Purehealth Update – What Will 2022 Bring?

Here I am at last with the usual annual update on what’s going on with me and Purehealth. Just managed to get it in before the end of January! I’ve been so busy with the usual ‘sort-me-out January’ requests that this is the first chance I’ve had to put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard anyway.

I always find it fascinating to look back at what I said the previous year – well, I would; it’s my business! You can read it here if you like.

Clinic changes at the start of 2021

Essentially, I had decided to slow clinic work down for a bit and concentrate on communicating supportive/preventative health messages to see if it would help my brain neuroplasticity and support my healing better instead of talking about and concentrating on chronic ill health all the time. The advice I give all of you – for a change, I took it myself!

I had also decided to try a more joyful venture – silverwhitewinters – a lifestyle and culture blog to give myself – and you – more happy things to read about on the basis of ‘what we focus on, we become’, the classic basis of brain retraining.

I had changed the test service so that you could order more direct than me having to do all the admin, which was becoming considerable.

At the time of writing in 2021, it was working. I had felt much better, migraines had halved, I got more food in and life was picking up. Apart from Covid stress, of course, and the fact that I think I had gut-based Covid twice.

At the end of March, I assessed how things were going and realised I – and many of you – were loving the silverwhitewinters thing, but that my income had sharply decreased and I was starting to worry about that, which was rather counterproductive and my health issues started to reappear. I get now that stress – positive or negative – is my main trigger of MCAS symptoms. Since it was kicked off by a stressful family event, this should not surprise me. Anyway, you don’t go into natural medicine to make money and my income has never been as large as it could have been if I hadn’t chosen to give 80% of my knowledge and services away for free, but I do still have to pay a mortgage and live! So, something had to change.

It seemed many of you just didn’t ‘get’ the new test service, so I started reintroducing some of the most popular tests. I also found that the labs just didn’t have some of the tests I thought were the best or I felt you needed, so I added those on. In essence, the test service came back under my wing by Summer by about 50% and off we were again!

I reluctantly stopped doing silverwhitewinters and put all the blog posts and mini email series onto the Purehealth site.

The journey to a diagnosis

mastcellaction.org

In the meantime, I think I had gut-based Covid twice and perimenopause kicked in big-style, and that knocked me back health-wise. I started to become more reactive again, developed painful limbs, skin splits, mood lability, belly fat overnight (!), couldn’t sleep. Yada yada yada. Much of this, I know, is the change in hormones. I was always going to feel it as a PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) sufferer since my teens.

Frustrated – and I won’t lie – frankly pretty depressed with this now 12 years of reactivity and restrictions, I decided I needed to ask for help. I still couldn’t tolerate my own supplement protocols or extend my diet to help my hormones etc. (I’d have done seed cycling, agnus castus etc). So, I rang – and at last found – a sympathetic GP and started a rigmarole of asking – and them not doing – hormone tests, being referred to a neurologist for my migraines – a nightmare, to be truthful; how I didn’t hit the arrogant man who pretty much told me I was lying that my migraines were related to food reactions and hormone changes, I don’t know! I asked about the link to histamine and he said: ‘It has nothing to do with your headaches, let me do the diagnosing…’! I never let on I knew what I was talking about or about my job, I kept schtum. Let’s just say I complained and never went back.

I have long known that I probably have MCAS (mast cell activation syndrome). If a reactive person cannot control it with low histamine/histamine blockers etc, then it is likely that other mechanisms and inflammatory mediators are involved. MCAS is essentially a multi-system inflammatory disorder characterised by loads of seemingly disparate symptoms and a heightened reactivity to things most people wouldn’t give a thought about: food, chemicals, smells, meds, supplements etc.

The common denominator is the immune mast cells that have become over-activated for some reason. No-one really knows why. It is probably partly genetic and is triggered by things such as stressful events, infections, mould and other major ‘insults’ to the body. In fact, there is much debate about the fact that many long Covid sufferers, who probably had a propensity for it, have triggered MCAS. Certainly, it is being used as a treatment approach for many now and Covid clinics are pretty overwhelmed. Of course, since MCAS is not yet a recognised or so-called ‘coded’ illness in the UK, many do not recognise it, but those in the know are seeing it everywhere, including me.

So, here’s me pretty certain I’ve got MCAS, but what do I do about it? I can’t tolerate my own protocols. It is a coded illness in the US and I think in some European countries, but not yet here, so it’s not like you can say to your GP: ‘Can you refer me to an MCAS consultant, please?’.

As usual – you know I like a research challenge! – I found someone and self-referred for a consultation. Essentially, to be diagnosed, you have to do a questionnaire which confers likelihood of the condition and then that is pretty much confirmed by how you respond to the first stage of treatment meds. The difficulty, of course, you know I am going to say it, is in tolerating the medicines! I have had to find ways of taking the meds that don’t have the usual excipients in – especially corn – and then it has taken me so far nearly 8 months to get the first meds in!

