Get the Lead Out! (and Mercury...)
It has been one year since my last winter vacation in sunny South Florida, and during this year’s trip I pondered how far I had come. The miles of each trip counted 1003 as the crow flies, but the change in my life that has happened since last year seems much greater. What began last year as a travel nuisance has steered my life into a passion for understanding functional medicine and how it may be used to help myself and others heal.
I had developed a strange and painful rash that did not go away after several weeks, so I sought the medical advice of my dermatologist. After several courses of oral prednisone, then topical steroid creams, with no relief of the rash, the next step was a stronger immune-suppressing medication. I was nervous at that point, but still pretty desperate due to the discomfort of the rash, and did not know what to do.
Fortunately, a friend referred me to her doctor who was an Integrative MD, which means they combine both conventional and functional medicine. We discovered that I had heavy metal toxicity, and through chelation therapy my rash went away and the detoxification process made me feel better than I ever had. Other neurological symptoms of mercury toxicity such as numbness in lips, nervousness and depression also went away. The answer was not to put more things into my body to suppress the symptoms, but to find out what needed to be removed from my body. The more I learned about functional medicine, I realized I wanted to share this knowledge and help others heal as well. As a result, I redirected my medical background as a RN into functional medicine by becoming certified as an Integrative Health Practitioner.
But returning to the location where my journey began brought a new curiosity and an important question to answer. I knew that the detox had taken my rash away and improved my health. But would the rash come back? Armed with a good supply of mineral sunscreen so as to not get sunburned, I recreated the events of the prior year. NO RASH!!! Just as my body has felt better by replacing its deficiencies and removing its toxicities, so has my skin demonstrated those results on the outside.
I have gotten many looks of vague indifference or even unbelief when I try to explain that I had heavy metal toxicity. Especially by people that are close to the fishing industry when I discuss the levels of mercury in different sizes of fish! Or lead to those who work with old houses. But metals are not meant to be in our bodies, and they can make us sick. The good news is they can be removed. And by making different choices in our water supply, food supply, and household products we can reduce our exposure not only to heavy metals but to other toxic chemicals as well.
Stay tuned for my next blog on how to eat lower on the fish food chain and reduce your exposure to toxic mercury.