When I was about 45, I started to feel lousy, not sick, but certainly not well. I was always sleepy and sometimes had trouble holding on to a thought or finding the right words to express myself. These problems I attributed to the stress of teaching high school English and raising an active family.
Soon, however, I began to hurt all over: knees, hips, elbows, neck, and lower back were stiff and sore. Getting ready to go to work in the morning was an ordeal. I remember getting in the shower and being unable to pick up a bar of soap that I had dropped because my back was so stiff. I started to squat down to pick it up and found that my knees would no longer bend to that position. I went to see my family doctor about my stiffness and pain. He ran a few tests and diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis. Consulting a rheumatologist, I learned that I did not have rheumatoid arthritis but was suffering from fibromyalgia. The rheumatologist told me that quite a bit of my trouble was a simple and unavoidable result of aging and being overweight. He put me on a daily dose of Celebrex and muscle relaxers and suggested some lifestyle changes.
Along with the pain, I struggled with a sense that something was wrong, a constant uneasiness that intensified in the evening, making it difficult to enjoy my wonderful family and my challenging job. Looking back, I think I have had this same nagging anxiety for many years and did not recognize it because it had always been with me. Any decision I had to make would leave me unsure and second-guessing myself. At the same time, my weight steadily crept upward in spite of dieting, and I was constantly cold, especially my hands and feet. My husband says that those cold feet were like nothing he had ever experienced. Even with socks on, my feet would stay cold for several hours after going to bed at night.
I had also noticed other physical changes commonly related to declining hormones following my hysterectomy in December 1999. The same symptoms that many peri-menopausal women suffer in their forties, were taking their toll on my marriage. An abdominal surgery in the late 70’s had left me with only one ovary, and for years doctors had told me that just one ovary produced adequate hormones for health. I believe that what those doctors meant was adequate hormones for reproduction.
These symptoms had crept up on me little by little. I could still manage enough energy for work and excitement in my children’s accomplishments and activities, but at home I was exhausted. I would fall asleep as soon as I sat down and would have to drag myself to the kitchen to cook dinner and take care of household duties. I was not totally aware of how much my behavior and outlook had changed until one day when my husband made me take a hard look at myself. He told me that something was going to have to change. I was a young woman and could barely get around well enough to do the things I enjoyed doing. He gave me an advertisement that he had found in Texas Monthly and told me that the woman in the story could have been me! I read the story and agreed, hurt a little by the truths he had revealed to me, and then began to feel excited. Perhaps I could regain some of what I had lost!
So in June of 2003, I made the call to Hotze Health & Wellness Center. From the first telephone conversation, I knew this place was different. The telephone coordinator explained services available and costs and then arranged to send me a packet of information to help me make an educated decision as to what concerns to address in my initial visit.
Upon arriving at the center in Katy, five hours from my home, my journey to health began. Sitting briefly in the waiting area, I met a young woman who was so terribly sick that my heart ached for her. She was suffering from something like chronic fatigue and could not get out of bed to do anything. She cried as she told me that she had lost custody of her children because she could not take care of them. I do not know what has happened to her, but I pray that her treatment has been as successful as mine.
I realized that I was so fortunate to find this place while I was still able to function. My wait was brief and I was taken to an exam room where Dr. Sheridan went over all the information from my earlier telephone interview and set me up for a battery of tests, a bone-density scan, and allergy testing, all to be done that very day. He told me that various systems in my body, the adrenal gland, the ovaries, the thyroid, and the immune system, were under stress and were not functioning anywhere near the appropriate levels. To top it off, he found that I was allergic to foods I was consuming nearly every day: wheat, tea, and chocolate. He prescribed allergy sublingual drops, various bio-identical hormones, Armour Thyroid, Cortisol, and suggested supplements to improve my general health. Going over my instructions, one of the nurses asked me if I had been having trouble making decisions. My eyes welled with tears as she told me that I was going to notice a huge difference in my mental clarity. Returning home, I was a bit overwhelmed with the treatment regimen, but the clear written instructions made it easy to get into my new routine.
I was feeling better and better! My family noticed immediately, and the kids joked about my new energy. I felt so much better that I wanted to do everything at once! I started the yeast free diet and dropped some weight. I need to stay on that diet and lose more, but I lack discipline, sorry Dr. Sheridan. The yeast free diet with an accompanying round of medication made a huge difference in my joint pain and stiffness as well as in my allergies. I was on my way to a new life.
Euphoria ensued, and I told everyone who would listen about this great place that I had found! My health continued to improve. By the first check point, my cholesterol had dropped about 35 points. That was great, but what mattered to me was that I felt so much better. My flexibility returned, and my pain diminished. The hormones did their job immediately! I was stunned at the improvement in that area of my life. My memory improved and my sense of unease virtually disappeared.
Two-and-a-half years have passed since I first found Hotze Health and Wellness Center. My health has continued to improve during this time. I feel great, and when I occasionally find myself feeling less than terrific, I know what I need to do to get back on track through nutrition, adjustments to medications, and supplements. My students joke about my energy sometimes. They think it is just my morning coffee that makes me so excited to begin a new day. My days are packed. This morning I was up at 6:00 and at school by 7:20. After school, I directed fifteen kids in a one-act play rehearsal until 5:15. I keep up with a hectic job and a busy family. I sing in the church choir. I coach the literary criticism team at school. I serve on the board of a county theater group. Life is good.
So that is how I got my life back. Come to think of it, my life is better than ever, thanks to Dr. Sheridan and the staff of Hotze Health & Wellness Center.
Can you relate to Karen's story? Contact us today and let us help you get your life back!