Who's Your Witness? Your Person?

I wanted to thank everyone who reached out personally to check in. Thank you, thank you for being so kind.

Close to 500 people read my last blog!!! I was shocked when I saw the website analytics.

I will be posting within the next few weeks and then I will be off the grid for two weeks as I will be having surgery mid-month. All of the details and info will be written and posted post-op so stay tuned.

Kindness, kind-heartedness, warm-heartedness, tender-heartednes , goodwill, affectionateness, affection, warmth, gentleness, tenderness, concern, care.

Seems like a no brainer to be kind. But why is it so hard for so many not be kind?

Kindness is actually very simple. A simple idea with a significant impact.

I am not going to sit here and preach that we all must be kind 24/7. That would almost impossible for anybody. We all have our moments that’s for sure, I have had plenty past and present. Lately I have really thinking about what has made me be unkind in certain times in my life. What were the triggers? What set me off to be unkind to a parent, sibling, child, friend, co-worker, boyfriend, etc…?

After meditating, writing, and reading on this, its pretty simple what the answer is. PAIN.

When people suffer they become unkind, distant or maybe even mean. How do we fix this when there is no normal life that is free of pain? Pain, heartache or heartbreak helps us grow so therefore we need it, but how can we be kind during all of the tough times we have in our life?

It”s the answer we have all probably known all along.

You need a person (or multiple) but what I have found is way less is WAY more. The person or people that have known you for years, the people that listen, the ones who truly care and understand you and where you are coming from. The authentic people that have your back and not turn theirs.

Author Alice Miller calls that person a “witness”.

“In order to transform pain into kindness and love you need a witness.

One human being to witness your pain.

One human being to feel your sadness.

One human being to see you. To feel your aloneness and brokenness.

Once you have that one witness, you get to feel your own pain and know that there is hope.

In order to transform pain into kindness and love you need”

Even your “person” or “witness” will never feel exactly what you feel, but just to know that you have that person is comforting and healing.

After thinking about how amazing I have felt during moments of kindness; I realized, it’s true. Kindness is a piece to the puzzle. Wether its raising money for a good cause, holding the door for someone, asking someone if they are okay, letting someone go ahead of you in the grocery store or most importantly; being that PERSON/WITNESS, whatever or to whomever it may be; very quickly you will see how your moods and spirits are lifted. Not only yours but those around you.

Keep in mind, being kind is not about doing something to get something. It’s about doing something for the sake of making someone feel seen. Making someone feel good.

Think about it…..

How did you feel when someone did something kind for you? Even if it was for a brief moment, how happy did it make you feel? Did you think about the pain? The suffering?

When we are kind we feel good. It’s not bullshit. It’s a fact. Kindness releases feel-good hormones, boosts your serotonin which is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satisfactions and well-being.

Being kind eases anxious feelings, is good for your heart, reduces stress, can prevent illness, and will help you live a longer, happier life. (just like yoga)

Hold the door.

Say hello to a stranger.

Reach out to a friend or family member. Be someone’s person/witness.

Donate to a charity.

Leave extra as a tip or pick up someone's bill (only if you can afford too)

Or just lift your head up from your device and say hi to stranger or maybe the person sitting next to you.

Be Kind.

“The less you open your heart to others, the more yours suffers” Deepak Chopra

be kind

Stuck in a Dark Black Cloud

Many people have asked the last few weeks “Where have you been”?. No blogs, no podcasts, and you hardly teach. Are you okay?

So, I decided to let it all out on July 19, 2019. My 48th birthday.

I have been living in a dark cloud. A dark, uncomfortable place. Feeling very alone.

A place that I never thought I would be. For almost a year I have been hiding, blaming yoga on being introverted, blaming my age, fatigue and just about everything else on being a single mom for 13 years, menopause and just life catching up with me. But how can this be??? How? I eat well, I WAS extremely active. Shit, four years ago any chance I had to jump on a paddle board, bike or go for walk at sunrise, I would take it. Now; I take every opportunity to look for my bed to nap, I take it. Who is this person? I hardly get dressed and out makeup on, my hair is never done, I have no interest in going out. I have been in hiding except to teach. Ask me how hard that has been. To get up in front of a room of people and teach a class when you can hardly get words out. And when they come out you sound like you have been drinking because the words are just slurring out, And wear a tank top and tight yoga pants when your stomach is hard and decended for days at a time? Now that’s hot!! Rashes, Plurisy, exhaustion, no tolerance for certain foods and alcohol, brain fog, blurred vision and a few more that are just too embarrassing to write.

Something is not right. I know my body and I know it well. I know my mind and I know it well. I know Maribeth Woodford and I know her really fucking well. Better than anyone else. So, I am going to listen to her. And that is exactly what I did.

After months and months of doctors appointments. holistic practitioners, and research on April 29th the blood tests were in. Biotoxin Illness!!!! WTF??

What is Biotoxin Illness?

It is an inflammation within the body which is caused by an immune system that has gone haywire. Mold Illness is a subcategory of biotoxin illness called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.

My doctor completed genetic testing that show that I have a genetic-Susceptibility eptibilty to developing this illness.

With this genotype, if my body is exposed to toxins, like mold, my body reacts differently then do the bodies of those without this genotype.

The biotoxin panel lab consists of a few tests. The results are still hard to swallow and I feel the need to share with all of you so you can see where I’ve been, where I am and where I am going.

