I have great memories of summer vacations in Maine with my family. As a teenager and into adulthood, we shared many wonderful times up there. When the weather was nice, we were constantly outdoors. When it rained, we sat around the dining room table working on jigsaw puzzles. We put together beautiful pictures of ocean views, warm sunsets, and peaceful gardens. Unfortunately, sometimes we reached the end and found that one or more of the pieces were missing. It was frustrating and disappointing to be so close and have no hope of finishing the puzzle.
My health is something like those unfinished puzzles. The difference is, I haven’t given up searching under the furniture and in drawers for the missing pieces yet.
The pieces I’ve found
It’s been a long search for all of those puzzle pieces. We all know some of them: eat healthy, exercise, get lots of sleep. But I’d done all of that and was still so sick. So I did some research and tried new things. Here are the big ones:
- I went gluten-free.
- I found a new doctor to treat my thyroid.
- I changed my thyroid medication.
- I found a naturopath and began seeing her regularly.
- I discovered and treated my adrenal insufficiency.
- I discovered new food intolerances and avoided those foods entirely. My leaky gut healed.
- I added vitamins and minerals to my pill regimen.
- I added other supplements as recommended by my naturopath.
- I began using medical marijuana occasionally.
- I found a better dose of melatonin and used that regularly.
- I was diagnosed with a form of sleep apnea and began using a CPAP machine.
I’m sure there are more pieces that I’ve forgotten, but I think these are the big ones. This list sounds straightforward, but it isn’t. It has taken me two and a half years to do all of this. I did the research myself. Except for some of the supplements from my naturopath, every step is one that I researched myself. This was not easy, and at times I felt like giving up, but as I found each piece, I felt slightly better, and that encouraged me to keep searching for more pieces.
The pieces I hope to find
I can’t believe how much better I am feeling now compared to two and a half years ago! There were times when I thought I’d never feel this good again. Still, I’m by no means where I want to be, and I can’t do much more with the pieces I’ve already found. I know I have more pieces still to find.
To be honest, I’m running out of ideas. I have tried almost everything that has been suggested by the books, the websites, and other patients in patient forums. I can feel that at least one piece of the puzzle is still missing. Maybe I’m missing a dozen pieces. There’s no way to know until I try something new. Right now I’m considering doing a genetic test through 23andme. If you’ve done this, I’d love to know what you think of it, either positive or negative, in the comments. I would be looking specifically for a mutation on the MTHFR gene, but of course I would be open to any other useful information I could glean from the test.
Beyond that, I’m feeling stuck. Maybe I’ll try the AIP diet again. Maybe I’ll try a Paleo diet. Maybe I’ll come across something else in my reading. No matter what, I know I’ll keep looking.
We each have our own puzzles. For many of us, the pieces are damaged and will never properly fit together again. I know that will be the case for me. I’m looking for the missing pieces of my puzzle, but I’m under no illusions about the best possible outcome I could achieve. I will always have symptoms. I am just hoping to lessen them.
I don’t know what your puzzle is. Maybe you’ve found all of your pieces and have fixed them the best that you can. Maybe you’re working on fixing the damaged pieces. Or maybe, like me, you’re still searching for your missing pieces. Whatever the case, I wish you the best of luck to get the best version of your puzzle that you can.