Of course, I don’t want to be taking meds; I’m a naturopath! However, as I have always said: I practice integrated medicine where you use the best from all forms of medicine – mainstream or natural – to get the best benefit for the patient. My aim is to get my diagnosis – frankly, it scared me the thought of going into hospital with something like Covid and being ignored and fed corny/chemically stuff – so it made me realise I had better get a formal diagnosis on my medical records. Once I have the diagnosis, my next aim is to see how much they can calm my system so I can then start getting in my own protocols and wean off the meds. I’m a way off that as I have the third medicine to get in yet, which despite being specially-compounded, I still can’t tolerate.

All good fun, eh? The good news is that, touch wood, many of my inflammatory symptoms are much better – my jaw pain, which I know many of you suffer with and know what I mean, the limb pain, brain fog, constant head pain, fibromyalgia and lots of other stuff are much better already. No change on the food reactivity yet, though. That’s a tough one. I live in hope!

Clinic work

I am sharing this so you can see what I’ve been up to outside of work! That said, as usual I’m using what I learn to inform my clinic work and I’ve done a huge load of research on MCAS and hypersensitivity generally. I’ve almost finished the Multiple Sensitivity Plan (or some other name – suggestions welcome, please! ) and an MCAS factsheet for us.

Clinic-wise, I have slowly edged back into patient work with Ask Mickis, Test Reports and Case Reviews, all of which have been very popular. I have bowed to pressure now to offer ongoing support too for those having had a case review. I’m going to see how that pans out in the next few weeks/months and see how it affects my own health. I’m trying to be good and follow my own advice! If I find it makes me too stressed or anxious, I will dial it down again. I must admit there is a tiny part of me that is thinking of retiring after 30-odd years in natural medicine, but then I get all interested again and forget that idea!

I have even challenged myself by signing up to a Clinical Mastership training to become one of the most advanced functional medicine practitioners, but finding the time to do it is hard! I’ll see how that goes.

Book-wise, Christine and I have updated several of the plans, including the Adrenal, Candida and Gut Plans, including the TrulyGlutenFree (grain and dairy free) versions. We’ve done tons of work, as usual, on our free TGF Supplement Master List. I did videos of the new Allergy P88 test, the GI360 gut test and the DUTCH hormone test, plus Gut Test and Hormone Test Guides. These took a huge amount of work (and courage for the videos!) but are available either free or for very low cost. I know many of you have found them invaluable, which gladdens my heart.

The clinic in numbers

Last year, I published 110 posts (plus more on the silverwhitewinters site), had 44,000 visitors to the sites and dealt with 587 orders on the shop – not bad since many more of you were ordering tests direct! I posted regularly on Facebook, Twitter and tried Instagram, but with it being largely image-based rather than text-based, I found that a bit of a pain so I’ve abandoned that one for now.

Most of you are on Facebook, actually, and my follower numbers on there have continued to rise slowly. TrulyGlutenFree is particularly busy at the moment, where we now have almost 1750 page followers. I think, in total, across social media, I now have about 7000 followers, although I did have a massive cull of newsletter followers and got rid of anyone who hadn’t opened anything in the last 4 months – quality of followers, not quantity is what’s important to me. I want you to be interested in what I’m saying!

So, all in all, a busy year both personally and professionally. I started going in a certain direction but ended up back into increased clinic work somehow! So far, I am enjoying the case reviews – I love trying to put the jigsaw pieces together for people and helping to show them a path forward they’d maybe not considered or been told about before. I’m not so enjoying the putting together of protocols/reviewing. I was always an ‘inspire, educate and motivate’ type of person and I think that’s where my real skill is; I’m not so much the day to day practitioner type! I could do with a team of practitioners I can train up and refer patients to for the ongoing case, under my watchful eye, you know? I like unravelling, teaching, explaining and inspiring people, hence me having written so many blog posts, factsheets and books. I may get back into teaching possibly and get some more videos done – everyone seems to like those!

So, that’s where we are. My next personal health thing is to get some work done on my mouth to start undoing the damage the MCAS has done over the past decade. That will be fun. Not! And I’m on my 6th dentist; I find they run for the hills when I tell them I have MCAS. Clinic-wise: continue with the case reviews, moderate them maybe so they work for patients and my stress levels and finish the next new plans/ebooks.

The good news to end with is that, knowing how much better I feel near the sea, and our plans of two centre Warwickshire and Cornwall living having been thwarted by Covid since we sold our lovely seaside house in Looe, we are set to spend the Spring and Summer in beautiful Polperro, near Looe. It’s a daft, costly thing to do, but hey, if Covid has taught us anything, it is to enjoy life while you can. So we intend to. We’re picking the keys up this Saturday, yay! So, as I am typing to you for the next few months, I will most likely be sitting in a tiny cottage about 10 minutes walk from the harbour…

I’m aiming – at 55 (how the heck did that happen?) – for a nice work/life balance and better health – and that’s what I wish for all of you for this new year too. We can do it. Thanks for being there and being part of my Purehealth family.

Here’s to a happy 2022 xx

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