When Kids Complain of Symptoms, Listen


When I was a kid, and indeed throughout the first half of my twenties, I complained to my mom almost constantly of symptom after symptom. She took me to the doctor for some but usually shrugged off most of them, counting them as a normal part of this imperfect life. She still contends, even after witnessing such a dramatic transformation in my health, that symptoms are nothing to concern yourself with, that bodies are not perfect and we shouldn’t expect them to be.

I beg to differ mom. In a big way. You just can’t tell me, still, that all the symptoms I had weren’t a result of impending disease. Merriam Webster Unabridged seems to agree with me.

“symptom: subjective evidence of disease or physical disturbance observed by the patient”

I am reading a book right now called The Jungles of Randomness by Ivars Perterson. In chapter 4 he talks about networked oscillators in nature – the flash of fireflies, the walking gait of animals. On page 78 he said something which reminded me of my life with so many symptoms and how they are a defect in the normal functioning of a body. He was talking about how the brain is not actually responsible for the impulses involved in walking and running. That’s the job of the spinal cord oddly enough. The brain’s job is to keep movements turned off until they are needed. In his own words:

“the brain’s main role in controlling movement is to inhibit the signals automatically generated in the spinal cord – until the movements are required for some purpose. If disease or injury affects that part of the brain, the victim often displays a variety of uncontrollable, involuntary twitches or spasms.”

I used to twitch. My mom said it was normal but I had a feeling it wasn’t. Now I know that the twitching, and all of my other symptoms weren’t normal. I know it because I don’t have them anymore. Let me show you what I mean.

Symptoms which plagued me most of my life

Once I finally untethered myself from my mom’s insistence that I was ok, I decided to hit the library and Internet for answers. In 2004 I made this list of symptoms and searched one by one for a root cause. I dealt with most of these most of my life. Of course I could disguise them, as most people do, making me appear a normal girl. I wasn’t normal, though, underneath the facade. Now every last one of these is a thing of the past. Now I am really normal.

The symptoms I recovered from
Swollen knuckles
Red flushed fingers
Bags under my eyes
Itchy feeling in my colon
Severe pain by my liver
Gas and bloating
Mucus in my stool
Slight hair loss
A little non-feminine hair growth on feet, toes, nipples, face, knuckles, belly, inner thighs, chest
Obsessive behavior – pulling out hairs and picking at skin on fingers and lips
Short term memory problems
Long term memory problems
Inarticulate, difficulty verbalizing thoughts quickly
Severe fatigue
Pain in my tissues (not exactly my muscles) of my legs
Arthritic pain in my hands and knees
Sore shoulder muscles
Constant neck pain
Heart palpitations
Yeast infections
White coated tongue
Tatar on my teeth
Very fast weight gain around my middle
Cellulite on my thighs
Numbing (sometimes severe) in my limbs
Occasional near fainting
Joint pain
Joints coming out of socket
Worn cartilage in my knees
Twitching before bed
Spinning sensation when I close my eyes
Disturbing pictures of big looking clutter when I close my eyes – very disturbing
Dry, stinging, bloodshot eyes
Sensitivity to light
Stuffed up nose
Frequent sinus infections
Frequent colds and flus
Frequent bronchitis
Stomach aches
Bad breath
Splitting, thin fingernails
Dry skin
Heavy periods
Irregular periods
Incapacitating cramps
Tooth decay, most of my teeth have fillings
Terrible leg cramps which wake me up

Why my mom couldn’t help me

My mom was a nurse. I believed she knew everything about health and so I had always gone to her for help and reassurance. But what I didn’t know was that her method was not to discover the root of the problem but to cover up the symptoms with meds or natural remedies. This was her training.

She cared and she tried in her own way. She took me to dermatologists for the acne, she got me a physical therapist for my knee, she took me to the ER for my displaced joints, we had tests done for ulcers. But none of this ever got me anywhere. If we covered up one symptom for a while, another would soon appear.

In addition to thinking that symptoms were just a normal part of life that doctors could take care of, there were a couple other reasons for her unwillingness to see that her daughter was falling apart. First, she was falling apart too. If it was normal for her, it was normal for me.

Second, I was her baby. She couldn’t face that there was something wrong – that her baby was unhealthy.

