I love my naturopath. Really, I do. I swear it. But I am, by nature, impatient. And when I went to see her in December about this skin condition I have on my scalp that was making me crazy and she suggested that it is likely the manifestation of yet another food allergy and we should do some more testing, I was deflated. This time I wanted a quick fix. Like, last week.
So I got the test kit and then I set about researching MDs in my area. I wanted to find one that loves my naturopath, too. Not someone who thinks that all NDs are faith-healing witch doctors, but someone who was willing to coordinate care with her and, sometimes, feed my need for expedience.
I got lucky on the first try. I found a clinic not five miles from my house that has two MDs, one ARNP, a naturopath, a physical therapist, an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, a massage therapist and a licensed psychotherapist. Their philosophy is to team-treat all of their clients and provide a holistic health care service. What a concept! After explaining that I have a chiropractor, a therapist, and a naturopath I love already, they welcomed me with open arms to use which ever bits and pieces of their practice fit me the best.
After a thorough intake with the ARNP and a naturopath (they routinely treat patients simultaneously in order to have both perspectives), the ARNP asked whether I'd be willing to take a blood test on a hunch she had. Apparently, there is a gene mutation that occurs in some small portion of people that prohibits them from using B vitamins properly. In short, the human body has to add a methyl group to B vitamins in order to utilize them and, some people's bodies can't do that. What that means is that they can't get the effects of the vitamins (which include calming and detoxifying, among other things) and they develop skin conditions and anxiety disorders.
Let's just say I'm the poster child for this gene mutation. One week after my blood test I received a phone call from the nurse practitioner asking me to come back for another visit. I am an overachiever. I have TWO copies of this mutated gene. Where is my blue ribbon? Huh?
Now, the 'fix' for this would seem relatively simple. And, in one sense it is. You simply find folate and vitamin B-12 that already have the methyl group attached and take those. The hard part comes as you begin taking them. Because, in my case, I have 38 years of toxins built up in my body that will quickly begin running for the hills when the methylated B vitamins come after 'em.
We started slowly.
Apparently not slowly enough.
By day 7, my lower legs were on fire. I had what felt like the world's worst razor burn - sandpaper skin that made me feel almost orgasmic when I scratched it with both hands. I am not exaggerating. If it weren't for the knowledge that I would soon break through the skin and begin bleeding, I couldn't have stopped scouring my legs.
Day 8 came with plaques of thick, scaly skin on my scalp that shed blizzards of dandruff on my shoulders.
Day 9 brought the crazies. By this time I had made a follow up appointment with the nurse practitioner, but it would be another week before I could get in to see her. I ran directly to my ND's office and pleaded my case.
"You're detoxing too fast. You need to stop taking the vitamins now and wait until you can get a new protocol. Your body has all these toxins to get rid of and they can't get out fast enough, so it has to deposit them somewhere else. You'll likely get a bladder infection soon and it could cross the blood-brain barrier."
'Cross the blood-brain barrier?' That sounded ominous.
Indeed, it was. Although I immediately stopped taking the vitamins, by Day 10 I was a wreck. I was having panic attacks three and four times a day and my hands and feet were blocks of ice. By the time I got to the clinic, I sat in the exam room and sobbed for an hour before I could speak. The ARNP and the clinic's ND were tremendously kind, affirming that I was detoxing too quickly and they were wonderfully efficient at coming up with solutions for my anxiety as well as reassuring me that, even on a much slower schedule, I could expect to be 'mostly detoxified' within the next month or two.
I am astonished at how strongly this has affected me, and while I am in the throes of an anxiety attack, I am certain that I can't possibly go on. That this feeling will never end and is indicative of something 'broken' in me. Several hours later, when most of the traces of fear and self-loathing have left me, I am blown away by how powerful those feelings are. Every morning has gotten a little better, with diminishing anxiety throughout the day, but the notion that these toxins were laying dormant in me for so long is difficult to comprehend. I am looking forward to the day when I can feel confident that I have eradicated most of the evil that lurked inside my tissues and trust myself again. For now, I'm taking it reallllly slllooooowwwly.