What Our Root Cause Patients have to say . . .
I found Dr. Tricia Thompson from an ad for a webinar on the “Overlooked Causes of Autoimmunity.” Two months into the global pandemic I had racked up 4 auto immune disorder diagnoses and wanted to see if I could get this under control. I remember when I received that 4th autoimmune diagnosis my doctor said, “Once you have them you will continue to get more.” This made me so sad and unmotivated, but after watching the webinar I finally understood that these conditions were not only related, but they all came from the same basic issues and thus could all be managed together. I signed up for the free 20 minute question session and after that call started a notebook My Journey to Better Health!
When Tricia and I started working together, I had very low energy and was poorly managing a ton of stress. I filled out a comprehensive intake form and we had a 75 minute first appointment. We ran baseline blood tests for all of my “conditions” and did a comprehensive stool study. I had been having diarrhea on a daily basis multiple times a day for years. Some days I couldn’t even take a walk after dinner without sprinting home to go to the bathroom. I used to take Tums every night for heartburn. I would usually eat 2 but some days I would eat 4. I was always burping and was gassy.
The stool test showed a ton of issues and we started to treat them. I went on what was initially a 30 day gluten free, dairy free eating plan and I worked with Dr. Thompson's nutritionist and health coach Elizabeth and learned how to eat healthier. Although I had my doubts that I could do it, I took the eating challenge very seriously!!
I ended up eating strictly dairy free for 8 weeks and gluten free for 11 weeks, I never imagined that I could do it. We made huge changes to my breakfast, lunch and snacks. I increased my intake of non-processed food and of vegetables and I joined a weekly CSA. For breakfast I have a smoothie with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables . I love them and am still doing that daily. I started to avoid sugary food and heavy gluten meals which was my typical lunch and switched to scrambled eggs or shrimp or chicken salad in lettuce wraps. These meal changes were easy and I look forward to eating good, healthy food. For snacks, I eat a lot of nuts.
We added some supplements to balance my stomach acid and bacteria in my intestines. I was surprised that I had been looking at eating and digestion all wrong. I always thought that I was a relatively healthy eater but some of my habits weren’t good and were causing me to not process food to the fullest! The dietary changes RESET MY GUT. I went from having diarrhea multiple times per day to normal bowels which means that my intestines are absorbing food better. I haven’t taken a Tums in months. This is HUGE! I wouldn’t go anywhere before without having Tums with me just in case. So where I always thought that I needed to calm my stomach acid, I really just needed to boost the acid so that my food could get digested properly.
Tricia is patient and good at explaining what is happening in your body. It is amazing that gut health ties right back to autoimmune diseases. This was not a correlation that I had ever made before. The fact that the improvements to my thyroid antibodies can be directly related to better eating, is amazing!!!
In hindsight, I am amazed that I could make dietary changes and stick with them! If I choose to eat a fried or heavy pasta meal, then I can expect that I’ll feel it in my gut that night or the next morning. I can make a conscious decision on that trade off. If I feel like I need to give my gut a break again, then I know I can do it since I have done it before.
Just by making these changes I have way more energy and have lost 10 pounds. My inflammatory markers have come down 86% and are now undetectable. My MSQ, which is Tricia’s measure of health symptoms, decreased from 33 —-> 4! My thyroid is in balance and the thyroid antibodies, which measure if there is ongoing thyroid damage, are vastly improved, one is completely normal now! My female hormones are also working the way they are supposed to . . . . and even my cholesterol is normal . Tricia said when we check again in a couple of months I will be able to stop my cholesterol medication!!!!
I still struggle with making exercise a regular part of my week . . . I still have a journey ahead but I am excited to see how far I can go.
~ Amanda P. Salisbury, MD