If her baby was unhealthy at the core and not just bruised and bumped on the outside, then she must have failed in her duty to her child.

At least, this is what a mother might think.

It is our job to take care of our children and ensure that they are healthy and thriving. When it doesn’t work out this way, we can run the gamut of emotions or find ourselves in denial. I think we are all vulnerable to making this mistake.

Like my mom who was a nurse and had a particularly strong sense of pride in her healing abilities, we who have gone down the road of natural health do to. We are equally, if not more, prone to ignoring symptoms in our children because we think we’ve been doing everything right. But things can come up regardless of how hard we try to make them perfect.

So I urge you, if you are a parent, to listen to your children when they complain, to watch them for abnormalities, and to not take it personally.

We need to take a step back from our emotions and our pride and remember that it is our responsibility not only to raise strong, healthy children but to solve their problems as they arise.

Have you known someone who struggled with so many symptoms. Was it your kids? Did you help them through it or are you trying to now?

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  1. This is a timely post for me. I’m trying to solve some of my own issues through diet (and things are improving, but not quite there yet), but as of today I’ve decided to draw an important line for my toddler. I have this feeling something is not right with this child – she throws the most epic, violent tantrums that last for hours, and she can’t calm down. Plus, she gets overwhelmed very easily by busy places or other kids. That overwhelmed look on her face really reminds me of what I went through for years with an undiscovered dairy allergy. I had vertigo or was really out of it all the time, and it was because my Eustachian tube was constantly inflamed. I’m suspecting what’s going on with her has to be food related. But, if it’s more than that, I’m going to get to the bottom of this because like you said, it’s our job as mom!
    Thanks for this post. I feel more empowered after reading it to stand up to her dad/grandparents who just want to brush this stuff off and call it normal. I’m sorry, but I don’t think it’s normal to not be able to really interact with other kids or to cry so hard, you throw up, because of something that happened an hour ago.

    • Good for you for paying attention to your child’s symptoms and trying to fix the problem! It’s hard to do, but it will be so worth it – listen to your intuition! I agree that type of tantrum doesn’t sound typical.

    • Yeah Casey, I wouldn’t count that as normal either. Poor child. Fear, panic, anger, violence. None of that is comfortable to feel. It may not be easy to figure out exactly what’s ailing her now that might be causing it, since she’s not going to be able to articulate herself for a long time, but you can try eliminating foods and see if that helps. Hopefully it resolves and hopefully it doesn’t last long enough for you to figure out what was the cause. Of course, if eliminating foods doesn’t help now, eventually when she can explain herself, you’ll be able to get it.

  2. Incredible list. And I know that over the years, I had many students with the same or similar symptoms.

    • I think a lot of these symptoms are pretty common and I hate to think how many kids’ bodies are so irritated they can’t focus on school. I had a lot of trouble with middle school and high school, myself, which was when all these symptoms started to manifest. I made it to college I think because of pride. I felt like a loser for goofing off in school all those years and I wanted to get back on track. But all throughout college I continued to suffer from these symptoms. I just toughed it out. College could have been so much better if I felt like I do now!

  3. Ugh, we are right smack in the middle of this too. I have a list of symptoms similar to yours, but I didn’t realize that those sorts of things didn’t happen to everyone until I had to do an elimination diet while breastfeeding my son. It’s ridiculous what is considered “normal” or “not a big deal”. I can’t imagine what my son’s life would be like in adulthood if I let all of these problems manifest for that long…And the sad part is all of the friends whose children have similar issues and they just chalk it up to being a kid.
    I think the hardest part for me is the social aspect of things; always having to bring our own food, and my son being at the age where he is noticing that he can’t have what other kids are having (part of that is when my MIL will buy all of the kids ice cream and my son can’t do dairy, so he gets to watch while everyone else eats it – she is good about not giving him foods he can’t have, which is nice, but c’mon, that is like torture for a kid!)
    Anyway, something that gives me weird mental blips is when I have too much sugar. I don’t even realize that I have done it until I am laying in bed at night and the convulsions start…I sometimes think that I have mini seizures…but it’s most definitely related to diet.
    The other symptoms that you would think would get more attention in the heart palpitations…but apparently if you have them sporadically when you are younger people ignore it a bit.
    Oh and one more pet peeve are the parents who will make the changes for themselves, but not for their kids, even if the kids have neon symptoms. And then complain about behavioral “problems” their kids have, like it’s something that the kid is doing to make life difficult for the parent.
    I could really write a novel!

