Saturday, March 17, 2012

Jessie's Journey to being Sugar Free

My journey to being Sugar Free came about at the age of 21 years old. I was serving a mission for my church in Quetzaltenango, Guatamala. Before this experience I had always known that I was Hypoglycemic; and I would have reoccuring symptoms when I wasn't able to eat regularly. The symptoms were as follows:
  • Shakiness
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Headache
  • Pale skin color
  • Sudden moodiness or behavior changes, such as crying for no apparent reason
  • Clumsy or jerky movements
  • Difficulty paying attention, or confusion (For more information click on Hypoglycemia)
I had always been a very active person and always considered myself "Healthy"! I participated in various sports, ran marathons, traveled, etc.. All the while not realizing that my body was not gettting the neccessary nutrients it needed!
Upon entering the MTC, training in preparation for my 18 month mission, my hypoglycemia began to worsen; due to a change in diet and my normal exercise routine. Ironically I roomed with 2 nurses and I became their little patient, they would help moniter my blood sugar levels through my stay there.
Then after being in Guatemala and being exposed to a whole different way of life things began to worsen with my health. Feeling confused by my symptoms I tried to push on with out complaint but my symptoms became progressively worse: due to mission schedules, poor nutrition, poor sleep, and being uneducated on my bodies needs. I called the nurse and relayed my symptoms:
Reoccuring infections, heart palpatations, weight gain, complete fatigue and exhaution (falling asleep as we were talking to investigators), shakiness, blood in stool, waking up in the middle of night with cold sweats and running to the kitchen in desperation for food!, nausea, missed periods for 8 months, swelling, etc...
After going to the Doctor and being tested I was diagnosed with Reactive Hypoglycemia and the Doctor told me that if I didn't make neccessary changes I would be Diabetic!! He also said that my body was malnourished that I needed to cut out sugars from my diet, and that I needed to get lots of rest and have very little to no stress! Easy right!!?????
Reactive Hypoglycemia was a foreign word for me. I learned that day that Reactive Hypoglycemia is :
"Reactive hypoglycemia is a medical condition occurring from low sugar in the blood. It is mainly associated with people who suffer from diabetes, but has been also know to occur in non-diabetics. So how does the sugar in the blood drop? The most common cause of this is when a person goes hungry for a long period of time or is in a state of fasting. Basically the body needs food to keep all its functions going correctly, so if a person is fasting the body does not have the necessary fuel and so the sugar levels drop. Though there are some people who experience this state even if they are not fasting, and the blood sugar drops irrespective of there food intake--this condition is referred to as reactive hypoglycemia." *Reactive Hypoglycemia
I was then told conflicting advice to avoid eating a lot of carbs and mostly eat protein. Due to my lack of options and knowledge I continued to eat white bread and tried to eat more meat. My body continued to go down hill and all the while I was so overwhelmed by the demands of trying to know what to eat and eat at the right times, along with trying to keep up the demands of a missionary lifestyle. I began to feel depressed and overwhelmed!
After much prayer and talking with my Father in Heaven I began to feel that it was best for me to return to the states to receive the medical help I needed.
Upon returning home I eventually saw an Endocrinologist, who mis-diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, it wouldn't be until years later that I discover this mis-diagnoses. One positive from the meeting was they provided me with a nutritionist, this was my first guide on what I needed to eat and they told me I was never to eat sugar and if I did I would become diabetic. The PA told me that I would probably become Diabetic because most people couldn't stick to such a strict diet! I was in shock and my stubbornness of wanting to prove him wrong was immediately beginning to process in my mind!

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