Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

Like most high school seniors, I had a big decision to make. What would I study? I knew that I was going to college no matter what. I had too many people tell me I was garbage who I needed to prove wrong. A pretty non-judgmental person myself with well-developed empathy skills, I can understand why they thought I was garbage—and in way that they were right. My hair was generally unwashed along with my body, my face was covered in acne, and for much of my adolescence I had a 100 percent overbite. On top of that, skipping school was an easy decision for me and was usually a regular thing. By my junior year, I had been tested and knew my I.Q. was well above average sitting at around 130 and they couldn’t find enough questions to properly test my vocabulary and comprehension skills. One might think that this would make me beloved my by school, but it didn’t. On top of my undesirable looks, I missed quite a bit of school. Some of it was indeed me skipping out to visit the mall, but usually it was because I was involved in a regular process where I’d spend up to two weeks puking 4-6 times per hour. I had/have a disease called cyclic vomiting syndrome that wouldn’t be diagnosed until my early 30s. At the cusp of adulthood my teenage self decided that I simply couldn’t handle another person’s vomiting and instead of nursing I went into journalism (a decision I do not regret BTW!)

So now here I am, in my early 30s with a resume of photography, editorial skills, communication and journalism going back to school to get my bachelor of science in nursing and my masters in public health. Deciding to do this–like my decision to study journalism—was not solely mine. My disease cyclic vomiting syndrome is very rare, has no testing, and no treatment. Still, in the nearly three years since my diagnosis I have been able to abate most of my symptoms using enzymes that have been tested to aid mitochondria. Even after three years of independent study—and success!—I’m still a novice, however. Because I procreated before I found out that my body was severely compromised there is no other job more important to me than to try and stay in this world full of murderers, liars, and abusers so I can be there to protect my child.
Since my diagnoses my day dreams full of puppies and warm kisses were replaced by finding a doctor. Not just any doctor, but one interested in the uniqueness of my case. And I think maybe my day dreams have finally come true. Instead of shaking his head and saying he couldn’t help me like doctors before him, this medical professional sent me home with literature. Despite my illness, one thing is certain: I do have amazing reading and comprehension skills. Some may call it wisdom, I happen to think I’m still too young to be considered wise. I very much appreciate a medical professional who sees me as someone who will do whatever it takes to manage my health, if not for me, for my daughter.
In the article he gave me, most of the information was not anything I hadn’t read before. I am on a regular enzyme treatment that includes CoQ10, L-Carnitine, and creatine—all enzymes that benefit the mitochondria and the ATP energy system. Here is a link to the complete article: http://www.townsendletter.com/June2015/mito0615.htmlAre GM Foods Harming the Mitochondria?
The most heart-sinking for me in this article was this sentence:
“The mitochondria are subjected to a number of modern-day insults, including toxins. Although there are many toxins that impair mitochondrial function, one of the most prevalent is glyphosate (used in Roundup). Because genetically modified (GM) foods are engineered to be resistant to glyphosate, they’re slathered with this herbicide.”
As a journalist who abhors bias, reading the above sentence for the first time caused me to begin to shake uncontrollably in anger. I have strong beliefs in keeping the powerful accountable and I do NOT like bullies. At the same time that I’m trying to keep my outrage in check, waves of anger that there could be someone out there who compromised My Life and My Physiology outrages me. Still, I have to keep my journalistic wits about me and I have to honor the scientific process. I will be finding scientists researching this glyphosate. I will be thoroughly vetting their scientific process to be sure we don’t have another famous failed study that somehow managed to instead show that this chemical is harmless. And I will be talking about my disease in hopes that my story will aid in uncovering health issues in others.

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