accutane, Health, Personal, Uncategorized

Deep darkness- I hit a low point.

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Hey guys, I can’t believe a week’s passed since I last posted. I hope you’re all well and looking forward to the weekend. The sun is shining here in Cornwall and everything looks beautiful, my mood on the other hand hasn’t been so great for the past few days. After spending last weekend staying in Cheltenham with my friend Stacie and attending college in Bristol, I got back to Falmouth on Monday.

Please excuse the long and emotional post that follows, I feel I can’t talk about parasite cleansing until I let you know what’s been going on for me. I’m going to post about my parasite cleanse either later tonight or Sunday.

Well, I know I’ve just finished a 30 day parasite cleanse so it’s bound to have stirred things up but for the past few days, particularly yesterday and today, I’ve been feeling really low. Yesterday afternoon, I hit my lowest point in months. I felt tired, my body felt sore and my lymph nodes are swollen (but then again they have been swollen for the past month.) It’s a good indicator that my body’s trying to fight something off. Ever since taking Accutane (please see my posts titled Accutane- The Life Changer Part I and II for more info) I’ve felt as though I have a virus in my system and every now and then (when there’s increased stress/ cleansing) it becomes active. My body is so much stronger than it was but I still work on my health every single day. I’m used to some physical symptoms coming up every now and then as my body processes things and rebalances, especially during or just after a cleanse but the mental effects I experienced yesterday and today have caught me totally off guard.

Yesterday afternoon, I was hit with a tidal wave of emotion. Emotion that I wasn’t expecting or prepared for. My body felt crappy and my mental state usually dips when my body’s not feeling good. This however was different. Thankfully for a long time now, my mood’s pretty stable and I don’t suffer from any anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I have challenging days and experience bad moods but that’s totally normal and nothing to be worried about. In general, I’ve been my usual, social and outgoing self. Yesterday, the emotion I experienced felt beyond me and was a mixture between deep sadness, anger and utter frustration.

The floodgates opened up and I cried and cried and cried. I felt deep sadness at the situation I’ve had to deal with continuously over the past five years, all because of a drug, that I didn’t know existed before entering the dermatologist’s office. I cried over the time I’ve missed with friends, the stress I’ve caused my mum and sister, all the money that we’ve (myself and my family) have spent on health care, food and supplements, the days I spent in bed, the times I tried to explain my situation to others and they didn’t/ couldn’t understand, the times I felt so ill I wanted to die, all the fevers, the vomiting, the skin rashes and all of the excuses I made in order to appear ‘normal.’ On top of feeling a deep sense of despair, I felt a huge amount of anger bubble up. Anger that I thought I had previously dealt with. This is difficult for me to share so openly but I literally felt like I wanted to kill the dermatologist and the manufacturers of Accutane. Of course, I would never REALLY want to hurt anyone. This wouldn’t help anyone anyway, but I’m telling you when you’ve spent years of your life trying to piece together the scraps that you’ve been left with after taking a certain drug- you want to find and make someone accountable. Of course, it was my decision to take it but I was young, vulnerable and desperate. The side effects were completely dubbed down and glossed over. The idea of  ‘selling rat poison disguised as candy’ comes to mind. The marketing is excellent and the information is put forward in such a way that is in total favour of the pharmaceutical companies, in this case Roche.

So I cried and cried and felt extreme anger surge through my veins. With makeup running down my face and my hood up, I decided to take the dog out. I did this for two reasons: 1. He needed a walk and was being so good and 2. I thought I urgently needed fresh air and a quiet space to think.

I’m sure people that passed me was wondering what was up, but I didn’t really care. I walked through the park and ended up sitting under one of the blossom trees. A tree with beautiful pink blossom, all fresh and in full bloom. Sitting on the damp grass, I took a few breaths and managed to stop crying. I watched several thoughts come and go in my mind including ‘what’s the point in all of this?’ ‘I can’t be bothered’ ‘It’s been five years, give me a break’ and ‘how will people ever listen to someone like me?’

On a good day, I either don’t get these thoughts or if I do, the stronger and more positive side of me takes over and I know that really, everything is working out and that I just need to keep the faith. I remind myself how far I’ve come and treat myself kindly. However yesterday, they were pretty much all negative, self- doubt and sabotage-style thoughts.

I can’t say I felt way better leaving the park but I did feel a little calmer and OJ (my dog) was happy. Also, on top on cleansing I am due my period soon so am definitely feeling premenstrual. Maybe it’s been one big combination of things. My menstrual cycle has been on the long side (around day 43 to 47) for a few months. It tends to change depending on various factors but can lead to me feeling very emotional on the lead up.

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Today hasn’t been much easier, I haven’t felt great. I’ve rested for most of the day and have eaten lightly. I’ve been noticeably quiet on whatsapp and have blanked calls and texts from friends. I just needed some space. I’m feeling pressure because I have friends coming down for the weekend and they’re arriving tomorrow night. It’s for my friend Matt’s 30th birthday. I love them all so much and they mean the world to me but currently I’m not feeling the ‘party mood’ and wish I could be feeling differently. At the moment I’d love to just rest and have a quiet weekend. These guys are some of my best friends and I’ve known most of them for just over ten years now but I don’t talk to them much, if at all about my health issues and Accutane story. My best friend Jack (who I’ve been travelling with twice) is absolutely amazing but we have very different views on healthcare, medication, the holistic approach etc. I totally don’t mind having different opinions at all but sometimes I feel like I don’t even want to say that I’m not feeling great because it requires too much energy to explain why that is. Then when I do explain, I don’t really feel heard. I just don’t bother talking about my situation in depth with him which to be honest, makes me pretty sad. I don’t think he even realises it at times and to be fair I haven’t ever spoken really honestly and explained how I feel. He is totally exceptional and I know for a fact he cares so much about me. He’s always super supportive and we just kind of ‘get each other.’ We message almost every day and it’s even hard to articulate how much the friendship means to me. Jack has seen me at my worst, he saw me in South America when I was extremely unwell and my hair was falling out and he’s also seen me when I’m totally on form and we have the best time, conversations and adventures together. He has supported and encouraged me through everything and I have unconditional love for him as a person.

