It was back in 2016 when my Husband & I begun trying to conceive.
You know how it goes; all fun and games until Aunty Flo comes along to wash away your hopes for the month!
Well this continued... for quite a while.
We were not too concerned or surprised, as my Husband was a FIFO (Fly-In-Fly-Out) worker, working a ridiculous roster of 4 weeks on, 1 week off. 1 week home is really not ideal when you only have a small window in which you might conceive!
18 months and an early miscarriage had passed, so we decided to both get some preconception testing done.
That's when we learnt that my Husband had really low testosterone. So low in fact, that he was sent to an endocrinologist.
So off we went to the appointment, where we were advised that my Husband needed to start HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and advised to do IVF.
I told the specialist that I wanted to try a natural approach first and I was laughed at and an appointment was made to start his therapy in 3 months.
I was only half way through my studies in Nutritional Medicine at this time, so I had not had any clinical experience in the real world, but I knew that I would not allow my Husband to start using synthetic hormones and we didn't want to have to go through IVF if we really didn't have to.
So with a little guidance from an experienced practitioner/mentor, my Husband become my guinea pig. (Hahaha)
My first real case study.
My Husband proved to be a very compliant client, sticking to the treatment plan I had developed.
3 months had passed and it was time to go back to the endocrinologist for testing.
Drum roll please....... boom boom boom.... His testosterone levels had increased so dramatically that the specialist was asking me questions as to how we done it! Suddenly they were not laughing at me!
So much relief! I felt so proud of my Husband and my love for what I was studying grew more than ever.
But still, I had questions.
Like what had caused his testosterone to fall so low at such a young age? (He was only 33yrs old)
But no one was interested in finding out the root cause and we were told that it was probably just “one of those things”
At the time I was busy juggling work, mum life (Daughter was 7) and my studies, so trying to find the root cause got swept under the carpet because the “problem was solved”.
What I didn't know was that I would later regret that decision.
Finally, the moment that brought me to my knees in an emotional mess happened. THE TEST WAS POSITIVE!
My pregnancy was a very exciting but busy time. We had moved interstate to Darwin N.T so that I could be close to my family and I pushed so hard to finish my studies before my baby was born.
I was blessed with a brilliant pregnancy and birth.
On 11/11/2017,I calmly hypno-birthed my Son earth-side in a birthing pool in his bedroom. (Home birth)
Over this busy period my Husband continued to experience symptoms.
Nothing too major. Just feeling fatigued, abdominal pain, joint pain and a rash on his leg that wouldn’t go away.
We were in and out of Drs getting numerous tests done on his rash, but nothing was found so we were told it may just be IBS and the rash was from his job as a boilermaker.
The day had come. My graduation.
The long nights in front of the computer with my newborn baby attached to my boob had paid off.
I was a fully qualified Nutritional Medicine Practitioner!
My Son was 6 months old when he spent his first Easter in hospital.
His little body went into shock from a severe allergic reaction.
He was diagnosed with a rare allergy known as FPIES. (Food Protein-Induced Entercolitis Syndrome)
Even as a qualified Nut Med Practitioner, I had not heard about this condition. So I had to further my studies and educate myself on this condition, so that I could understand how to best help my baby.
We learnt that eggs, dairy & rice where my baby’s FPIES triggers, so we eliminated these foods from our anti-inflammatory vegetarian diet that we were currently trialling (To assist with my Husbands digestion & joint pain)
We found ourselves being what I like to call “accidental vegans”
I lost 20kg, my Husband lost 15kg and my children were happy and healthy.
However, my Husbands symptoms seemed to be GETTING WORSE, not better.
We went to the Dr and blood tests were done.
He was told that all was good & that he was the image of health.... !?
BUT I BELIEVED my Husband when he said he didn't feel great.
I believed my Husband when he KNEW THAT SOMETHING WASN'T RIGHT WITH HIS BODY.
So, I reached out to my Practitioner network & I decided to add on another course to learn how to correctly read blood work myself and I sat up late one night (With bubby attached to my boob) & I studied my Husbands results & I realised that something wasn't adding up.
Again, we made a visit to the Dr. (I'm pretty sure the Dr thinks we are hypochondriacs by this point, but I didn't really care. )
I had told the Dr that I wanted to get my Husband checked for Haemochromatosis.
The Dr wouldn't test for it because there wasn't a family history of it and his iron levels were not too bad.
By now I had partnerships with private pathologies and I wanted to do the test myself. I should have, but I didn’t because I knew that inflammation can be a cause for excess iron and so we didn't want to waste money on a pricey test (Private tests are not covered by medicare)...I regret this decision.
Another busy 6 months passed. In this time I had overcome and naturally treated my own health issues (thyroid), I had set up my business and started seeing clients in my clinic, we had moved back home to Townsville and bought a house.
My Husbands weight kept fluctuating and his headaches, digestive issues and pain continued.
To a new Dr we went and this time I put my foot down about the tests I wanted done.
Finally. It was confirmed.
My Husband did have Haemochromatosis. He held not one but 2 genes.
And do you know what the Dr said when the results come in?! “NO RED MEAT FOR YOU”
….... WE WERE VEGETARIANS at this point!!
It all made sense. Here was the underlying cause of ALL symptoms he had been experiencing for a very long time.
It is not over for us, we now have to get further tests done and also wait for internal imaging to ensure there is no internal damage due to it going undetected for so long, but we know what is going on now!
My guilt set in. My guilt for not trusting my instincts and own knowledge.
It was a hard lesson learnt for me. A lesson that I hope I can pass on to others.
ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. NO ONE KNOWS YOUR BODY LIKE YOU DO. If you find someone doesn’t listen please FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL.
Kristy L Hebbard
Nutritional Medicine Practitioner
Hypnobirthing Australia Childbirth Educator