episode 2: (preparing to) figure it out.

quick disclaimer: all the stuff i write about in my adrenal blog posts are relative to my own personal experience and recommendations.  what was recommended to and worked for me may not work for you, so please proceed with caution and enlist the help of a naturopathic doctor in your area for the best + safest results!

thanks for tuning in to part two of my journey, working with a naturopathic doctor.  if you hadn’t read my last post, here’s a quick summary: for the last 2-3 years, i’ve perpetually felt rundown and exhausted, not to mention stressed out, low-grade depressed AND i gained 30 pounds in the last year.  i really wasn’t feeling as good as a person my age (32), who gets relatively good quality sleep and with the high quality food that i eat, should.  so, i finally had enough and consulted with dr. laura figoski to get on a treatment plan to get well again!

VISITING DR. FIGOSKI
on an early, sunny and windy monday afternoon, i met up with dr. figoski to see what’s been going on with my body.   the week prior, i attended a women’s entrepreneur brunch where one of the ladies said she had gained a ton of energy and lost a ton of weight by doing the alcat food allergy test, and learned that so long as she avoided gluten and oregano, she felt great.

i knew dr. fig ran this test, so it was my intention to run the full panel – basically every single test the alcat company had: basic foods, more ‘exotic foods’, spices, preservatives, molds, environmental toxins, etc.however, after discussing my symptoms, dr. fig suggested that for the same amount of money it would cost to run the full alcat testing panel (roughly $600), it’d be a wiser choice to diversify the funds and get a more comprehensive picture of what was going on with my insides, and not just a small snapshot of what was irritating it.  this idea being a very similar philosophy as sS has with our acne protocol, i agreed, and so we immediately got started.  she administered the food allergy test (blood) right in the clinic, sent me home with the adrenal/hormone test, and ordered a separate test box for me to do the stool collection on my own at home.

us biotek food allergy testTHE BLOOD TEST – for the food allergic reactions
the us biotek food allergy blood test was really quick and didn’t require much blood.  she basically drew some blood, and squirted it onto a few cards with circles printed on them, that presumably had some special goop on them which would preserve the blood for food testing.  she sent that off to the lab and i was able to do this in the very same appointment.  1 down, 2 more to go!saliva test

THE SALIVA TEST – for the hormones/adrenals
the deal with this test is that you’re supposed to spit into a plastic vial (or saturate a cotton roll with your saliva, and stick it back into the vial it comes in) 5 times in a day (upon arising, between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner, right before bedtime, and then one random time of your own choosing).  it’s kind of a lot of spitting, so the cotton roll were easier for me.  you also are supposed to wait at least 1 hour after eating a meal prior to testing, and avoid substances that rev you up (i.e.: coffee, or say, cocaine) or slow you down (i.e.: alcohol, or sleepytime tea) so that you can get a true read of what your endocrine system is really doing.  and.. they want you to write down exactly what time you collect the samples, as well as the time you last ate a meal.

this test can be a tricky one, because you have to be really careful with: setting alarms, documenting times, AND not getting distracted so as to completely forget about the test all together.  with this all being said, it can be really easy to miss a collection time window and mess up the whole thing.  i had to restart this test something like 3 times.  super frustrating!  i either took the sample too soon after eating (you’re supposed to wait at least an hour), or got swamped with work and forgot all about the test until i had missed 2 collection windows, or had a cocktail with dinner before taking the test.  ugh.  BUT, i finally got it done (with the help of white-out correction tape for the time sheet and rinsing out the spit vials a bajillion times) and sent that off to the lab.  2 down, 1 more to go!

similar stool test instructions
THE STOOL TEST – to check out the digestive tract
i don’t normally get too grossed out with body fluids and things like that (after all, i DO pop pimples for a living), but this test was definitely an experience that will stay with me – and that i hope i won’t have to do again anytime soon.  ok – let’s proceed and make it short and sweet!the kit comes to you with a paper dish, a set of gloves, 2 vials, a couple of ziplock bags, ice packs, and some instructions but unfortunately, no face mask or scented candle.so you basically poop into this paper dish, and, with your gloves on, you scoop your poop (ha!  that rhymed) into these two vials.  there’s a pooper scooper (what else would you call it?!) attached to each vial lid; one vial is empty so you fill it up to the line, and the other has some red fluid in it (i suppose a preservative?), and you also fill that one up to the line, put the cap back on then shake it up.each vial goes into a plastic bag of it’s own and get this – you refrigerate one vial and freeze the other vial.  ew, i know.  but it had to be done.  so i got it done and sent it off to the lab.  whew!  3 tests down.  now, onto the eat-all-the-gluten-i-want-til-i-get-the-test-results-party-time!

and now, we wait
WAITING PERIOD
it takes about 2-4 weeks for all the tests to come back, so i made an appointment a month out to see dr. fig to go over the test results.  in the meanwhile, i went on a few trips and relished in eating everything i wanted, before i got the food tests mandating my restrictions.

in the next episode of ‘kim scooped the poop’, we reveal what the tests had to say, and our plan of action.  oh, the suspense!