This weekend may bring some things up. If the timing’s right, I’m going to speak to him about it. I’m not even complaining as he’s done nothing wrong but I’m starting to be completely true to myself. I’m tired of ‘dubbing down’ what happened and hiding the total truth from people out of fear of being misunderstood/ judged. As a matter of fact, this is my issue and an opportunity to learn and grow. I’m just going to be honest in a kind way and see what happens.

Tomorrow, I’ll pull myself together, put some makeup on, smile and go out with my friends. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything but we all need to remember to be grateful for what we have and the people we have that love and support us. Just a few years ago, celebrating a friend’s birthday would have been out of the question so I’ve already made huge steps. It’s just my ego putting expectations on myself e.g. I need to look/ act a certain way in order to be good enough for my friends.

No. I AM GOOD ENOUGH. My friends love me just the way I am right now for being me. Life is too short to miss these special opportunities and I know that hanging out with them, even though I’ll be having a few drinks will probably do me more good than harm. I’ve had a rough few days but that’s just life. I’m still going and I’ll keep going. My perseverance is second to none and my focus to help others is what’s keeping me going through it all.

Tomorrow is a new day.

I just want to say to anyone reading this, that it’s ok not to feel great, to doubt yourself and your truth, to feel lost and to want to give up. We all feel this and have days like these- I encourage you to dig deep and find strength that you didn’t know you had until you pull it to the surface.

Be kind to yourself, be kind to others and do your best.

You are too special to hide away and dim your light!

I’ll post about parasite cleansing next- it was originally meant to be this post but I knew I needed to write to you from the heart again.

Sending you all so much love and a big hug,

Becky

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accutane, Health, Personal, Uncategorized

Accutane- My side effects and overview of my recovery 

Hey everybody, considering I only got around five hours sleep last night I’m feeling pretty good! Hope you’re all doing well- I’m sure most of you are looking forward to the weekend.

I’m on the train again- seem to love writing during train journeys. Currently on my way to Cheltenham for college this weekend. The reason I’ stay at Cheltenham and not Bristol (where I attend college) is because I’m staying with my friend Stacie. Stacie’s an absolutely awesome girl and in the same class so we travel in together on Saturday and Sunday. The reason I’m heading up a day early is because we have an exam on Saturday morning so we’re hitting the books together. More about lovely Stacie (and not so lovely) exams later..

Today I thought I’d chat about the side effects I personally suffered from whilst on Accutane and after I finished the course of Accutane. For anyone that doesn’t know already, Accutane is an extremely strong medication used for the treatment of Acne. I took a 5.5 month course at 40mg/ day from October 2011 to March 2012 and it changed my life.

If you’d like to know more, please read my posts titled ‘Accutane- The Life Changer PART I and II.’

Accutane creates a strong divide. There are people who believe it saved their life and gave them their confidence back and others, like myself that have had to deal with major health issues since taking this drug. My intention is not to bully people into not taking Accutane but rather encourage them to look at other options. I know there will be some of you reading this that will be like “duh, if I had other options I would try them but I tried cutting out this food and that food and I’ve tried different antibiotics and changing face products etc. and nothing has worked.” Trust me, I understand where you’re coming from and the absolute desperation you’re feeling. I genuinely get it because I myself, have been there.

All I know is, if I could have my time over I would not take Accuatane. If I knew what I knew now, I would have handled the whole situation differently. Then again, I realise everything is simple in hindsight. I have accepted that I was doing my best for what I knew in that moment at that time. I have stopped doing the “if only and what if” and have learned to focus all of my energy on the present which includes my personal recovery and desire to help other people.

In order to clarify a few things I’m going to list all the side effects that I personally suffered with from taking this medication and then give you an overall view as to how I have recovered and healed my body over the past five years.

Side effects that I experienced (mainly after I finished Accutane):

  • Dry skin, eyes and hair
  • Eczema on face
  • Rash on my hands, arms and face
  • Facial flushing and a rash like appearance
  • Joint pain
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Fatigue
  • Hairloss, seborrhoeic dermatitis and sores on my scalp
  • Increased sweating and night sweats
  • Temperature regulation issues (too hot or too cold)
  • Bloating, constipation and abdominal distension
  • Parlour (I looked so pale with a pink tinge to my skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Constantly swollen lymph nodes
  • Facial impetigo
  • Staph A infection
  • Pain in my spleen and liver area
  • Reaccuring conjunctivitis and other infections
  • Constantly feeling ‘off’, weak and really ‘under the weather.’

I just want to add that I have had blood tests done with my GP several times over the past few years. They showed different things but everything was passed off and looked at as an individual symptom. Of course, neither my  Dermatologist nor my GP was willing to listen when I told them I knew I was ill as a result of taking Accutane. My dermatologist told me that the major hairless I experienced was definitely not Acctutane related. Well excuse my language but this is bull***t! He took a scalp biopsy which showed the presence of yeast and fungus (that cause standard dandruff.) So conveniently, I was told I had a fungal infection of the scalp and was given a course of antifungal medication which I (stupidly) took.