    • You should Angelina! Seriously, parents think their kids just “have problems.” It’s just not true.

      I feel bad for my daughter too that she doesn’t get to eat the same stuff others eat. “Childhood” is so much about food now a days, so much less about playing. It’s like if you don’t eat junk you’re missing out on a part of your “childhood”. I hope she doesn’t end up seeing it that way in the end.

      • It’s really not even about the food specifically, it’s the isolation that results that bothers me the most, especially for a young child. There is a really hard age range where kids won’t necessarily relate the bad feeling to food, but I think that once they are old enough to make the connection that certain foods make them sick, then making good choices is a bit easier, and less about isolation or missing out. It does really bother me that so much of childhood revolves around cake and candy. It makes it harder to make those choices, for adults, parents, and for kids.

  4. Of all these symptoms , are you diagnosed with anything specific? How do you not have any of these symptoms anymore? I suffer from quite a bit of the symptoms you listed. Just diet? I eat a pretty excellent diet, but still have a lot of these symptoms. Thanks for the post!

    • I have celiac disease and fructose malabsorption. I had PCOS and was infertile. It took many years for these to resolve. I went Primal in early 2005 and I still had a lot of these off and on by 2008. But by now they have all resolved. The last thing I had to figure out was the fructose malabsorption. That cleared up the remaining mysteries.

      I would say diet played the biggest role but eat well is not all I do. I also don’t smoke, don’t drink, and don’t take meds of any kind. I exercise regularly and have for about 10 years.

      • I also have PCOS.. Also don’t smoke, Drink rarely one or two, I’m very weak and extremely fatigue most days & have a lot of the joint pain / soreness you describe. (however i do have a 1 yr old EBF so that has a little to do with it!) Been eating well and excersising since high school (32 now). I’m curious about the fructose thing, how did they find that?

        • Hi Anna,

          They definitely didn’t figure out the fructose thing. In fact, they didn’t figure out anything. Dermatologists prescribed antibiotics and topical meds for acne, tests for ulcers came back negative so the digestive problems were then ignored, for depression they prescribed psychiatrists. It was all bullshit for years and years.

          I asked for a celiac test because a friend suggested it. Then later I did a super duper elimination diet which revealed the fructose malabsorption. When we have problems like this we have to be our own problem solvers. Doctors are definitely not problem solvers. Not anymore anyway.

          You can read about FM here. https://theprimalparent.com/2012/03/31/ibs-depression-skin-fructose-malabsorption/

  5. Wow, that list reads like a laundry list of my late teens and twenties. I had everything but the disturbing clutter images (lol), plus I had painful boils over my nether regions to boot. I even had the OCD fingernail picking, and I couldn’t drive on the freeway I was so anxious. O_o
    Fructose malabsorption was the last piece of the puzzle, thanks to you, plus I had to ditch nightshades and wheat. I also don’t smoke anymore, drink or take meds of any kind. I find I don’t even have to exercise to feel good, but it makes me feel awesomer so I do. :)
    This is a great post. I’m glad that I have instinctively gone into “detective”/biohacker mode now that I’m a mom – I didn’t realize that we’re not broken by default when I was younger, but I sure as hell do now.

    • We should hang out some time! We’re coming from a similar place. :) Amazing how so much can go wrong and then can all be put right, huh?

      (If anyone else had those weird disturbing clutter images, let me know. It was seriously strange, went on for about 2 decades, and would scare the hell out of me. I always thought it had something to do with celiac.)

      • I used to frequently have a similar images before I went primal…. and not at all in the past few weeks since I’ve dropped all dairy but homemade ghee. It was like a cluttered network that I couldn’t navigate advancing towards me and it was really anxiety inducing. It was usually followed by me feeling really helpless and I’d have really low self-esteem and then I’d do something like eat sugar or wheat or annoy my boyfriend, which only made me feel worse.

