About Us

I have had a number of health issues but for a long time, did not understand that they could be related to the food I eat. In July 2010, I quit eating gluten and experienced a great deal of healing, but continued to have lingering issues. My children and husband also have health issues and we are all starting the Gut and Psychology Syndrome dietary protocol to get help.

My issues

  • I was diagnosed hypothyroid in 1997. Until last year, none of my doctors ever mentioned that most people who are hypothyroid have an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I now follow a treatment protocol developed by Dr. Datis Kharrazian and have experienced a lot of improvement since, but I’m still on thyroid hormone replacement.
  • I developed allergies in my late teens and asthma in 1998, when I was living in a house with mold. Both have diminished substantially since going gluten-free. I breath more freely than I have in years, but still have occasional asthma attacks that don’t seem to have an obvious cause (not after exposure to known allergens or exerting myself).
  • I am still extremely sensitive to perfumes, detergents, cleaners, body care products, and chemicals of all kinds. The thought of going to a morning meeting full of people who’d just completed their morning beauty and hygiene routines makes my sinuses itch. I can’t stand to walk through the cleaner aisle at the grocery store.
  • I’m also sensitive to noise and am easily overloaded in noisy situations.
  • I have joint pain throughout my body, in particular my sacro-illiac joint, knees, and shoulders. Recently, I’ve developed joint pain in my hands.
  • I have had plantar fasciitis since 2004. There’s been some improvement since I quit gluten, but my feet still hurt after standing or walking for long.
  • Fatigue. While this is much improved since going gluten-free, my energy still flags and if I exerts myself doing things I used to enjoy, like gardening, I’m tired for days afterward.
  • Loose bowels. Ever since I quit eating gluten, I have had loose bowels.
  • I cannot sleep for more than seven hours in part because of back pain. This is normally not a problem, except when I’m sick or otherwise need to get more rest.
  • I used to wake up at 4am nearly every morning and be unable to return to sleep. This has already diminished since I’ve reduced my carb intake in the afternoon and evenings.
  • Brain fog. Again, much improved since going gluten-free, but I still get foggy.
  • Lost words. I tend to forget simple words in the middle of a sentence.
  • ADD symptoms. I have a lot of difficulty focusing. Again, I’ve seen improvement here since going gluten-free and am looking forward to more.
  • Moodiness. I allow myself to get frustrated by little things. Definitely improved since going gluten-free and managing my stress.
  • Clumsiness. I drop things, I spill things, I fall. Lots less than I used to and I’ve learned to be careful. Listing here for the record.
  • I fall in part because my ankles are weak. They simply give out on occasion. I have had serious, ankle-spraining falls at least once a year since 2002. My last such fall happened in April 2010 and I feel like my ankles have gained some stability.
  • Skin tags. I used to get these a LOT and still do occasionally.
  • A recent stool analysis revealed that I have overgrowths of Candida albicans and Haliobacter pylori.
  • I have been overweight my entire adult life.

My husband’s issues

  • Back trouble that causes him a lot of discomfort.
  • ADD symptoms. He has a lot of difficulty with time management and focusing–he tends to hyperfocus.

My daughter’s issues

  • ADD symptoms. She has a lot of difficulty focusing and gets overwhelmed at the prospect of tasks like cleaning her room. (She has experienced a LOT of improvement in this area since going gluten-free!)
  • Clumsiness. She drop things, she spills things, she falls. Just like Mom.

My son’s issues

  • He is sensitive to dyes and reacts violently when exposed to red dye in particular.
  • He constantly craves sweets and grains. I fear this is a sign that he has yeast overgrowth.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. chickiepea
    Mar 07, 2011 @ 19:36:43

    I saw that you were linked to my blog and wanted to come check yours out too 🙂 Thanks for linking to us.

    Some of your issues sound linked to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Have you investigated that at all? We were surprised to come up positive for Lyme. To get an actual diagnosis (not what the CDC considers Lyme) you need a lyme-literate MD (LLMD)

    Also, for your daughter, and for yourself, there is something called Chiari Malformation that can cause vertigo and clumsiness. This can be diagnosed with a weight-bearing (as in sitting) MRI.

    Sooo much of this sounds familiar. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. ((hugs)))

    Reply

  2. Chris
    Mar 08, 2011 @ 16:25:32

    Thanks for stopping by! We haven’t looked at Lyme disease, though I haven’t found a tick on myself since I was a kid…not that I couldn’t have been bitten and not found the tick. Ewww…

    At this point, my husband and I are uninsured and the kids are insured through the state (my husband’s unemployed and I’ve been a SAHM for 8 years), so we’re doing all we can with the help of naturopaths, diet, homeopathy and herbal medicine. It’s frustrating not to be able to do more testing and get a better sense of diagnosis, but we’ve already seen improvements with just going gluten-free, so I feel pretty confident that GAPS will give us even better results. I know so many people who have resolved such a wide array of issues with this diet.