Blood tests showed that my thyroid was showing signs of being under active (borderline hypothyroid at that stage) and I was told perhaps I had ‘post viral fatigue’ by a different GP. The moment I knew I was going to take my health in to my own hands was after a morning appointment with my GP- I remember the day well. Feeling unbelievably out of sorts and not long after returning from South America, I walked with my head low into my doctor’s office. To synopsise the situation, I was given information on Rosacea because apparently I had cured my acne but developed Rosacea instead and told to fill out a depression questionnaire (which, if you haven’t seen one of these are a bit ridiculous.)  The reason it’s ridiculous is because the questions ask you to give a number score in relation to a list of different situations or feelings that are part of being human eg. “Do you feel down sometimes?” Which most people do and it’s hard to choose a number to express the overall situation/ experience you’re having. I can’t remember the others but you get the idea. On top of all of this I was offered anti depressant medication which I politely declined.

That was a tough morning. Not only was I feeling ruined both physically and mentally but now I felt unheard. Unable to hold the emotion in anymore I burst into tears, I didn’t need the tissue that the doctor passed me as no tears were produced. Imagine that- crying but producing no tears because your eyes are so dry and your tear production has stopped. Something was going to give- I was going to break or I was going to get better. However, I now know I needed to return to my natural, holistic way of looking at health. No more pills, no more quick fixes.

I cried and cried for most of that day. Feeling horrendous, I slept loads as the fatigue was intense and the anxiety, depression and other physical side effects almost unbearable. It was around this point that I started doing my research. Bit by bit I made life changes based on my gut instinct. Obviously, I looked into things thoroughly and weighed up risks, but you need to remember at that point I didn’t have anything to lose. As I said, I will be writing specific blog posts detailing everything I did and what worked for me. It was very much a process of trial, error and lots of learning.

Today, I am SO much better. It’s pretty remarkable actually. I’m functioning normally, although I still do a lot to to keep myself balanced and healthy. I also cleanse periodically. My body is so much stronger and my mental state is fantastic- not a hint of anxiety or depression. Obviously I have bad days like everyone else and don’t always feel great but this is normal and infrequent.

I believe my success comes down to a few main factors.. Support from my mum and close friends, my own discipline and dedication to healing my body, and a multi-pronged approach to resolving interconnected issues relating to Acvutane damage. Basically, I started by working on removing the Accutane residues that remained in my body after treatment, repairing and repopulating my gut with beneficial bacteria, cleansing the liver thoroughly, supporting adrenal and thyroid function, parasite cleansing and removing heavy metals, supporting my immune system and supplementing where necessary.

An important point to make is not all of my recovery was based on physical practices. True health and vitality occur when all aspects of a person are addressed and balanced is. Mind, body and spirit (I don’t mean this in any religious sense.) I worked on my mental and emotional health with kinesiology, meditation, emotional freedom technique (EFT) and generally being with people I love and taking some time out.

At this moment in my, I’m delighted and grateful at how far I’ve come but I’m also far from done. As a matter of fact, I’m just getting started. I have so many goals and aspirations mainly relating to helping others and transforming my situation in order to do good.

My physical health is so much better than it was and I feel a true sense of vitality. Sometimes I feel run down and the lymph nodes in my neck swell but that’s usually when I’m cleansing or get a bit stressed with college work etc. I’m able to workout again which is amazing and I’m currently working on developing my physical strength, stamina, building lean muscle and losing a little fat. Being able to hit high intensity workouts again makes me feel strong and balanced. It’s both a stress reliever and confidence booster.

Also, I have plans to start a Knowledge To Nourish YouTube channel soon. The time has come to speak out in an honest and personal way. I have no intention of being pushy, I just want to get some info out there in the hope that someone can take something positive from what I’ve learned.

On that note, I’m going to wrap today’s post up and chat more next time.

Thanks for your support and hope you all have a fantastic weekend- please send me good vibes for my exam on Saturday morning!

Much love,

Becky

accutane, Health, Personal, Uncategorized

Thoughts and Train Rides

A pretty summer sunset (not today)

 

Hey guys, happy Friday! Hope you’re having a great week. I thought I’d just do a little post to check in with you and share some thoughts that I’ve been having.

Today’s grey sky got me thinking about how different everything is for me this year and how grateful I am to be feeling so well and healthy again. The reason the grey, dull skies brought up these thoughts and feelings was because not long ago, I felt really weak, unhealthy and like a ‘dulled’ version of myself.

Basically, I had lost my light in every sense of the word. At my lowest point, I was unable to leave my house due to how extreme the drug induced anxiety had become (please see my previous posts titled  Accutane- The Life Changer PART I and II which explains more.) Mentally and physically, I felt like I was broken beyond repair. My body was hurting and I had symptom after symptom. Doctors didn’t know what to do with me. My mum was being strong, loving and supportive as usual but I’m sure she felt like she had lost her daughter. I was so fatigued and unwell that I was sleeping hours on end most days for weeks. At the worst point, I didn’t want to be here anymore.

There were two things I knew:

1. Accutane caused this and

2. I wasn’t going to take more medication and suppress the symptoms.

The irony in my story is that before deciding to take prescription medication for acne, I had always been the girl that goes for the natural, drug free approach where possible. I’ve been interested in how certain foods and natural remedies can heal the body long before taking Accutane. I rarely took paracetamol let alone anything else. Of course, everything has its place and modern medicine is incredible but where possible I try to opt for the drug free, whole body approach to health.

This situation that I found myself in forced me into a corner and I knew then that I owed it to myself to keep going. I started to listen to my intuition and knew that I needed to help my body to heal. Researching online for hours a day, I made lists of anything that stood out/ resonated with me. The first main one being liver cleansing (I have written a previous post titled Liver Flushing- My Experience if you’d like to read more.) I basically started cleansing my body physically and changing my diet in order to help my body repair and heal.