        Not sure if it’s similar to what you saw but this post made realise that I haven’t seen that in ages! Last time was when I accidentally ate wheat on the same day that I had something with margarine (ew! I didn’t know about that one until I saw the container the person cooking had used) and hummus (guilty on that one but I certainly won’t do it again!) The stomach pain about 10 minutes after eating the wheat and hummus was incredible- I was in an isle of a shop and just doubled over in pain. Living in my own place with my, also paleo, boyfriend helps with cross-contamination now too. Although guests have brought their own crackers, which I find weird- no one would bring a big steak to a vegan’s house :/

        • Just to add one thing about the clutter images- I always thought that it had something to do with having ADD, which I had been diagnosed with using brain imaging and symptom identification as a kid and I’ve had it confirmed that I still had it- prepaleo- about 1.5 years ago.

        • It does sound similar. It made me feel helpless and anxious too. I would have to open my eyes to make it stop. All of the oversized stuff was sort of smooth and it was like it just wasn’t supposed to be there. I think I remember something about it advancing towards me too but then I usually spun when I closed my eyes. That went away when I stopped eating wheat about 8 years ago. Never to return.

      • Oh gosh, I had the images too. Along with pretty much everything else on the list. I turned out to have celiac and pcos, also. One of my more intelligent docs and I were talking once about autoimmune issues like celiac, and how other autoimmune issues tend to go along with it in many people. She said that it makes sense to assume that if your immune system is prone to attacking the body, then perhaps more than one thing can stimulate it. Many of those things sound like nerve issues… have you read up on MS? It’s possible to have milder symptoms start before full blown MS, when you’re immune system first starts wearing on your myelin. Seems many people with celiac have it. Pain, numbness, vertigo, visualizations, memory, compulsions, nightmares, mood, inability to put thoughts into words. Many of those things like the numbness and such could be chalked up to plain old deficiency, due to celiac, but you never know. I was still getting full side paralysis and confusion after limiting my diet to almost nothing (sound familiar?) and ms was mentioned. It’s gotten steadily better; I guess it can take years to for the nervous system to heal.

        • Mandrrr,

          Damn! I have never read about multiple sclerosis. But since you left a comment I thought I’d take a look at the symptoms. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001747/

          The symptoms in my own list were symptoms I had most of my life but there were some others which cropped up in my 20s which I did not at all understand. One of them was that my entire left leg and up into my hip would go absolutely numb – not pins and needles, just numb, dead. Often there would be excruciating pain along with it. Another one was the vision in my right eye would go bad for a day or several hours and then return before going bad again. Another was difficulty beginning to urinate. And last was a sudden loss of control in my knees while walking. These were not symptoms that I had all of my life but in fact for only a few years. I never knew what these were about but I assumed that there was something terribly wrong with me. I asked a doctor and a chiropractor about them but neither had an answer for me. I have wondered if it had something to do with food allergies – in particular, my allergy to rice. Sounds odd maybe but when I quit eating rice (I ate rice for about 2 years some years back) everything cleared up, 100% and without return, until about 2 years ago, after my head injury, I started eating rice again and the exact symptoms returned, this time with a vengeance. No other offending foods bring it on. My eyesight has been perfect for over a year and my leg completely functional and I haven’t been perfect with my diet! But I have been perfect about avoiding rice.

          Anyway, there it is, for what it’s worth. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. At least I may have some clue as to what those bizarre symptoms were. If they ever come back I will have more to go on than I used to have.

          Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know why, though – why everything went wrong so young and why now I have to be so careful… Why why why…

  6. Things I am hoping cleaning up my diet will fix:
    – excessively low blood pressure
    – extreme fatigue (I sleep fourteen plus hours a day, always have)
    – hindered immune system (colds other people get over in a day or two destroy me for weeks or months)
    – brain fog/lack of focus/destroyed memory
    – hand/foot seizing/pain in extremities (some days I have to pry my hands open in the morning)
    – acne/boils
    – fungus infections
    – chronic anemia (you can see all my veins through my skin)
    – fragile/inconsistent nails/hair
    And that’s on top of the directly fistulizing Crohn’s symptoms. I’ve already lost half my colon, because the doctors told me to eat over-processed grains because they were easy to digest. *headdesk*

    Weirdly once I got my period (age eighteen), it’s always come on time. But I don’t do birth control because I just don’t seem to get pregnant so *something* must be wrong there. And the cramps are bad enough that I can’t function without narcotics the first two days.

