The food abuse had been going on for years, leading to obesity, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. This was managed with a myriad of medications. I think at one point she told me she was on nine different medications! Some 20 years later, it all came to a head with a medical crisis (though there were many warning signs prior to this), one that to this day leave some serious physical, mental and emotional scars.
It sounds dramatic but I can assure you it’s no exaggeration because I was there and I’m still there today helping my sister negotiate her way back to health through nutrition.
But let me back up a bit to the day I flew to Alberta with no idea if I would be heading straight to the hospital or my sister’s home. Because for the past year or so, her life consisted of one medical crisis after the next that no medical professional could figure out.
She was plagued with chronic, acute diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, near fainting spells, severe pain in her shoulders, neck and head that seemed to be progressively getting worse. The irony was that she was losing weight, something that had alluded her for years even though I was right there, with all the knowledge and expertise in nutrition and weight loss, for whatever reason, she didn’t want to know. As time went on and her symptoms were not improving, the realization hit home; her disease could no longer be chemically managed through traditional medicine.
During our many telephone conversations I had suggested the possibility that the medications could be causing these issues. However, she felt that the doctors, either her own or the many that had treated her in the ER would have caught that. Eventually, one of them did. It turned out that she had developed a severe reaction to Metformin, the drug prescribed to control the type 2 diabetes.
It was shortly after I arrived, following another doctor visit, that she was given this information about the Metformin. She was immediately taken off the drug and within 24 hours there was an improvement in her symptoms. She also decided, along with her family doctor that she wanted to come off many of the other medications she was being prescribed.
Of course she was depleted and exhausted but now she could focus on recovery and building back her strength. She became increasingly interested in nutrition and the type of foods that would support her recovery and those foods in particular that could also help manage her blood sugar. So I got to work, I finally had an opportunity to help her gain control of her health and trust me, I had her undivided attention this time!
It was not easy I was dealing with food restrictions, likes, dislikes and sensitivities. But she was a willing participant, highly motivated and desperately wanting to feel better. So I started to cook, using real whole foods, plant foods, anti-inflammatory foods, supportive herbs and spices all prepared in a method for easy digestion and maximum nutrient uptake. I filled the fridge and freezer and left a menu of easy to follow recipes.
There were also some supplement requirements due to vitamin and mineral depletion, in particular, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. I started slow and kept it simple. I didn’t know how her body would react. There has been some trial and error and set backs, but the good news to date is that her blood sugar is stable, she has kept the weight off and now, she is in control of her health.