It took time, patience and perseverance. I’d get a little better, then feel ill again. This is what is known as a detox or Herxheimer reaction. As the body cleanses, large quantities of toxins can be released from cells and this can cause an immune reaction leading to a temporary increase in symptoms/ severity of the symptoms as the organs of elimination such as the colon and skin become overwhelmed. So you can feel temporarily worse before getting better and stronger each time.

So, it’s been a five year process and it has been far from easy but I’m finally feeling better. Even this time last year, I wasn’t fully well. I’ll be writing about everything in more detail as I split information between blog posts on this site. For today, I just wanted to say that even though the sky is grey and it’s one of those dull days, I feel so lit up. I feel happy, excited and grateful to be well and have energy to follow my dreams. This whole experience has changed my life but believe that it all happened for a reason. Now, I’m studying Naturopathic Nutrition and I’m sure that I want to spend the rest of my life helping people. I’m filled with energy, ambition and have big plans.

If you’re struggling in some way right now and you’re reading this, please remember the following:

You are valuable and you DO matter. Everyone is different and everyone has a unique gift to share in this world. My personal struggles have shaped me and I want to use my personal experience to create good and help others. I know life can be hard sometimes, trust me I really do but you are stronger than you think.

I’m currently on the train (eating some delicious  dark chocolate marzipan) as I have lectures in Bristol this weekend. Will be posting again early next week so hope you’ll back then 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful weekend,

Becky

accutane, Health, Uncategorized

Liver Flushing- My experience

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Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a lovely Friday and looking forward to the weekend. Today’s post is going to be more specific than a couple of my previous posts. If you’ve read my last post ‘Accutane- the life changer PART II’ You’ll know that I was feeling really unwell both physically and mentally after taking Accutane. Even though I felt completely broken, a part of me deep down didn’t want to give up.

I spent hours and hours on my laptop searching the web for information. Whether it was reading about someone’s personal Accutane experience or holistic health topics on various sites, I was book marking pages that resonated with me. Since Accutane is a synthetic form of Vitamin A (which is a fat soluble vitamin) and fat soluble vitamins are stored in the liver, my gut instinct told me to first focus on helping my liver to detoxify and repair.

It didn’t take long before I had stumbled across the term ‘liver flushing.’ Like many people, I had heard of cleansing your liver with herbs such as milk thistle and drinking plenty of lemon water but this was new to me.

Disclaimer: I am not a health care professional. Any information provided in this post is simply me sharing my own, personal experience with you. Please consult your health care provider or doctor before making any changes to your routine or attempting any health practice such as liver flushing.

A holistic  health practitioner called Andreas Moritz kept getting mentioned in forums regarding this practice of liver flushing. He specialised in Ayurvedic medicine and Iridology. Unfortunately Andreas passed away around the time I started liver flushing but to this day I am beyond grateful that he made his book ‘The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush’ so readily available. I truly believe the information within that book inspired me to try a practice that has dramatically improved my health, wellbeing and quality of life, especially after taking such a strong drug like Accutane. If he were still here, I’d sincerely thank him.

Liver Flushing is a method of cleansing the liver on a deep level by removing gallstones. Most people presume gallstones are found in the gallbladder, however most of them are actually formed in the liver and end up congesting it. This can produce a variety of symptoms which over time can lead to the development of chronic illnesses. According to Andreas, there are differences between the gallstones found in the liver and the ones found in the gallbladder. Most of the gallstones in the liver are made up of cholesterol, with some containing fatty acids and other organic material. These are the main constituents of bile. It is due to this reason that these ‘congealed lumps of bile’ which are soft and non calcified are not detected by x-rays, CT scans and ultrasonic technologies. Whereas in regards to the gallbladder, up to around 20% of these stones are calcified, hardened and relatively large as they are formed from minerals, mostly a mixture of calcium salts and bile pigments. Therefore these stones can easily be detected by diagnostic tests.

The book explains in detail both the reasons we have gallstones and the reasons why removing them via liver flushing is one of the best things we can do to regain or increase our health, energy and wellbeing. Basically good health starts with a clean, optimally functioning liver. By restoring the liver, allowing it to function at an optimal level we can cure or at least improve a whole heap of health issues. There is a long list of symptoms mentioned that may improve from liver flushing including skin issues, digestive disorders, eye problems, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue and hair loss. By removing these stones, bile flow will be regulated and unobstructed. Bile is produced by the liver daily and plays an important role of breaking down the fat in our food. However bile also removes toxins from the liver.

Ok, let’s talk about the actual liver flush. The flush itself requires a 6 day preparation period followed by 16-20 hours of cleansing. I’m not going to list the specific quantities of the ingredients needed as I want to make sure people read the information in the book carefully first.

In order to do a safe and effective liver flush you need to make sure your bowel is completely unobstructed. To ensure this you need to cleanse your colon both before and after doing a liver flush. This is to aid the body’s removal of the gallstones and to prevent back- flushing of the oil mixture and other waste products from the intestines to the stomach which helps to prevent nausea during the flush. The one after is to remove any more gallstones from the colon to prevent them becoming a source of toxemia. Colonic irrigation is the best and most thorough option, however they can be expensive and difficult to fit into a schedule. An alternative is to purchase a home enema kit and carry out 2-3 back to back water enemas a couple of days leading up to the cleanse (ideally on the sixth day of preparation) and then again a couple of days after (I aim to do it the day after the flush itself.) For the first three liver flushes, I got colonics before and after and found them extremely beneficial and really straightforward. For the other four, I did back to back water enemas. These were easy to carry out at home, more convenient, much cheaper but they were not nearly as thorough as getting a colonic. There is still a lot of stigma around cleansing your colon so I hope that more people start talking about it and that it becomes mainstream practice. Having a clean, well functioning colon is paramount for good health. (I will talk more about colon cleansing and my experience with it in a future blog post.)