    My mother tried. Like your mother, she’s a nurse, but she never brushed it off. It’s just that no matter what we tried nobody could fix anything. I got diagnosed with mono four times one year (I think I was ten?), each time the blood test came back negative, so I never had it but that’s all the doctor could think of. We fired him, but nobody ever did anything for my symptoms. I just stopped asking about it. If I wasn’t lucky enough to be super-smart (no bragging) there’s no way I could’ve kept up in school with the amount of sick days I took/take.
    Now the doctor just brushes everything off as Crohn’s. But nobody will do anything. Last time I asked him want we can do, he said he’d write me a good letter when I apply for disability. I don’t *want* disability, I want to be functional. I want a life, not a government cheque because we’ve decided that life at any costs is a moral certainty.

    I’m really frustrated right now, because my poor gut just can’t seem to digest anything. I cut out sugar and I can’t get out of bed. I keep trying to do a more paleo version of the GAPS diet, but my blood pressure crashes. I wish I could have some kind of professional support, but I can’t find a doctor that will experiment like this AND is covered by my insurance, and I obviously can’t work so I can’t pay out of pocket. You’re a huge inspiration to me; your story’s given me new ideas to try (I’ve stopped trying to eat vegetables at all, though organ meats are still too hard to digest… I’m going to try fermenting them to get a head start on digesting to see if that helps)

    Ugh. This got long, sorry. I guess I had a whine inside. :-)

    • Oh. And psychosis. How could I forget about the psychotic episodes?

      • Oh wow, I forgot that one too I guess. When I was a much younger teenager I was scared of my own mind. Oh and fear of the dark. That one wasn’t on there either. Whoo, such fear I had.

        • Probably because it seems so childish to be afraid of the dark, that we chalked it off as just being ridiculous rather than a symptom? It took me making friends with a schizophrenic to stop beating myself up over being terrified of things that weren’t there. :-) Watching someone else be tortured by things nobody else can see or hear helps one understand it’s a brain misfiring, not “malingering”.
          Thank you for your lovely replies. I’ve just been so frustrated, and you know how most paleo blogs make you feel like four weeks gluten free fixes a lifetime of abuse. I knew you’d understand.

    • JMH, it sounds like you could potentially have methylation cycle problems, with the brain fog, memory problems, fatigue, and immune system dysregulation. I highly recommend checking out the phoenixrising subforum on methylation (specifically the b12 and folate protocol) to get more information, to see if it resonates with your experience, and so that you know what to get tested to see if there is, in fact, a problem with utilizing b-vitamins.

      • That’s really interesting. I thought I’d heard of everything, but I’ve never heard of that. Thank you! I’ll look into it.

    • No apology necessary. It sounds like you’ve got some serious hardships to overcome. Now that you’re not eating vegetables anymore, you might try juicing them (which would be right for you I can’t say). I haven’t talked much about this on my site, sort of by accident because for a while there I wasn’t doing it, but I juiced veggies for years and that may have been one of the things that helped me…

      • I’ve been wanting to try juicing but don’t want to invest in a juicer when I don’t know if I’ll be able to tolerate it. Do you have a suggestion for how to do without? Whizz the veggies in a blender and then strain?

        Also, any particular flavour combos you would suggest?

  7. Peggy, a lot of your symptoms are very familiar to me.

    My heart palpitations eventually morphed into something that read like one of my heart valves not working properly. I still don’t know what was going on there.

    I had near-fainting episodes where my vision would black out and my hearing would disappear. Really scary.

    And of course, the year or so I spent kneeling in front of the toilet every day after breakfast because I had horrific nausea – never threw up but it was a terrible, deep feeling unlike any normal nausea. My parents ignored it for quite a while, and when they eventually took me to a gastroenterologist he gave me antibiotics for H Pylori. Lovely. Things really went downhill after that, I was diagnosed with GERD and went on PPIs for the next 7 years. When they finally stopped working I thought my only option was surgery, and in the process of testing me for candidacy it turned out that… I have way low stomach acid. Not from the PPIs, which I’d quit by then. They had just assumed that since I had heartburn all my issues must be GERD and took out 97% of the stomach acid from someone who had it way too low to begin with. Obviously I developed nutritional deficiencies, which is how I ended up with the gazillion symptoms I am just now healing.

