Cyleste's Journey to Healing: The Autoimmune Wellness 1-on-1 Program
Meet Cyleste! She is a client who has successfully completed the strict phase of my Autoimmune Wellness 1-on-1 Nutrition & Lifestyle Program!
When I first met Cyleste, she had been told by doctors that she had an autoimmune thyroid condition called Graves Disease. She was given 2 options:
take pharmaceuticals for the rest of your life to replace her failing thyroid function, or
have her thyroid removed or ablated.
Cyleste felt so strongly that there had to be another way and she was led to me to help guide her on a much more loving and healing path. Today, I am so excitedly proud to say that together we have gotten her Graves Disease into remission!
The spotlight shines on her today, as she graciously shares her story, the ups and the downs, as well as the success she's experienced from our journey working together. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your beautiful healing journey Cyleste!
I have been working with Robyn as her client for a year and a half at The Empathic Nutritionist (formerly RGR Nutrition & Autoimmune Wellness). I was diagnosed with Graves Disease at the age of 24 but had been living with the symptoms since I was a child. I was allergic to certain metals (nickel in particular) and always had hives. My dad was in the military and everytime he got stationed at a new place I would get really sick; what I now know were flare ups. My family always thought I was over reacting.
There was point in my life where my parents got divorced. My dad left me with my mom who was a drug addict and an alcoholic. She stopped taking me to school, stopped taking care of me. Between 7-8 years of age, I had to learn how to make my own food and be my own person. For about a year I lived off of popcorn and mayonaise sandwiches (yes just mayo and bread) because that is all we could afford. I was getting really bad rashes, my hair started falling out in patches, I developed bald spots, and my hands would always tremble.
After my mom passed away, I moved in with my grandparents. There, it was different. My grandma always made sure I had a home cooked meal EVERY night. It was always some type of meat, rice or potatoes, corn or strings beans, always bread, and always milk. According to the National Food Association, I was eating the perfect balanced meal.
But then, new symptoms started to arise around the time I was in high school and I started playing sports volleyball, basketball, and running track. I was getting extremely painful headaches (but not migraines) , I was always REALLY hot, especially when sleeping, and my heart, on occasions, felt like it was going to fly out of my chest.
My grandma believed in conventional medicine to a degree and she took me to the doctors. Here began my journey with this type of medicine. For my bald spots they gave my steroid shots in my head every 2 weeks for a year. They gave me steroid cream for my rashes, glasses for my headaches, and birth control for my heart and heat issues. They said my symptoms seem to be coming from puberty. I stayed on this cycle until I graduated high school and moved out on my own and I couldn’t afford it.
To my surprise, things started to get better. My hair was growing back, I was filling back out slowly, and my headaches were gone. It’s hard to say whether it was getting off the medication that alleviated my symptoms because this is also the time when I started smoking cannabis daily.
Fast forward a few years to me being 24 and I started Krav Maga/MMA. I was losing my fat again but getting muscular. I was still on a diet of meat, rice or noodles, and a vegetable. One day while I training I went to do a front kick to vertical target (THE spartan kick). When I connected with my target I heard a huge crack and severe pain shot through my body. I broke my leg and this is when the straw broke the camels back.
During the healing process for my leg I was put on morphine and oxi’s for the pain. Since my stomach was so sensitive, the skin around my right eye swelled up, every time I took the pills I would throw up and I was never hungry. My symptoms were getting worse, my hair started falling out again, I was always nauseous, and everyday that I woke up I had this severe, raw hunger pain. It felt like I was REALLY hungry and about to throw up at the same time. I went to the doctors the following week and I was told that I had irregular heartbeat and Graves Disease. They put me on heart medication and thyroid medication which was making things worse. Still I took it, in hopes that something would change.
Once my leg healed fully, and my body was some what regulated (or so I thought), I got into CrossFit. It was there I was introduced to the Paleo lifestyle. There was a nutrition challenge at the gym and I joined in not really thinking anything of it. I followed the 6 week meal plan and started to feel a little better, but only at training level. I could go through workouts easier with out losing breath, my recovery time was quicker, and overall I was getting stronger and advancing in certain movements pretty quickly.
My confidence was shot down when it was time for the nutrition challenge final weigh in's. I was excited because I had followed the meal plan to a “T” and worked out every day. I stepped on the scale to see that I had LOST 8lbs (this was NOT my goal. muscle gain and weight gain were my goals)!
I was so disappointed in myself and I could not understand what I did wrong. I was talking with my personal trainer (Robyn's now Husband) and he was telling me that his wife is a really great Nutritionist and if I was serious about healing my body with food then I should call her.
At this point I felt like I had nothing to lose, everything that I was doing was wrong and if the doctors couldn’t help me then maybe Robyn could. There was nothing that could have happened to stop me from seeing her and almost 2 years later I am very happy with my decision.
My mind set behind this was, "Robyn is my health insurance, and if I want to be healthy, the right way, then I would do whatever she told me to do to make it happen".
So I scheduled a consultation with her... and after our consultation I was EXCITED!! Robyn really showed me that she cared, not only about nutrition itself, but me as a person. She understood that each person was different and that one meal plan wasn’t going to work for everyone (which is what I was following with the Paleo challenge).
Without hesitation we dove in together and tackled this disease head on. She constantly kept me updated with podcasts, books, and articles that I could read to understand my condition more. Robyn really took this to heart and put all of her effort into research and the specific goals that we had created together. She wasn’t like, “here is a magic pill, now leave”, like I had been made to feel in the past. The price didn’t matter to me and I wasn’t going to let it be an obstacle. Again I thought, "I’m either gonna being paying her or the doctors”. But Robyn was different. She CARED and that is something very hard to find. It was a tough journey, and along the way I definitely had cravings and challenges. But with the amazing support system of my wife and family, I was able to get through those cravings. And Robyn really tried to find substitutes for all those cravings, finding, developing, and creating delicious alternatives to the flavors I was missing!
The amazing benefits that have come from working with Robyn, are first and foremost my health. This is by far the best shape I have ever been in, in my life. It’s sad to think that with the way my life was before, I thought that was “normal”. That it was normal to feel crappy everyday, that my hair was supposed to fall out, and I was just supposed to deal with it. Now, I feel like I literally have a new body. Physically, my body has changed drastically! Not only am I gaining weight, and still doing CrossFit, but I am able to keep the weight on. Currently I am at 131 lbs and started at 113 when I first met Robyn.
Finally, my biggest benefit is my outlook on life. Going through this journey has taught me that nothing is ever set in stone and you are the only one who can stop the crappy sickness cycle that you are stuck in, and the perfect place to start is with Robyn's Autoimmune Wellness 1-on-1 Nutrition & Lifestyle Program.
I would recommend Robyn to anyone who is really looking to change their lives, to change their health, especially anyone with autoimmune conditions. Almost 2 years of working with her, guiding and helping me to change what I put into and onto my body, and to understand the "why's" of what she asked me to do, and I am almost completely symptom free.
For years I thought I was alone, that I was the only one dealing with this, but with Robyn’s help and encouragement, and best of all, the amazing recipes she produces, I know now that I have never been in better hands.
To say this amazing person has changed my life would be an understatement, I honestly feel like she has added years to my life. It has been an incredible experience and I have never been more positive on the outlook of my future than I do now!
For more information on my Autoimmune Wellness 1-on-1 Nutrition & Lifestyle Program, click HERE!