Basically for a six day period, you consume a certain amount of apple juice daily. Apple juice contains a high amount of malic acid which softens the stones making them easier to remove. If apple juice is too sugary for you (which I find it is as I’d come up in a rash) you can take some malic acid in water as a substitute. On the days leading up to the flush, you eat vegetarian, easy to digest food in order to prepare liver for the cleanse. Then on the day of the cleanse you eat a breakfast containing no fats such at porridge made with water and fruit and you eat boiled rice and steamed vegetables for lunch. You don’t eat anything else after 2pm on the day of the cleanse. At 6pm that evening, you add a certain amount (I’m purposely not disclosing the exact amount) of food grade Epsom salts to a to a certain amount of filtered water in a glass jar. This makes four servings. You drink your first portion then. followed by the second portion at 8pm. At 9.45pm you wash and squeeze a grapefruit. You add this juice to a certain amount of of organic extra virgin olive oil in a pint jar then shake hard to mix well. At 10pm you drink this mixture in one go and then immediately go to bed and lie flat on your back. About half and hour later you might be able to feel a slight ‘fluttering’ sensation in your liver area as the stones travel along the bile ducts, they feel like small marbles rolling along gently. You then go to sleep for the night. The next morning at 6am you drink your third portion of the epsom salts. You can relax and go back to bed if you wish. During the morning you’ll have the urge to go to the bathroom, at which point you will have a series of watery bowel movements. Most of the gallstones contain bile compounds so are bright green in colour and float in the toilet. At 8am you drink the last portion of the epsom salt mixure. At 10am you can have some fruit juice, a little later some fruit and then an hour or two later some light food. Then you rest for the remainder of the day and eat lightly for a few days to allow your liver to recover. Also, it’s extremely important to cleanse your colon following a liver flush. I try and do this the following day but if not then the day after.

My personal notes and  feedback:

  • I found the Epson salt mixture was one of the hardest things to drink as they were extremely bitter (and I’ve tasted some disgusting supplements in my time) but I just added a squeeze of lemon juice to help with the taste and just knocked it back!
  • The olive oil and grapefruit juice was easy to drink in comparison but it helps when you shake it extremely well to mix it properly
  • I felt nauseas during the night of one of the liver flushes and had to go to the bathroom. I vomited a few times and then was able to go back to bed.
  • It’s always good to have a friend/ relative around for safety and security. I personally wouldn’t attempt a liver flush on my own.
  • If you choose to do enemas instead of getting a colonic, make sure you follow the instructions and do at last two back to back. I did three back to back each time.
  • Liver flush when you have the time to rest relax afterwards.
  • You are meant to do a series of flushes about 3-4 weeks apart in order to remove all of the gallstones.

I have done seven liver flushes and released hundreds of gallstones during most of them. I really believe that they have been one of the most incredible things I have done for my health in general but also specifically in terms of healing from the damage Accutane did to my body. Not long after the second liver flush I noticed the feeling of stubble all over my head and started growing loads of new hair which was amazing! I think it was after the second or third liver flush that ALL of my facial flushing went away and I wasn’t having skin reactions to lots of different foods. The liver flushes also really benefited my mental health. My anxiety levels greatly diminished after each liver flush and I noticed an overall improvement in my mood (although I was still in a tough place.) My digestion improved a lot too as did my eyes both in terms of the dryness and the blurred vision. My joint pain went away, but I’m afraid I can’t remember at what point as I unfortunately didn’t keep a diary.

Liver flushing has helped me enormously but like with any health related topic there are varying opinions regarding its effectiveness and safety. All I would say is if it’s something that you feel could benefit you, do a lot of research before making your decision. There are a lot of people firmly at either side of the fence with this one. Some believe it’s a load of rubbish and others like myself have had incredible results. All I know is, I’m glad I trusted myself and went ahead with it after doing a lot of research first. It was one of the main things I did in relation to healing that had the most positive impact on my body and mind. I realise that it may sound quite intimidating or sound like an intense measure but I’ve had no trouble during each of my seven flushes, apart from temporary discomfort with some nausea on one occasion. In a nutshell, it has been totally worth it.

I did plenty of other things to help my body to heal and rebalance and I will be speaking about these in upcoming posts. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my experience with liver flushing and that it’s given you something to read up on over a cup if coffee.

I’ll catch you all soon, Becky

accutane, Health, Personal, Uncategorized

Accutane- the life changer PART II

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Bariloche, Argentina.

On returning to England, after an extremely stressful journey I just broke down in tears at how awful I felt and how relieved I was to be home. In regards to the hair loss, I had developed sores all over my scalp. The dermatologist took a scalp biopsy and told me that I had a fungal infection so he prescribed anti fungal medication. He defended Accutane, insisting the two were not linked. I know now, they most certainly were. On top of major hair loss (I had now lost about 60%), I had sore, dry eyes with blurred vision at times and I had developed facial flushing. This facial flushing looked like Rosacea and seemed to get worse after eating. It seemed like I was reacting to most foods that I ate. My face would become really hot, flushed and irritated. I had also started to wake during the night, sweating and my temperature never seemed to be correct. I either felt too hot or too cold. My extremities were always cold and I remember feeling the need to wear so many layers but then suddenly feeling flushed.

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Losing hair

After getting a full blood panel done with my GP. The results showed that I had hypothyroidism and an increased rheumatoid factor. My mood was really low and after completing a depression form. My GP suggested thyroid medication (Thyroxine), antidepressants and told me I had rosacea. Apparently there’s no cure for Rosacea so I was given some web addressed to find out more. I left her office feeling completely hopeless and alone. I know the GP was doing her job but more medication did not feel like the right move.

