“I remember one time when he [the gynecologist] and the psychiatrist told me that most of my symptoms, I created myself.”
In order to know who I am, you need to know where I’ve been.
My husband Patrick and I have been married for 20 years. We have had 23 foster children, adopted 5 children and have one biological son, Adam.
I had miscarried 5 times before getting pregnant with Adam. No doctor could give me a complete diagnosis and understanding why, but during my pregnancy with Adam, I had spent a total of 8 weeks in the hospital, mostly because of dehydration from constantly throwing up. It was like having the most severe case of the flu, not for a few days… but for all 9 months. My relationship with my gynecological specialist seemed very intimate and yet, very distant. I will never forget the additional specialists he would bring into my hospital room, including a psychiatrist as he searched for a reason why I was so sick all the time. I remember one time when he and the psychiatrist told me that most of my symptoms, I created myself. I wanted to shout at him, “Look, I am a smart, college graduate, business owner. I am NOT a psychologically imbalanced woman who creates psychosomatic symptoms of constant nausea to the point of dehydration for attention.”
That was the beginning of my health problems. After the birth of Adam, I continued to have a host of health problems that I had never had before.
I suffered from constant sinus infections, bronchitis, asthma, allergies, and sensitivity to smoke, perfumes, and my eyes constantly watered. My periods became similar to the onset of the flu, with migraines, bloating, cramps and LOTS OF MIDOL. I was abusing antibiotics and was burning the candle at both ends trying to maintain a successful business, be a supportive wife, dutiful daughter and mother. I maintained balancing my life successfully in that condition for 13 years.
Over the past 2 years I have struggled trying to balance everything. I started having problems sleeping for longer than 2 hours at a time during the night, and was so exhausted during the day that I could no longer maintain my business or family obligations. More often, I simply didn’t want to get out of bed. In addition, I had absolutely no desire for sexual intimacy.
Although I had begun to notice some significant signs of memory loss 3 years ago, I dismissed them as stress related, until August of 2004. At that time, I wasn’t the only person to recognize my deteriorated memory; my husband, children, employees and mother all began expressing their concerns. I became scared that I was facing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. In recent months, I became depressed, unmotivated, irritable, was quickly gaining weight, my complexion was a mess, my hair had thinned out to the point that I was wearing hair pieces, my joints in my hands were stiff and sore. I rarely wore makeup or dressed nicely. I wanted to talk to a doctor, but didn’t know where to begin. My past experience with my gynecologist had left me skeptical that doctors were helpful. I was embarrassed that I had not been under the care of any doctor in 13 years and I felt they would see my symptoms and view me as a hypochondriac.
It was on one of my lazy days in December of 2004, when I was in bed watching TV that I saw Suzanne Somers on a talk show pitching her new book, “The Sexy Years”. As she talked, I felt she was talking about ME. I immediately went out to get the book at the bookstore and read it cover to cover in one night. That next day, I googled “bio-identical hormone replacement therapy Houston” and found the Hotze Health and Wellness Center. Curiously, I took all 4 tests on the website and found that all the tests verified my problems were legitimate and there was possible help. I discussed it with my husband and with his complete support, called to make an appointment for consultation. On December 13, I went in and had my first appointment with Dr. Ellsworth and the staff. I left feeling better, hopeful, respected and confident that I had a support group of healthcare providers that would see me through until I was back to being myself again. The first major decision I made to take back my life was to reduce my stress level by selling my business and resign from two of the boards I was serving on.
The first significant notice of improvement came that first month when my period came. I had no migraine, no nausea, no bloating, no cramps, no flu like symptoms and NO MIDOL. It was easy, comfortable and came and went without fanfare. THAT WAS MY FIRST MIRACLE.
The second month I had some die-off from the yeast-free eating program and feared all the improvements I had seen in my sleep patterns and energy level were all wishful thinking. As the die-off ended, my improvement became marked. My excess weight was falling off, I was beginning to sleep 4-5 hours at a time, I could carry on a conversation and not lose my thoughts as often. I had returned to attending church and had enough energy to hire a personal trainer and begin working out with my husband 3 days per week. By the third month I had seen 15 pounds vanish, my mind was sharper, my hair was healthier, my complexion was clear, my eyes had quit watering constantly, I had added playing tennis to my regular schedule and had even been able to sleep for a few nights in a row without my nightly dose of Afrin.
In my fourth month, I was feeling so much better that I decided to enter the Mrs. Texas United States pageant / Mrs. United States America. I continued my daily regiment of 50 capsules of vitamins, thyroid and hormone pills that my mother had recently condemned and feared. But now, she too was a believer and had told me that she thought I was back to being the Terri of 15 years ago. With my newfound health, confidence and body, I went to Dallas for the pageant. My greatest fear was that I would freeze, or forget the point of the onstage question. That didn’t happen. I went on to win the prestigious swimsuit award (beating out women in their 20’s), and confidently soared through my interview and 4 onstage questions to capture the title of Mrs. Texas.
It is amazing and thrilling to see the changes in my life, family, health and heart since my greatest fears of the onset of Alzheimer’s this past fall.
I have always believed that “To whom much is given, much is required”; I have been blessed with so much. My husband is my best friend, still after all these years, my kids have surrounded me with love and support, my Father in heaven has restored my health and has even given me the opportunity to share my story as Mrs. Texas. I feel it is required of me to do so.
There are many people in our lives who have great influence in the successes we enjoy. The greatest of these is my husband Pat, who has stood beside me for 20 years, through pregnancy, miscarriage, fostering, adopting, childbirth, parenting teenagers, failures, business decisions, life’s CHANGES…and has accepted me in all phases and has encouraged me to always find happiness.
Among many others, I cannot minimize the impact that the staff of the Hotze Health and Wellness Center has made my in my life. Thank you for restoring my hope and Dr Ellsworth, thank you for restoring my faith in doctors and their personal care in the lives of their patients. I still can’t believe that you actually remembered me after my first appointment with you. I have met so many of you over the past 5 months and each and every one of you has offered positive, professional kindness and hope. Dr. Hotze, thank you for being willing to follow God’s wisdom instead of the wisdom of men and thank you for giving me this opportunity to let you all know how grateful I am to you all.
Can you relate to Terri’s symptoms? Do you have severe memory loss? We can help. Click here to contact us today!
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