Lisa’s story – cardiac arrhythmias, menstrual cramps, anxiety

“I first started seeing Dr. Singh in July 2011.  At age 47, I had begun having chronic cardiac arrhythmias (a Holter monitor detected over 400 in a 24-hour period), which at one point were so intense I thought I was having a heart attack.  Up until then, I was a junk-food junkie and never overly concerned with my health.  But I found that nothing will kick your butt into gear like having a wonky heart.  I was frustrated with both my general practitioner and cardiologist, who said I was in good health and that the arrhythmias were nothing to be concerned about.  I wanted someone to help me understand their underlying cause and help me get rid of them without prescription drugs or surgery.

I have to admit, having had discouraging experiences with doctors all my life, that I was skeptical when I made my first appointment with Dr. Singh.  I was accustomed to five-minute rushed doctor visits, then feeling like a hypochondriac when lab reports all came back normal.  But Dr. Singh spent so much time talking to me, and asked me questions for at least two hours.  She took all of my issues seriously, even ones my other doctors had told me were insignificant or imaginary.  These included years of dealing with hypoglycemia, “foggy brain”, anxiety, low energy, headaches, intense menstrual cramps, and chronic cough.  Insomnia was a relatively recent addition to the list.

The first thing Dr. Singh did was put me on an anti-inflammatory diet for my blood type, supplemented with probiotics, vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other antioxidants.  I have had hypoglycemia since my pre-teen years, and have experienced uncomfortable symptoms including foggy brain, shakiness, and feeling light-headed or faint.  I have also been prone to food cravings, excessive binging, and weight problems.  All of these problems disappeared or subsided considerably within the first few weeks of starting the anti-inflammatory diet.  I continue to eat a high protein shake for breakfast and at least five small, complete meals (protein, complex carbohydrates, good fats) throughout each day.  Imagine that, a diet where the goal is to avoid ever getting hungry!  This keeps my blood sugar levels stable and prevents food cravings — quite a change from the kid who used to hide Twinkies under her bed!

Having  been on the anti-inflammatory program for a year now, I have experienced many other health improvements that have been unexpected yet so appreciated!  The most significant and obvious of these has been the elimination of menstrual cramps.  To fully appreciate this incredible change, I have to explain how severe the cramps had been.  As a teenager, I had cramps that were so debilitating that I could do nothing but writhe in pain for two days every month.  Aspirin, hot baths, and heating pads had no effect.  I once asked a doctor if I could have a hysterectomy, but he just laughed and told me I would have to wait until I was in my 30s. I discovered Naproxen and Ibuprofen in my 20s, and these provided relief if I took two at the first sign of cramps.  If I waited until the cramps became painful, they would be unbearable for several hours.  This happened one day when I was at work and discovered I was out of pain medication.  I ended up lying on a dirty floor for two hours until the pain subsided.  When I was in my late 30s, my gynecologist performed a laparoscopy but found no abnormalities – I was just one of the unlucky females who have severe cramps for no known reason.

Five months after my initial visit to Dr. Singh, I finally got up the nerve to see how severe the cramps would be without taking any medication, which I kept nearby just in case.  I was amazed that the cramps were so minor that I did not have to take anything!  I was so excited that I emailed Dr. Singh right away, telling her “This is one of the best Christmas presents I could imagine.”  One year later, I can say I am completely pain-free each month.  Coincidentally, my frequent migraine-like headaches also disappeared in December 2011.  I am happy to say that I have not had to take any pain medication in over six months.

I have also had improved work performance in the past few months. As a field biologist, I spend hours each day from March-May hiking in the hills west of Austin.  I started the 2012 field season seven months after my first visit with Dr. Singh, and following a three-week detox program during the month of February.  My energy level was comparable to what I remember from my 20s.  I had no problems hiking up and down hills and maintaining energy and stamina throughout the day.  This was the best and most fun field season I can ever remember.

I have also noticed a reduced severity of many allergic reactions.  An inherent part of working outdoors in Texas includes exposure to a variety of stinging critters and plants, and my legs and arms are usually covered with swollen bites and rashes that itch intensely for several days or even weeks.  I once had such a bad case of poison ivy on my face that I went to the emergency room for steroid shots.  As I was leaving, I overheard a medical intern comment to the doctor (she thought I was out of earshot), “I have never seen poison ivy do that to a person before!”  During the 2012 field season, ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, and poison ivy left no significant marks and so were virtually unnoticeable.  No more Benadryl!

My arrhythmias subsided after the detox program in February.  I have them only very rarely now, but when I do, they are brief and barely detectable.

Insomnia has been a fairly recent affliction.  I usually fall asleep quickly, but then wake up for 2-4 hours every night, usually sometime between 1-5am.  Following the February detox program and a lot of outdoor exercise during the March-May field season, I began sleeping much better.  I still occasionally have nights of interrupted sleep, especially after stressful events, but it is much improved.

I am still working on anxiety issues, but am feeling much calmer. At one time, social situations were very stressful events.  I would even get nervous talking to one person.  Now I can meet with small groups without feeling uncomfortable.  I am working up to public speaking in large groups, but have not been brave enough to venture that yet without the aid of anxiety medication, although I do take less of it than I did a year ago.  My ultimate goal is to wean off of these medications completely as well.

One year later, I still have days when I feel tired, stressed, and have an occasional arrhythmia.  But the contrast in my overall health from where I was last year is like night and day.  I also keep improving my diet and exercise.  With all of the unexpected and significant improvements experienced so far, I am looking forward to what surprises await this next year!”