The Story Behind Rebuilding My Health
“I’m actually reversing my autoimmunity. Over the past year, my autoimmune markers have decreased each time I’m tested. My doctor said, ‘That’s because of all the work you’ve done with your diet.'”
– Casey Hibbard, Founder and Chief Storyteller, Rebuilding My Health
In 2015, I was fed up with being on the sidelines of my own life.
At the time, I was sad, angry, and frustrated with watching my life play out from a distance, only half participating.
Back then, I…
Watched my family play outside without me
Lacked the energy to keep up with my then 4-year-old
Slogged through my workday because of brain fog and poor memory
Could no longer run or go on beloved hikes
Lacked the confidence in my digestive system to plan adventure travel or camping
Wished I could say yes to more social invites
Had arthritis in my hands and feet
And yearned for the energy to do regular things like bike to the farmer’s market
Time, my life, and my son’s childhood were marching on. I was desperate to find answers and relief.
A Downward Slide Starting with Digestion
My health started its downward slide a couple of years after having my son. It began with intolerance to dairy, so I cut it out and experienced a relatively calm gut for a while.
Then, I was hit with an epic bout of food poisoning a year or so later. While I felt back to normal within a few days, a couple of months later, a new kind of digestive distress came on. Diarrhea, gas and bloating, plus fatigue, brain fog and weakness, seemed to be the new normal.
Over the next few months, I saw various doctors and endured numerous tests.
Turns out, my gut was a mess. Testing uncovered…
- Gut dysbiosis (AKA bad bacteria) – I had too much bad bacteria, in the wrong places, including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), H. pylori and Candida overgrowth.
- Intestinal permeability – Intestinal permeability (aka “leaky gut”) allows food particles to pass into the bloodstream, kicking off an inflammatory response.
- New food sensitivities – I had developed a couple of dozen new food sensitivities because of leaky gut.
- Pancreatic insufficiency – My pancreas was not producing the enzymes I needed to digest fat.
- Inflammation – Arthritis had started in my fingers and toes.
- Autoimmunity – Testing showed elevated anti-nuclear antibodies, indicating autoimmunity, though without a specific autoimmune diagnosis.
For help, I saw half a dozen conventional doctors, including gastroenterologists, allergists, and rheumatologists. Mostly, they recommended prescription medications to treat my symptoms or alleviate symptoms in the short term.
I tried powerful antibiotics for SIBO, but was still not able to clear it (likely because I didn’t take other steps at the same time, like diet changes).
None of these physicians looked more deeply at the reasons behind my symptoms. And none of them ever mentioned that diet might help, other than to tell me not to eat the things I was now sensitive to.
I spent immeasurable hours searching for answers online and scrolling through condition-specific Facebook groups. I ordered books, watched webinars, and signed up for health newsletters.
Finally, I turned to naturopathic and functional medicine practitioners for other ideas. Functional medicine identifies and treats the underlying causes of disease instead of simply treating the symptoms.
Between those practitioners, and my own research, I took steps to fix my health:
- Through diet changes and natural supplements, I reduced my inflammation and made huge progress in healing my gut.
- I treated SIBO, H. pylori and Candida overgrowth.
- In response, my autoimmune markers began going down and kept going down each time I was tested. “That’s because of all the work you’ve done with your diet,” my doctor said. Gut-healing was also a big piece in allowing me to reverse autoimmunity, I believe.
No Longer on the Sidelines
I’m not back to 100% – yet. I’m still healing from leaky gut and battle with recurring Candida overgrowth.
But I am now actively joining in my life. I no longer have digestive symptoms, have my energy back (most of the time), can think clearly and don’t experience arthritis pain.
I no longer have to watch my family play from the sidelines. I have all the brainpower I need to work. I’m not lightheaded and gasping for air as I walk up my stairs.
And two years ago, I hit a monumental milestone; I hiked part of Nepal’s Annapurna Trail with my family.
None of this was easy. Throughout my journey, I have struggled to find the information I needed to address each problem, and have spent a small fortune doing so. Non-conventional practitioners are expensive, and often don’t accept insurance.
A Trove of Functional Medicine and Natural Health Success Stories
In the search for answers, I have found countless inspiring, true stories of people using natural or non-conventional approaches to health, but they’re often buried in private Facebook groups or on practitioner sites, and only offer part of the picture.
These stories HAD to get out there to more people. And with 25 years of journalism and marketing copywriting experience, it made complete sense to bring my storytelling skills to capture these stories.
Rebuilding My Health, the online magazine and podcast, were born out of the need to collect, in one place, complete and inspirational accounts of gaining back health – that are not associated with a single practitioner, diet or approach.
- If you’ve been successful in treating a condition or alleviating symptoms with natural approaches, I urge you to take a few minutes to share the details of what helped you via our Health Experience form. We’ll be in touch and may feature your story! Your insights could provide much-needed inspiration and ideas for someone in the same boat.
- If you’re searching for answers to your health challenges, my sincere hope is that you find protocols here to help you get better.
I believe that, with the right information, we can all get back to climbing mountains again, whatever those may be for you. I look forward to learning from all of you and building a community committed to helping each other get well.
To your health,
Chief Storyteller + Podcast Host, Rebuilding My Health