    Reply

  3. Sarah Smith
    Mar 27, 2011 @ 07:06:45

    Hi Chris, I just hopped over to check out your blog after seeing your comments on mine. Regarding your sensitivity to noise and smells, have you read any of the books about highly sensitive people (HSP)? I started reading those books when my daughter was little and extremely shy, and I was amazed at how spot-on the books were. Basically, there is a small percentage of people (15-20%) who are highly sensitive, and this includes having more sensitive senses. It also turns out that everyone in our family falls into that category (and indeed it is a genetic trait, so it makes sense that my husband and I who are both HSP’s would produce to HSP children as well). I found great comfort in reading about it and learning to see it as a positive rather than a problem. If you are interested, read here: http://www.amazon.com/Highly-Sensitive-Person-Elaine-Ph-D/dp/0553062182/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301234591&sr=8-1

    I also really liked reading the book about highly sensitive children by the same author. It really helped me in knowing how to deal with my second baby in easily recognizing early on that he was also highly sensitive (and therefore has always had a VERY hard time going to sleep as he is easily stimulated by anything from small noises to a little bit of light). Anyhoe, just thought maybe you’d be interested.

    Reply

  4. Chris
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 12:55:23

    Hi Sarah–

    I’ve been meaning to check that book out–thanks for the suggestion!

    Reply

  5. Tracee
    Apr 23, 2011 @ 11:45:49

    Isn’t it funny how many of us can relate to your list of symptoms and how many of us have found some degree of relief in diet? (and how many of our kids are experiencing stuff when they are so young?) I think that’s interesting. Your blog also looks tasty too. I’ll be bookmarking your site. Best of luck with your GAPS.

    Reply

  6. Mary Rebekah
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 03:08:21

    You mentioned being uninsured. I am too, and have found a way to get testing done myself, without having to go through a traditional doctor, to order the tests. I get my thyroid tests done through privatemdlabs.com, and it’s considerably more cheaper than getting my tests through my doctor. I wouldn’t be able to afford my tests otherwise. I’m in no way affiliated with them, but I try to pass the word on when I can, as a friend told me about it, and it was a god-send.
    ~Mary Rebekah
    dearsisterdiaries.blogspot.com

    Reply

    • Chris
      Nov 04, 2011 @ 06:54:29

      Thanks, Mary! I see a naturopath and she works with a lab that’s relatively affordable. I’ll compare their prices with privatemdlabs.com. Just had some lab work done and it looks like I need to lower my thyroid dosage even more! I’ve gone from taking 3 grains/day a 18 months ago to 2.5, then to 2.0 and now dropping to 1.5.

      Reply

  7. Mary Rebekah
    Dec 19, 2011 @ 07:48:25

    Wow, Chris, do you feel like you can credit your diet for being able to lower your thyroid dosage? I am hypothyroid, and have Hashimoto’s, and have been on compounded T3/T4 (from a compounding pharmacy) for almost a year now. At first I felt a lot better, but lately, I feel drained like before. About a month or two ago I decided to stop dancing with gluten-free, and just go all gluten-free for good. 😉 I feel better in the sense that I know I’m doing something to help myself, but so far, I still feel like junk most days.

    I have a great doctor, and I recently got my thyroid levels tested again, and she said they all looked good. (But I still feel not so good.) She’s really been encouraging me to cut out casein (dairy) and grains, etc. I know that’s the next step.. I’m almost 24, and I can’t imagine feeling this bad all the time for the rest of my life. I feel like I’m too young for that! So I have a dream of healing myself through diet, supplements, etc.

    I really want to start doing a more specialized diet….I’m still sifting through paleo/SCD/GAPS diets info.. Trying to figure out which would fit best for me.

    Hopefully soon I can begin feeling better and will be able to lower my dosage as well! 🙂

    Have you ever gotten your adrenals/cortisol checked? I know that can affect the whole thyroid treatment thing, too. I’m supposed to be taking supplements to help mine, but all this stuff gets pricey!

    Reply

    • Chris
      Dec 19, 2011 @ 08:11:08

      Yes, I feel pretty certain that diet changes have helped with my thyroid condition. Like you, when I first went on an increased dosage (in 2008), I felt better for a while–nine months or so? Then I started feeling bad again and sadly, it took another year for me to figure out why. I read Dr. Datis Kharrizan’s book, “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?”, found a naturopath who trained with Dr. K, quit gluten and added some supplements (cod liver oil, vitamin D, an herbal immune-balancing supplement developed by Dr. K), and began feeling much better. When I was on GAPS, I felt better still. I have been off the protocol for months now and feeling a lot worse. We’re re-starting with Intro right after Christmas.

      We haven’t had insurance through all this–and my husband has been un/underemployed these last three years–and so I’ve had to be very selective about testing and haven’t done any direct testing of my adrenals. I do seem to have some adrenal fatigue and have been using a cream called AdrenalCalm that has been helping me sleep through the night, instead of waking up at 3:30-4am every day. My husband just got a job with health insurance (!!!) and I’ll probably start doing some more testing once we get through this three months of no paid treatment for pre-existing conditions.

      Reply

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Chris Musser © 2011
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