I’ve put off talking about and writing this for a long time but I figured that talking about my journey through confusing heath issues may help someone somewhere dealing with similar experiences.
I’m also writing this now because I have for the first time in about twelve years tested verifiable evidence for some it not all my ailments where as every typical blood test most doctors have run on me have always showed up normal. I don’t feel normal folks...not even a little haha. I’m sure lots of people know this struggle.
I mentioned in a previous blog a little about how my health issues came about. They actually started weirdly enough from a bad drug experience and believe it or not that experience was with marijuana. I had what the cool kids refer to as a “white out” where my heart rate was highly sped up and basically I was in a state of paranoia for about four hours completely convinced that I was going to die. For many pot heads this may be humorous to read but this little event changed my chemistry and the way my brain communicates with my body. I also developed a heart arrhythmia and thusly became forever afraid that I not only damaged my body/heart but also dealt by afraid of having a heart attack.
Shortly after this I started having stomach problems. I’d drive home from work and my stomach would just burn like I’d never witnessed before. My brain also couldn’t stop hyper focusing on checking my pulse and thinking something was wrong. That’s when this anxious state started turning into daily panic attacks. I was screwed-the-fuck up.
Another few things that came along with all this were chronic neck and shoulder pain, hyper-sensitivities to food and reactive hypoglycemia. To explain this in great detail I have pain that never subsides but gets worse with certain foods and beverages. If I eat sugar or things high in carbs my insulin goes way up and then crashes in about twenty minutes leaving me dizzy, vision blurry and in more pain than usual.
For the first few years I would simply feel like I was being poisoned when I ate. That’s what it felt like. I could literally feel chemicals spread out through my blood stream which I know now is probably just related to insulin or some other fun phenomena. Either way, I began pointing fingers at all kinds of stimulus desperately searching for a cause. Maybe it was food allergies or mold problems within the buildings air conditioning?
When searching for answers my first doctor appointments proved worthless. I was basically being told that the problems didn’t exist and were probably emotional. I’m better words I was making them up. After an endoscopy procedure I was diagnosed for gastritis which is simply an irritated stomach lining. “Take acid inhibitors”. The end
I started having panic attacks everyday. Mostly they would come about while I was driving to work and I’d have to pull over. My attacks would usually start by my stomach tingling and then going numb. This numbness would that spread to my whole body and I couldn’t function or breath. It was scary as shit and of course I was always convinced I was dying. Panic attacks are a real bitch because as you have them you simply become panicked about having another one. It’s like being afraid of becoming afraid. They’re vert difficult to control.
I finally had enough at one point and asked a doctor for medicine. He gave me Xanax and told me to take it whenever I needed it. If you have already guessed the next part of the story, well done.
Xanax surprising enough did nothing for me. The dosage didn’t seem to matter either. Still I tried it for a few more weeks until one day at work it felt like both sides of my brain were out of sync. I was having trouble walking and one of my eyes was dilated more than the other. I called the Doctor and was told I might be having a stroke. Fun shit to tell a person with a panic disorder haha.
I didn’t have a stroke thankfully. I stopped taking Xanax but here’s the even better part, I was highly addicted to it now. Remember how I said it didn’t do anything? Well, it turns out that coming off of it did a whole hell of a lot. I’d feel terrible, have awful back pain (wtf??) and I’d even start to have fu blown hallucinations. Unreal to say the least. I had to come down off of it by decreasing my dose over a course of about two weeks. I HAD to have it in my system every four hours, even the smallest of doses and I’m talking waking up at night to take it. Finally the last day was hell and then I was finally free. No more drugs.
Bring on every god damn diet you can think of. Determined to take my health in my own hands I tried diet after diet after diet. My panic has become so bad that sometimes I couldn’t walk. While my wife was trying to help and be supportive she was also worn out and our relationship suffered greatly. Her mother even told me that she hated me haha. Good stuff. While the diets added some levels of positivity and determination they did little if not anything. Juice diets, gluten free, leaky gut, vegetarian and Veganism to cleanses... I even ate chicken, rice and broccoli for every meal for two weeks once but all to no avail. So many times I’d flood my body with natural juices and such to only feel worse leaving me so confused.
Cut to about three years ago my wife came across some online reading mentioning hypoglycemia. Apparently people can not be diabetic but can have similar troubles with high and low insulin levels. We did a test using a blood sugar meter where I’d drink a bunch of orange juice, check my level which I believe was something like 180 (high) then around twenty minutes would go by and it would drop to around 60 leaving me feeling those typical fun feelings. This was one of the first aha moments and answers I’d ever come across.
Having almost completely cured myself of the panic disorder and now knowing a little bit more about some dos and donts with food, I was finally feeling a little relief. My pain didn’t subside or anything but my confusion and food episodes were improving.
About three months ago I started visiting a doctor in Maryland that specializes in these types of problems, a “regular” and also natural doctor, the best of both worlds. After a multitude of tests I now have my first evidence of an internal issue. Not only do I have extremely low testosterone but I also have very high levels of zonulin leaving my body. Basically I have very bad leaky gut. This is an issue that a few years back, most doctors wouldn’t even say existed and now it not only exists but can be tested for. Leaky gut is basically when you have poor digestive function and your foods are not only being broken down poorly but parts of the food are leaking through the gut walls causing a myriad of issues.
I start treating this issue literally tomorrow with a new diet and supplementation. I’m hopeful that I might find a little relief but having suffered now for 12 years it’s not a make or break situation. I’ll write more or maybe make a video to talk more about this as I progress forward. Having sworn off doctors for so many years it feels good now to have someone I trust looking further into these issues and knowing that I’m not making things up.
So many songs I’ve written throughout the years are about all of this. I don’t want to ruin specific songs for people but when I mention “pain” in my lyrics, I’m almost never talking about metaphorical issues but literal/physical pain. I’ve suffered for so long and music has helped me express these woes when I couldn’t tell people or find any closure. I’ve also dealt a lot with suicidal thoughts because of being sick and music has helped with that too. It feels good to come right out and be honest about these issues within my art.
Thanks for reading this. As I mentioned, I know this isn’t a fun read but I wanted to share my long winded story simply in the hopes that it might comfort someone or even shine light on someone’s issues. About a month ago I actually finally met someone with similar problems all brought on by a bad drug episode just like me. Crazy.
If anyone has questions about any of this I’m happy to answer them.
Also, I’ve dreamed of the day for many years now that I actually feel better or find something that makes me feel better and I share that knowledge. When that day comes I’ll make a video talking about all this.