    And my nausea seems to be related to the fact that I have the oesophageal motility of an 80 year old. But here’s the funny thing – it only seems to happen when I eat rye or stale wheat the day before and then something that’s a trigger the morning after. Weird stuff.

    Anyway, so many symptoms have gone away, all the really bad ones, but I’m still not free of everything, and I feel like new stuff has cropped up. For one thing, I’ve been having my legs fall asleep a lot, which is really annoying. Anyone have ideas on that one?

    And I still feel like the fructose malabsorption is being caused by something else, because the symptoms it causes I didn’t used to have before.

    And I still have major, though no longer debilitating, fatigue issues.

    But so much has improved, so many symptoms gone. My nails are insanely long and hard now and my hair is curlier than ever before in my life (at my worst health I was no longer recognised as a ‘curly’).

    I guess a large part of it is giving it time too. It took me 7 years on PPIs and 5 on BCP (wtf was I thinking taking it so long? It turned me into a psycho!) to get to my lowest point, so I cant expect complete healing in 3 imperfect years.

    Your writing goes a really long way toward keeping my hopes up though. You keep my tweaking and refining and trusting that healing is possible. Thanks for that.

  8. This is a great post, Peggy!

    After having eliminated gluten (about 3 years ago) and then trying to get at the fructose malapropism issue, I still have a bunch of unanswered questions and symptoms to address. I do think that I have a nightshade sensitivity, among many things, potentially. Now that tomatoes are in season, for example, I have been OD’ing on them (I don’t eat any in the winter/ spring but seem to go overboard when they are in season at the farmers market) and have noticed my skin getting inflamed/ horribly itchy/ joins aching and health downhill overall (got a nasty cold out of the blue and I don’t actually get sick much ever since going primal, so this is weird). Today is the first day in probably about two months when I did not eat any nightshades at all and, lo and behold, my skin is no longer itchy and I am no longer exhausted. Frankly, depressing, really. I want to be like most people, wahhh!!! As in, blissfully unaware of anything!!!

    I always maintain that “you are what you eat” and my husband disagrees frequently. And we have arguments because we have kids and we both care deeply about them but have different theories on what might bother them. Enough said. Secretly, I wish I was wrong. But time and time again, I am actually not. And, well, it is kind of depressing. Sorry to be repetitive:-).

  9. JMH, it sounds like you got a real bad gut problem. I would suggest you go back to the basics here…check this post out: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/02/how-to-make-nourishing-beef-bone-broth-to-heal-your-gut/

    Peggy, this post of yours is basically the paradigm of our “healthcare” system, which has a multitude of ways and means for misleading and downright lying to the masses about diet, nutrition and health, so that they can profit immensely from treating all the symptoms that come with the mass malnourishment and degeneration of our health and well being.

    It’s sick and twisted…but most don’t realize it, until they open their eyes and learn to accept the idea that our modern ‘healthcare’ industry is really nothing more than a pain and sickness management industry.

    Cures through diet and lifestyle changes = no more treatments. No more visits. No more filled prescriptions. No more billings to the insurance companies. No more medicare reimbursement forms.

    Managed Conditions = a lifetime of prescriptions, office visits, treatments and all other manner of profiting off continued sickness and ill health.

    It’s such a diabolical conspiracy being run on society as a whole, most people reject the idea outright as impossible.

    But folks like yourself having gone through what you’ve endured…well, we not only know that it is possible, it is very real.

    • I sometimes wonder if it’s a conspiracy. It is just so amazingly obvious when the list dwindles and the meds are no longer necessary how much those mutha f**ers are losing from just me – one measly little healthy person. I don’t know how many thousands and thousands (many 10s) of dollars I spent in my quest to feel better. Do the drug companies know? Do the cancer research foundations know? Do the doctors know? Probably not, but if they did, anyway they’d never tell.