So here I was experiencing a whole heap of problems. I felt the most ill I had ever felt. I spent nearly all day in bed sleeping as I was so fatigued. Every time I woke up it felt as though I was living in a nightmare. My body felt like it was falling apart and my mood matched it.  Even though I didn’t know how, I knew that there had to be a way to get better again. I wanted to give up as it felt like I had already lost but a part of me deep down knew I had to keep going. I began to do my own research online, spending hours and hours sifting through Acctutane forums and natural, holistic health sites. Most of my symptoms were autoimmune symptoms and I thought a lot of them correlated with an autoimmune condition such as Lupus. Feeling desperate to find a lead, I booked an appointment with a Consultant Rheumatologist at the London Bridge Hospital. Specialist blood tests and exams were carried out. My blood test markers were abnormal but borderline for making a Lupus diagnosis. The Schirmer’s test was carried out. This is where a paper strip is inserted in your lower eyelid to check for the production of tears. After five minutes, my eyes hadn’t produced any tears. The paper was bone dry and became stuck to my eyeball making painful to remove. My abdomen was swollen and sore around this time too and it puzzled the doctor after examination. All in all, my results were not normal but not cumulative to a Lupus diagnosis either.

Months passed, it was all a bit of a blur but really difficult period and my health was still really poor. I wanted to deal with my depression and anxiety and was also having suicidal thoughts by this point so it had become even more serious. I decided to try Neurotherapy which is where you get hooked up to a computer via sensors and repattern your brainwaves over the course of a few weeks using various computer exercises. I thought it was worth a try and at least it didn’t involve taking more medication. On 7th January 2013 I travelled to London for my appointment. My anxiety was at an all time high. I actually had a panic attack in public at the train station before leaving and the journey felt almost unbearable. To cut a story short, I felt like the ‘consultation/ treatment’ was rubbish. It didn’t feel right and just felt like a quick ‘money maker.’ I travelled up and back in the one day and was exhausted and stressed all day. The tube commute was particularly hard as I was desperately trying to keep my anxiety under control. Well at least Neurotherapy was now crossed off the list.

Even though medical doctors would probably dispute this. I firmly believe there were drug residues in my body tissues and I needed to physically cleanse on a deeper level in order to remove them and let my body repair. On a physical level I was still losing hair, feeling fatigued, having trouble with temperature regulation, suffering from dry eyes with blurred vision at times and I was reacting to foods. Nearly every time I ate, I would come flush and come up in a skin rash. I was also very bloated and uncomfortable a lot of the time.

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Skin rash and flushing (it got worse than this)

I was aware that gut health is of huge importance so I began to research more in this area. I felt like the medication had damaged the lining of my intestines and I had developed ‘leaky gut’ which is why I was reacting to all these foods. Leaky gut is where the lining of your intestines becomes damaged and permeable. This means that undigested food particles, microbes and toxins that are meant to remain in the gut can pass through the gut wall into your bloodstream. The body will treat them as foreign invaders and ‘attack’ them, creating an immune response. Looking at my diet in closer detail, I removed gluten, dairy and refined sugar and avoided caffeine and alcohol. I began making milk kefir and fermented vegetables (which I’ll speak about in future posts.) These daily additions calmed my skin down quite a bit and made my digestion a bit better. Even though these dietary steps were helping, my skin was still reactive and flushing/ coming out in a rash and I still wasn’t well.

One night, whilst up late on my computer researching like usual. I came across an Ayurvedic practitioner called Andreas Moritz. He was speaking about a cleansing process called ‘Liver Flushing.’ This information really resonated with me and I ordered his book on Amazon titled ‘The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush.’ There is also a free PDF version available online. My intuition told me to go ahead with this so that’s exactly what I did.

I’m going to speak to you in detail about my Liver Flushing experience my next blog post as this post is already long and detailed. It’s nearly 11pm and I’m so tired!

Much love until next time,

Becky

accutane, Health, Personal, Uncategorized

Accutane- The life changer PART I

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Hey everyone, I hope you’re doing well and having a great week so far. This post will be slightly deeper and more raw than my previous posts. As a matter of fact, some of the details I’ll be sharing with you are so personal that I’ve been putting off writing out of fear. Even though part of me feels very vulnerable sharing this information online. There is another, strong part of me that knows the time is right and that the information/ my story could possibly help someone. This post is so long that I’ve split it into two parts. I’ll post them together- I think it just makes for more enjoyable reading.

So if you’ve read my introductory post, you’ll know that I took a medication called Accutane for the treatment of acne a few years ago. The 5.5 month course of treatment changed my whole life. I know that sounds like a big statement to make but it’s true.

Desperate for clear skin I abandoned my usual way of dealing with things and decided to see a dermatologist for further advice. I actually made an appointment to enquire about laser treatment and the thought of taking medication hadn’t even crossed my mind. Actually I hadn’t even heard about Accutane at that point.

I went to see a dermatologist privately so that I wouldn’t have to wait for an NHS referral. The morning of my appointment I remember feeling really upset with how my skin looked and the fact I needed to leave the house without makeup so that the doctor could see my skin properly. After flicking through a few magazines in order to take my mind off it, I was called into his office.

Basically, he immediately dismissed my idea of getting laser treatment and instead began to tell me about an ‘amazing treatment for acne with an extremely high success rate.’ He told me I would be an ideal candidate and that it would most likely leave me with clear skin. The doctor then mentioned that there were a list of possible side effects but that most of them were extremely rare. He mentioned that the drug had been linked to mental health issues in rare cases but nothing had been proven and that people are usually depressed because they have acne so the medication actually helps. He then explained that I would get dry skin, lips and hair and that I would need to use sun protection as your skin becomes fragile and photosensitive whilst on the medication. Another thing that was mentioned was the fact my skin would probably get worse before better and that it would go through an ‘initial breakout’ that would pass.  Even though I knew this I felt comforted by the fact he told me all of the patients he had treated had responded positively.

