Bridget's Full Story

I’ll never forget my mom telling me the story: 
The summer of 1993. My mom was brushing my hair and planning my 5th birthday celebration. After 5 minutes of me not responding, I turned around and said “Did you say something to me Mommy?” As you can image, my mom freaked. She thought her daughter was going deaf. 
From 3 to 4 years old, I had frequent ear infections. The doctors would always clear me after prescribing a dose of the antibiotic Amoxicillin. Due to reoccurring ear infections, inability to hear, and delayed speech, my tonsils and adenoids were removed at age 7 and ear tubes were implanted. 
A year later, I remember taking a bath and calling to my mom. When I tilted my head back, to rinse the last of the shampoo from my hair, a large swollen mass was protruding from my throat. My mom PANICKED. I was then taken to the hospital, diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and prescribed synthetic T4 medication - Synthroid. 
Doctors always accused me of not taking my medication, as they could never regulate my thyroid. Now we know why. I did not have a thyroid disorder. I was intolerant to gluten. Instead of changing my diet at 8 years old, I continued to consume gluten and grains for the next 16 years of my life, which unfortunately has led me to this point in my life...

I was on prescription medication - making my body reliant on the Synthroid. Most endocrinologist will inform you that once you start Synthroid, you will be on the medication for the rest of your life. In my research, I now know this is not true for everyone. Unfortunately, I am still in the process of healing my body and lowering my dose. 
Before I go down a road of what will seem like negativity, I want to let you know that I am grateful for where I am today. I know I am a better person because of my experiences. 
Its been a long journey, but I am finally on the right path. To be blunt - this past year has been HELL. I can not even begin to tell you how awful the feeling is to be trapped in your own body.
I never realized how much I took my life for granted. Basic everyday lifestyle tasks now seem like the biggest mountain to climb. Having the energy to take a shower, never mind prep a meal. Or keeping up with my laundry is quite a task. Heck, I visited my sister a month ago in Boston and still have not had the energy to fully unpack. I know you are probably thinking that is absolutely crazy and makes no sense. I do not expect you to fully understand — Because, how could you? You have never “walked in my shoes.”
Over the last year, one of the biggest things I have learned is to never judge from appearance alone. Everyone has a story. You do not know their past, how far they have come, and what disease or sickness they could be fighting off.  
I can put on a bright face, but do not let me fool you. Do you know how difficult it is for me to walk out the door every morning with confidence when my hair is “raining” out of my head? Do you know what that does to a women’s confidence? My Thyroid Storm took a toll on my health and the recovery process SUCKS! 
Close your eyes for a second and image the feeling of…
Not being able to breath, waking up during the night, feeling like your body is about to shut down any minute and nervous you may not wakeup in the morning. I am 26 years old and I ask my mom to check on me before she goes to bed and when she wakes up — Incase I need help. 
But I would say the biggest challenge and frustration of them all, is having misleading information from the medical world and big pharmaceutical companies that are doing everything in their power to keep you sick. 
Do you know how many doctors I went to before discovering the holistic world? Doctor after doctor, they just wanted to prescribe me different medications, trying to treat my symptoms, instead of the root cause of my problems. THINK ABOUT IT, pharmaceutical companies do not want to kill you off because they would lose you as a patient. But they also do not want to make you healthy, because you would still be lost as a patient. They are a business; they are looking to maximize profits. It’s common sense, but as consumers we do not think about it that way. 
At the time I did not know any better, so when I had a large swollen gland in my groin area, I listened to my doctor, did not question, and took the antibiotic Augmentin twice (for a total of 20 days). I mean I was in the doctors office - he is the “expert” and knows what he is doing right? WRONG!
On a side tangent, do you know what the #3 killer in the U.S. is today? Iatrogenesis Disease. You are probably wondering - what is Iatrogenesis Disease. You would think being the #3 cause of death in the U.S. we would all know. After all we have heard the #1 and #2 cause of death is heart disease and cancer. 
Iatrogenesis Disease is caused by a physician or a hospital malpractice. Did you know about 1 million people are injured a year due to errors happening with hospital treatment and medical misdiagnosis and out of those people, 120K die each year?