      What we’re doing here, with these blogs, isn’t helping them any…

    • When you do the GAPS protocol, its foundation is bone broths (it’s pretty much all you’re allowed to eat in the intro stage). But I’ve been having trouble keeping my blood pressure from crashing when I cut out the simple carbs. I’m going to try Peggy’s suggestion of adding juices to my stock and see if that helps.
      Thank you for your kind comment.
      I’m not sure it’s all conspiracy. I like to joke that western medicine is a godsend for critical conditions, but has no idea what to do with chronic conditions and tends to make them critical so it knows how to deal with it. See putting a surgeon in charge of childbirth and being surprised when they want to cut you; they aren’t bad people, they aren’t trying to screw with your birth, and if something does go wrong I am glad they’re there, but they shouldn’t be the first line of defense. Heh.

  10. Hello,
    I have just found your website. I have been doing research lately because I have been “sick” since the birth of my third daughter. To give you some information of my past, I have always been a busy, on-the-go gal. I grew up going to school, working numerous jobs and playing competitive sports. My eating habits as a child were all around canned and frozen foods. My parents never forced us to get vegetables (outside of the odd potato or scoop of corn) and I was never forced to eat anything I didn’t like. When I was about 13 I really started experiencing painful periods. By 15 I was also have irregular bowel movements. Nothing was ever really done. When I was 20 I took myself to the doctors as I was having one bowel movement a month!! You can only imagine the pain and suffering this caused me. I was eatting bran, and taking all sorts of stool softners and laxitives (by the doctor’s recommendation). Shortly after I had a colonoscopy and was told that everything was fine (no cancer or anything) and that basically the only way to fix my “dead bowels” was to cut them out! We I opted out of that!
    From 24-28 I had three children and one tough miscarriage. The miscarriage caused hemorraging and I spent time and out of the hospital before they finally just gave me a D & C. 4 months later I was pregnant with baby number 3. That pregnancy was fine, except I started having dizzy spells, light-headedness and heart palpations. A few trips to the hospital and they thought it was all in my head. Baby #3 came, and I had another hemorraging problem shortly after delivering her. Needless to say things really have not been the same since – it has now been 18 months. I have gone to the hospital for some of my symptoms and again nothing can be found. One doctor said I was dehydrated, and was having a vascovagal response. Gave me some water and sent me home. My family doctor thought I had an inner ear infection and sent me to an ENT specialist. I have had CAT scan and MRI of my head, everything has come back clear. Last year I had a heart test done, it was fine. My doctor thinkns I am crazy! More recently my replacement family doctor (mine is off having a baby) did some blood work and found that all my iron, thryroid and vitamin levels were fine. However my white blood cells were low. I am waiting to go back to have them tested again. He did mention there could be an autioimmune issue there if the test comes back low again.

    My symptoms have been as follows. Some come and go… some are everyday.
    -brain fog
    -spots on eyes
    -sensitivity to light
    -stomach pains
    -tingling in hands and feet
    -sinsus infections
    -nasal drip
    -plugged ears
    -feeling of unsteadiness when walking
    -dry skin
    -heavy periods
    -bad breath
    -sore sholders/ chest pain/tightness
    -jitters if missed meal, or havent eatten in a bit
    – high levels of worry that there is something really wrong with me.

    I have done some reading on Candidia (I have done a cleanse in the past and felt great). I have also looked at making better eating choices with Gluten. I also find that cutting dairy from my diet helps with all of my sinsus issues. Doing all of this on my own, I have found Paleo, and you!

    I just wonder if anyone else had theses symptoms. I also need help looking for easy food options as I am really trying to teach myself to eat new foods. I am mainly a turkey/chicken girl. I have a hard time eatting red-meat and seafood.

    Any help or support from any of you woud be extremly helpful!! I also want to change my household’s way of living. I do not want my girls raised the same way that I was.


    • I have been dealing with the exact same problems as you for the last four years and have spent thousands on naturpath’s and supplements with little to no improvement. On top of everything I seem to have a severe fat intolerance which makes going paleo extremely difficult. (I cannot eat nuts, coconut, eggs, oils, red or dark meat etc)

      I tried to do scd diet but have never felt so sick and tired in my life so I had to stop- I am in university, working two jobs, and completing an internship so being even more lethargic than I am now is not an option.

      I was wondering if anyone knew if fructose intolerance can somehow cause you to be intolerant to fats? I have eliminated most things from my diet except for fruit, veggies, chicken breast and rice but am still feeling sick.

