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, mood swings, digestive difficulties, difficulty breathing in reaction to mold, and some chemicals and foods. This began many years of going from doctor to doctor in search of an answer. By age 7, I had been diagnosed with:
Reactive Airway Disease (accompanied by low blood oxygen levels)
Allergies and Eczema
For the Reactive Airway Disease (RAD), I carried an inhaler in case I had a reaction. 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 didn’t provide much relief. 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 always push myself to do things and go places, and this was a pattern that carried on for some time.
It was eventually discovered that the family home had black mold (Stachybotrys) and a slow gas leak in our home, and we were advised to move out. We moved into an apartment while the house was extensively remediated for the next 2 years. While some symptoms did dissipate, the fatigue and food sensitivities worsened.
My parents repeatedly tried to reintroduce foods I was reactive to, but I would experience excruciating ear pain and sometimes run high fevers – the final one running dangerously high. Eventually my family 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, short term memory/recall issues, motor issues in my hands, tingling and numbness in my face and jaw, and a constant feeling of buzzing and noise in my brain. An EEG test found seizure activity. 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 10 years I took increasing doses of antiseizure medication, which did have some positive effect. 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 worried I might not remember my name right away if asked. 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 a lot of planning ahead and carefully guarding mental energy. In 2015, I moved into a rental home which I didn’t realize had a lot of mold. There were also a lot of air quality issues in that city, which was notorious at the time for hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) near residential areas. I believe it was a combination of both environmental and also some emotional/psychological stressors around that time which created a “tipping point” in my health.
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 almost by the day. In an effort to try and understand what was going on and why I was having reactions to so many new things. I went to a number of specialists who could only refer me to the next specialist. Tests would come back abnormal, but not enough to indicate any specific cause. It was a confusing and frustrating time.
Specifically, 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. By this time, I was experiencing:
Food, chemical, mold, light, and sound sensitivities
My search for “the answer” focused mainly around my food sensitivities, as I had already figured that the other symptoms and conditions were just going to life-long. By December of 2016 I had already been referred to multiple neurologists, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, immunologists, and allergists. None had answers as what could be causing my food reactions.
I had nearly given up hope of finding a solution to my growing list of symptoms when I finally learned a key piece of information that would ultimately lead to the answer I had been searching for. After one of the specialists shared that she couldn’t help me with my food sensitivities, she ended up diagnosing me with Endometriosis. She began explaining to me that Endometriosis, in her words, “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, but little did I know that this was the key to my lifelong search for wellness! The limbic system connection was the 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 Video Program the same day and began implementing the program in January of 2017.