Accutane is the most common brand name for a drug called Isotretinoin. Other brand names include Roaccutane, Claravis and Oratane. It is a retinoid which is a derivative Vitamin A. In lay mans terms, Accutane decreases both the size and activity of the sebaceous glands. When less sebum is produced there is a smaller chance that your pores will become blocked leading to acne. (Well that’s the idea.) I was informed that I would need monthly blood tests monitor my my liver enzymes and cholesterol, making sure they’re at safe levels as well as to check some other bio markers. The dermatologist then told me I must not get pregnant whilst on this medication because it causes birth defects. Not it might but it will.

After being told these two important and quite shocking pieces of information, I probably should have politely declined and walked right out of his office. Unfortunately I didn’t. Instead I followed his instructions and provided a urine sample (to prove I wasn’t pregnant) and signed a form. I was then given a prescription for 5.5 months at a dose of 40mg per day. (One 20mg pill in the morning and one again in the evening.) The dose was calculated based on my body weight at the time.

In hindsight, I would have made a very different decision that day. However, in that moment the positives were standing out far more strongly than any ‘possible’ and ‘unlikely’ negatives and so I went ahead. Plus, at that time having acne was affecting my self esteem and social life so much that I was desperate for a solution. In my own head my thought process went something like this ‘Take this for a few months- dry skin-dry lips-dry hair-clear beautiful skin-happy.’

That’s me being honest with you. Of course I don’t think that now but at that time I felt I would be more beautiful, lovable, worthy and successful if I had clear skin. To be honest, I know there will be people reading this that completely understand what I mean. The very next day, I filled a glass of water and held the oval shaped pill in my hand. I won’t lie, I was nervous but I decided to focus on the great outcome that I believed was coming my way and downed the pill.

Two words- Initial breakout. Yeah, that hit me full force about 3-4 weeks into the treatment. My face was so sore and inflamed and there was nothing that seemed to calm it down. My lips were super dry and always peeling and my skin became noticeably dry even though it wasn’t that oily to begin with.

To be honest, I didn’t notice any other side effects until December 22nd. Yes, I remember the date because of how awful it was. I had gone out the previous night for a couple of Christmas drinks with my sister and friends. We had a lovely time together and remember feeling more confidant as my skin was improving and looked really good that particular evening. On the morning of the 22nd I woke up and immediately noticed that my face felt hot and there was a burning pain. When I looked in the mirror I couldn’t believe what I saw. Both of my cheeks were bright red and glowing. It looked like eczema (which I had never experienced previously.) Not only did it look horrific but it was hot to the touch and really, really sore. I emailed my dermatologist and he confirmed that it was eczema and told me to keep it hydrated and to email if it changed significantly or worsened. Basically over the course of about a week, my inflamed cheeks began to weep then crusted over so I had two massive red, crusty areas of skin covering the whole cheek area of my face on both sides. My face was swollen due to inflammation and all in all it was an ordeal. A few photos were taken but I felt so ugly that I (stupidly) deleted them. All I can say is a friend called over and almost started crying when she saw me.

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The eczema (I deleted the worst photos)
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My face- swollen and inflamed

The eczema cleared up over the space of about a fortnight. I had a little bit of a rash on my hands that would come and go but I used to just moisturise it a lot with some coconut oil. Looking back I think a slight increase in hair shedding started sometime in late January but at the time I didn’t think much of it as it was ever so slight. Feeling happy that my skin was clearing up took my focus off the fact I was a little run down and catching a couple more cold type bugs than usual. Then again it was winter so I thought nothing of it, looking back now I could tell I was starting to become run down from the effect of the Accutane. Towards the end of the course, I remember mentioning to my mum that my eyes were extremely dry, bone dry actually and something that stands out is the fact that I mentioned to her that I couldn’t cry.  My joints were becoming stiff and achy too and I was bruising really easily but I was so close to the end and was determined to finish. My face must have been inflamed and sore in January too because I was originally meant to fly out to Santiago, Chile to meet my friend Jack but ended up changing my flight to March. Actually, my skin was really fragile and pink in colour after finishing the treatment. I also remember having an area on my upper lip that was cut and sore and seemed to be retaining more water in my face.

Roll on March 19th- I had completed Accutane and was about to leave the country to start a new adventure. I presumed that I’d be backpacking around South America for at least a year. Feeling smothered by small scale Cornish living, I was looking forward to hitting the road. I love to travel and explore so this was an exciting prospect for me. Deep down I knew I was running away from a few things though. I had been through a stressful time in my personal life and I suppose I wanted to escape to something new.

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Bags packed, ready to go.

My adventure started at Bristol airport with a bang. A shoe lace on one walking boot got stuck in a hook on the other. Before I had time to think, I feel to the floor really sharply. I had my backpack on my back, a rucksack on my front and a side gym type bag on one shoulder. The weight of the bags propelled me forward too. It was literally so painful and so embarrassing at the same time. People didn’t know what to do and were trying not to laugh (I don’t blame them, it must have been hilarious to watch!) Luckily, the rest of my travel went well and I arrived safely at Santiago. Apart from being pulled to one side on arrival and having all of my bags searched (thanks to one piece of fruit and a sniffer dog) everything was good.

Myself and Jack stayed in central Santiago for the first part of the trip and it was here that I began to experience problems. The day after arriving I noticed that my ‘spleen area’ hurt a lot. I put it down to the fall I took at the airport, thinking it was bruised ribs. Even though, I felt it was something more. I took some ibuprofan for the pain and carried on. We did a lot of moving around and I had to keep topping up on factor 50 sunscreen which was annoying. I did notice that I was feeling just ‘off’ and more tired than usual but though I’d soon adjust. Weeks went by and we moved through the countries bus by bus. Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru. I just wasn’t feeling myself and even though I could see so much beauty around me, something wasn’t right. It was when we were in Buenos Aries that I really noticed that my hair was falling out. It was thinning all over and every shower I would lose fistfuls. I found it so distressing but kept thinking it would stop soon.

