My earliest symptoms began in childhood, with some beginning at birth. As a newborn I had Eczema, and this was something that followed me through adulthood. As a young child I began to exhibit symptoms of weight loss, hair loss, fatigue, extreme mood swings, digestive difficulties, difficulty breathing and reactivity to chemicals, mold, and certain foods. This began many years of going from doctor to doctor in search of an answer. By age 7, we were told I had:
Reactive Airway Disease (accompanied by low blood oxygen levels)
For the Reactive Airway Disease (RAD), I carried an inhaler any time I went to school or out in public due to my severe reactions to mold. For the Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis, I took cromolyn sodium (Gastrocrom) before every meal and was put on multiple strict avoidance diets to help manage symptoms. This provided very little relief and we were always onto the next special diet. I was always far more tired than other children, and instead of wanting to run around and play outside, I remember just wanting to lie on the couch. I had to push myself to do things and go places, and this was a pattern that carried on for some time.
My parents eventually discovered black mold (Stachybotrys) and a slow gas leak in our home, and we moved out immediately. We moved into a mold-free apartment while our home was extensively remediated for the next 2 years. While some symptoms did dissipate, others stayed and ultimately worsened.
We tried to reintroduce foods, but I would experience excruciating ear pain and run higher and higher fevers every time – the final one running at 105.8. From this point forward, we stuck with pure avoidance. Eventually my parents and brother and I were able to move back into our home and life carried on somewhat normally for a bit.
As a teenager I began to experience increasing fatigue, brain fog, severe memory lapses, motor issues in my hands, tingling and numbness in my face and jaw, and a constant feeling of buzzing and noise in my brain. Neurologists diagnosed me with Benign Rolandic Epilepsy after an abnormal EEG test. My neurologist told me that she was unsure of the exact diagnosis because the symptoms didn’t exactly match up, and at my age I was already supposed to have “grown out of it.” However, they knew there was seizure activity and wanted to be able to treat me. For the next decade I took increasing doses of antiseizure medication and eventually reached the maximum dosage. The medication was somewhat effective as my fatigue disappeared and the “noisiness” and confusion died down very slightly. I also tried biofeedback treatments which helped with dizziness and neurological issues, but very minimally. My memory lapses were still very troubling to me as there were times that I felt I might not remember my name right away if asked. For many years I tried meditation to no avail. I went through life feeling as though I had a brain that “didn’t work.”
I was able to push my way through high school and college with my learned set of coping behaviors (planning ahead and carefully guarding mental energy). In 2015, I moved into a rental home which I didn’t realize had a serious mold problem. On top of this, the city had some of the poorest air quality in the country due to the extensive Hydraulic Fracturing allowed to take place within feet of people’s homes. The mold, in combination with “fracking” chemicals and emotional stressors I experienced in the previous year led to another big tipping point. I moved out of the house and into a friend’s apartment while searching for housing in another city.
My weight was low even though I felt as though I was eating constantly. My face was always pale and I had dark bags under my eyes. I often did not recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. I weighed 87 pounds. One of my mold reactions included blisters on the whites of my eyes.
By summer of 2016, I began to notice that I was reacting to more and more foods by the day. Brain fog and anxiety peaked, and this began round two of going from doctor to doctor, trying to figure out an answer to this growing list of reactions. At best, doctors would tell me that they didn’t know what was going on, and at worst they would brush things off as “stress.” I was confused too – I realized that what was happening was bizarre, but this didn’t make my symptoms any less real. Most of my food reactions included extreme ear and head pain, Eczema, brain fog, and feelings of anger and rage. A few foods created anaphylactic-like reactions. At one point, I had some level of reaction to every food, but had no choice but to continue eating. And even though it was difficult to eat, I had to eat often due to unstable blood sugar levels. By this time, I was experiencing:
Food, chemical, mold, light, and sound sensitivities
Symptoms related to seizure activity
My search for “the answer” focused mainly around my food sensitivities, and I had just accepted all of the other symptoms and conditions as being life-long. By December of 2016 I had already been referred to multiple neurologists, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, immunologists, allergists, and GPs. None had answers as what could be causing my food reactions, and I had just about given up hope of finding a solution. I did decide that I would visit one last doctor before giving up my search and ultimately living a life resigned to my sensitivities. She was a well-respected gastroenterologist in Houston. After telling me that she couldn’t help me with my food sensitivities, she ran tests and diagnosed me with Endometriosis. She began explaining to me that Endometriosis stems from the Limbic System in the brain. I was confused by this and disappointed that she didn’t have the “golden ticket answer” to explain my food sensitivities, and I certainly didn’t care to hear about the Limbic System – little did I know that this was the key to my lifelong search for wellness!
It was ultimately this missing information that led me to find the Dynamic Neural Retraining System, a neuroplasticity-based approach to recovering from chronic illness through Limbic System Rehabilitation. I ordered the Instructional DNRS DVDs the same day and began implementing the program in January of 2017.