(Maribeth Woodford lab testing)

TGBF1 - This can result in a restrictive lung disease as lungs becoming stiffer and more fibrotic; of note, Ms. Woodford had been diagnosed with pleurisy twice; once in 2017 and 2018. This testing is also commonly found elevated with mold exposures. Normal is lower than 2,300; Ms. Woodford's was 3020 

MMP-9 -- MMP9 is an enzyme involved in breakdown of tissue barriers. It can tunnel through endothelial and matrix tissue barriers including the basement membranes and the blood brain barrier, so when it's too high, any inflammatory molecules can enter even more places in the body, including muscles, joints, lungs, and the peripheral nervous system and brain. It's been specifically implicated in the pathogenesis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) by impairing lung elastin. It's also been thought to play a role in rheumatoid arthritis, cardiomyopathy and aortic aneurysms. Normal is less than 332; Ms. Woodford's was 668 

VEGF -- This polypeptide biomarker helps enhance blood flow in the capillaries and stimulates blood vessel formation. High levels of cytokines attract white blood cells into the capillaries, leading to hypoperfusion and lower oxygen levels. Hypoxia triggers hypoxia inducible factor (HIF), which should lead to the release of more VEGF and erythropoietin as a compensatory mechanism. When the brain loses the ability to compensate, or if the patient is remaining in a moldy environment, the levels become suppressed. Levels should be between 31 and 86; Ms. Woodford's was 20. 

MSH -- This is a hypothalamic regulatory neuropeptide hormone that regulates many other hormones, inflammation pathways, and immune function. A low MSH is associated with lower endorphin production, leading to chronic pain (and or amplifying pain if there is a known cause such as a disc herniation, etc). Low MSH is associated with ongoing fatigue, insomnia with a reduction in the ability of the ability to make melatonin, mood swings. Low MSH can result in T regulatory cell dysregulation, which can affect the tight junctions in the intestinal tract, which leads to intestinal hyperpermeability and a non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Normal is greater than 35; Ms. Woodford's was 11 

VIP-a neuroregulatory peptide made in the hypothalamus and regulates blood flow and distribution. It regulates cytokine responses and inflammation. This value should be between 23-62; Ms. Woodford's was 70 

Osmolality and ADH (also called AVH on my labs) - this is related to fluid status/salt status in the body. A low ADH (antidiuretic hormone) results in thirst that isn't quenched because the kidneys aren't able to get the message from the brain to hold onto fluids and they urinate it out. This can lead to dizziness, thirst, increased urination, incontinence/bed wetting (in some cases). ADH should be greater than 1.0 and Ms. Woodford's is <0.5 (below the lab low). 

Supportive evidence for this diagnosis is a Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test, which measures neurologic functions of vision; Ms. Woodford completed on April 29, 2019 with a result of 39% which is confirmatory that Ms. Woodford is indeed suffering from a biotoxin illness 

The mainstays of treatment include confirming that the patient is in a mold-free environment as there is no appropriate treatment that can be completed if they remain in an environment that will keep them ill

Hard to comprehend right??

Happy Birthday to me!!

The last few years have been interesting and the past six months; a blur. One big cloud. Some days a white puffy cloud that I can fall asleep on and most days one big, black, dirty cloud that I happy to say I am slowly getting out of.

Luckily, I was doing so much homework and seeing so many people that I started the healing process about two years ago not even fully knowing what was wrong with me.. I couldn’t imagine how sick I would have been if I didn’t start some of therapies I have tried.

But guess what? Nothing will work fully if you are still living in the black cloud.

So here’s the deal my friends, listen to your body. many people are susceptible to mold and have poor elimination pathways for the toxins produced by mold (me) . What does this mean? It means I am unable to detox the mold and is more difficult to get identified if you stay around it.

I don’t want to hear that mold is everywhere. Black mold is not everywhere. What I do know is that it’s in my body and it is on its way out. The process will take some time, but I am looking forward to the old me. The healthier, vibrant, energetic me.

Mold illness IS NOT AN ALLERGY!! A mold allergy is when your immune system overreacts to breathing in mold spores. This triggers the release of substances like histamine, which cause sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, runny eyes and throat irritation.

Mold Illness (biotin illness) is dysfunction of the innate immune system that leads to chronic inflammatory response system. CIRS is an uncontrolled Inflammatory Response that overtime results in endocrine and immune compromise.

Not everyone suffers from this illness in the same way. In some immune systems, the biotin is identified by the immune system and is removed through production of cytokines and antibodies. However 25% of the general population have poor elimination pathways for the toxins produced by mold.

All along, it has been mold. Three years of confusion, fog, blindness, sadness, and so many more emotions and pain I wish not to share at this time.

One of the primary organs that mold has been know to effect is the pituitary gland. This is part of the brain that controls your endocrine system. The pituitary glad also effects your thyroid. It will affect your adrenal glands, which effects energy and it will affect your reproductive organs. This can mean abnormalities in your estrogen levels, your progesterone levels and your testosterone levels. Chronic Inflammatory responses from mold toxicity can up regulate aromatase which in essence converts testosterone to estrogen.

Now all of the puzzle pieces are starting to come together.

There is so much more to all of this and it is going to take time. I felt the need to share with all you exactly what has been going on and why. I am truly sorry if I have been off. I know that most of you have seen the difference and nothing has been done intentional. This has been very hard to understand even for me.

I will be back; stronger and healthier than ever before. It’s going to take some time. but to get through anything always remember…..

“first the pain then the rising”-Glennon Doyle Melton

To be continued…….