By the time we got to Miraflores in Peru, I looked unwell. I was fatigued, pale and had a sickly appearance. I had also been in bed unable to move for days with some sort of infection. My joints were not just stiff but sore and I was experiencing pain in my hips, knees and lower back. The most worrying change though was the significant and rapid decline in my mental health. I don’t know how it came on but all I know is that when I was in Peru I was feeling really depressed and very anxious. I had been sending emails back and forth to my mum and the dermatologist as the continuing increase in hair loss was worrying and upsetting me beyond belief. Things came to a head when I was Skyping my mum from the bathroom floor of our Peruvian hostel. I was distressed and crying my eyes out. I knew that I had no choice but to book my return flight and to head home.

 

accutane, Health, Personal, Uncategorized

Story time- back to college.

Hey guys, I thought I’d post a little update. I’ve been super busy the past week getting ready to return to college. I’m currently on the way to Bristol and writing this blog post from the train. There’s something I love about train journeys- they allow to to totally chill and the views are great. Smooth and enjoyable (unless you make a fool of yourself and fall asleep on a random guy’s shoulder) and yes, I have done that and yes, it is just as embarrassing as it sounds! Haha Anyway, it’s probably just as well I’m sitting up and typing today.

Naturopathic nutrition is the course I’m studying and I’ll be attending lectures on average twice monthly at weekends. Naturopathic nutrition differs from conventional nutrition in its approach. An emphasis is put on natural, organic whole foods and how food can really enhance health. So it’s basically a more holistic way of looking at Nutrition and suits me perfectly.
Last March, whilst working full time at a cool, foodie pub in Falmouth I began to feel depleted. I felt as though I needed more. I needed to change up the routine that I had fallen in to which consisted of working most days and chilling with friends. This sounds fine but..  I wasn’t doing anything to really inspire me or ignite my passion. I enjoyed my Front of house role as it involved interacting with different types of people on a daily basis, as well as serving great food that it was easy to be passionate about. My work colleges were lovely and it really felt like a team effort. However, being a waitress isn’t my soul purpose by any means. It was a handy way of making money for a while and I did care about the place and the people involved but the work was tiring and stressful at times.

Deciding I needed a quick break, I enrolled to do a food photography course in London at CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine). It was just a two-day short course and one of my work colleges kindly let me stay at his family home in Central London. The weekend was a wonderful change and the time out gave me space to think about my next step.

Once I returned to Falmouth, I began to seriously consider my options. I found out that CNM also do diploma courses, including Naturopathic nutrition. I’ve been really interested in this area for the past few years and my knowledge has been growing since 2006 but most notably over the past five years after becoming really sick from taking Accutane. I had read and read; books, papers and online articles.

A couple of phone calls and a consultation later, I was officially enrolled and a student at CNM Bristol! Although the course had started back in January and I had missed two weekends worth of lecture, I was told I coul be a late starter and make up the class time quite easily. I figured it would be challenging to integrate my job and college, especially commuting but I felt like it would be the best decision as I just longed for something to give me more of a sense of purpose in life. I also wanted to have some academic work to sink my teeth into and provide intellectual stimulation.

Unfortunately, the stress of my job including late nights and commuting to Bristol was too much. My health took a hit- I was physically and mentally overstretched and burnt out. I developed a skin infection (from being run down) where I had sores all over my face that would weep clear fluid and then scab over. It was really sore and made me feel super self concious especially in such a customer based role at work. This persisted for several weeks and would become a little milder then flare up intermittently. In addition to this I felt extremely stressed and like I could cry at the smallest thing. Enough was enough, I went to the doctor and was signed off sick from work for a few weeks. Antibiotics were prescribed for my skin as I developed a really nasty sore on my left forearm. The doctor swabbed it and the results showed it to be a bad Staph A bacterial infection. All in all, I just wasn’t myself. I knew I had no choice but to defer my course.

Impetigo/ Staph A infection

So.. Fast forward one year. I took some time for myself and left my job at the pub and upped my game even further regarding diet and exercise and kept stress to a minimum. I’m now feeling super healthy and enthusiastic about this year and the next chapter in my life. I feel as though I am back to being as healthy, probably healthier than before I took Accutane and this is incredible.

If someone had said to me in 2012/2013 “You’ll definitely be better again” I wouldn’t have believed them. After taking that medication, I thought I was broken in more ways than one. I cannot believe that it’s almost exactly five years since I first became ill and that I’ve been on such a journey. Starting this blog makes me feel a whole heap of emotions ranging from joy to sadness to relief but most of all it makes me feel grateful.

I feel grateful beyond belief to be in such a great place, both within myself and in my life right now. To be healthy after having your health taken away from you is literally like being given the best gift ever. It is priceless.

2017 feels different already, in a very positive way. I’m truly blessed to have such supportive people in my life and feel thankful that all I have been through has shaped me in to the person I am today. Now I’m ready to study hard, blog regularly and embrace new experiences. I’m so excited for what’s to come! On that note, I think I’ll leave it here for today. I’ve had a busy week  and haven’t slept well for a few nights, plus I have ‘school’ tomorrow so it’s bedtime.

I won’t be posting on Sunday because I’ll have lectures all day but I’ll post during the week. Look forward to chatting more soon. I’ll be speaking more about the side effects of Accutane and the various things I did to help my body heal and recover as well as putting up some more delicious recipes 🙂

Catch you all soon, have a lovely weekend.

Bex