As Americans (myself included) we are walking around paranoid of dying in an airplane accident (320 deaths / year), drowning (3,000 deaths / year) and car accidents (4,300 deaths / year), when really we should be challenging our DOCTORS and BIG PHARM!!!!
So here is a quick medical diagnosis of me over the past year and all what was triggered by this little “purple pill drug” that lead me down a very dangerous path.
Thyroid Storm 
Gluten Sensitivity 
Leaky Gut
Candidiasis / Yeast overgrowth
Low stomach acid
Severe trouble breathing
Heart palpitations 
Extreme fatigue
Brain fog
Skin rashes 
Hair loss
Lactose intolerance
Extreme malnourishment  
Weak immune system
Development of additional food allergies 
When I was experiencing: 
Hair loss, the number one dermatologist in the country (that “specialized" in hair loss), was beside herself. She did not know the cause after a year of seeing me, so prescribed me Rogaine. I said no…there has to be another way. There has to be a reason why a 24 year old girl is losing her hair. 
Severe gastrointestinal issues, the only recommendation the gastroenterologist could come up with was - Align. YES Align the over-the-counter probiotic that you see commercials for all the time. Oh and did I mention I am severely lactose intolerant and the supplement contained milk. He claimed I was not lactose intolerant. WHAT?? Gastro 101 when someones gut is destroyed by antibiotics, one of the first symptoms often to arise is lactose intolerance. Not to mention I explained how severely symptomatic I would become after even 1 drop of milk - Literally. 
Chronic fatigue, sensation of lump in throat, difficulty swallowing, etc., (all the classical signs of hypothyroidism) - endocrinologist after endocrinologist would basically dismiss my symptoms, pat me on the back and tell me to take good care and we will retest your levels in 6 months. “But wait doctor! I am severely symptomatic.” The doctor would then order a TSH test and be on their way. As we know, a TSH test alone is not enough to diagnose or treat patients with Hypothyroidism. Free T3, Total T3, Free T4, and Reverse T3 are absolutely essential in properly treating patients. 
Awful rashes and cuts on and around my mouth (big red flag for Gluten Sensitivity) and hair loss, the dermatologist prescribed me a very harsh topical cream that I later learned will eventually eat away at your skin. Several appointments later and ridiculous testing completed (that I reassured the doctor was impossible - pregnancy tests, etc.), he said that there was nothing more he could do to help and asked if I've considered seeking out a therapist. He went on to reference this was "all in my head." SAY WHAT?? As if my symptoms were not real, which you could clearly see. 
For 5 years I saw dermatologists, hair specialists, endocrinologists, and gastroenterologists. My Aunt kept telling me to look into holistic and naturopathic doctors. When my doctors officially failed me, I decided WHY NOT. 
I am so grateful I took my Aunts advice, as I finally met some amazing holistic doctors. 
I want to give a special thanks to Dr. Stadtmauer. The first doctor that truly listened to me, put me on the right path, and did not just say I’m “overly in-tune with my body.” A doctor that sincerely cares about the health of his patients and who continues to “dig” and “fight” for health. Thank you to Dr. Powell for your beyond amazing chiropractic care. I am so thankful for the circumstances that led me to you. Thank you for your never ending positivity and sharing your special gift. And lastly to my MOM. The absolute most amazing human being — Or as some call her "Saint Denise." Thank you for your unconditional love and contagious laugh and smile during the most difficult of times. I will never be able to thank you enough for EVERYTHING. Because of you, I continue to grow stronger everyday. I love you! 
On this roller coaster ride to recovery, I have become extremely knowledgeable on thyroid disease and adrenal disorders. You want to know anything about the right testing to complete, how to analyze results, what foods to avoid for optimal thyroid and gut health, and environmental toxins that could be contributing to your continued health struggles, I probably know the answer,  or at least know what resources you should check out to point you in the right direction.
My biggest piece of advice — Challenge your doctor. Ask questions. Do not always take their word. If they get mad at you for challenging them, that is a good indication they are not confident with their own practice and clearly do not respect you or your body. 
YOU are your best doctor. Be kind to yourself. Listen to your body and be well. 
And remember to never give up. You deserve health. Find that drive deep within and keep fighting. 
And together we will get there :)

April 2015 I Was Diagnosed With Lyme Disease

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