity are highly specific for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), and false-negative results are rare.
When I first had the test taken in error, we had them retest me just to be sure they were my actual results, because they were positive and I needed to follow up if it was indeed my test results. The second test came back positive again.
My doctor then sent me for an ultrasound and referred me out to a GI after the ultrasound didn't reveal any abnormalities aside from small changes to my gallbladder (which should have been expected after a considerable amount of weight loss). My spleen and liver both looked healthy.
The GI ran some more liver panel tests which revealed a completely healthy liver. So we had an anomaly to some extent, because I was basically testing positive for PBC, yet my liver tests all showed normal. The GI recommended I get a liver biopsy to either diagnose or rule out PBC however that wasn't completely reliable because if it was early stages of PBC and they biopsied a healthy "part" of the liver it could be a false negative, so it actually wouldn't rule out PBC completely. I opted out of the biopsy, it seemed to invasive for me, plus we had our IVF vacation booked and scheduled and I didn't want to jeopardize that timeline for the procedure.
Fast forward to today, 10 months later. A third positive AMA test. Now I feel like I can no longer ignore the test. If a person has PBC and catches it early on, it can prevent the need for a liver transplant and extend their life expectancy. However if it goes untreated, the prognosis isn't nearly as good. I may need a liver transplant down the line and/or it can ultimately kill me.
As a soon to be mother, I find myself taking this a bit more seriously. Not that I wasn't before just that if we have a child on the way, I need to be thinking of them and doing everything in my power to live as long as I can. That desire already existed, it just becomes increasingly more profound.
So I have spend many hours this weekend researching other options for less invasive tests that are equally reliable. One test that I have found is called a Fibroscan. It has been used in many other countries for many years now, however it was just approved in the US a few months ago. I am currently on the hunt for specialists who use this technology and will be moving forward with the testing ASAP.
I believe my first signs of health issues surfaced in my teens. I was hypoglycemic and I would suffer from low sugar episodes and pass out. Later on in life, I found I was hypothyroid. I have been treating that for years, however over the years, I learned the hypothyroidism was actually a symptom of something else, not an actual diagnosis. Through homeopathy I learned that I have Hashimotos hyperthyroidism which is a result of autoimmune disease. I also learned that this same said autoimmune disease was not only attacking my thyroid, but also my internal female parts, thus my somewhat recent diagnosis of endometriosis. I discovered the endo during an exploratory laparoscopy in search of infertility diagnosis. In addition to that I also have psoriasis and gluten intolerance which are also forms of autoimmune disease and reactions in my body.
Now that my body has also decide to attack my liver, well I can't help but to feel physically attacked. It's very strange when your own body attacks it's own healthy cells and while there are things you can do to minimize it, there's nothing you can do to stop it entirely. Everything I have been diagnosed with, there is no cure for, so it's considered chronic illness.
Some days I wish I could turn back the hands of time....to a time and place where my body cooperated wit me. It worked for me, rather than against me. I realize much of what I have encountered has led me to great things, I live a healthier lifestyle than I ever have. We have a little one on the way via adoption. It's not entirely a bad thing. In a strange way, some of these illnesses could have saved my life. I get that, I know that. However, I am not going to feel bad for feeling defeated some days. Like all of my efforts are useless and my body is just going to keep "winning" with all of these attacks. Some days, on an emotional level, I feel attacked, but I can overcome that. The truth is everyday, I am being physically attacked. I just wish I could make it stop.