Thursday, March 11, 2010

Know Thyself

How well do you know yourself?

I am not talking about your personality or your likes and dislikes. I am asking, how well do you know yourself at a genetic level?

It's important where and by whom you came from, and here's why: your genes carry the code to your health and well being. That adage is true: if you have your health, you have everything. And if you don't have your health? Then what?

Was your Grandmother crazy, as I mine was? Was your mother unstable and childlike, as mine is? Did your father love sugar, as mine did? When we were kids, he would give us $20 and instruct us to ride our bikes up to the grocery store and spend every penny on candy. We would be in trouble for sure if we didn't spend every cent on candy. We did as we were told, my brother and I. I have a sweet tooth today that can substantiate this fact.

My grandmother Mimi -- whom this blog is named for -- was paranoid schizophrenic. She had what once was termed "blue baby" in 1952. They didn't talk much about post partum depression back then. My own mother was a single child and she grew up listening to her mother fret every single night about the communists and the Beetles, both of whom were out to get her (in her warped mind).

Both my mother and grandmother were thin. Both had pale skin. Both were anemic. Both had restless leg syndrome. Both had osteoporosis. Both had emotional issues that overwhelmed them throughout their lives.

Why is this important to me, or to you? Because I now know in my bones that Mimi was intolerant to gluten. I believe it was the starting point for all of her many health woes. She loved her wheat toast every morning and saved a piece in the oven to enjoy at lunchtime. She didn't know that wheat toast was killing her. Just as my mother was unaware that her emotional concerns came from food her body saw as an invading enemy.

My mother and grandmother didn't know. But I do. And I will never knowingly ingest gluten. Or dairy. Or corn. Or yeast. I have a physical response to all of those ingredients. I am lucky that I did not suffer the same mental demise that other women in my family have suffered . . . but I could have gone down that path had I not caught my health concerns when I did.

Do you know about your mom's health? Do you know if she had a problem with wheat? Do you or someone you are related to crave sugar, alcohol, or carbs? Could you or they be self-medicating?

Before you are quick to write off such a person, find out if they have a food allergy or are battling Candida. Rule that out for yourself as well. It's not an excuse, nor does it give anyone a free pass to abuse substances . . . but it is often true that we self-medicate because we feel so very fatigued, or achy or generally like hell and the starting place of feeling that way could very well be a food allergy or a leaky gut.

You need to know. Find out and do better with your own food choices.

Knowledge is beyond power -- it is health.



    I do not feel quite so alone in this after reading your post.

    I have no memory of my grandmother, but the family says she was a cruel "unstable" woman... She passed away from a brain heammorrage at a young age.

    My mother passed away nearly 4 years ago from cancer... which cancer you may say! well they think it started as ovarian, but when she finally went to the hospital 4 days before her passing they found a tumour the size of a football in her bowel and cancer literally lining the whole of her interior torso...

    Yes there had been long term health issue, she had Thyroid issues, initially they found growths back in the 50's and started cutting chunks of it out, until in the 90's they did the radioactive iodine treatment. liver problems, bowel and toileting problems, she lived on durolax (a laxitive), I remember her taking 6 - 8 of them A DAY for nearly all my life. Her kidneys were not functioning properly, she was in a wheelchair from a degenerative spinal disease and she was blind from macular degeneration. Then there was the gall bladder removal and infertility issues (I am an only child, she had me when she was 42).

    To top it off, she was just nasty... probably with good reason with all she had going on... but cruel...

    I was diagnosed with CD 4 yrs ago... I have weak bones and a failed cervical spinal fusion from where I broke my neck in a very minor accident, started the thyroid game with graves disease, now it is hashimotos... and the gland is now 6 times the size it should be... I am waiting for my specialist appointment as we speak. I had my gallbladder out when I was 18, I have an unstable liver that goes nuts for no apparent reason, my eyesight is poor, I am infertile and have horrid cycles, oh and suffer from chronic depression and constant gut pain, reflux disease and exhaustion...

    So to hear that I am not alone in the world wondering if my mum and grandmother actually did have CD actually helps... I have started finding blogs of people in similar situations and it helps to know I am not crazy or as one doctor told me a hypochondriact (sorry I am a bad speller).

    But I am determind to beat this, I use all the information I can find to help me make better choices... sadly the town where I live has limited medical services and the doctors here are so run off their feet they just do not have a lot of time to spend with you, so I find going to them is generally a waste. As for alternative therapy... in this town I would be called a witch... aaarrgghh frustrating...

    So we smile and keep going and reading and doing it for ourselves here... and life will be good again soon, just need to keep working on it...

  2. Thank you for sharing your story and you are definitely not alone out. I have had people write me often about their mothers and grandmothers and even some tell their mothers were addicted to toast they way my grandmother was.

    It's hard to grow up with a mom like that and unless you grew up that way, it is hard to even imagine how awful it can be.

    I admire that you are looking into your own health and not choosing the same path as your mom and grandmother went down -- that takes a lot of wisdom, strength and courage!

    I know that my mother and grandmother's personalities were warped by their autoimmune issues and food allergies issues but that also didn't give them a pass to be cruel . . . though I think it does help to know that they must have physically felt horrible most of their lives and that created some of their personality issues.

    Please keep reading on-line and searching out those hard to find doctors who will be your partner in regaining your strength. My starting point of knowledge came from some wise women on a thyroid chat group and from reading everything at

    You may not even have a thyroid issue but it seems like if you have one autoimmune issue, you are very likely to have another one too.

    Please feel free to keep in touch as you move through these issues and as you regain your physical strength. Here is my personal email:

  3. Oops, sorry. I reread your comment and you do have Hashi's. If you haven't read the Stop the Thyroid Madness site, I think it can really give you a great roadmap back to solid health

  4. God Bless your story...

    I can't remember what my grandmother's illness are, except for one thing. she occasionally asking for sugar rich soda... she's a three times a week coke drinker of 500ml. maybe it's just her past time to get rid of her dull moments. in sometimes without that, she's becoming so cruel...

    Things are sometimes shown by my mother and sister, which almost identical with my grandmother's behavior.

    My mom's now suffering a diabetes and with high cholesterol in her system. but, in spite of it, she regularly consult her doctor and having a lot of exercises. By that she partially having self medication...

    More exercise could help us longer our lives...

  5. Thanks for this blog, I was able to have an overview in my life.
    I believe you have experienced a lot in your life where you learned a lot. Great read!