      If anyone has any ideas I would be extremely appreciative as I am at the end of my rope with this:(

      • Hey Nicole,

        I used to think I had a fat intolerance too! I actually went fat free Primal (whatever that is) for a couple of years because of it. But in the end I do believe it was just related to the other food problems. You’ve got to have the bile to digest fats and if your liver is impaired, which it certainly will be if you’re not digesting fructose, or if you eat too much of it, then it won’t happen.

        Personally, I eat quite a bit of fat now-a-days. Well, I have for years and years now, thankfully, because that is what keeps me happy, active, and satiated!

  11. omg, the clutter images. WEIRD, right?
    i never heard about anyone else having them.
    it’s really hard to describe, for me it’s something i have in that drifting-into-sleep-phase. when i was little, sometimes it would be combined with a feeling of jumping off a swing. being almost asleep but then all that stuff around me and *jumping* and then sitting upright in bed, wide awake. it’s one of those very persistent things that keep recurring…
    apart from that (still: wow. okay. not the only one.) i have (had) about 3/4 of the stuff you named above, heart palpitations being something i only developed this summer. i almost thought i was having a heart attack when it happened for the first time. i’m 22.
    itching in the inner ear where you cannot do anything about it >:-(
    when i’m standing for a longer period of time, the skin on my legs turns blueish with reddish blotches.
    very low blood pressure
    limbs in pins and needles
    mild discolorations, not sure if acanthosis nigricans, melasma, …
    rashes on my thighs
    inability to lose weight. EVEN ON A LOW CARB DIET. AND ON PALEO. AND IN THE LONG RUN.

    i haven’t been diagnosed with anything, obviously.
    from the pieces of information i got at three different gyns’ offices, i’m pretty sure i have pcos. not that anyone ever told me. i have the cysts, i probably have the insulin resistance, i’ve never had a regular cycle since i started menstruating 8 years ago. they told me to lose weight and take the pill.
    i have a prescription for therapy from my family doctor. for depression.
    the skin turns blue and red thing was a lot worse when i was in pre-puberty. they told me to take hot and cold showers which didn’t do anything.

    i started getting into nutrition with lchf(from sweden), then finding paleo and cutting out grains, then cutting out dairy (finding out i’m casein-intolerant). so i’ve identified two major things that make me sick- gluten and casein. however, something is still wrong with me. i’m taking the vit. d, fermented cod liver oil, selenium, try living well on a student’s budget…
    i’ll see an endocrinologist in two weeks. i just want to regain my energy, focus on my studies, feel happy instead of suicidal. lose weight which i couldn’t even do when i was working a fulltime job on a farm- 40 hours of physical strain per week didn’t move the scale in the least. it’s so frustrating and i really don’t want to live like this anymore. i’m in law school, i cannot be bothered with all this stuff, i really need to function.

  12. Love this post. I am in my 20’s and all throughout my younger years I suffered from many from your long list. I went primal 4 years ago and many of those symptoms have healed. My family also benefited as well as they made the same dietary changes. It’s true, feeling crappy is not normal…it’s just common when living of the “modern” diet.

    • It’s too bad the definition of the words “normal” and “common” lost their true meaning.

  13. I couldn’t have read this post at a better time! With the exception of about 5 symptoms, your list of symptoms is identical to mine. It’s no secret that I am extremely unhealthy, and after going to a new doctor (my previous doctor was amazing, but left to volunteer in Africa) I received no help, except being told that I am pre-diabetic…which accounts for some of the symptoms, but definitely not the symptoms in my stomach, and lower regions. Your post is just what I needed to read; it’s time to take my health into my own hands!

  14. I was diagnosed with PCOS in “03 but started experiencing many of the symptoms you describe as a teen in high school. I think the biggest surprise from your laundry list is being inarticulate when speaking verbally. I chalked this up to being visual and artistic, but it’s probably related to that darn “brain fog” brought on by PCOS and hypothyroidism. I’m making steps this year to try the Paleo diet. I plan to glean from your blog…it’s encouraging to see yet another woman who manages PCOS effectively with Paleo. Blessings!!!

  15. Hello sweetie. I feel your pain. I love my parents but they too were crap at looking after my health. Are you autoimmune (thyroid or Lupus?).

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