Saturday, April 1, 2017


I was sick for over a decade. I looked healthy but had so many strange symptoms that made me feel broken, like my body was failing me. After my 3rd daughter was born 12 years ago I suffered from post-partum depression but also had a lot of other strange symptoms. I was cold all the time and exhausted and just didn’t feel like myself. My friends Laurie Nealon and Kathy Piche encouraged me to have my thyroid tested. After scheduling the test I found out that thyroid disease runs on both sides of my family. I found out that I had Hashimotos Thyroiditis which is an autoimmune thyroid disease.  

After being on the thyroid medication for over a year I still didn’t feel like myself so I asked my doctor if I could be tested for anything that had to do with depression and exhaustion. It turns out I had stopped absorbing Vitamin B12 and vitamin D from the food I ate. At that time I was misdiagnosed with pernicious anemia (another autoimmune disease which inhibits the body from absorbing B12 from food) and my husband, Rod MacLeod, has given me bi-monthly B12 shots for the past 10 years to counteract the utter exhaustion I felt without those shots. Unfortunately my symptoms persisted and even got worse.  

I gained weight despite training for and running a half marathon at 40, regular exercise and eating healthfully. My joints hurt to the point of tears. Simply doing the laundry became a task that I could barely accomplish without pain. My joint pain seemed to move around my body from my wrists to my ankles.  No one could figure out what was wrong with me. I saw numerous specialists who said I had tendinitis of the achilles tendon, tight heel cords, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, the start of rheumatoid arthritis, permanent neuropathy, but none of these diagnosis held up and none of them explained all of my symptoms.   At the end of each appointment my doctor would simply tell me to keep working on losing weight. I was at my wits end so I tried a functional medicine doctor. My inflammation levels were high. He suggested I give up gluten and dairy and even chicken and my inflammation levels significantly reduced in 6 months.  

But I still didn’t feel quite right.  My hair was falling out to the point that my hairdresser was extremely concerned. At one point I even had a small spot of alopecia, bald as a baby's bottom. I cried. I knew I was sick but now I was losing my hair too? My eyes were extremely dry and I needed to start using eye drops and wearing glasses as my vision was getting extremely blurry from dry eye.  I started having diarrhea on almost a daily basis. Some days I couldn’t leave my house because truthfully I couldn’t leave my bathroom. My white blood count was low and I was exhausted ALL THE TIME. My friend, Kate Scarlata, who is also a registered dietitian, suggested I get tested for SIBO. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth? But that’s what really sick patients have. And then I realized, I am really sick! When I was diagnosed with SIBO I took the medicine prescribed to me and started following a low-fodmap diet and FINALLY started feeling relief from ALL my symptoms.  

Just a few letters but they interrupted my life for 10 years.  
I also started doing Beach Body work outs at home thanks to the encouragement of a high school acquaintance, Wendy Schmidt Dartt, who is now someone I consider a friend and is a daily inspiration to me and so many others. I am now on the path to healing. I have lost the weight, my joints don’t hurt and my body is absorbing nutrients again. I don’t feel broken anymore and I am stronger than I have ever been!  

I believe in sharing my story because if my friends hadn’t believed in mine I know I would still be sick because truthfully no matter what I said to my doctor she just wasn't hearing me. #IBelieveinyourStory because I don’t want anyone else to suffer in silence or to think they are alone! Share a quote or message of solidarity with the tag #IBelieveinyourStory if you have a friend or loved one who suffers from #IBS or #SIBO for IBS Awareness month in April. I feel fortunate to be working behind the scenes with Kate to get this campaign off the ground. I don’t want other moms, daughters, relatives, volunteers, colleagues and friends like me to feel broken and unheard any more. Please also consider donating to help make a difference in IBS/SIBO/FODMAPS research. "Research funding for IBS & SIBO is almost non-existent. For a condition that impacts 15% of the global population, this needs to change." Visit Kate's site for more information about this campaign or to donate to the cause. 
Together we can make a difference for so many!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story. Hopefulness for a positive outcome in the future.